It was this time last year that I was planning my rebrand from Alphabet Monkey to Little Willow. I had been weighing up where I had started and where I was.. what I enjoyed creating and what my lovely customers were wanting. It felt like a huge decision at the time but mostly it's defining what success was to me within the framework of wanting to live a simpler life.
We are coming to the end of our 2018 Bali winter escape and it got me thinking about how far the brand has come in this year. And more importantly what I've learnt about living simply aligned with the beliefs that matter most to me.
When I first started Alphabet Monkey (see image below) there was a real gap in the boys market..using black in nurseries was a really new thing and I managed to tap into the trend for patterns through my colourful quilts. Fast forward and the handmade landscape has grown and changed as has the offerings for kids..they have exploded!
As had social media.. the playing field had changed..a real vintage and simple vibe was growing and I had been introducing minimalism to my life. I felt a mile away from the original ethos of Alphabet Monkey.
So despite losing a whole load of traffic that I'd built up over the years , I changed the name and the look but essentially I still make the same product. It's just that by rebranding I can align it more closely to my beliefs and personal aesthetic.
I wanted to use more beautiful fabrics ( which I'm confident we now have in our stonewashed pure linen).. make classic , simple products that will last more than a season.
I wanted to SIMPLIFY.
This is something I've been doing each year in terms of my possessions and I've been getting pretty good at it..(I mean we downsized the four of us and a dog into a two bedroom unit and we still have spare space in our cupboards) but how about in other areas of my life?
Paring back and simplifying my life means that sometimes I just have to say no..I needed to prioritise what is important to me and what isn't. Define what success looks like to me as a small biz owner, as a mum, as a wife, as a person.
Simplifying can apply to our food, the way we use technology, our friends, the way we spend our time not just decluttering our wardrobe.
I'll be keeping Little Willow handmade and boutique..if it means I can't make enough to keep up then maybe I'll just have to take less orders. If it means that I can't mass produce or wholesale then so be it. I am a MAKER...I love to MAKE THINGS so that is the key to why I do what I do.
I also want to further introduce my beliefs..such as my belief in supporting mama makers, supporting women in Bali to create income, my belief in trying to do better for the planet, believing in minimalism, and how we can make tiny changes in our everyday life to be happier in our own awesome lives.
Since losing my phone on the first day of this trip I've also taken it as a sign from the universe to get some perspective on technology. The first few days were like a grieving process I'm embarrassed to say but over these weeks I've been focusing on the things I need to do to be the best me and sitting on my phone all day isn't one of them. Scheduling and planning ahead is going to be the answer for me..something i obviously knew but hadn't actually implemented.
Scheduling time for myself is another.
If you have a small business and are wondering whether to rebrand I encourage you to look at what message you are sending and who you want to be.. can you bridge the gap? Maybe new imagery is all you need. Maybe focusing on a particular product is the way to go? Or you may take the leap.
And what if you are not a small business but an everyday person or mother..well the same can apply to you. What do you believe in..what's important to you? That is like your brand. Are you prioritising those things for yourself or your family?
I'm returning back to Little Willow with excitement for our first birthday in September (although we've been around since 2010) and look forward to sharing more ideas on aligning our lives with our beliefs.
Thanks so much to all of you who have supported me in this year of realignment.