I remember when she walked into my office and, within minutes of that very first meeting, asked me, “Have you ever designed a brand for women?”
Three years later, we saw the rebrand that I’d created increase their business 387% in 36 months.
Yes, female entrepreneurs are outstanding. (Female consumers are even more more amazing—driving 85% of all purchases made—but more about that shortly.)
She’s Your Next Door Neighbor
I am not just talking about the Arianna Huffingtons of the world.
Or J.K. Rowling or Diane Von Furstenberg or Martha Stewart or Tyra Banks or Sara Blakely (Spanx creator and youngest female billionaire in America) or Coco Chanel (who existed decades before there was ever this thing called social media).
Maybe a bit more like Michelle Phan, who went from growing up on food stamps to creating a nearly $100 million empire that began with “how-to” makeup videos on YouTube. She has yet to turn 30 years old (and got on the Inc. 30 under 30 and Forbes 30 under 30 lists) and became the first woman to reach one billion views on YouTube with nearly 9 million followers. This evolved into her own L’Oreal line of products.
Or Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper, HGTV’s #1 rated show who, with her infectious husband Chip, transformed Waco, Texas, into a destination attracting over 15,000 shoppers to their Magnolia Market store in Waco each and every week (not to mention their book which came out in October becoming a NY Times bestseller).
Ted Rubin and I recently sat down to talk about this amazing success story of this brand:
If you’re in business, this post is about what women bring to the table that’s very different than what their male counterparts bring to the business table.
Here’s what you need to know.
85% of Sales: We are the Champions My Friend
Is it the estimated purchasing power women bring, driving 85% of all purchases made?
My answer is simple: women can do something men seem to be genetically incapable of doing.
Breaking into spontaneous infomercials on any product or service no matter how seemingly off-topic, or personal, or trivial. Spontaneously, enthusiastically and authentically!
And then adding on top of that the ability of all the girlfriends’ enthusiasm to embrace that eruption of excitement.
In Celebration of Female Entrepreneurs
So yes, female customers rock.
But you know what? Female entrepreneurs rock just as much if not more.
Early in my career, I worked on brands for Revlon and Estee Lauder.
But I didn’t get to work closely with female entrepreneurs for some years.
It’s the flip side of the female consumer. It’s the opposite side where I got to see how attentive women are to their core audience.
But one of my most memorable rebrands started with the legendary Joanna Vargas whose salon and reputation is one of the most revered in the New York (as well as across the US) and in their new Los Angeles salon location.
The brand transformation was remarkable but the biggest difference I discovered was the attention to detail which I personally observed: women love details—packaging details, textures, smells, printing finishes, choices of paper, tissue paper and more.
The more sensory expectations you can exceed, the greater your bond. Think of experience as the glue that cements that relationship.
Since then, I have had the fortune to work on many women-owned business making me a loyal fan of female entrepreneurs and their innate business sense.
In addition to Joanna Vargas and branding Revlon and Esteé Lauder brands, I have enjoyed, celebrated and learned so much working with female entrepreneurs and their brands (in no particular order).
Here are a handful of the terrific female entrepreneurs I have been fortunate to work with:
Sue Kramlich and her Simply Snackin’ line of premium beef, chicken and venison jerky. Her down-to-Earth Midwest manner is refreshing and her commitment to her craft without equal.
Besides overhauling the brand, we also created a new category introducing “crafted in our family-owned MicroSnackery” (inspired by the concept of micro-breweries for beers and micro-roasters for coffees).
Elizabeth Chayer of American Dance Institute (located in Seattle) who, after 25 years, was ready to reinvent her brand and its story for a new generation for the next 25 years. An inspirational legend who trained an impressive 12,000 students in the first 25 years. Like any entrepreneur (and dancer), she’s warming up for her next amazing performance: the next 25 years.
Ilona Kovacs for her new line of nutritional bars, True Taste. True to Ilona’s vision, the strategy was simplicity versus the overwhelming noise in this crowded space. Our pitch was simple: we have no more ingredients than the number of fingers on your hand. And nothing you can’t pronounce.
How do you brand a luxury 7,000 SF log cabin in the Midwest? That was the challenge faced when Renea Frederick needed a brand for her stunning lodge, No Worries Lodge.
How often does a brand experience a 900% increase in sales in 24 months after a rebrand? That was what happened to the Napa Valley-based Botanical Bakery led by the wonderful Sondra Wells.
Sondra and I connected when I first interviewed her to discover their essence. When I summarized her brand with, “Oh, you’re like ‘shortbread cookies gone wild’ “—it was clear we were destined to work together.
And branding a service for one of America’s most expensive ZIP codes, this required some ingenuity. Seriously. The average household value here was in excess of $3 million and the service was for homeowners.
Done for Lisa Cullen and her husband Chris, Montecito Landscape broke all previous sales records in the first year after the rebrand (a brand new range of growth and sales never achieved in the prior 47 years of business).
Chocolate or a female client? That is one tough choice. Fortunately, I didn’t have to choose. I got both. Creating the outstanding branding for Legacy Chocolates was a thrill done for Lorraine Dixon and her husband Mark:
Lynda Hubbard runs TrendCreators out of Los Angeles and this rebrand was recently accomplished displaying a major transformation for the market research firm only proving that “having a sexy brand” isn’t restricted to food, gourmet items or culture.
When Sandi Read decided to bring breakthrough products from Italy that protect surfaces with next-generation technology and anti-slip solutions that eliminate slipping on surfaces of every type, she knew she needed a new set of names and brands.
Tackling names were the first challenges followed by the visual branding. Equilibrio referenced equilibrium (balance) with a decidedly Italian slant. And Bead referenced that any liquid beads up when coming in contact with any surface treated with this product.
Here’s what was done visually:
Serving the agricultural industry (think of John Deere) and offering marketing insights, Jan Johnson headed up Millennium Research and was in need of a brand refresh. What happened was a new name, a new tagline and positioning for her firm. The result? Landmark Performance Group with a memorable name and brand and an astonishing video that has been called “the best marketing video I’ve ever watched.” Both can be seen here.
And the branding work done for Mercedes Austin of Mercury Mosaics will debut in the new year with a transformative tool to cement new prospects to their brand.
The above examples only scratch the surface.
I couldn’t showcase everyone and I very likely will have to a follow this up with a sequel.
But this post gives you a taste of their influence and their business savvy.
The key lesson is based on that old phrase, “God is in the details.”
And if that’s the case, God is either a woman or able to really connect to the female sensibilities that make even the smallest details meaningful and not to be overlooked.
So, that gives you a bit of why I love Female Entrepreneurs and working with them to help forward their global domination.