Tag Archives: business

Wonka.2011 = The Sugar Chair

If Willie Wonka was born in  Amsterdam, worked throughout Europe as a designer, then woke up one day and declared himself a visionary master (wait – he sort of did that last part), his new name would be Pieter Brenner, and his product: The Sugar Chair.

Brenner has already announced that this chair is an “iconic masterpiece,” so what more do I have to say?

From what I can gather by reading Wonka’s Brenner’s self-given interview, he spent most of his life clueless and hazy until one day he “woke up” after he “had myself a night before” and everything became clear  – make products out of sugar.

Apparently this hungover epiphany is going to change the world as we know it, so really, I’m just here to share with you the good news.

Me, I just like the bright colors and I do appreciate using unique mediums to create mundane objects.  I can’t say I’m going to run out and become a Pieter Brenner collector (I guess that makes me part of the “petit bourgeois” that he hates) but I’m pretty sure the chair – which I can only imagine costs as much as a small Dutch village – would be licked into oblivion by my two dogs and child.  Something Wonka would be into (because he’s more zen about the whole thing…make candy for the sake of making candy), even if the Oompa Loompas didn’t approve.

So let’s think about this…

So from a business standpoint, is this marketing strategy something to be taken seriously, or laugh at? I’m torn.  Declaring your own self-importance is something few of us do these days, but perhaps that’s because humility really is a character trait to uphold?  In the art world, all bets are off, and in the era of Shephard Fairey, Bansky and the late Tobias Wong it seems like spectical is key.  But something about this presentation rubs me the wrong way.  I guess its the lack of subversiveness that Fairey, Bansky and Wong enjoy…the PR stunts seem to be random acts, even if they’re totally planned out.  No one can deny Fairey’s ego, but didn’t that emerge after he became a cult icon of sub-culture?  And then there’s just the blatant rip-off of Willie Wonka.  Sorry, but the similarities are too many to ignore…a concerning detail and proof that our creativity and world vision is being evermore influenced by the wide-reaching influence of all things Hollywood. Blech.

Is there something to be learned here for new brands/my clients trying to make a name for themselves?  I guess we can only wait and see if Brenner truly becomes the icon he thinks he is.  I have no doubt his work will show up in the Whitney or MOCA at some point, if only to demonstrate how you can create your own digital celebrity with a basic website, Facebook page, and a knowledge of the good design blogs (I discovered The Sugar Chair over on NOTCOT.org afterall).

Is Brenner original? Hardly.  His language wreaks of Warhol, and his presentation could have been created by a hipster ad agency in Brooklyn.  But is he doing something – if not overtly aggressively – right, that the rest of us can learn from?  I think his confidence in himself is admirable, and he seems genuinely excited to give the world his new vision.  I guess I see the merit in his passion.  A key factor needed in any business venture; but channeling it and executing it are where the true icons really do emerge.

Welcome Delightfuls!!

Hi y’all!

I take it you received our update newsletter, and you clicked on through to check out my blog.  This is a work in progress, and there are big design changes in store very soon.  Please excuse pages with missing information and photos…all will be completed soon in colorful, bright shininess.

So glad you’re here though.  If you want to find out a bit more about why and where I’m headed, please read my New Beginnings post which sort of sums it all up.

Thanks for stopping by!

New Starbucks Identity

This week marks the 40th Anniversary of Starbucks, and the dawn of an entirely caffeine addicted nation. (Including me, lest you think I judge.)  They’ve cleaned up their branding a bit, simplifying their logo, creating a more modern look.  Less preachy text on all their packaging and a slightly larger font.  I like it. I like the green sleeve (even though you should be ditching paper sleeves and using your RuMe Reusable Coffee Cuff) and I like the bright green/white color palate.

But mostly, I like Carmel Macchiatos. A drink I just tried for the first time this week and boy is it yummy.  [images via Brand New]

Seriously though, changing up your corporate identity is a tough call.  On one hand, people learn to rely on the familiarity of your product, but on the other hand you can start to look and feel stale over time.

I am working with a client now who is in the middle of re-energizing a business they just acquired.  We are debating the merits of keeping the business essentially the same, or changing the messaging and merchandising strategy to something that is in keeping with the new owner’s aesthetic and likes.  I vote for the latter.  Holding onto an idea just because its been “out there” doesn’t do anyone any favors.  Customers can smell a phone-in job a mile away. And even worse: there is no way you’ll be successful as a company if you’re not 220% passionate about the direction your company is headed.  Better to distill down the best of an old biz, keep the good nuggets, then toss the rest and start from scratch with something you’ll leap out of bed for every day.

That’s not to say that a new logo or a new site redesign or a new merchandising strategy will equal instant success.  Lord knows we’ve all watched Starbucks transition through many attempts at new offerings.  But trying new things will always open your eyes to aspects of the business that might have been overlooked or forgotten.  It is a process, and if you keep it an honest process with every new trial will come opened doors to new opportunities.

New Beginnings

Today is March 1st, and I am officially a consultant, a freelancer, and a stay-at-home-mom. After four amazing years as Co-Founder of Delight.com and GentSupplyCo.com we have closed down the business and moved on to other new adventures.

It seems strange and oddly disarming that I won’t be working 80 hours a week. For so long I’ve been attached to my BlackBerry and laptop checking orders, solving problems, ordering products, building pages, editing photos, securing press, and generally running myself ragged.  Was my commitment too much? I’ve BlackBerried  on the operating table, and I was typing furiously on my laptop while being induced.  I never once went on vacation (which were few) and didn’t work; and there wasn’t a single weekend without many hours spent on the comp.  I didn’t lunch with friends, my roots went waaaaay too long between highlights.  I’m not saying this is healthy, but this was my life and I loved it. I loved my business partners, I loved LOVED my amazing staff and will miss them dearly, and I loved what we achieved with Delight.

I’m excited to now take all my bumps and scrapes along the way and parlay them into helping others achieve their dreams in business.  I have some amazing clients already, and I can’t wait to dig in and support them in growing their companies.  It feels good to go back to my writing roots as well.  I think there might be a book in the works at some point about certain adventures my Husband and I endured while trying to get pregnant – but right now I’m also enjoying the adventures of raising my beautiful little girl.

Oh did I mention that part of my new life? Consulting will be amazing, but I am truly blessed to be able to stay home with my daughter.  Anyone who knows me knows I won’t be long without my hands in a new project or venture – but this time around she’s gonna be by my side.  If you can’t reach me on Fridays this summer, I’ll probably be at the pool.  If I’m gone for an hour in the afternoon, we’re probably out for a walk.  15 minutes off chat?  You can bet I’m changing a big poopie.  It will be hard to create a schedule that supports both my clients and my daughter, but I know it can be done, and I’m up to the task.

My hope is my new site will also support these aspects of my life and give you, my readers and clients additional inspiration and advice  you can apply to your own lives.  My self-centered, namesake site will embody all that I love in life, and explore all that I’m good at in business.  Reflecting back through my 20’s and halfway (ahem) through my 30’s I think I have a few interesting things to say. I hope whoever is out there reading this will join me in my conversation.

I can’t wait for the years to come!

San Pellegrino Goes Glam, and I’m not sure why

First my favorite fizzy water teamed up earlier with Missoni for a fashionable makeover of their bottle, and now San Pellegrino is going seriously glam with a jeweled label designed by Bulgari.

Generally speaking I like designer collaborations with every-day brands. It’s a good way to boost sales by offering a fresh look at a common item. The question is, do I buy these limited edition bottles and if so, are they to be put on display? If put on display, where? In the kitchen? The dining room? On a nik-nak shelf?

I’m not one for decorative objects as a rule, but I’m trying to get better at accessorizing the house. I suppose if we redid the kitchen (running theme here) and I had glass door shelves a few of these stylish bottles would look pretty sassy in a row. But then by putting something on display in your kitchen that has no intention of being used, you’re just taking up valuable usable space. And why buy bottle water if you’re not going to drink it? And if you are going to drink it and toss it, what’s the point of a designer label?

More importantly, what is this gravitation towards designer everything saying about us really? That this is all the Missoni I could ever afford, or that I think so highly of myself that I need Missoni styled labels on my imported Italian sparkling water? Or, is it a simpler theme, as alluded to above: take a ho-hum everyday item and give it some va-va-va-voom if for no other reason than you can.  I suppose I like that concept the best, in which case I say buy a case and drink it all with wild abandon, then toss those bottles in the recycle bin and don’t think about it again.  It is after all, just water.

Ecoist Snowjob Chair

ecoist is a great company who makes super stylish fashion accessories from, well, basically trash.  They collaborate with big brands like Coca-Cola, Aveda, Frito-Lay and Disney to secure their mis-printed and obsolete packaging and then fold them up into innovative products.

This is another brand I’ve sold in the past. ecoist has been around since 2004…before the big “green products” boom that hit the market in ’07;  I think they really know what they’re doing, and I’m thrilled they’ve been able to thrive for so many years. (Fun fact: Kim Cattrall’s character toted a silver “Mega” ecoist bag in Sex & The City 2, which was an absolutely terrible sequel, but the clothes were still good!)

This chair, however.  WOW.  Now, I have a thing for chairs, so I am easily impressed, but you’d have to have a cold heart not to see the beauty in their latest collaboration with designer Emiliano Godoy.

Glad to see they’re looking at new ways to use those candy wrappers.  What’s next a couch? A headboard maybe?  Guess we’ll have to wait and see…