In late 2016, I knew I was nearing the end of a career I loved, as a Licensed Massage Therapist. I tried to drown out the singing of that little bird, but eventually, the memo was received.
After twelve years of working in the field, it was my thumbs that had betrayed me. And as much as I tried to deny it, other areas of my body weren't far behind, waving their white flags and crying for mercy.
Massage therapy was my 'real' job, and making soap was something I did for fun. Eventually, I sold most of the soap to help support my hobby. I started selling a year after I started making it.
I never thought about branding, I was just really excited that people wanted to buy it!
That was in 2012, and I had to name it something.
The name of my practice was Massage Haven. M.H. Brand seemed logical, but I'd always get asked, "What does that mean?". So in 2015, I renamed my soap business, Lilac & Olive Soaperie.
I asked my friend, Tammy Burkle of Studio631 to design a logo for me. My only request was that It had a vintage flair. She did a great job and I was in love with it.
As far as product went, I made what I liked, and whatever anyone else asked me to make, because it was incredibly fun. But my offerings became so wide and varied, that I couldn't keep up. Which meant I was always out of something, and always disappointing someone. I wasn't running my business, my business was running me! I knew I should probably tighten things up, with no clue of how to actually accomplish that.
With the count-down to the end of my massage career looming nearer, I began looking for some real guidance for my little soap business.
I was attracted to the no-nonsense style of Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting.
I registered for her Brick House Branding course in April of 2017. Her philosophy of "do less and do it better" resonated with me, hard. Having split my energies between two businesses for many years, I was ready to focus on just one thing.
Her 9-week course helped me drill down deep, and figure out what I wanted my brand to be.
I realized that since I was very young, I've been drawn to vintage style. Both my prom dress and my wedding dress were sewn by my mom, and we fashioned them in 1920's style.
Lela helped me pull this fondness for all-things vintage, out of a hidden corner of my heart and into my full awareness.
And specifically, my affection for the style of the Roaring 20's.
I admired the brazen boldness of the young women, along with the incredible gifts of design, literature and music that came out of that decade in time.
During branding class, I had no intention of changing my business name again, but in doing the work, the transition felt natural.
I loved the name Lilac & Olive but it alway's made me think of those colors. It started to feel limiting. Gilded Olive Apothecary felt better. Gilded, as in golden; Golden Ages, Golden Hollywood, The Golden Rule, and golden olive oil.
I've always made my own packaging on my home computer, in some random, retro style. And I loved doing it, but the idea of letting someone else make it for me sounded great!
I spoke with a couple of graphic designers, and felt a real affinity with Erika Firm of Analog Creative Co. And, she shared a mutual love for the color green
I've gained so much from this year-long experience, both professionally and personally, with patience making the top of the list. Revision after revision, I could see we were getting closer to what I'd been looking for; a beautiful product, all dressed up in a fun Art Deco style.
Finally, the lovely & talented Riley Fouts of Madame Scodioli took some gorgeous photographs for me, and I could finally see it all coming together.
I could have never done this all by myself, and I'm so grateful to these professionals who helped me focus long enough to transform my idea into reality.
I think the end result is The Bees Knees, The Cats Pajamas.
I say we bring back the coolest vernacular, ever!
It's been a lot of hard work, but I'm so happy with the end result.
So don't mind me over here, binging on Fitzgerald, and breathing dreams like air.