Soul Role is the incredible handmade, organic and eco-friendly apparel shop of Nancy Campbell of Hawaii (formerly of New Jersey- which gives me some hope that I might get out of Jersey one day, too).
Nancy’s goal is that customers connect with her deep aloha aina (love and respect of the land) in her products – goal definitely met Nancy! Soul Role was recently featured in the Huffington Post’s Mother’s Day gift guide!
Banner – Now Soul Role’s best, most unique thing- her love and respect for the land and the sharing of this through the creation of amazing handmade, eco apparel – is definitely reflected in this banner which is a definite good thing (not to sound all Martha here). She has her shop name in a strong clear font and a tagline in a lesser font, so there are a lot of things going on here that work. And if Nancy has a strong connection to this design she should certainly keep it. It feels a little disconnected from her shop though – maybe it is the amazing model shots on her front page (vs the banner graphics) or something about the colors of her line this season, but she might consider updating it into something as simple, clean and modern as her shop listings.
Soul Role’s shop announcement is very clear and has a strong confident voice. She might want to add the “As Seen in the Huffington Post Mother’s Day Gift Guide!” to the top so it jumps off the page. Her shop title (although clearly stating what she sells) might be able to create better SEO. Her style has a yoga, fitness, healthy lifestyle feel to it that might be better optimized for Google search with some of these words. I would also look to add these words into the listing verbage – maybe with tips, etc – being an expert in eco clothing, yoga, healthy living etc would really cement her brand as the go-to place for this style.
Her shop policies are well thought out and look like they cover everything a potential buyer would need to know. Her profile really gives a voice to her story and her brand and definitely lets us connect with her on a very personal level – breaking up the one large paragraph into smaller pieces would make it a little easier to “see” the important stuff since internet customers tend to “scan” information. Some of the listing sentences and paragraphs run together, too and could be more eyeball friendly with some clearer spacing. Soul Role does a great job with specific color and sizing info and letting the customer know exactly what they are getting.
“In 1992 I moved to Hawaii with 18 dollars in my pocket and dreams of sustainable living.” – Nancy
Nancy’s items definitely stand out on a page of similar items. This one jumps right out at us!
Titles and tags could be reworked a bit (I know this is a never-ending rework it seems for all of us!)
For example a skirt currently titled:
Organic Clothing Summer Circle Skirt for Women in Gray Organic Cotton Soy Eco Friendly
I might try : Organic Gray Skirt – Yoga Skirt – Maternity Skirt – Circle Organic Cotton Eco Friendly Dance Skirt
I would renew often enough to stay on the first couple pages of Soul Role’s top categories and take a look at the keyword impressions and views to make the best possible choices with tags, titles and renewals.
So since Soul Role is definitely well-branded and polished and just needs to be found by the right people, how can Nancy make this happen? This is of course the question that we would all like an answer to and there is no sure thing, but absolutely putting our energy into this (and being center-stage ready like Soul Role is) can definitely make things happen for us!
This is exactly the time of year makers should be thinking about magazine placements for the holidays and holiday gift guides. Now is the time to get it in front of influential magazine editors!
First I would take a look at the products Nancy wants to promote – keeping in mind this promotion could result in her getting to create a lot of them! Next a trip to the local Barnes and Noble with a pad and pen to check out some magazines.
Picking the right magazines is important (what are Soul Role’s customers reading?) – grab the current issues of those magazines and check out the mastheads – you’ll find them near the front.
The page will include a list of the staff, including editors and writers, along with basic contact info. Note â€“ the masthead will also include a list of publishing, marketing and advertising reps â€“ these are not the correct people to call unless you want to place a paid advertisement in the gift guide issue.
You can probably do most of this legwork online, but sometimes seeing the actual magazine and visualizing our products inside helps.
Call an editorial assistant and ask who has been assigned to work on the current gift guide â€“ it might be one or several in-house editors, or the magazine may have freelancers assigned to it. Get in touch with that editor with a friendly, short email and then follow-up. I would focus specific items on specific magazines – think exercise, healthy living, bicycling, healthy pregnancy, etc.
Having an online portfolio outside of Etsy is great for clothing and accessory makers. There are online lookbooks and galleries that can be created pretty inexpensively.
Soul Role has a great active facebook page and has bought her domain name (yay!) – maybe a landing page for her domain linking to her Etsy shop and a blog where Nancy could write about healthy living and promote herself would help to grow her brand an even larger audience. It would also allow her to most easily create an email list for promotions (Mailchimp is my favorite for this).
Youtube videos create excellent SEO and I would love to see one of Nancy’s amazing photoshoots, her studio, sewing tutorials and tips, healthy living videos, etc.
Soul Role could partner with local business people – healthy chefs, accupuncturists, yoga teachers, chiropractors, life coaches to create fashion events at local venues (think retreats, health clubs, healthy eateries, spas, mom groups)- these would be great opportunities to garner instant candid feedback and testimonials, pictures, an email list, facebook fans and publicity – think live tweets, gifts and healthy fun.
Soul Role has some totally gorgeous bridesmaid dresses. Gone (I hope) are the days when brides forced prom gowns on their best friends and even though weddings are still big business and an event where people continue to spend money – even bridezillas are realizing their friends need dresses they will be able to wear again. I have an Etsy friend who sells wedding cufflinks and her business with them really took off after she had a bride send her pictures of the wedding party wearing them. I would do whatever it takes to get those pictures! Discounts to brides, photographer bribes, anything (short of illegal or unethical … well short of illegal) it takes! I am certain that custom bridesmaid dresses like Soul Role’s could be a business all by themselves!
I am not sure if Nancy has any sewing help and it may be hard to grow without lining that up – handmade apparel is one industry where it is going to be more work to stay small (and do it all) than to expand!
(of course our businesses expand with our intention for them to do so and the direction we grow is always up to us)
Besides creating amazing clothing and providing great service which Nancy has down- she could brainstorm some other ways to get repeat business. Create a gallery of customers wearing her clothing – maybe sending pieces out with some type of sign saying Soul Role with some clean branding that a customer would hold up in the photo while wearing her clothing (customer gets entered into a drawing plus a discount code for future purchases) or have a featured customer section for her blog with interviews.
Collaborate with other eco sellers on marketing campaigns and customer business card exchanges.
RECAP: 1. Think about tightening up Soul Role’s banner and title/tagline branding to support her clean, modern, organic yoga clothing (focus!) 2. Work on making customer information more eyeball friendly where applicable and include information to brand Nancy as the go-to person for eco friendly activewear 3. Contact magazines to work on a holiday gift guide placement 4. Consider a blog/email list/online gallery/ consider advertising on a healthy living blog gearing the advertising to specific products 5. Think local for fashion events 6. Consider a youtube video sewing or healthy living or business specific series to connect with more people 7. Consider a real focus on bridesmaid dresses (get the wedding photos)
I don’t think it is a good idea to divert ourselves in too many different ways all at once – we can toss the old multi-tasking paradigm that doesn’t work anymore and probably never did – choosing a couple specific directions and focusing on them is best. A great big calendar where you can devote chunks of time to different things work great. It helps us stay focused and keeps us moving forward. We set our intention and take action in that direction.
We focus on the process and let go of the outcome (this allows things to come to us in ways we could never even imagine). We say yes …a lot (note – if we are people pleasers we have to watch this, but it is still mostly a good way to grow a business and if we have taken the time to set our intentions with this whole adventure in the beginning – we will know the things we have to say no to when we see them).
We work on providing a great experience for our customers – providing stuff they feel good about buying and that makes them feel good about themselves – and draw those customers to us by getting our brands out there. We want people looking for us so we don’t have to spend as much time looking for them (the number one keyword used by customers for my Polarity shop is not the word locket although that is pretty much all I sell in there – it is Polarity – by about 3 to 1).
Nancy has an amazingly gorgeous collection of clothing and accessories and is absolutely center stage ready – it is totally up to her where she takes this adventure called Soul Role next – the sky really is the limit for her!
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