Gift Shop Plus Spring 2022
Level Up Your Product Business Branding By Cat Hildner

Tips on building a brand with meaning, purpose and a focus on relationships

When it comes to small, product-based business, it’s important to focus on building a solid brand versus building only a business. A brand is something that lives and breathes, and is truly unique to YOU. Brands have life, meaning, purpose and focus on building relationships. 

Here are 5 tips to get you movin’ and shakin’ in the right direction to build a brand that stands out from the crowd! 

1. THINK ABOUT THE EMOTION YOU WANT YOUR BRAND TO EVOKE 

It’s important to be able to connect with your customer on a deeper level. How you make a customer FEEL is what’s going to stand out in their mind and keep them a loyal customer and raving fan for life. Yes, it’s important to have cohesive brand colors, an on-point logo, and a visually appealing aesthetic, but really do some soul searching and dig deeper. It’s the emotion and how you make people feel after working with you, or purchasing from you, that’s going to stick out in their head and make you memorable. Start to curate the story behind what being memorable means for you, your business, and your brand. Then weave that story into literally every single thing you do! 

2. USE YOUR WORDS WISELY 

As a small business owner, it’s important to use every tool in your toolbox wisely, and your words are no exception! Every brand has a personality. Use words to really showcase that personality! How does your brand talk? What is your conversational tone? What about those phrases you’re constantly using? Think about how the wording on your packaging, product descriptions, even the way you engage with people via email or social media makes your potential customer feel. It always goes back to that emotion! 

3. TELL A STORY WITH YOUR PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY 

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that couldn’t be more true. Make sure the look and feel of your pictures match with the vibe and emotion you want to showcase for your business. 

4. BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU! 

Small business doesn’t mean small dreams. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, wear all the hats in your business, then OWN it! There is something truly special about being the face behind your business, giving people the opportunity to connect with you. Needing to have a quality product is a given, but there are tons of quality products out there. Why should someone buy from YOU when they have tons of other options? The answer will always be YOU! 

Give people the opportunity to like, know and trust you, and they will always want to buy what you’re selling. Showing up as your authentic self on social media and providing value to your audience is always going to get you ahead of the game. Showing up to network at in-person events and being real and genuine is what’s going to leave a lasting impression on people. Be on a mission to SERVE (over a mission to selfishly only sell) and you will always come out on top. Putting yourself out there can make some feel self conscious, uneasy and super anxious. If you struggle with feeling this way, ask yourself: “do you want to allow yourself to feel embarrassed or do you want to grow your business?” You’re never going to grow if you don’t get a little uncomfortable, so get out there and make opportunities happen! Don’t wait for them to come to you. 

5. PUT THE NEEDS OF YOUR CUSTOMER ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE 

You might think it’s the glitz and glam that’s going to help you get the most sales, but that’s not true. While those key components will absolutely help, it’s going to be the relationship you make with your customers that will truly withstand the test of time. Keep the needs and wants of your customer top of mind ALWAYS. Approach your business with a servant’s heart and you will stand out among the sea of other small businesses. 

Want even more tips and support on how to Level up your product based business? Then you need to attend the Ultimate Product Party! 

The Ultimate Product Party (UPP) is an event for product-based business owners who are looking to scale their business and sell more products. Hosted at the Clayton House, a previously abandoned postal storage warehouse — what a match made in Heaven for a product-based business — in Scottsdale, Arizona. Over 20 educators will cover a different area of running and growing a product-based business. From legal, licensing, affiliate marketing, bookkeeping, email marketing, branding, manufacturing, and so much more, UPP will provide the tools you need to have a well-rounded, solid foundation for your product business. 

The goal is for participants to leave the Ultimate Product Party with a plan of attack to achieve your next business goals, new ideas to diversify your revenue, a solid understanding of your brand voice and aesthetic and a kick-ass network of women who get your life as a product based business owner and want to support you. 

Cat Hildner

Catherine (Cat) Hildner is the founder and owner of Kitty Meow Boutique, a paper, party and gift goods business, and co-host of the Ultimate Product Party, a two day in-person creative conference for product based business owners. Hildner is also a 2021 Gift + Stationery 40 Under 40 Award honoree.




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