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Bringing an idea to life (Part Two)

Bringing an idea to life (Part Two)

Ok, so we'd selected our terry towelling 100% cotton fabric (or so we think), our fashion designer had created our robe design and an ethical manufacturer had been selected. We also had been sent a sample of said robe, which we made a few minor tweaks to perfect it. With the next round of samples being created, in our selected colours, behind the scenes we were working on the brand identity. Coming from a marketing and branding background this is my favourite part and I take the visual identity of a brand very seriously.


A name and identity.

Let’s start with the name. VANDY is an endearing name I call my husband that annoys him endlessly. It comes from my love of shortening words and our surname “van der Riet” is quite a mouth full - VANDY is much simpler. Matt may dislike me calling him this but he’s more than happy to have the robes bare this fond nickname. So VANDY it’s agreed.

I engaged my gifted friend Jen Guihen, Founder of Wyld Folk Creative, to give VANDY a visual identity. Jen is just a magician. Yes she creates the most epic logos and pretty templates, but she does so much more. She understands the heart of the brand. She created a mood board fondly called Salty Margaritas and the vibe was the Mediterranean Summer, Aussie style. This became the anchor of the VANDY visual identity. The colour palette and fonts were selected, everything was carefully considered for cohesion and to feel like us. Every touch point of our brand must align. We needed swing tags, robe labels, sizing labels and the little V on our pockets and caps, as well as branded mailing packs, postcards and stickers. Jen also masterminded the photoshoot (more on that in a moment). The pleasure of working with Jen is she’s always thinking of the brand she is creating and she is strategic. I’d constantly receive little voice messages with ideas or contemplations she was having about VANDY. 

Refer to Rule 2. Only work with legends.

 Robe colours.

I had selected the colours of the robes from my newly purchased Pantone book not long after the idea landed back in Summer. I'd spent hours and hours staring at the millions of tiny coloured squares, oh the possibilities. I'd googled colour trends for Summer 23/24 only to realise that I didn’t want to be a trend follower. Two of our brand values include to be individual and bold, so no wonder selecting colours from what other’s forecasted to be “cool” seemed very unaligned. I used the Salty Margaritas mood board to help make the selection. Fast forward to when the coloured second sample robes arrived and I was shocked at the brightness. “Wow, do you think they are a bit much?” I asked Matt. “You picked these” he replied, “they are meant to be this bright.” Another friend who had been on the emotional roller coaster of the robes voiced her thoughts, “Luce you’d be disappointed if they were neutral and boring wallflower colours, it would dilute your brand.” True words. To inject more playfulness and colour it must be bold. And my god I’m glad we made this choice.


An online home.

Simultaneously we had started working with a Shopify web developer we found with help from Jen (*sidenote the power of word of mouth is very much alive, and my best connections are through women I’ve be referred to by other women in business). Our online home had to be memorable and feel fun and be first class from a functionality perspective. I saw the first draft of the website and it was great, and also, it was not VANDY. We went back to our brand identity tweaked a lot and now the site, which will be ready for our Pre-sale end of October, is just bloody fabulous. Refer back to Rule 1. We must be obsessed with everything we create. 


More in the mix.

The creating bug got me badly and as we'd nailed the robe design nailed we added a cap and bag, getting designs for that. Why not add more options for the people (more on this in next edition).


The high of a brand shoot.

The highest of highs so far was the photo shoot. The planning for this was months out. I carefully selected a few models (one being a mate I roped in). Each model was picked because they align with the brand and I knew they’d bring the fun energy for a great shoot day. We had two photographers, one for product and one for lifestyle, they had worked together before and the dynamic was perfect. Matt’s sister, Tessa the videographer, flew up from Melbourne to get the BTS video. We were recommended an epic studio in Currumbin that was just such a vibe to get all our product pics and then off to the same beach that we had the idea to create this product all those months ago. Last stop for shoot day was a walk across the road to a gorgeous Italian restaurant to get some eating photography with Salty Margaritas! The perfect day shooting was finished off with some swimming. 

The feeling of seeing our product living and being loved was everything.

As we all know what goes up must come down. This must be expected when we choose to start a business. Stay tuned for part three where an unexpected pivot caused a few weeks of no sleep and of course a silver lining…..


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