startup branding 101: why even startups need a copywriter

    You have a professional website that seems perfect for your brand, and you are excited to finally start your marketing and social media campaigns. Wohooo! Before you race forward, hang on a moment though. What about your texts? Are your website copy and communication items written in the tone of your brand and tailored to speak to your best customers? Functional and concise, yet creating images in the reader’s minds, so appealing that they can’t wait to dive in and buy from you?

    If you’re not sure, I’m guessing that you haven’t really thought about your copy much. You should! And unless you’re an exceptionally skilled writer, so in tune with your brand and customers that it comes easy to you to create compelling texts that engage and seduce… consider commissioning a professional brand copywriter! Here’s a great example of stellar branded copy I had written for my jewelry line possibility:

    lucite jewelry necklace JEAN by possibilityJEAN necklace / hair band

    “A brilliant blend of Old Hollywood and city girl chic, possibility’s Jean choker is a must-have for modern glamouristas. The heart of this piece, an engraved Lucite jewel, is suspended between silky ribbons. Showcase yours with a bias-cut dress and upswept hair. Jean can also be worn as a headband.”

    Isn’t this product descripton just tantalizingly fabulous for modern, independent fashionistas? It’s written by brand copywriter Jessica Fox, whom I warmly recommend to anyone I work with – especially if they’re catering to modern female audiences. I always commission her for texts for my jewelry brand, and I work with her for most of my branding clients too (see one specific brand copywriting case study here).

    If you’re not sure whether your brand copy is as inviting as it can be for your ideal audience, give Jessica a shout-out! She’ll be happy to look at your texts to see if she may be able to help you!


    sparkle spotlight: 77 diamonds

      Normally I’m not one to shop big ticket items online, especially when it comes to something you want to wear and keep for years to come. This week I came across a website that seems worth an exception though, and tempted me to linger a little longer… the jeweler 77 Diamonds. I found all kinds of crazy goodness about this place… Check this out:

      BespokeTrilogy yellow gold ring A bespoke trilogy engagement ring with 3 dazzling diamonds. Love this design!

      a lovely modern eternity ring, also studded with sparkling diamonds:

      modern diamond eternity ring

      this VOGUE ruby ring… sigh!

      vogue ruby diamond ring

      and these yellow diamond drop earrings:

      yellow diamond drop earrings by 77 diamonds

      These were custom made. Not what you’d expect from an online jeweler: their website has a lot of personalization options, and apparently they actually welcome custom orders!

      There’s more. They created a Gatsby inspired diamond ring collection!

      vintage look rings gatsby style with real diamonds

      Aren’t these gorgeous?

      And what about these Art Deco inspired diamond chandelier drop earrings?

      chandelier earrings - art deco inspired

      If you’re not on the market to shop for diamonds at this moment, get your pinterest buttons ready my friends, and swoon away! I’ll definitely do that. Come pin with me on my pinterest account for possibility jewelry! If you’re more into fashion jewelry than real diamonds, you’ll find plenty of temptations there, like my Great Gatsby inspired Lucite Jewelry rings and lots of jewelry pieces from other designers that I love

      Have a sparkling week, everyone!


      Girlfriend getaway idea: a glamour day in Beverly Hills

        Looking for girlfriend getaway ideas, whether it is for your bachelorette celebration, or just for fun?

        Beverly Harris from Beverly Harris Weddings and The Beverly Hills Insider, is a previous branding customer of mine, and she’s fabulous. She works with the best addresses in Beverly Hills, and apart from orchestrating and designing weddings and events in Beverly Hills, she also plans special Beverly Hills pamper days for brides and their girlfriends. How about some spa-time, cocktails over the rooftops of Los Angeles, a mouth-watering lunch right around the corner of Rodeo Drive, and private-appointment boutique-shopping, in your own private limousine, together with your girls?

        I know. Right? Last year, I contributed stationery, celebration design elements, and a few special gift items to such a girlfriend day. Take a peek! 

        Beverly Hills Pamper Day program The program of the day {stationery design: by Astrid Mueller Boutique Branding}

        Beverly Hills Pamper Day  - beauty getting readyStarting the day with a beauty and make-up session at the Peninsula Beverly Hills…

        Beverly Hills Girlfriend Getaway - Pamper DaySpa time, pamper time! With beauty indulgences from The Naked Princess 

        Champagne Breakfast at the Peninsula Beverly HillsA toast to the bride! Having a great time at the Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills

        Warm summer breeze over the rooftops of Los Angeles. Can it get any better?

        special party design item: custom-made drink stirsspecial design accent: Lucite drink stirs by Astrid Mueller Boutique Branding
        for Beverly Harris Weddings - tailored to her brand

        lunch at the celebrity hot-spot Villa Blanca, right around the corner of Rodeo drive,
        with a gift-giving session: a design-inspired necklace by possibility for the bride…

        silk flower hair pin by emici bridala sparkly hair accessory by Emici Bridal for one of her friends…

        custom-made drink stirs for the bride by Astrid Mueller Exclusivecustom-made Lucite drink stirs for the bride! By Astrid Mueller Exclusive

        No pamper day without tasty delicacies along the way!

        delicious cupcakes by CRUMB’S BAKE SHOP,
        with personalized crystal-encrusted cupcake sticks by Astrid Mueller Exclusive

        a pamper day in Beverly Hills - a stroll through the neighborhoodafter lunch, strolling around the neighborhood, enjoying the nice California breeze

        a pamper day in Beverly HillsA princess moment for the bride – a private appointment at JLM Couture

        … of course not without the perfect shoes!

        the private Limo driver for the day: by Exquisite Transportation

        on to a girlfriend shopping stop at the Naked Princess

        …testing out spa goodies

        …and browsing tantalizing lingerie!

        then back for refreshing cocktails and a mellow evening breeze at the Peninsula Hotel

        tailor-made silver and clear Lucite ring by possibility

        A special gift for the bride, Sarah Jo, who is a singer and songwriter,

        a ring with a special good-luck message ” KEEP SINGING, LIVE YOUR DREAMS”
        engraved, silver and clear Lucite, special commission, by possibility

        Aren’t we all dreaming about visiting LA again soon?

        If you’d love to celebrate such a day with your girlfriends, contact Beverly Harris, who could organize it all for you. She’s immersed in the Beverly Hills community, and can personalize your day to your personal preferences. Tell her I said hi, and ask her about all the possibilities!

        CREDITS: Photographer: Kishana Highgate Wedding Planner & Shoot Producer: Beverly Harris Weddings Hair/Make-Up Stylist: Denise MarquezTransportation: Exquisite Transportation Silk Flower Hair Accessories: Emici Bridal Stationery, Scarf, and Swizzle Sticks: Astrid Mueller  Custom commissioned ring and necklace for the bride: possibility Venue: The Peninsula Beverly Hills Restaurant: Villa Blanca Bridal Salon: JLM Couture Flagship Boutique Lingerie Boutique:Naked Princess Cupcakes: Crumbs Bake Shop

        Spotlight on Fashion Blogger Michelle Lara Lin

          Join me for a special treat today: an interview with fashion blogger and entrepreneur Michelle Lara Lin. The moment I first laid eyes on her beautiful blog {L’Etranger}, I was intrigued. Immediately, I reached out to say hi, and boldly wondered if she was interested in collaborating on photo shoots with my young jewelry line possibility. Not only was Michelle (who is a respected blogger in the fashion universe and incredibly busy building her own start-up) kind enough to reply personally, swiftly, and with a very friendly email, but it turned out that we think very similarly when it comes to creating fashion photo shoots. The tentative thought of one collaboration has turned into several (see here, herehere and a feature on Teen Vogue!), and a friendship across continents.

          model: blogger Michelle Lara Lin | photographer: Meagan Cignoli | dress: Yuna Yang,
          from her fall / winter 2013 Collection | see full fashion shoot here

          Please meet Michelle, Lara Lin, and enjoy a glimpse into her fascinating world in this interview!

          You run the successful and very inspiring blog The Stranger. Please share with my readers your story – how did you start out with the blog, and what is your secret to being a successful blogger?

          I wish there was a secret behind becoming successful at anything. These “secret to success” manuals demonstrate an inherent paradox: human beings want to accomplish things, yet we’re also extremely lazy. There’s a Bukowski quote that pinpoints it:

          My ambition is handicapped by my laziness.
          - Charles Bukowski

          We want the easy way out of everything. But my experience with The Stranger allowed me to realize that the easiest way to succeed in anything, including blogging, is to (1) work on something you love and (2) work fucking hard.

          Everyone tells you how they are going to be “special”, but few do the work to get there. Do the work.
          -Mark Cuban

          Is there anything exciting in your near future that we should have an eye out for?

          I am investing most of my time on my startup, Quotesome. I think it’s the most exciting thing in the world. I actually spend most of my time on it– building it, and actually using it.

          Next week, I’m also doing another exciting collaboration with a stunning and beautiful hotel in Taipei. I can’t announce which one yet, but the concept is going to be deep. You know me, I love shooting in old, classic, and occasionally regal settings. The environment ignites all the creativity in me.

          {Note by Astrid: as I’m publishing this, the Taipei shoot has been released! See the full feature here}

          If you could go back in time and do 1 thing in your career differently, what would that be?

          Can’t say I would change anything. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I learned from them and moved on.

          It’s good to make mistakes. It encourages you to doubt yourself, to question your judgment, and to be aware of your own cognitive biases. But most of all, it reminds you that humans aren’t infallible. What perplexes me is those who live under the illusion that their judgments are always correct, despite all the research done in neuroscience that disproves that.

          We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.
          – Daniel Kahneman

          If you could give other talented business women a recommendation, what would that be?

          Ignore more advice you receive. Google is your advisor. Books are your mentors. :)

          What motto/credo do you live by?

          Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech. I cry every time I watch his speech. These two excerpts really resonate with me:


          Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.


          Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

          One of your favorite places in the world to travel to, and why?

          Prague. It’s hard to explain why. I wrote about in a blog entry, but I actually found what I wrote about Prague through Quotesome:

          One cannot claim that Prague is beautiful without abandoning generic notions of beauty. Prague’s beauty is unconsciously Romantic, encompassing the grotesque, the awe-inspiring, the foreign, and the unknown.

          As humans, we tend to appreciate only generic beauty (what Alexander McQueen called “nicey-nicey”) and avoid anything that evokes darker emotions. But people love Prague, even though the art and architecture there is so grotesque. I think that’s the charm of Prague: people break out of their comfort zones.

          There is no love of Prague’s art, architecture, literature, and beauty without loving the grotesque and sublime.

          One play / exhibition / movie / concert / show that you really enjoyed recently, and why?
          I don’t think I’ve told this to anyone but my brother: I never watch movies or TV shows anymore. I don’t think I have for over half a year. I’m unable to sit through any of them. It’s not even the I-need-to-be-working guilt, like most people think it is. I take breaks from work all the time. The thing is, I just don’t get much pleasure from watching movies or TV shows.

          Work is more fun than fun.
          - Noel Coward

          I do read a ton of books though. This week I finishedDelusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. I highly recommend it. I’ve been reading a lot of neuroscience books lately. It’s so fascinating to learn how the mind works.

          One woman YOU are inspired by, and why?
          I decided to pick someone who is actually alive (or I might have settled for Simone de Beauvoir). Lea Verou. She’s programmer and brilliant frontend engineer. A friend of mine introduced me to Prefix Free, a nifty tool she developed. I’ve been following her ever since. She actually develops CSS– which makes her all the more awesome. But it doesn’t stop there. She has a very beautiful mind too. Check out this great piece on her blog entitled What is sexism?


          Isn’t Michelle amazingly inspiring? Thank you so much Michelle, for sharing a glimpse into your world. We’ll be looking forward to seeing much more from you!


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