Everyone asks me about the timing with Covid-19 and the new focus on washing your hands. It’s good timing but it’s a fluke. I wish it was only a two or three-month process to build a brand and we were responding directly to what’s happened this year, but in reality I had the idea two years ago and it’s something we’ve been working on for a while – a high-performance handwash that’s environmentally sound.
Finding a USP for a fragrance brand is quite hard. You can go for a wacky marketing strategy – touting a rare ingredient – but I don’t really believe in that. Whether or not a customer likes your product and wants to buy it really comes down to whether their taste aligns with yours as the creator. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.
With gloved, it was about loading the product with USPs. A glass bottles, a fine fragrance, environmental friendliess, a great formulation – we’ve tried to beat the competition on every level. We’ve also tried to introduce a warmth and approachability – because gloved comes from a caring place. In the past, with fragrance brands especially, there’s not been that kind of dialogue with the customer – brands have been too aspirational for that, they’ve had a mystique around them.
Those marketing clichés about finding clarity in what you’re creating are really useful. Having used one for gloved, I’d now recommend using a branding agency. In fact, I want to go back to Tom Daxon and do the same thing. It really helps to answer the difficult questions at the outset. If you do a brand Q&A, you’re going to be asked: what problem are you solving? Why would someone buy your product over another one? Your brand can be so personal to you that’s it hard to answer those questions. But, force yourself to do it and you’ll get a new perspective on why someone who doesn’t know you and has no reason to buy your product might actually want to buy it.
When you have your own business, there’s a very clear relationship between what you put in and what you get out. When you start selling your product, it’s a really nice feeling: I did that and now people are willing to buy it. I don’t think I could work on some huge project where I couldn’t see how I’m affecting the course of the business as a whole.
If I did have a big business, I’d want to foster an entrepreneurial mentality. People with their own small business really care. They’re always looking at new ideas, and there’s no trepidation around new things. I don’t see why you can’t take that into a big company. I’d certainly want people who think in an entrepreneurial way at my big company.