Establishing a retail brand & eCommerce experience that manifests the Maker spirit through authenticity, inclusivity, and story.
Portland, Oregon + pop-ups in LA, NY, SEA, PDX.
Hand-Eye Supply, a Hardware Store,
product line & brand for Designers and Makers
Art Director/Brand Development & Marketing Strategy: Christine Taylor
• Create an experience-based retail brand for the Creative Class that embodies the ethos of community, self-education, design-thinking and creativity.
• Hand-Eye Supply is a brand for those who believe that the creative process has inherent value, and that the act of making in-and-of itself is profoundly important.
• As a brand with a strong grasp of who the customer is and what they stand for, our challenge was to elevate the wabi-sabi (the art of imperfection) of the Maker aesthetic and ideals, across a wide pool of creative thinkers who purchase products that reflect their own ethics.
• I aimed to create an identity and an eCommerce experience based on portraying design influencers alongside the everyday unknown Maker, thus making the brand inclusive, relatable and about the process rather than the end goal.
• I also expanded the definition of Maker to 'someone who works with their hands', which opened our pool of potential influencers and ambassadors to work with.
• Millennials and the Creative Class value authenticity and prefer experiences over blatant marketing. Along with this, they have a high filter for “bullshit” and connect with brands that share their values and interests.
• The customer wore a few hats and I aimed to appeal to each of them. Being members of the Maker community I based our personas upon our own team and our friends, as well as the established CORE77 fans.
• By telling real people and product stories centered around the experiences that one has as a creative I could establish a position and a point-of-view that differentiates and connects with a like-minded culture of individuals.
• I established a budget-sensitive sustainable strategy for longterm success using cross-channel digital content marketing showing the seriousness of the brand's ambition alongside the playfulness that inspires creatives to keep going. I used authentic digital cross-channel, experiential, and influencer marketing.
• From identity and messaging, to the digital platform and content within it, the design team brought their own personalities forward to establish an experience that expresses the brands unique point-of-view: while demystifying the creative process.
• In doing so I helped create a brand experience where customers can connect with content that they’re interested in, and shop for things they value that support their lifestyle and add something to their lives whilst encouraging them onward in their own creative endeavors.
Here's What I Did
• The CEO and I took a digital meets analog approach to branding and launched using a newsprint catalog inspired by vintage Sears commerce and reverse publishing called, 'Makers In the Modern Era'. Throughout the brand life, it was expanded to using digital content in unexpected and experimental ways - such as animated gifs, cinemagraph catalogs, content marketing, print posters, micro sites, videos, and social media to share brand stories about the creative process and lifestyle.
• With digital being the primary touch point between Hand-Eye Supply and customers around the world, the design team used a combination of 1960's nostalgia graphics and a tongue-in-cheek clever tone meets modern marketing for the over arching brand experience.
• The in-store experience chauffeured the eCommerce experience. Every marketing project needed to meet digital goals first, but visually, they also needed to translate into print and experiential for memorable, consistent in-store customer service experiences.
• I helped develop the core creative team. Each talent was selected to bring a specific specialized skill set and personality to the brand strategy. Together we were the brand.
• I used the power of story paired with the design team's experimental typography, retro graphic design, and iconic photography, playful film and animation to create a distinctive point-of-view.
• The experience of developing a retail brand allowed me tremendous growth, opening my work from photo/video/publishing and returning me to design development, design-thinking, supply chain, and creative direction. I'm proud to have worked on this for 5 years with such a talented and dedicated group.
The Culture Behind the Commerce
• By jumping in with a "make it work" attitude, a system was developed, establishing brand guidelines and standards for how to represent Hand-Eye Supply across channels.
• The wabi-sabi aesthetic inspired our own noted line of aprons that sold around the world.
• I did several collaborations with independent brands and created both digital and print catalogs including 'Desk Inspired'.
• Hand-Eye Supply was written about all over the world in design and fashion blogs, luxury magazines, and the local press on a regular basis.