Welcome to a brand new segment where I wanted to explore the wins and (most importantly) the hurdles that brands and individuals face when creating their successful brand. It's a resource that I constantly search for and so, I thought to document my findings here. It's truly fascinating discovering people's obstacles and how they shape their future.
First up, Summer Fridays founders, Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet them a few weeks ago. It was a truly special night as we all celebrated the launch of Summer Fridays at MECCA.
The Q&A was where I got a glimpse at the great minds and strong spirits behind the brand.
Co-operation & Collaboration
Marianna and Lauran have a beautiful relationship together. You can tell they are able to separate business and friendship by how long they have been together (10 years!) and what they have built together. They discussed how they openly share their ideas and don't take dismissals personally. Instead, they keep an open mind and stay focused on what they want to bring to the customer. Little drama because it's not worth jeopardising their longstanding friendship. It's easy to let small things get to you, but if you remain focused, you're able to see the bigger picture and move past the ego.
Utilising their Strengths
Both coming from influencer backgrounds, they became extreme product junkies and loved the world of beauty and lifestyle. Their brand embodies that through their lust-worthy Instagram feed. Trying to find the one holy-grail product over mountains of products sent to them, they ventured into creating their own. Knowing what they know about products, how they photograph, what it should smell like, what ingredients they wanted, etc, they had a firm foundation to create something worthwhile. Sometimes you don't know your strengths until you realise you've mastered a skill 10 years later. Take a look at what you're good at and keep learning about it.
Integrity and Non-negotiables
Through many PR events and product reviews, they knew what products should have and what to avoid. Coming from the point of view of constant travel, and Lauren falling pregnant, they ventured into masks that would be pregnancy safe and TSA approved. Their product testing phase was vigorous and they had many failures along the way. Although manufacturing partners would suggest alternative packaging or formulas, they stuck to their guns and remained true to their brand values. They didn't even sway from the shade of blue or the size of the text on the bottle. Without integrity, you see yourself crumble. You forget why you were doing it in the first place. What's the point? Stick to what you believe in so people to erode pieces of you away.
Listen to your Customer
Jet Lag represented their laborious years of market research and product development. It has been so well received by their audience because of the connection they established with their customer. They have such a close relationship with their audience, that they can get polls and ideas from them for free. And the customer is more than happy to oblige. They want to be part of it too! Customers buy your products. Not the marketing agency, not the PR company, not the product developer. If the customer is telling you what they want, isn't it only fair you give it to them (or make it even better?)
What I love about Marianna and Lauren is that they took advantage of their wave of success. They could've remained influencers and did some collaborations with brands, instead they created their own piece that they can own. They took the time to create, listed to their customer and kept going. This is something that brands are already doing and just goes to show the power of social and the customer.