A lot of people think that branding a business is just about creating a logo, but it’s so much more than that.
On September 21st at The Corner Gallery in Norfolk, Richmond-based design company, Campfire & Co., will be teaming up with Hampton Roads-based content marketing company, The Content Chop Shop, to talk to small businesses and entrepreneurs about how to create a beautiful brand with personality and life.
This workshop will be the first in a series called “The Fireside Sessions” – a repeat of a sold-out series they offered this past spring at Campfire & Co.’s office space in downtown Richmond. Each session focuses on a different topic that is relevant to small businesses, start-ups, business owners and anyone who has to manage marketing at their organization.
For the first session on branding, we have pulled in local business owner, Mary Kaufman as our guest speaker. Kaufman is the woman behind Bluebird’s Garage, a vintage rental and concept design company located in the Vibe district of Virginia Beach.
Mary’s business is all about helping other small businesses cultivate their brand visually, whether that’s through events or photo shoots. We wanted to know more about how she started her business and the woman behind the beautiful vintage vignettes.
Campfire & Co.: What was your path to starting Bluebird’s Garage?
Mary Kaufman: It was a “now or never” moment! The day I got back from our honeymoon, I found out that I lost my job in sales. My new husband and I looked at each other and said, “now’s the time!”
How did you develop the branding for Bluebird’s Garage? Where did the name come from?
I had also been a collector of eclectic and vintage items and always had an interest in fashion. I always said that I would have my own store one day but I didn’t know exactly what that looked like. This was a daydream since high school — I remember making business cards in my fashion class. It wasn’t until I realized that I did not want to do retail that I came up with the idea to rent my furniture and props. I stored all of my finds in our large detached garage in our first home in Chesapeake and I loved the juxtaposition of the feminine and grit of the name.
What do you love most about owning your own business? What do you like the least?
I love being my own boss and the flexibility it allows me to fulfill my other dream, which is to be a mother. My least favorite thing is the money. Thankfully my mom handles my books!
What do you wish you’d known before you started your business?
That it would change. Life is ever changing and your flexibility to allow yourself that change is key.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Fake it til you make it.
Any advice or tips you think are overrated in the small business community?
I may get some backlash for this but “community over competition” drives me insane. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my community and have always been passionate about uplifting businesses that I love and admire. Some competition is healthy and is what drives us all to be better. Giving away all your secrets, for anything in life, is never a good idea.
What’s your “can’t live without” business tool?
My phone! As a mother of two and one on the way, my car is my day to day office. I send emails in between stop lights and diaper changes. My email on my phone allows me the ability to be easily reachable and reliable, which I think is one of my strong suits. Also, the camera! It makes it easy to capture things for what I consider my portfolio, Instagram.
Any big business goals for the near or distant future?
More commercial work is always a goal and making time for personal creativity building shoots with some of my favorite collaborators in the area!
You can register for this session or any of the other Fireside Sessions on the Campfire & Co. website. Additional workshops will be held throughout the fall, and each workshop is just $50.