Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Week #1 Entry #1 February 1st through 7th "The Beginning"

My name is Isabella and welcome to my Senior FOCUS journal! As you may or may not know I have embarked on a yearlong journey to explore one of my passions. During first semester I completed a case study on Apple Inc. I wrote a 20-page thesis paper focusing on the question: "How applicable to its competition are the steps that Apple took in becoming a successful brand?" I researched and decided what Apple does that sets it apart from its competition and if the competition can copy these steps. I defined a brand and what makes a brand successful, researched how a brand makes a connection with its consumers, the role of design in attracting an audience, and analyzed Apple’s founder and leader Steve Jobs. The first part of my conclusion was that Apple has taken steps that many companies can copy. For example, they have created stand alone-stores that Microsoft is only beginning to understand the importance of and is also beginning to copy. Disney has realized the importance of selling an “experience” as opposed to just products, as Apple does. Although companies can copy Apple’s strategies, they can not copy the genuine culture that has been set in place in Apple by Steve Jobs. This mentality focuses on “thinking different.” It embraces creative thinking, taking risks (which goes against typical corporate values), and most importantly operating with a consumer focus.

But that was first semester.

Originally what inspired me to take Senior FOCUS was my interest in creating my own brand. I just loved the idea of developing a brand identity for myself; deciding and creating a logo that is a small representation of what my company is; a name that is both sophisticated and appeals to my target audience; developing packaging that leaves little environmental impact, but still is unique and professional-looking, and other things that are tied to a brand. So here I am trying to do it for real!

This is my current topic question: How can I create an online retail business in an environmentally friendly fashion from home?

These are my current guiding questions that I will be working to answer throughout the process and some potential methods of answering them:

+ What product should I sell? –Learned through Research, piloting some products
+ What is the best way to mass produce my products in the most environmentally friendly way? Is mass production necessary? –Research, interviews
+ What is the best way to advertise my brand and become well recognized? -Research & Interviews
+ What logo is most appealing to my audience? -School wide Survey
+ What product is most appealing to my audience? Research, Interviews, Survey, and my own work
+ What designs are most attractive to my audience? Surveys, FOCUS panels
+ What aspects of a business are harmful to the environment? Interviews & Research
+ What profit is lost with an environmentally friendly company? Interviews & Research
+ What website layout is easy to make, easy to use, and professional looking? My own work
+ Does a website host for handmade sellers (like Etsy) work better than creating my own site? Mentor, Research, my own work
+ What packaging makes the least environmental impact, but still maintains a professional appearance? –own work & research
+ What is the best way to show the development of my website? –my own ideas and inspiration from other websites

Yesterday, when I was blog hopping I came across Loyalty and Blood's online shop. Oh, how I love their name and site. They have a name that can appeal to both men and women (something I hope to do) and their website is very graphic, using mostly blue, black, and white. Their designs are simple and modern and are printed on bright shirts. The founders of the brand are a couple in Brooklyn who ended up quitting their day jobs to work on their brand. Sounds kind of like me! Minus the couple in Brooklyn... and quitting day jobs... However, being able to drop classes will allow me some free time.

A Loyalty and Blood Shirt from their Flickr

I also totally love their "Big Wolf" shirt from their online shop. I love the strong black contrast to the blue of the shirt. I think something like this would make a cool design for my brand, which I want to have some environmental flair.

They sell their shirts at Brooklyn Flea a flea market that takes place every weekend at One Hanson Place; the Williamburgh Savings Bank Tower during the winter. Do I see a potential selling site for me? Do I hear a potential interview? The Brooklyn Flea website says that they have vendor spots open for the winter. I could also sign up for the spring when it moves back outside.

That's all for now!

No comments: