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Good reputation: Branding your vintage business
Photo: Işıl/Pexels

Good reputation: Branding your vintage business


Branding is an expense that can be hard to justify when you’re in the early stages of growth. But with some soul-searching into your purpose and some free tools, you can make a big impact for your small shop. Branding expert Katie Dempsey shared how in a Feb. 13 webinar

If you were to put two vintage shops together side by side, both selling mid-century modern decor and glassware, both boasting similar inventory because the shop owners have similar taste, and both featuring a similar if not equal price point, how do you — and more importantly, your customer — tell them apart?

The answer lies in branding. If they’re physical stores, maybe it’s the way the signage looks or how the inside of the shops feel. If they’re online stores, perhaps it’s the way their social media page or shop landing page catches the eye. If they’re booths at a vintage market, maybe it’s the colour of their business cards or the personality of their owner that grabs attention.

All of these touch points act as subtle cues for a customer to choose one vendor over another.

Branding for a vintage shop is so much more than a logo — it’s how the shop is presented to the world.

But where to start? We turned to Katie Dempsey, owner and managing partner of creative agency Brand Ambition, who met with members of the Vintage Sellers Community on Feb. 13 to share how shop owners can communicate their values, price and talents in a crowded online landscape.

Katie’s well versed in the branding world — for the past seven years that she’s been operating Brand Ambition, she’s completed branding for more than 500 businesses, helping them become unique in their market.

Branding is often associated with visuals, but the way a business looks is only half the story, Katie told attendees at the session. Your brand is “your reputation,” she said. “And you have the ability to influence that — and impact how people feel about you, and how they look at your business, and how they talk about it.”

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Building your shop’s reputation

While there are many steps to building a solid brand strategy, asking yourself what people say about you when you’re not in the room is a good place to start, Katie shared.

Do they say that you’re great at responding to inquiries? Extremely knowledgeable about the secondhand items you carry? That you are always quick to lend a hand or an ear?

Once you’ve determined what those key statements are, you can infuse your customer-facing content with information that backs them up.

Katie Dempsey, founder of Brand Ambition. Photo: Brand Ambition

The visual component comes later. “We want to attach all those thoughts and feelings to visuals that separate us from other businesses,” Katie explained.

That includes being consistent — using different Canva templates and whatever colour palette strikes your fancy on a given day is fun, but doesn’t help customers recognize your shop on a regular basis. Choose some brand colours and patterns, save them to a free tool like Canva and apply them to every template to be instantly more recognizable.

Consistency helps to build trust in an online world that is over-saturated with information, Katie says. “The reason why most people are interacting with brands and businesses online right now is because they want to build relationships with the people that they buy from,” she told attendees.

“With this abundance of information, what we’ve seen is that people actually go online now to find someone to trust,” she said. “Share your story and your passion and it will attract people similar to you.”

Branding your vintage business: Event replay

The recording of Katie’s hour-long workshop is available to members of the Vintage Sellers Community.

Join our group of resellers who are actively investing in professional development and exchanging best practices. You’ll get access to all of our events and webinars (and replays!), our exclusive content to help you run and grow your vintage business and improve your skills, our private discussion boards and more.

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