Purveyor House
CREATIVE BRAND DEVELOPMENT + MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
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STEP AWAY // Survive the December Chaos // WEEK 1
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December has a lot of us in straight-up survival mode, especially us business owners. Tasking kicks into high gear, you are barely showering; you are worried about hitting 13,000 deadlines in 48 hours and meeting your year-end goals.
 
We get it. We’ve been there. And we are here to tell you that the cycle can be broken.

How? Step the hell away. Everyday.
 
Get out of the chaos and clear the air with yourself for a minute or ten. This is easier said than done and we know it sounds cliché BUT you gotta prioritize it. If you don’t, you’ll probably find yourself in this same spot next year, or even next month. Take a break to think about what’s going on, how it’s making you feel, and what you are choosing as a result so you can fix it when you have time.
 
As always, we are here to help you. If you need someone to process with and to help lift the weight off your shoulders, book a consult with us while your living the holiday/end of year chaos; it’s the best time to talk about it.  We can talk through what’s annoying, what’s making you want to give yourself a high-five, what makes you want to quit and burn the mother down, or what ever emotion you are experiencing...it’s like a mini-therapy session.
 
We’ll be talking about changing this habitual chaotic mindset all month long and we have some free tips and tools to help you while you are in the thick of it. This week’s freebie will help you with the “step the hell away” daily check-in to help get you in the habit and so you’ll have something tangible to look at when you have the time to sit down and make some changes. The freebies every week will build on eachother, so start now so you can show December who's boss. 

Shannon LaBareComment
How to Use the Holidays to Reinforce Your Brand
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The holidays are here and with it the temptation to post that really cute looking cartoon turkey wielding a “Happy Thanksgiving” sign written in Comic Sans. Unless your brand is a clipart website or a preschool, avoid that turkey. The same is true for using really lame stock photos that don’t in any way represent you.

Keep your brand voice, mission, and visual atheistic in mind as you approach the holidays. It’s a great time to post well wishes, discounts, special events, etc., and like any post you create, holiday posts should be on point with your brand strategically and visually, if not even more so, because you most likely have more eyes looking your way.

If you typically communicate with gifs and jokes, go ahead slip puns into your holiday posts. If you normally have swirls, twirls, and clipart in your graphics, go crazy. But, if you don’t typically do that it’s best to keep your sentiments and graphics in line with how you normally speak and what you look like. Veering from who you are in any post makes you appear to be unorganized and inauthentic, and during the holidays it will be both of those plus what you are trying to communicate will not be memorable. Bottom line, be who you actually are.

I want to show you some examples of good and bad holiday posts. Let’s start with the rough ones:

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For example, neither of these are great options for pretty much ANY brand but they absolutely do not represent Purveyor House. I’ll state the obvious first. One, besides the images being just bad, they do not capture our brand at all. The colors, types of graphics and lines, and fonts are NOT apart of our brand story. Two, the captions are not our standard tone of voice, there doesn’t seem to be any thoughtfulness in what was said, and there really isn’t any value to either of these examples. If we were to post these it would look like our account was hacked.

Now, some great examples of holiday posts:

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Better, right? These posts show you can be authentic and relevant at the same time. Both of these examples thoroughly represent the overarching brand. The colors, the fonts, logo usage, quality photo and graphic selection, and genuine captions thoroughly represent these two brands.

Here’s how to stay on brand and be you this holiday season:

  1. Plan time for you. Schedule your posts. Take some time and look at your calendar. What is coming up and what do you want to say? Taking time to schedule will help you stay on brand and it will save you a lot of time in the long run. We like using later.com and planoly.com.

  2. Look like you. Keep to your brand’s visual atheistic. Colors, fonts, logo, etc. Don’t go off the rails. Use your planning time to take and edit great photos or to source amazing stock photos. For editing we like VSCO and Snapseed. For stock photos Unsplash.com is our go to.

  3. Talk like you. Don’t confuse your audience by sounding like a totally different brand. Use your normal writing style, tone of voice, and vocabulary.

  4. To sum up…..BE YOU because only you can be.

Peace, Ashlee

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Ashlee GrishaberComment
The Multi-passionate Entrepreneur

Back when I was planning out the steps to leave my corporate position, I dove into podcasts, books, blogs - basically anything that had an entrepreneur angle to see if they had the answers I was seeking. There came a point where it was information overload and I was left feeling like what they said made sense, but not for me specifically

What I realized is that I'm good at many things while most information I was consuming was for the entrepreneur that had a specific skill set and was able to niche themselves. I wish I had that ONE thing I knew inside and out, but that's just not me. 

Fast forward to now, almost a year later from when I began seriously planning what would be Purveyor House, I can say that it's still confusing for me as I lead where this business goes. I know that having a wide skill set and the ability to problem solve creatively is going to serve what I do well, but it's at times still hard to qualify what I do with Purveyor House without using a bazillion commas. 

I've come across a few people recently who are in this same dilemma, so I know this is a common sentiment. Over coffee, a new acquaintance explained how she was feeling all over the place and able to offer so many things. When I said that she was a "multi-passionate entrepreneur," her face lit up. "That's it!"

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So for the record, it's OK to be multi-passionate. It's OK to not have that one thing to offer. It's ok to have a few commas when you explain what you do. 

What's not ok? Letting 'all the things' stop you from sharing what you do. Because I didn't have a clear 'thing,' I found myself stuck in that space, unable to do anything. 

How do you set up a business offering several things? It's not easy, but it's doable. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way...

  1. SET UP AN UMBRELLA PLATFORM - Create a brand (your name or business name) that has enough space to have multiple extensions. By creating something that overarches all that you do, it's easier to digest the whole brand than the sum of its parts. In the future of Purveyor House, I see extensions looking like "Purveyor Design" or "Purveyor Shop." 

  2. CATEGORIZE - Refine the wording of ALL THE THINGS into bitesize pieces so that down the line, you can categorize your website, social or blog posts into their proper homes. One or two words as descriptors work best.

  3. MARKET SIMPLY - When it comes to marketing, put your focus on what you see the highest need being. For Purveyor House, I strategically propped up design as the lead offering as it's easiest to explain, most people understand it, and it offers me an open door to upsell my client for a bigger offering like brand development. Once they realize that you do more than just that one thing, you become indispensable! 

  4. SPRINKLE - Just because you have one thing you lead with doesn't mean that you can't share the other categories you offer. Sprinkle the other services/products you offer in your social media posts 1-2x a week, share blog posts about them, and let your network know that you do one thing but SO MUCH more. 

  5. WAIT - Wait to respond to inquiries. Since you have a lot of things you can do doesn't mean that you have to do all of them. Resist the urge to respond immediately to a request for your services that may not be 100% in-line with what you want to do. If it sparks inspiration, more business opportunities down the road, and they are respecting your pricing structure, DO IT and take notes on what worked and what didn't.

  6. SEE + RESPOND - See what people gravitate towards. What do you get the most positive feedback from? What brings in the most money? Always be looking into your offerings to plan strategically the next step. If one piece of your many things are taking up a lot of time but not translating to sales, it's time to look at it, refine or get rid of it to ease up your focus. 

For some of you, doing one thing and doing it well may be your goal. It can also be the long-term goal for the multi-passionate entrepreneur as well, but getting there can look a bit different. 

Who are the multi-passionates out there? How do you offer your services in a cohesive way? I'd love to hear!

xx, Shannon

Focus Group 101

This week, Purveyor House lead a focus group for a startup. We went into it needing clarity on if the offering was a needed service, how our target market felt about it, and to propose what we should call the service.

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As we went through, we were amazed at the incredible feedback that our group gave us. It was insightful, thoughtful and most importantly helpful. At the end, we were able to clearly see that we were on to a great idea and had a clear list of things to update as we move to implementation and launch!

Not sure what we're talking about? Read on! We shared a bit more about focus groups, why they can help you and how to facilitate your own...

Enjoy! 


  • What are focus groups? 
    • Focus groups are a gathering conducted by a founder, marketer, or third party wherein a guided conversation is facilitated regarding a particular product, service or new business idea prior to launch with people of diverse perspectives but fitting into the product’s target demographic.
  • Why is it important?
    • For founders of businesses, it’s likely that you’ve been so close into your product or service that it makes complete sense to you. You may have asked around for advice from loved ones, and while that’s helpful it can still be too close. 
    • Having a group of people who are in your target market speak freely and without reservation can help you see the value of what you’re bringing to market, what holes you need to patch up, and what questions you could hear (and how to answer them) as you launch.
  • When is it a good time to set one up?
    • Anytime! It’s never too late to get outside perspective. Ideally, focus groups occur after a vision, mission and business plan have been set up. At this stage, you know what your product or service is going to be, have enough detail on logistics on how it would work, and can define who should be the end user of it. Being able to answer the detailed questions is helpful to guide the conversation.
    • If you haven’t figured out those pieces, that’s ok, you can either wait until you’ve put some work or set up a mini version of people who haven’t heard your idea and see if it holds weight with them. You may find their insight is just what you needed to form the idea more fully!
    • If you’ve already set up shop, it’s not too late to get that outside perspective. Having a different perspective can be huge when you are wanting to shift gears in your business, offer something new, or are looking to rebrand. 
  • Who gets invited?
    • We’ve found the optimal size of a group is anywhere between 5-8 people. This amount is great as it gives a diverse pool of experiences and perspectives but is also small enough to where everyone has a chance to speak. 
    • It’s important that you invite people who those that would purchase what you have to offer, in other words - your target market. By inviting and engaging with your target market, you’re able to not only see if your idea is one they’d purchase, but also see what their reservations are, the types of questions you need to answer in your marketing and website, and what resonates with them in how you describe it.
  • How does it flow?
    • Ideally, focus groups are lead by a facilitator. This person can either be the founder or an outside person, like your marketing lead or hired agency. By using a third party, the founder is able to watch the interaction, answer logistical questions and take notes. The goal is to for the facilitator to keep the conversation on track, lead the conversation and press on attendees when the answer can go deeper and richer.

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Want to download so you can use for your focus group? You got it - follow this link to join our email list + grab your free download. This freebie includes BONUS play by play questions, tips that made our focus group run smoothly and yield great feedback PLUS a checklist of how to use the group's responses to your advantage as you implement their feedback.

Enjoy!

Shannon LaBareComment
"Audere est Facere" | Learning, Loving + Leaving

My husband is an avid Tottenham Hotspurs fan. Maybe "fan" isn't the right term - enthusiast, fanatic, tattoo-of-team-logo kind of guy - is a better way to describe him. I've grown up playing and loving soccer so I get the game, but my fan-dom not even on the same scale as the one who "bleeds blue." We were lucky enough to go to a game in London in February and what an experience it was. The atmosphere was electric and the fans were SO into it, plus we won so husband was in a good mood.

Anyways, we watched a great documentary a few months ago about the history of the club, how they have stood up for their own and their new stadium. One thing that they went over was the club's motto "Audere est Facare," latin for "To Dare is To Do" - a motto I've heard a million times but never really sat and thought about it. I don't know if the timing was right - I just put in my 2 weeks notice at the stable job of 7 years to start out on my own - of if it is just that good, but it rocked my world. It's completely motivational but also begs to go introspective. Those who dare to try, make it. 

“It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory." - Bill Nicholson, THFC manager


In that same spirit, I wanted to share a bit behind the scenes - what I'm learning, loving and leaving as I grow this business. I'm daring in this new venture of mine and with the 'dare' comes a lot of lessons I'm looking forward to bringing you alongside me in this journey. 

LEARNING

To be totally honest, I'm learning how to think clearly. To take a step away from the situation, let it breathe and come back with a comprehensive, level headed approach. Too often, I respond quickly and 10 minutes later think of all the better ways I could have handled it. I believe that this type of thinking is rooted in passion and problem solving and that doing it right away shows better resolve, but it actually is counter productive at times.
I've had to force myself to take moments to breathe, relax, and think strategically about everything I do. It takes restraint, but when I actually do it, I'm so pleasantly surprised by the response I get. 

LOVING

Getting back to designing. I've been designing since high school, through internships and college, from freelance to the corporate world. A few years ago, I was moved off of design at my job in favor of project management. I never knew how much I needed a design outlet more than when that occurred. I amped up my design work on the side, leading to today where I'm now booked with design work. 

Making stuff look great has always been my "thing" and I can't tell you how much fun it is to be doing it. 

LEAVING

I am ditching the computer to-do list. GASP. I've tried it all - Asana, Evernote, OneNote, etc. I find that this is helpful to have in one place, but I can't get over the physical act of writing down my to-do lists in my planner. I have a weekly list organized by client/project and items that need to get handled that week. I write this list either at the end of Friday or Sunday before things get busy come Monday morning. What I love best about this is that it's a living & breathing document that sits next to me as I work through my day and not another window I can close to get out of the way. I have a cute Ban.do planner and love the layout and stickers to jazz up each page. And let's be honest, how satisfying is it to cross an item off the list? 


Well, there you have it. A Tottenham themed post (husband, aren't you proud?) and a bit of my growth as a business owner, designer and brand developer. What are you learning, loving and leaving?

Personal Branding 101

Blissful Retreat, a salon and day spa here in Bakersfield, is in the middle of a brand + website launch with the Purveyor House team! We are diving deep to find out who they are and how to best tell their story, which is one of perseverance and passion. At any company, there are many people that work within its walls, and each of them needs to feel that any change in the company is one that feels right and resonates with them as well. We spent time with the team to share what business development is and what it means for them and how personal branding plays a part in that. 


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What is a brand?

Many people think of branding as something that’s not something for them - it’s too corporate, it’s not for someone running a business solo - that couldn’t be further from the truth. Simply, a brand is the culmination of who you are, what you do and why it matters. It doesn’t matter if it’s under your name, a business name or even you within a broader business. If you have an audience, in real life or on social media, you have a brand.

So, what is your brand?

Who are you? What do you do?  What do you want to share with the world? Who could be interested in it? What do you represent? Asking yourself these questions can set a strategy for how you interact with your audience and frame your content to support what you do.

Who Cares?

Start attracting dream clients who gravitate to your passion, your style, and your point of view. Imagine your dream client and build them a personality. Who are THEY? What do they like? How do they like to be spoken to? What can you offer them that'd help them out, either from a business or personal perspective? Making a dream client have a real personality will help you figure out how to reach them and show them why they should care about what you're up to. 

Staying "On Brand"

These days, we are all connected. We love to share what we’re doing on social media. Being a brand, you have an expanded audience looking at you not only for your services but to find out more about you and how they can connect. Everything you share socially, in turn, represents the companies and brands you align yourself with and has an impact. The outcome - positive, neutral or negative, depends on if it’s aligned to their strategies. More than your tribe, your posting affects how people view you currently and who may find you in the future. This doesn’t mean that you have to not live your life authentically. It means taking more care to what you post. Think back to your brand - the fusion of who you are, what you do and what you want to represent. Before posting, think through those three things and ask yourself, “Is what I’m showing and saying true to my brand?” Taking a quick step back will allow you to find ways to build your brand while still remaining true to yourself.

Future Growth

Spending time to define your brand [who you are, what you do, and what you represent] not only helps you understand your point of view but can also show you places that need attention and development. At times, you can be faced with decisions to post one thing or another, or even make a huge shift in your business. Understanding your brand will help you stay true to your foundation and make choices that are true to you and the brand you’re building. It will feel real and right.

It’s a strategy and a plan to help take you to the next level. When you have a personal brand, you can have a broader voice that’s bigger than the sum of its parts - imagine what that could do if you wanted to promote something and you had an audience waiting for the chance to book?

Now what?

Dive into who you are and what you do, think about it - write it down. Start sharing your expertise. Share your story. Create unique, high-quality content that captures your ideal client’s eyes. When you have a solid platform, invest in design to bring your brand even more to life with a logo and unique aesthetic that accentuates it. Live your life, love your brand, and share both along the way.


What is your personal brand? I'd love to see what you are cooking up and how branding has helped you progress.