Before I rebranded and freshened up the look of Katherine Bignon, and clarified exactly what this brand is, I spent all my time trying to attract everyone. Literally everyone. I tried to make sure that my blog posts were so varied that I was always attracting different people. I designed whatever people asked me to design. “Oh, you want me to copy a picture straight out of a magazine for you, sure no problem!” I never spent any time at all honing in on my personal style, or what inspired me, or what I was passionate about, and instead I catered to anywhere the wind seemed to blow in hopes of gaining little bits of business here and there and thinking maybe one day it would pick up. But the problem with this is that nowhere during that process did I ever attract “my people”. The client who wanted me to create something for them because they loved my style, and what I had to offer. How on earth could I have attracted her when I didn’t even know what that was myself?! I would find transactional customers here and there, someone who would write me a check to sew something up for them, but never did I find any relational clients. People who were attracted to my designs, and my story, and wanted to have a gown designed for them by Katherine Bignon, because of the experience and the design aesthetic I could create for them. And for a while, I was happy to float along like this. But I slowly realized I was starting to no longer enjoy doing what I had originally loved. None of these projects were life giving, or inspiring to me, and I was slowly burning out because I wasn’t designing anything I was passionate about, I was only designing for a transaction.
Here’s the thing friends, when you try to create a business that will serve and please everyone, you’ll end up running on empty very quickly, and pleasing no one, least of all yourself!
About a year ago I sat down to delve into what the things were that inspired me. What were the reasons I create, and whom did I want to be serving with this business? I wrote out a list of everything I wanted to offer, every product I wanted in the shop, and everything I would be willing to make custom. And then I sat there and worked my way through the list, crossing it off line after line until I was back at my original vision for this brand. And then I honed in on that vision, and got specific. What inspired me? How did that inspiration shape what I designed and make it different from what my neighbor could design? Who was I designing for? What could I offer her that no one else could? And finally as I began to see who I was as an artist, and where I drew all of my inspiration to create from, I began to find my passion for my art again.
What sets my brand apart now are these things. It’s the meeting point of these four questions that place my brand in the niche where I find my dream clients. And this is the hardest part of launching your brand, or your line, or your business; finding what sets you apart, what will attract your clients, and turn away the ones you don’t want. What inspires you? How does that inspiration shape what you create? Who are you creating for? And what are you offering them that no one else can?
Your inspiration should shape every piece you create, every decision you make, every client you aim to serve. It will set you apart. And it will draw people to you. And when you know what inspires you, your work will naturally start to inspire the people you are trying to reach. I would love to hear how you would answer those four questions for your own brand, leave a little comment below so I can cheer you on!
Paris image by Abby Grace Photography, shot at the Louvre