Small Business Branding: The American Edit
While MaeMae is still bustling with wedding stationery and paper goods design, we’ve found ourselves diving more and more into some different work as well - small business branding! We have actually done branding work for over three years now, and we’ll soon have a new way of showcasing all of our previous and current branding work on our *new* site. For now we want to give our readers a better idea of what this different side of MaeMae looks like, which is why we’re sharing the branding and design of one of our recent clients today - The American Edit.
Over some insanely amazing Italian food downtown, I found myself telling Rita I thought she should quit her job and start NOW on her amazing vision for a different professional future. She had been thinking about starting a company that celebrated the brands that manufacture in the United States, educate the ones who would like to start, and elevate self-sufficiency in style. OK HELLO. YES. It’s not just the sea urchin chili talking - this girl has got something going on. Little did I know that encouragement would be taken to heart and a few months later Rita approached us in need of branding for her new business venture, and of course, Team MaeMae was immediately on board. There has been no stopping TAE since! (hello Kristen Bell to E! Online shoutout!)
It was important to us to keep the design aesthetic of TAE's site neutral and sophisticated so that the vibrant content and imagery would remain the focus of the site. When we work with our branding clients we always want to equip them with a set of “ingredients” so that they can infuse their brand into everything they do. For TAE we created custom post design elements which allows Rita to add brand personality to her different blog posts (and of course put the numbers in the cutest places :)
To get the site up and running we entrusted the talented Zoe Rooney to program our baby and had so much fun reading her case study on the process.
Aside from all of the incredible interviews, education on American made products, and introduction to amazing makers, Rita is an expert in product development and offers sourcing and production consulting, retail strategy development, and brand identity and marketing through The Agency. If you are a designers, retailers or marketers looking for looking for assistance in the source-to-consumer process contact Rita today!
The beautiful photos and clever copywriting on The American Edit were created by two of our other amazing and creative branding clients, Wing Ta of Canary Grey and Anne Sage of The City Sage. #dreamteam
Thank you so much for trusting and partnering with us on your branding, Rita!!
Keep reading for a fun Q&A we did with Rita that covers her background, how TAE came to be and what it was like working with MaeMae.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I live in Minneapolis, MN... not too far from MaeMae headquarters! I'm obsessed with travel, shopping, reading anything and everything, and spending time with my family and friends. Prior to starting The American Edit, I worked in product development, sourcing, and merchandising for everyone's favorite Minnesota retailer... now I feel so lucky to use those skills to help small businesses achieve strategic growth!
Tell us about American Edit and how it came to be: I was frustrated that it was so hard for me to find sites that curated fashionable American-made clothing - it was easy for my husband, but not so much for me, or for our home. After searching and searching, I realized that it was up to me to create what I wanted to read and what I hoped would ultimately become a resource for many other blog readers and conscious consumers!
Why did you need to work with a designer? I'd done the whole blogger template thing for a previous blog, but I knew that I wanted TAE to be different. After reading so many blogs for so many years, I wanted to create something that I would personally want to explore, and I needed to be able to focus my attention on my consulting clients, the content and the community rather than the design. I knew I needed a designer to help me accomplish my goals, and spent a lot of time combing portfolios of various designers I'd come across. I am a huge fan of Megan's invitation suites - she somehow balances playful aesthetics with a classic, modern feel, her aesthetic doesn't feel like anyone else's or seem too obvious, and it felt like something I would love forever - which is important! As soon as we started talking about the process of working together, I knew it had to be Megan - she had so many ideas, was fully on board and supportive of my goals and vision, and I thought we would have a lot of fun working together!
Tell us about your design ideas going into the project: I'd been pinning ideas for awhile, and thought that I was all over the place in terms of design... but Megan helped me to see the commonalities in my pins and introduced a few new elements that brought everything together.
How did MaeMae help bring your project to life? I had the initial vision for the construct of the site - I knew I wanted the homepage to feel more editorial and be somewhat interactive, that the A-list should be visual, etc. But Megan took my ideas and ran with them and came up with a site that is far more beautiful and engaging than I could have ever imaged! We actually sort of broke the internet - we came up with some ideas that were a little out of the box and our developer was skeptical at first. But in the end, everything came together and resulted in the amazingness (if i do say so myself!) that is TAE!
The final deliverables were the website, graphics for blog posts, business cards (that everyone loves!) and thank you cards. Megan made sure that TAE partners and clients receive a gorgeously branded end-to-end experience.
What was it like working with MaeMae? Megan was amazing to work with because she was legitimately open to my thoughts and feedback and invested in my project and business success. This was my baby, so I was prepared to put on my corporate hat and micromanage every second of the process! But as soon we reviewed the first round of branding, I realized this wasn't necessary - Megan knew exactly what I wanted (and figured out all of the elements that I couldn't articulate - it was actually sort of creepy how she got into my head) and built something more amazing than i could have imagined.
Any advice for small businesses looking to brand? Find a designer that you trust and enjoy spending time with/would be friends with. I didn't know Megan that well when we started working together, but trusted her completely and that paid off. She was a complete professional and I know my brand is in good hands with her expertise. That we became great friends over the course of working together was just the icing on the cake!