This guest post is by Abby Kerr of The Voice Bureau
WHO & WHY
When it comes to developing a brand around your interests and values, a personality-based brand -- where you, the brand creator are the ‘star’ -- is not the only way to go. Consider creating a lifestyle brand: a brand that (according to Wikipedia), “embod[ies] the interests, attitudes, and opinions of a group or a culture.” A lifestyle brand makes a perfect paean to your pet interest, hobby, pursuit, or perspective. And a lifestyle brand focused on teaching, helping, and inspiring does NOT mean you, the business owner, won’t profit.
In today’s Purpose Profile, we shine the light on Andy Hayes’ niche lifestyle website Plum Deluxe, which is all about helping its readers and subscribers live a life they love and make moments matter. Hayes, a Portland, Oregon-based entrepreneur and luxe living devotee, founded a brand to celebrate life’s small, special moments: a cup of tea savored, a spa treatment enjoyed, a backyard bonfire accompli.
But Plum Deluxe is not only a home for rich lifestyle-related content around wellness, travel, men’s and women’s fashion, and better living through intentional daily choices; it’s also a moneymaker for Hayes and his team, who mix their own loose leaf teas and sell them via their website.
If you’ve ever had an idea for a values-based brand that inspire people to aspire, then read on.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Andy’s inspiration for his brand conversation has deep roots. On his About Us page, he writes, “I truly believe Plum Deluxe is my life’s purpose. My mission in creating the Plum Deluxe community is to share the story and lessons I learned from my mother, Pam. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 59. The subsequent 5 years of her life while she battled the disease were some of the best years of her life. . . . My mom taught me that no matter your circumstances, you can choose to create moments that matter, every day. Plum Deluxe is here to help you decide what kinds of moments are important to you – in order for you to live a life you love.”
I chose to profile Andy’s Plum Deluxe because like many creatively entrepreneurial types, his goals are big. But he makes the bigness of life-loving aspirations feel everyday and doable, in the form of small calls to action, like these style tips for your online profile pic, this post investigating your indulgence style, or this gift guide for coffee lovers (that aren’t from Starbucks). Watch and learn how he takes an intangible, hard-to-define destination (“a life you love”) and makes it all about the journey.
BRAND VOICE & VIBE
The Plum Deluxe blog accepts contributor submissions. A multiple-author blog is a great strategy to consider for a site like Andy’s that needs a lot of content on a regular basis, and wants to pull from multiple related topics and perspectives. Whether the byline belongs to Andy or a contributor, the brand voice is clear, relaxed, and friendly -- like a note from your most helpful and ingeniously resourceful friend who encourages you to take really great care of yourself. The vibe of Plum Deluxe is that of consistent, approachable authority.
Visually, the site design is clean and bold, which easily keeps the focus on the evocative photos used to illustrate each post. The color palette is heavy on plum (a nod to the brand name) accented with white and charcoal, and the typography is classic with a retro flair.
ABOUT THE MONEY, HONEY
How do Andy’s values as a business owner translate into making money as as brand?
Plum Deluxe focuses on the intimacy of experience, on being intentional as a path toward happiness, and on embracing enthusiasm as a means to a richer life. His brand seems to be the embodiment of witnessing his mother’s life-enjoyment journey following her cancer diagnosis, along with his own penchant for exploring the finer things.
The brand’s eponymous organic tea line (hand-blended in small batches in Portland) is a revenue source as well as an expression of Andy’s personal values: tea-selecting, -making and -drinking requires time, care, and ritual. Could it be that the tea line is a subtle invitation to Plum Deluxe’s readership to slow down and enjoy reading the site a little longer?
In addition to vending teas, Plum Deluxe hosts free and for-pay live events in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. to encourage its readership to partake of the good life -- one simple, delectable sip, experience, or choice at a time.
Crafting a lifestyle brand that reflects your own interests and passions while providing real value for people who aspire to delight in the same? It can be done profitably so. Just ask Andy Hayes.
Have you thought about crafting a lifestyle brand around your personal interests and values? What inspires you about Andy’s approach to his purpose-driven brand, Plum Deluxe?