How this dress designer developed a clear vision for her brand, complete with sparkly details and custom icons
I first met Breeyn a few years ago (though if I'm being totally honest, I had admired her work from afar years ago, girl crushing over one of her early collection and blogging about it in my fashion student days). Soon after I closed the boutique, she reached out and sent me the loveliest email, and after a few tea dates and a shoot featuring her magical creations, our friendship and a string of creative collaborations had begun.
Breeyn works one-on-one with her clients to design and create custom bridal and evening dresses, and with a love for twirl-worthy dresses and sparkly details that may rival my own, her work is breathtakingly stunning and truly one of a kind. Needless to say, I'm still girl crushing on her pretty hard these days, and feel lucky to continue to work with her in a variety of contexts.
When she reached out to me last spring after I officially relaunched Studio Bicyclette, she was looking for some help with creating a cohesive brand strategy for her eponymous custom dress label, and so we started working together on her overall creative direction. Fast forward to a few months later and the launch of the Visual Strategy Masterclass, and Breeyn signed up for that as well in an effort to further dive in to her brand strategy and continue the work that we had done together.
With the in-person Visual Strategy Masterclass coming up at Assembly, she offered to walk us through the process of both working one-on-one with me and also going through the masterclass on her own, which I thought would paint a good picture of what the workshop will be like on Feb 11 — part self-led process and part one-on-one attention.
We also photographed some of the details of her workmats from the course, and so I'm sharing a few peeks at the Visual Strategy Canvas, which is one of the two that we work through in the class and an integral part to the signature process that I've developed. I don't usually share the full workmats (intellectual property and all that!), but this will give you a good sense of what this one looks like and how they start to inform your brand themes, tone words and details, which Breeyn also talks about in the interview below.
So without further, allow me to introduce Breeyn...
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS…
I make custom wedding gowns for fun, independant, non-traditional brides. I love sparkly things, pink bubbly and dance parties.
Give us a little snapshot of where your business was before starting to work with studio bicyclette and taking part in the visual strategy masterclass
The catalyst for working with Studio Bicyclette was seeing that the outward image of my business — the social media, website, office — did not reflect the quality of the product going out the door or the awesomeness of the clients I get to work with. I realized that I needed some professional help to get those things to match up in a way that was cohesive, beautiful, and would attract more of my ideal clientele.
Why did you decide to start working with studio bicyclette — what were you hoping it would help you accomplish?
I hired Paige to help me sort through the huge pile of strange that I had amassed in six years of running my company, separate the wheat from the chaff, and zero in on what makes my brand my brand. I have admired Paige’s work and aesthetic for years, from the first days of her Queen Street boutique. When she launched her branding services, I couldn’t wait to contact her. When she launched her Visual Strategy Masterclass, it was an absolutely perfect fit for what my company needed right then. It was a revelation to discover elements I had not been able to see because I’d been so close to it. All of my previous focus had been exclusively on the gowns themselves. I had only tertiarily given thought to the brand’s image.
Can you Tell us about the process of going through the visual strategy masterclass and your experience with the course?
I ended up completing the course over a period of time, mostly due to needing to work it around the day-to-day of running my business. I went through the process as it was being taught, carefully working through each lesson before moving on to the next, letting the inspiration be as organic and spontaneous as possible.
It was so much fun! I started to see the cohesive elements that showed up again and again, the narrative of my own unique story and services, and the branding elements that had been working underneath all along, but that had been buried under my general confusion and lack of clear vision.
When I first took on the enormous undertaking of rebranding my company, it was so overwhelming. I didn’t have a clear vision of where I wanted to go, just a vague direction. Paige walked me through step by step, and it was so exciting and motivating to see it come together.
By focusing on her lessons, the perfect branding emerged right in front of me. I am a very visual and tactile person, so I chose to print the workmats out, put them on my office wall, and work with everything in real life.
what were your key takeaways from the course? How have you used (or will you continue to use) this process in your business?
There were so many things that evolved for me throughout the course. I discovered the brand colours that truly work for me, that have helped my images become more recognizable to followers and clients. I discovered secondary elements of my company’s image and story that tie into the brand and communicate the sense of fun and sparkle that I was going for. This led directly to my discovery of Abigail Ballanger’s talents. One of the awesome members of the Studio Bicyclette team, she helped develop the icons for the Visual Strategy Masterclass itself, and I hired her to create custom icons for my brand using imagery that grew directly out of the class lessons. They’re now in use on the website and marketing materials.
Another takeaway was the language for the site, social media and additional marketing. I had always struggled with talking about my own work and company. Part of the coursework involves zeroing in on the language, specific words, and the overall feeling you want associated with your branding, and I definitely found that while working on the class. I had some very specific issues with attracting my ideal clients — I’d been told by a few current, past, and almost- clients that some of the previous image issues were somewhat intimidating, and that they were afraid to reach out for fear of being embarrassed or insulting me (usually regarding price points, but also the general process). I knew that a major objective of the rebrand had to create a feeling of accessibility and friendliness, while still being professional and luxurious (getting a custom gown is a pretty swish experience!)
anything else you'd like to tell us about?
The new logo and cohesiveness of my Instagram feed are direct results of working with Paige, and the website, icons, office make-over and upcoming newsletter are all direct results of the Visual Strategy Masterclass. I cannot recommend Studio Bicyclette and the Visual Strategy Masterclass enough. I have a clear vision for my brand that is now recognizable, and I feel so much better about the image of my company and its presentation of the work I put into the gowns.
READY TO KICKSTART YOUR OWN VISUAL STRATEGY AND GET A HEAD START ON YOUR OWN BRAND PHOTOS?
The Visual Strategy Masterclass might just be for you!