As an entrepreneur, I try to stay active in my community and look for opportunities to network and learn from successful people and brands. I like to pay attention to the way they carry themselves, their design approach and the manner in which they implement their branding and marketing.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend an event in Tampa, at Oxford Exchange, where Anna Bond, from Rifle Paper Co., shared her story and spent some time kindly answering questions from the audience. If you haven’t hear about Rifle before, they are a paper goods company located in Winter Park, Florida, that offers beautifully illustrated cards, stationary, wrapping paper among many other products.
What makes their story inspiring is that Anna and her husband, Nathan, started their business four years ago in their living room. Now, their products are carried by over 4,000 stores worldwide and they have been featured in multiple print and online publications.
The talk was interesting in many ways, but a couple things stood out the most to me. On the branding side of things, Anna talked about how she worked hard to keep Rifle Paper’s branding it’s own. Meaning that no matter how much she personally liked something (be it a design element like “chevrons,” or a “funny” tone in cards) sometimes it is not a fit within a brand, and, therefore, it should not be forced into it. On the business side of things, they emphasized how important “quality” was to their brand and how they did almost the impossible to ensure every product was up to their standards in order to make sure every customer had a positive experience.
They shared many little nuggets of wisdom and I tried my best to take them all in. I’m really thankful for people like them who share their stories and the lessons they have learned without holding back. I can just hope one day I can do the same for someone else.