Coral Atkinson of Velveteen Babies
It’s March - can you believe it? Another week rolls around and I still get so excited reading about stories and experiences on branding and brand development - I hope you are too!
This post is a special one because it features supermom Coral Atkinson of Velveteen Babies, whose logo I designed a while back. She was an absolute delight to work with. Velveteen Babies has over 60,000 followers and understandably so - she has a talent for capturing beautiful pictures and putting together an aesthetically pleasing gallery, and her garlands are some of the cutest I’ve seen.
I remember when she first messaged me about creating her logo - she described her business as ‘small’. And when I checked out her Instagram page at the time I remember thinking, ‘No lady! 50k is definitely not small!’ But I guess that just goes to show how humble she is. Keep on reading if you want to find out more about her!
What's your story? What made you want to do what you do?
Velveteen Babies was conceived shortly after the birth of my second child in 2014. I was on a quest to find him monochrome nursery decor and couldn't find anything on the High Street that wasn't twee so I decided to create my own. At the same time I discovered Instagram and started to build a following!
How have you managed to single-handedly create a brand out of your work or yourself, essentially?
I believe that being a real person, a mother myself and someone who is honest and supportive of others has helped me grow my business. I have always tried to convey that my business is just me, rather than being 'corporate' or making it sound like Velveteen Babies is a big company. I use both of my social media feeds to achieve this, making sure even my personal feed is 'on brand' too. I use specific filters and color palettes in my feeds and on my website to create instant brand recognition.
What made you decide to materialize this idea into an actual brand (when you first decided to go professional, get a logo, etc.) and how has that helped you?
It fell into place in a really organic way. I would not choose the same brand name if I could go back, but it's really easy to search online and in Google Search and is recognizable so that actually helps! I'm incredibly visual so I've got a file in my head where all things brand related live! I've got a clear idea of what I want to look like.
You're essentially a designer of your brand. What have you learned from it? Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?
I think it is inevitable that copycats will always be a problem, and learning to live with this is the toughest part of owning and living a brand.
Things have always moved forward very organically, and I think that keeping an open mind is crucial. Fonts and colors are very trend driven so for me, it's keeping the brand identity strong but also moving forward and embracing new trends and being commercially aware.
What are some of your tips and tricks on how to develop a brand especially for creatives who are just starting out and small businesses?
I cannot stress how important it is to focus on being yourself, make sure no one else is doing what you're doing.
You as an individual are the most important thing about your brand as people invest in you, not just your product.
Even if it makes you a bit uncomfortable, be seen by your target market. Include your hands (or face, or portrait) in an Instagram post, take the time to get to know your followers - spend time looking at their feeds, what they are into, and take a few minutes to interact with them each day.
Don't be aloof, don't be false corporate, don't say 'we' in posts if it is just you.
Create a recognizable visual identity (use a hint of a specific filter on your photography to get a cohesive feed) and look to create a conversation in your posts, you want to get people talking! Ask people for advice and ask questions.
I personally found this really helpful. Often I get stuck and feel so much pressure to make my feed look a certain way because that's what other people are doing, and I forget to do what I think is best for my feed. At the end of the day, it is my feed and it's supposed to represent me and my brand.
Are you enjoying this series so far? Let me know what you think in the comment below - or if you have any suggestions or requests of who you want to read about next, do let me know and hopefully I can make it happen!