From small acorns do two great brand propositions grow.


It seems only yesterday that I became involved in a new retail start-up. Well, in fact it was just under four months ago. But already, the pace of trading has been so much that now we have four regular market outlets, with a further two on the way with additional venues agreed for Christmas. We have also moved on to phase two of our development programme with a permanent home (fingers crossed) located in the heart of Leeds Kirkgate market. Well, that’s how Marks&Spencer started. (You’ve got to aim high if you want to reach the top ;)

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Now, things have moved on even further with the launch of a second retail brand called ‘Madhatter’. Unlike it’s sister brand, SticksARTStones, Madhatter focuses on personal-wear, as opposed to the home-ware and garden-ware items offered by SticksArtStones.

Madhatter is positioning itself as the e-tailer of unusual handmade and Fairtrade hats, scarves, bags and backpacks, with added lines from Nepal and Peru being rolled out in 2014. As with SticksArtStones, Madhatter is an ethical trader, selling only handmade and fairtrade items based on a platform of fairness – ‘Fair trade, fair price’.

The organic success of both brands comes down to having a clear focus on the end game, and being realistic in the objectives we set for each brand. We don’t expect to become the next big thing over night, but we do expect to be true to our brands’ identities and maintain their trading responsibilities. This is the true test of any positive brand proposition.

We also understand that it took a little while for Marks&Spencer to reach the heights that it has.

Brands are launched overnight, but they only develop and grow into their identities over time. And, if managed correctly will flourish and evolve into a strong brand proposition able to sustain the years ahead.

Currently, working seven days a week is challenging, but I thrive when working with my ‘…talktojason’ clients, and I’m enjoying the evolution of SticksArtStones and Madhatter, as both brands continue to grow, develop and established themselves as sincere retail propositions. Already we have a loyal customer-base (friends) who regular buy from us and act as brand guardians, and I’m sure if we continue to build on the brands’ identities, both SticksArtStones and Madhatter will grow into true brand propositions, ready for phase three of their marketing journey of evolving into strong retailers and e-tailers of the future. I will of course pursue my endeavours of making ‘…talktojason’ one of the most creative names in the world of branding, plus it certainly doesn’t hurt to use both SticksArtStones and Madhatter as crash test dummies in order to prefect the branding process further ;)

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