From humble beginnings as a booth (and a team of one) at a maker’s market ten years ago, beloved Vancouver jewelry brand Lover’s Tempo has grown into a thriving business. With a bustling social following, engaging ecomm experience, and 500 retailers worldwide, founder Elaine Kim Smith and her business partner, Leslie Hoolaef, have fostered the type of community most brands strive for.
In early 2021, they decided to take a step back to reflect and acknowledge that when you’re so deeply entrenched in your own brand, it’s hard to get a good clear bird’s-eye view to understand if everything is landing with your audience. So we teamed up with them to do a brand check-up.
We started with a deep audit of their existing brand strategy, assets and identity—from their voice to their personas to their website and emails. We looked at their competitors and pulled side-by-side comparisons of their key channels to identify gaps between what they wanted to represent to their community, and what was actually out there in the world creating the external perception of Lover’s Tempo.
We identified opportunities and shared our findings with Leslie and Elaine, ultimately recommending that we explore a secondary colour palette, refined and romantic logo and refreshed brand story and voice. These updated tools would give their brand the type of depth that reflects where they’re at today and where they’re headed next.
We sat down with Elaine and Leslie to reflect on how this work has transformed the Lover’s Tempo brand and how their refreshed elements have changed the way their growing team tells stories.
When did you know Lover’s Tempo was in need of a little brand maintenance?
“When you’re a business owner you’re always trying to prioritize because you’re often pulled in ten different directions. And for us we were so focused on building the backbone of our business that we knew looking forward meant taking the time to pause and reflect.
“This first became evident at tradeshows. In person we could explain the brand and the products in a pinch, but whenever we were told to write it down or explain it in a few words we would often fall short. We found it difficult to summarize our ethos and encapsulate what Lover’s Tempo stood for in a succinct way because we were living so deeply in it.
“And as we started to take off our training wheels we began to see more of what was missing from the branding component of Lover’s Tempo. Often branding is thought of as purely colours and logos, but we actually started our journey with copy—and the value of good copy is often underestimated.”
What areas did you see the greatest transformation?
“Where to begin! Definitely the copy. There’s finally a tone and voice to the brand that feels natural. We’ve been able to apply it immediately across our channels and to other brand assets like our catalogue and About Us page—it captures all of the little intricacies that make the Lover’s Tempo personality unique.
“And then there were a lot of visual elements that needed tweaking and tightening up. Our wordmark logo didn’t really have anything identifiable that we could own, so we love how the new logo integrates one of our core values—spark delight. We really connected with the meaning and concept behind the logo and have started using it everywhere, especially on social.”
Why do you think it’s important to invest in a brand identity?
“It’s the pursuit of being the best you can be and to set yourself apart from other commodity brands. We really do believe that we have something special to offer our consumers and this work has provided confidence within our team to be able to say what we’re saying, but say it louder.
“Investing the time and effort upfront also streamlines the work down the road. It’s removed those open ended questions like “what should this email look like?” and “what should this banner look like?” because everything is laid out—from copywriting to graphic design. So from a workflow and bandwidth perspective it’s been super valuable. It’s improved everything we do.”
What’s one piece of advice for other entrepreneurs who may be just starting out?
“Talk to people. You get the most valuable tidbits and insights by engaging with your community and asking lots of questions. Consider asking the same question to ten different people as a way to broaden your perspective. And remember that so often you need to hear the wrong thing to know that what you’re doing is the right thing.”
Following the brand audit and refresh, we packaged up their story, key messages, identity and voice into a gorgeous brand book. This cohesive document allows the Lover’s Tempo team to onboard new creatives to their brand—from writers to strategists to designers—and create cohesiveness and consistency across all of their content.
The time it took them to pause, check in and flesh out their brand to match the goals they have is coming back ten-fold as they’re able to take on the daily creative demands of having an ecomm and retail brand in 2021 with renewed confidence and clarity.