An interview with Jennifer Hyman| Co-Founder of Rent the Runway
Jennifer Hyman is perhaps one of the most well known and respected women entrepreneurs of the past decade. Along with her co-founder Jenny Fleiss she has built what has been dubbed “one of the most disruptive businesses of our time”. The proclamation is well warranted. Rent the Runway created a new business model that merged the worlds of fashion and technology. In fact, on their website Rent the Runway describes their business as,
Rent the Runway is a fashion company with a technology soul. Powered by a transformative business model, proprietary technology, a unique reverse-logistics operation and some of the smartest people on earth, we’re in a position to challenge old systems and rewrite new rules. By giving people access to remarkable luxury experiences, we’re changing the meaning of ownership — and revolutionizing retail in the process.
Growing a business of this nature and size (Rent the Runway employees over 1,000 people!) doesn’t come without it’s share of learnings. That’s what inspired Jennifer and Jenny to found their second venture, Project Entrepreneur. They sought a way to mentor and financially support the next generation of women entrepreneurs. Rock on ladies, rock on.
In this interview, Jennifer talks about the founding of Rent the Runway and passes along some of the advice she wishes she’d known when she was just getting started. To learn her startup story you’ll just gave to go ahead and watch our interview!
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Earning the adoration of customers is undoubtedly something every entrepreneur wishes for her business. Yet knowing how to win this brand love is something that remains a mystery for many.
Brands like Starbucks, Nike, and Apple seemed to have cracked the code. One read through their Facebook or Twitter pages and you’ll quickly pick up the enthusiasm of their fans and advocates.
What’s their secret? These businesses know that customer loyalty is built not on their products only but rather on the emotional connections they create with their customers. They don’t seek to market to their customers but rather build relationships with them.
When it comes to cultivating customer loyalty for their own brands , entrepreneurs can take a note from their book. Here are four proven strategies that will help founders and their teams grow love for their brands.
[HINT: don’t miss the FREE downloadable workbook at the end!]
1.Tell your brand story
Your brand story tells customers not only what you do but more importantly why you do it.
Expert content marketer Neil Patel explains that, “Our attention will always go to those who tell great stories.“Storytelling is a part of human nature. We’re curious. We like to know the history and reason for things. Revealing the journey you took to start your business gives your customers a peek behind the curtain. This transparency allows them to connect with you in a more meaningful way. When you connect in this way your customers will in turn be more likely to want to follow, work with, and buy from you.
There are 3 things to know about writing your brand story. First, a great story will cover your who, what, why, and how. Second, it will take your audience on a journey that has a beginning, middle, and end. Third, it’s written for your audience. Use words they’ll understand and use in their own conversations. Moreover, think about what parts of your story will connect with them and get them to care about what you do.
How are you sharing your brand’s story? It can be a page on your website, a written document shared with press releases, or brought to life through branded content. The founders of AirBnb often share their story when speaking at events. Burt’s Bees on the other hand shares their story through their videos on their Youtube channel. Think about how you might be able to weave your own story into the ways you connect with your customers.
♥ Get a FREE template to build your story ♥
2. Know what you stand for
Your brand’s equity is how your brand is held in the hearts and minds of consumers. It is the perception and beliefs that extend beyond the products and services that you sell.
Love for a brand can’t flourish if customers don’t know what you stand for. When customers know what to expect from your brand you’re better positioned to win their trust and loyalty.
A simple brand equity can be constructed from 4 core elements. The first element are the unique points of difference you offer over others or the things that set your brand apart. Second are the functional benefits or tangible results you help people achieve that improve their lives. Building on that are the emotional benefits you offer or how you make people feel. Last is your brand character created from the tone of voice you use and the way in which your brand behaves. Every action you take or piece of content you create will either add to or take away from the equity you wish to create.
If you haven’t yet, go through the practice of formalizing your brand’s equity. Brands often document theirs by structuring the elements into a pyramid or similar framework. This formal document will become a guiding post for everyone on your team when deciding whether something is right for your brand. ♥Get a FREE equity pyramid template ♥
3. Show up consistently
Millions of brands existent in the world. For yours to stand out and be remembered by consumers it must be recognizable. This means showing up in the same way across every consumer touchpoint you create.
A brand style guide will help establish the look and feel of your brand and will allow you to show up consistently to consumers. Your guide will define your brand’s color palette, fonts, visual style, logos and iconography. It serves as a reference point for anyone creating content on your brand’s behalf whether that a blog post or piece of advertising. Together these elements paint your brand’s picture and help build it’s equity.
Is your team using a brand style guide? These can be digital but printed versions are also often created. Make sure you not only have one created but that everyone on your team has a copy.
A brand language is how you speak with your community. It’s an element of your brand’s equity and particularly brings to life your tone of voice.
Words are a powerful way to bring your brand’s character to life. They emote the personality you wish to convey and establish the relationship you have with your customers. Beyond that, a shared language is one of the strongest ways to build community amongst your followers.
Your brand language is made up of several building blocks starting with your brand and product names. The sayings and taglines you use are a second building block. These are more than just slogans and should bring to life who you are and why you do what you do. A third building block are the social hashtags that you use. These will be adopted by your followers and can help your conversations become sticky.
Create your brand language with intention. Think about the way brands like Girlboss use language to create community. Document the language your brand uses and brainstorm words and phrases that might make strong additions.
Considering how you’re building your brand is a critical piece of your business’ strategy. Not only does it play a critical role in your marketing but can also inform your approach to product, partnerships, and sales.
I’ve created a mini workbook to help your business get a heads start on developing its brand building strategies. Inside you will find a framework for structuring your brand story, a brand equity pyramid template, style guide outline, and brand language worksheet.
An interview with Christen Delaney| Founder of CAM Jewelry
I was recently introduced to Christen Delany the founder of CAM Jewelry. The intro came by way of a Youtube video she’d created to show behind the scenes of her work. I knew within a few minutes of watching that this was a girl I was going to like.
Lucky for me, Christen invited me over to her Venice home for an interview. I’m happy to say that I was proved right.
On her website she describes her business as, “
CAM is the debut jewelry collection from LA based installation artist and designer Christen DeLaney. Each piece of CAM is “wearable sculpture”, influenced by shapes and patterns found in geometry and numerology, which hold significance rooted in a deeper universal meaning. CAM consists of two collections a signature fine jewelry line, which delicately incorporates gemstones such as onyx, rubies, garnet, and emeralds into geometrically shaped fixtures of 14k yellow and rose gold, as well as a diffusion collection that works clear quartz crystals, opal and turquoise into 100% recycled white metal. Every piece of CAM is intended for layering, stacking, mixing, matching and can be worn anytime, anywhere. From initial concept to finished product, CAM is designed and manufactured with meticulous craftsmanship and detail in Los Angeles.
Inspired by the desert and natural surroundings of California and the West Coast, designer Christen Delaney integrates timeless shapes and styles that are masculine in the overall design but have feminine details. With a background in installation art, Christen’s approach to designing jewelry is very similar to how she creates her art. She envisions each piece on a large scale, as an art piece or installation, then works it into a smaller form. The jewelry holds on to the larger meaning and influence behind it, with intentions for that meaning to grow and evolve the more it’s worn.” – http://www.cam-jewelry.com/about/
To learn her startup story you’ll just gave to go ahead and watch our interview!
Want to catch more great advice from women like Christen? Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to the The Jam weekly newsletter. Every week I’ll be delivering exclusive interviews, the best advice from around the web, tools and resources to help you build your business, listings of the must-attend the conferences and events, and much more!
An interview with Chantel Waterbury| Founder of Chloe + Isabel
On my last trip to New York I had the pleasure to meet and interview Chantel Waterbury the founder of Chloe + Isabel. She defines her business as a jewelry and lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering the next generation of women entrepreneurs. It’s hard not to believe when you read that their mission “is to help tackle the financial needs of the modern woman – to provide the training and tools to accomplish her goals, whatever they may be”. By the time you hear Chantel’s story you’r emore than convinced that what she’s building is so much more than a line of accessories.
On the Chloe + Isabel website Chantel shares that,
“I conceived of Chloe + Isabel as a place where smart, creative and confident women could play a significant role in creating an innovative new business model where they were at the center. Chloe + Isabel is both a brand and opportunity that combines elements of direct sales, retail and eCommerce with the sole purpose of providing a more meaningful experience to the modern woman. My mission was, and remains to this day, to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs through social retail.
Chloe + Isabel is the opportunity I wish I had when I was a young, ambitious woman with the goal of one day being my own boss. Today, I see in our Merchandisers that same drive I had when I first stepped out on my own, moving away from home at the age of 13 to pursue my education. I began working and saving up for school, and ultimately turned to a direct selling opportunity which paid my way through college. While it allowed me to make the money I needed, and gave me confidence in running my own business, I would have loved to have built my resume with an even wider set of skills, as well as been connected to a community of like-minded women.” – https://www.chloeandisabel.com/our-story/mission
To learn the rest of her startup story you’ll just gave to go ahead and watch our interview!
Want to catch more great advice from women like Chantel? Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to the The Jam weekly newsletter. Every week I’ll be delivering exclusive interviews, the best advice from around the web, tools and resources to help you build your business, listings of the must-attend the conferences and events, and much more!
An interview with Miichelle Cordeiro Grant| Founder of Lively
The past few months I’ve been crushing on new girlboss brand on the block, Lively. I discovered them on Instagram and was immediately draw to their mantra – wild hearts and boss brains. Needless to say I was ecstatic to learn that the love was mutual.
A few weeks ago my girlcrush dreams came true when I met Lively founder Michelle Cordeiro Grant. We filmed a Facebook Live interview at her offices in NYC.
Lively’s site perfectly describes them as, ”
LIVELY is inspired by what we believe makes women sexy today; smart, healthy, active and outgoing. We are delivering bras and undies that blur the aesthetic lines of lingerie, active, and swim, taking the best elements of high-style and comfort from each category. We are establishing an entirely new category and POV of lingerie, a movement that we call Leisurée.
LIVELY is not just about the products it offers, it is about a mindset we want to share with women around the world. One that reminds, empowers and enables us all to live life doing what we love, with the people we love! We call this #livingLIVELY.
We knew women were waiting for this kind of movement, but even we were surprised at the global response we received pre-launch. It was tremendous, and our message of strength and confidence resonated far and wide. Notes came pouring in; ‘It is an amazing thing to find a brand that not only aligns with my values but encourages us to stand firm in our own skin.
I love feeling comfortable, though I also love the beautiful things in life, and LIVELY is a seamless balance of both!”. Another read, “Ultimately, and I think it’s the same for all twenty-something girls these days, I want to live my life as authentically as possible.” LIVELY is just getting started, and we couldn’t be more excited to have so many amazing women join our movement.
Ugh, are you crushing with me yet?? Thought so ; )
Want to catch more great advice from women like Michelle? Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to the The Jam weekly newsletter. Every week I’ll be delivering exclusive interviews, the best advice from around the web, tools and resources to help you build your business, listings of the must-attend the conferences and events, and much more!