Brand It!

I know enough about this whole blogging thing to know that eventually the word “branding” will pop up. As in, “what’s your blog’s branding strategy?” I started thinking about this while in my car running errands this afternoon. What is the “brand” of Furnished Souls?

Let’s start with the name. For branding, the blog’s name should set its goals and effectively communicate the brand. Umm…nope. Not happening here.

My blog name actually comes from an e.e. cummings poem, and is intended ironically, as the women he writes about are stuck in an “acceptable” routine where they are busy, but create nothing of consequence. (Read the whole poem at Poetry Foundation.org.) It’s exactly the kind of woman I don’t want to be. The women I write for (for I always picture my friends reading) are thoughtful, interesting, funny, clever, sarcastic, beautiful and imperfectly quirky.

Ironic obscure poetic reference for a blog name = Branding FAIL.

Choose your look, sayeth the gurus of branding.

The color palette of this blog varies between some colors and lots of colors. I get bored. I try to do the starkly minimalist backgrounds, but always go back to things that are colorful and over the top. And then I start designing blog banners on Photoshop…

Sorry, faithful readers. I have no colors. Wait, I just adopted colors for the blog in my head. The blog’s colors are now BLUSH and BASHFUL. (Name that movie reference!)

At least I should know the purpose of the blog, right? That’s the heart of branding!

It’s a fashion blog! But it’s not, really. I’ll never be the Man Repeller or The Sartorialist. I can’t even bring a great OOTD on a daily basis. Guaranteed you will never see a full-body picture of me in a romper and high-heeled clogs with a sun-dappled tree in the background. Sorry. Plus my style is kind of quirky–sometimes vintage, sometimes conservative, sometimes a little rocker or alternative. And when I recommend for other people, I try to take their personal style and body type into consideration.

Maybe it’s a budget blog? But that’s more out of necessity, because I’m a teacher in my real life, which means I am economically ground in the gears of the system of THE MAN *rant rant*. I show people how I shop and how I utilize the internet to get greater bargains on the things you want but can’t afford. But it’s not really about that, either.

Technically, I guess Furnished Souls would be considered a lifestyle blog. I am so uncomfortable with that term, though! I automatically think of Gwyneth Paltrow, the guru of GOOP, or Martha Stewart, with all her good things.

Things Martha Stewart and I have in common: we could both rock this outfit.
Things Martha Stewart and I have in common: we could both rock this outfit.

To me, “lifestyle” means that you have it all together–or at least act like it. It’s those ladies on Facebook who post pictures of their fresh-baked loaves of bread on their immaculately clean tables, who talk about their adorable precious children and thoughtful husbands. Lifestyle bloggers are people who seem to never make a misstep, and if they do, it’s adorable and anecdote-worthy. I do not fit that description. I am actually pondering having a recurring feature here entitled “Where It All Went Wrong”, chronicling my own fashion failures and how I might have fixed them.

I am not even in a relationship, but I have the feeling if I tried to “consciously uncouple” like Gwyneth, it would involve a lot of wailing, mascara panda eyes, and undignified snotting.

Upon reflection, I think I could best be branded as a “life” blog. It occurs to me that my trip to run errands and my blog are much alike. I had to do four things: take my diploma to the framer’s; pick up a package of Korean beauty products from the post office; go to Bed, Bath and Beyond; and get lunch. From my place, the framer’s and the post office require a left turn, BB&B requires a right turn, and lunch was in between. Yet, my route ended up being framers to BB&B to post office to lunch. Totally inefficient, yet I got it all done, and had more time in my car to listen to fun summer tunes and enjoy the sunshine. And isn’t that great sometimes?

Girls in Glasses

Marilyn Monroe: “Well, you know what they say about girls who wear glasses.”
Man: “What are you talking about?”
Monroe: “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses.”
–How to Marry a Millionaire

I can guarantee that statement wouldn’t have been true if I had gone out in my old glasses, but for all the wrong reasons. My glasses had a very slim rose-gold wire rim that looked very dowdy on me, and were cracked across both lenses. I only wore them in bed, after the contacts came out for the day. They had a rough life, but insurance being what it is, the only thing covered was a year’s supply of contact lenses, so I put off buying new glasses.

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Last Christmas, one of my presents was a gift card to the fabulous Warby Parker, online spectacles retailer extraordinaire. They have a great selection of fashionable frames, and are super easy to work with. Plus, for every pair purchased, they give one away to someone in need.

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I was a little nervous about ordering online, but Warby Parker has a great system where you can borrow five frames at a time to try out. Pick them out online, and they will mail them to you with a postage-paid return label. I actually did that twice, trying on ten frames total. It was so helpful, because the pairs I thought I really wanted didn’t necessarily look good on me.

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Another great thing about Warby Parker is they do a lot of collaborations with designers and others, so their inventory is always changing. I ended up with a pair of glasses that I really like, the Finch frame in Violet Magnolia. In retrospect, I should have bought them in Grenadine. I had hoped they would be a little more violet, but they’re much more magnolia.

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Ordering from Warby Parker was fast and easy, and I would love to buy frames from them again. Who knows, it might inspire me to not wait ten years to trade out my glasses!

What Have I Done For You Lately?

Having this blog makes me happy. It channels something I already do (incessant internet searches for cool, reasonable stuff), into something I can share. Sometimes I write about stuff I already own, and sometimes I write about what I want to own. This blog has even gotten me to pull my credit card out from time to time; because of this blog I have bought a LOT of MAC Cosmetics, a dress, a pair of driving gloves, and matching flocked hangers for my closet.

So I was wondering: have you ever bought anything because of this blog? Maybe subscribed to Birchbox or bought some amazing Zoya polish because you saw it here? If the answer is yes, I’d love to know what you bought! Comment below, so we can share in the shopping!

Furnished Souls

HE Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church’s protestant blessings
daughters,unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow, both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things–
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
…. the Cambridge ladies do not care, above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy

–e.e. cummings