Posts tagged lifestyle brands
Subtle magics, complex silences
"Sharp feelings deserve blurred edges"

—@composure_black // 24 August 2016


While exploring a riverside corner of Brooklyn we found this small nook perfectly catching sunset rays. By the time Océane and I set up for the shoot it was colder than expected, but we really wanted the light so we didn't mind working through the cold. When your goal is clear you get to choose what matters—and what's fine being sent to a blurry periphery. 

"Subtle magics, complex silences"

—@composure_black // 12 December 2016


Sometimes it's easy to go overboard with flashy extravagance but then again sometimes just enough is magic 🔮💫. As patient explorers we all have these tiny lights buried somewhere within; our job is find them and to articulate them well, letting them shine. This subtle yet brilliant self-awareness is a worthy pursuit, and a good excuse to bring glitter to an otherwise dramatic scene. 

"Tiny lights buried deep within"

—@composure_black // 30 November 2016

Model / MUA: Océane Hooks-Camilleri
Featured: Black Succulents Series Scarf

We are patient explorers of challenging places

I'm very intentionally building Composure as a "lifestyle brand," and I've known from the beginning that the most difficult part will be clearly articulating what that lifestyle is. It's relatively easy to make up a generic lifestyle brand for the sake of building an audience, but much more difficult to build a unique and deeply authentic one. I'd like to build the latter. 

Making this more difficult is that I have a tendency to abstract things as a way to make them more rich and interesting. I've had to come to terms with the fact that if I want people to follow along, it first needs to be simple enough that they know what it is.

I think of this as being difficult enough a problem for me to spend at least 2 years on it. About a year ago I started honing in on "artistry" as a central pillar of Composure, which felt a lot more focused than what I started with two years ago, "virtues." Whereas virtues allowed this abstract sort of "people who follow Composure care about strong inner perspective" description, it didn't do a good job of articulating a lifestyle. And while artistry let me talk about the kinds of lives people in the Composure world lead, it still hasn't ever felt like the kinds of simple, clear lifestyle starting point like "travel" that forms the basis of simple brands that people can immediately get.

Combine all of this with the fact that I'm also aiming to balance two different kinds of audiences: those that follow the brand, and those that buy the scarves. Thus far they haven't been exactly the same audiences. And I ultimately don't think they have to be. But I'd like for them to at least be well-considered, and in that way they could at least become at the right amount of similar. 

All that said, I feel like I'm starting to crack this rather tricky code.

Last week the guy behind a nicely developed lifestyle brand reached out to me on Instagram, bringing up a conversation where we touched on much of the above. It got my brain firing. I found myself really digging into audience profiles on both Facebook's (incredibly useful) Audience Insights platform this last week, and through various hashtag rabbit holes on Instagram in which clearly understood lifestyle brands live. It brought a lot of clarity to the kind of lifestyle and audience I want to build around Composure. 

I don't want to make this post about all the nuanced details, but I'm excited to have landed on a lifestyle brand concept that allows for the simplicity that comes with those built around exploration and travel: we are patient explorers of challenging places. 

I'm seeing this world playing with the undaunted exploration of Vice Travel, the avant-guarde  aesthetics of Rick Owens, and the calm minimalism of Acne Studios. 

It's not perfect, but right now it doesn't have to be. All I know is that playing around in these spaces has generated some immediately positive reactions in the Instagram world, indicating that we're in the right direction. We'll keep going. 


This is from a list of points within an article titled How To Build a $120K per Month Ecommerce Brand in Less Than A Year:

2. Do the research to figure out what you want to be

First you will want to commit to building a brand, and all the challenges that presents. You will have to be prepared to say "no" and stick to your guns. Inconsistency is the death to brands. Spend a lot of time up front to truly understand what you want to be and how you want to present your company.

You certainly don’t want to oscillate on your message to customers about your product. Do spend the time and effort figuring out exactly what you want to say. Once you start marketing, stick to the message.

**Do spend the time and effort figuring out exactly what you want to say.**

A lot of business & branding articles are written as if this is an important, overlooked thing that most people only spend a couple hour's time on. They seem to want to make the case that you should probably spend something like a week's worth of time on it instead.

Building Composure is my case that it's something you should probably spend years on, that developing the kind of self-awareness and inner vision required to truly know what you want to say just simply isn't possible any other way. The alternative is for me to write articles titled "How To Build a $120K per Month Ecommerce Brand in Less Than a Quarter of a Lifetime" and frankly I'm just not into that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Lazy manifestos
Radiance Tea House, Manhattan

Radiance Tea House, Manhattan

Met up with long time friend Colin over tea yesterday. He's built a large travel & design audience through years of blog and publishing efforts, so he often gets approached by "lifestyle brands" who want him to promote their stuff. Usually it's someone who just printed some logos onto a few t-shirts and then wrote a belabored "About" page manifesto. 

Of course we naturally got into that boring-but-still-necessary conversation about how a brand isn't a logo, it isn't an "About" page, it's not a website, it isn't a lookbook. A brand and lifestyle is something that emerges only over time, expressed in a pattern of initiatives that represent a strong point of view without having to say it out loud.

But of course for many people, a "lifestyle brand" is just a poorly-conceived way to make a bit of money by saying something that sounds cool, because you can just reach out to "influencers" like Colin with a few t-shirts in hand. 

All of this being just another good reason to lament the lack of good vocabulary around what Composure and people like Colin are after. 

I still haven't run into anyone who'll bear with me long enough for me to use the incredibly awkward phrase "creative independent relationship-centric brands driven by artists with the vision that comes with strong inner perspective."

So I still just use the phrase "lifestyle brand" instead ¯\_(ツ)_/¯