Topics: creative

Brands We Love (Issue 01)

A writer, designer, digital marketer, and creative director walked into a bar, scrapped the punchline, and discussed what brands they admire right now. Take some notes. Here’s who you should be paying attention to and why.

Dave

The Sill – Sure, their products are gorgeous, but they’re running a clinic on brand development and engagement. From their Instagram stories and beautiful website, to their mastery of intelligent and relatable tone of voice, I seriously have fallen in love with The Sill through their branding superpowers.

NotPot – I mean, this is cleverness at new heights. They know their market and play right into it. Game set match.

Away – While their branding doesn’t stand out much from the pack of direct-to-consumer brands, the thing I admire most is their commitment to storytelling. They invest in great mediums such as podcasts, print magazines, and programming in their stores and even experimented with a pop-up hotel.

Burrow – I’m not in the market to buy a couch but when I am, Burrow is where I’m going. Red Antler is the genius behind their new leisure and comfort ads, and my, they should win all the awards. Every other furniture brand needs to take notes. This is a brand who knows their audience and isn’t afraid to experiment with creativity.

Catrina

Boy Smells – I’ve mentioned this brand once and I’ll mention it again because I love their candles. Their products meet all of the criteria I have for candles: beautiful, simple packaging, affordable (but still high-quality), and damn good smells. Buying these took my home to “your house smells nice” levels and for that I am eternally pleased!

Buffy – In late 2017, I added a garlic press to my wish list, and at that moment I acknowledged one of many shifts in my late 20s: my “wish list” has morphed into a “necessities wish list”. Gone are the days when I added frivolous items to my online shopping carts until the urge to buy them passed. Now I just want quality houseware items I need and use every day — including a bed comforter. I bought one from Buffy because their marketing and branding convinced me to, and I don’t regret it. In fact, I’m buried underneath the comforter as I write this (it’s hard to escape).

R+Co Haircare – I love this brand for the same reasons I love Boy Smells, and more. It’s the packaging, the product names, the smells, the quality, the commitment to mindfulness about ingredients, their online shopping experience, and the delight of cutting open their packaging to scoop out every last bit, so no product goes to waste.

Monique

Orange & Park – Our buds at Orange & Park have been bangin’ out the classics for years, but their quality product line gets fresher each season. Minimalist maps yes, but they also make the most perfect prints for classic carcamera, and comber enthusiasts too.

Big Bud Press – From bold basics to badass attitudes, I love everything about Big Bud Press! After backing their Kickstarter last year, I became more familiar with the duo that pours everything into this brand, and my admiration grew stronger. Things didn’t go super smoothly with the Kickstarter production, and instead of hiding or pretending everything was OK, they shared transparent updates and owned up to it (“I know waiting sucks, you have no idea how much I know that waiting sucks! We stop in on the factories and shops working on these pieces multiple times a day, 6 days a week.”), reminding us all about the humans behind the brand.

Small Batch – Two wonderful San Diego babes are bringing more lovely goods to La Mesa, and everyone (including me) is about it! The shop opened late last year and favors products from local makers and shakers, like letterpress stationery, pretty plants, and delicious candles. Try visiting and NOT leaving with at least 5 fun things, I dare ya.

Kiran

Imperfect Produce – It’s not the most polished brand nor does everything always go smoothly, but Imperfect Produce is winning me over with its mission, customer support, and by feeding me delicious organic fruits, veggies, and snacks that make me feel alive. Giving me a compliment when I log into my account is just the rutabaga on top.

Soapbox – My first experience with a Soapbox product was taking an open-air shower in the middle of a redwood forest, so kudos to them for getting involved in experiential marketing. The product packaging feels premium and I love that this college kitchen project gives back each time I make a purchase. On the back of each product is a “hope code” you can enter on the website to find out who you helped.

Sub Pop Records – I’ve always liked their band roster and there’s a certain humility I admire when they say “We’re not the best, but we’re pretty good.” But what really enchanted me was the experience they created in at Sea-Tac Airport. I loved everything, from the merch, to the history, and the Polaroids of bands that stopped by to say what’s up.

The California Sunday Magazine – A few years ago when Pop-Up Magazine branched out to create a digital and print mag, I was stoked. They’ve done nothing to hamper my enthusiasm since. Hell, I’m not even sure the NY Times would be my goal anymore. The fresh stories and film-like photography make getting published in California Sunday part of my life list.

You made it to the end! Think we should make this a quarterly thing? Got a brand you love to share with us? We’re listening.

For a shot of confidence, try this

It’s REAL easy to forget the hard work and accomplishments in your life. At best, you only remember a fraction of it. So you get down on yourself, develop impostor syndrome, and wonder what the hell you’re actually doing with your life. You compare yourself to others and look for validation in likes and hearts.

But one thing I’ve found to be an incredible gift to yourself (and shot of confidence) is taking some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Here are a few ways I like to do it:

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Portfolio

I think it’s super important for everyone to have a website or portfolio. It’s not just for designers, and it’s as much for the benefit of you, as it is anyone else. Block off some time on your calendar to look at what you’ve got and breathe some life into it.

I tend to think of it as an ongoing process so I use the Ramit Sethi technique of setting an IFTTT reminder that emails me to add to my portfolio once a month. I don’t always actually do it, but in the words of Kumar, “sometimes I does it.”

Resumes

I’ve said this before and apparently, it’s controversial. But resumes are kind of irrelevant. Yeah, I know that people still ask for them and they have some role in helping HR and recruiters find candidates, but as someone who’s recently had to interview and hire a lot of people, the portfolio told me so much more about someone’s ability to tell a story, showcase their work, and demonstrate they had their shit together. That being said, if you can figure out a way to make your resume delight, impress, or complement your portfolio, go for it. It’s still another opportunity to remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished and you don’t have to wait until you’re desperate for a job to do it. Again, think of it as more for you than anyone else.

LinkedIn

I remember when LinkedIn was a fucking joke. I mean some of it still is, like endorsements and how people feel obligated to leave congratulatory remarks that are the adult equivalent of scrawling “Have a good summer!” in a yearbook, but I also can’t deny its utility or that I’ve gotten jobs through it before.

Most people’s profiles make me want to cry from boredom though. This is an opportunity to stand out. Don’t use a prim and proper professional profile pic people expect you to use. Tell a story through your bio and leave people eager to meet you. A little mystery and intrigue never go out of style.

One thing I do find sort of nice is the recommendations. It can be a major confidence boost to get recs from people you enjoyed working with and can speak to your best qualities.

Annual Review

For the past three years, I’ve done an annual review to reflect on what I’ve done and what I want to do. I never do everything I set out to do, but I’m convinced that the act of writing stuff down makes it more likely to come to fruition. I like to divide mine into different life sections (career, family, money, creativity, giving, travel, etc) and break those down into some measurable subgoals. I will say that looking at it once a year probably isn’t good enough. So I use IFFFT to send a weekly email that asks me to take a look at what I set out to do and mark my progress along the way. It’s really uplifting to see what you accomplish!

Photo by David Beatz on Unsplash

Those are four ways I’ve found that help me, but I’m interested in hearing about any strategies or tactics you find helpful. Tweet us @holidaymatinee.

Cards for humanity

I’m weird in that I can’t usually get into traditional card games, but I can totally get behind Reflection Cards from Holstee. Aimed at sparking more meaningful conversation between family, friends, or strangers, I love that it encourages moving past small talk and avoiding eye contact. It’s now more than ever that we need to be humans that empathize and have conversations that 280 characters can’t capture.

Pick up a deck or two on the Kickstarter campaign by Wed, August 15.

Little things matter

Quick story: I’ve been developing my voiceover skills and since I don’t have many samples, I decided to record some of the types of things I’d like to read. I decided the Creative Mornings manifesto could be cool. It needed a little music though, so I reached out to our friends Shawn and Yoshimi (Lullatone) in Japan for permission to use one of their tracks. After I made the recording, I shared it with them. They liked the track, but what was even cooler was that they told me they were in the process of recording piano versions of their music and the track I chose reminded them of this old tune.

They ended up re-recording that track too.

It’s just a nice example of how every little thing you do or share can have an impact, or in this case as Shawn described it, “symbiotic creativity.” Whatever you do, don’t stop making. You can’t expect anything will come of it, but when it does, it’s a beautiful thing.

What shades are you?

Fun illustrations here from Focus Clinics on the most iconic sunglasses of all time. What look are you going for this summer?

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