There's no doubt that launching a local business is a rollercoaster ride of never-ending to-do lists, permit requests, market research, and emotional highs and lows.
But nothing beats the immense joy you experience once you gain a foothold in your community. All your hard work leads up to that moment when you overhear someone hyping up your restaurant or spot someone wearing the clothing you designed.
How do you get there, though?
How do you brand your brick-and-mortar boutique in a way that resonates with your city? How do you generate consistent revenue during slow seasons? How do you build relationships with other businesses in your community?
You probably guessed the answer, friends.
Let’s take a peek at five businesses in my hometown of Victoria, BC, that knock their branding out of the park.
What Is It? Whistle Buoy is a small-batch brewery producing innovative beers on a rotating basis. They frequently partner with local coffee shops and orchards to brew creative beers and with non-profits to raise money for important causes.
The Branding: West coast vibes with a smart, cheeky feel that speaks to the lives of Victoria residents. Whistle Buoy’s branding extends from their brewery and glasses to their seasonal merchandise that acts as stylish advertising around town.
The Brand’s Sticky Factor: With deep roots in the community, Whistle Buoy constantly offers new experiences like live concerts, comedy shows, and film festivals while remaining true to its brand and audience.
Why This Brand Designer Loves It: Besides having one of the best dog-friendly patios in town, Whistle Buoy has also invested in killer design for packaging and merch. I’m talking cute enough that even non-beer drinkers snap up their shirts and tote bags.
What Is It? A modern co-working space for creative entrepreneurs, innovative start-ups, and ambitious professionals. With flexible memberships, regular events, and even an on-site bar, KWENCH fosters an inclusive community and a positive work-life balance for members.
The Branding: Bright, eclectic, and inviting sums up KWENCH’s branding and design. This co-working space is beautifully designed with communal tables for meeting other entrepreneurs, cozy couches for curling up on, and quiet phone booths for taking client calls.
The Brand’s Sticky Factor: KWENCH knows its members are looking for more than just an office space. This is exactly what they've created for Victoria entrepreneurs - a community where creativity can grow and relationships flourish.
Why This Brand Designer Loves It: KWENCH offers a place where I can pop in to concentrate on my work and get into the zone, but I don't have to go very far if I need a quick coffee break with a friend.
What Is It? A popular coffee shop in the heart of downtown Victoria - only steps away from Whistle Buoy Brewery! This boutique café offers a curated selection of coffees from around the world, tasty pastries, and healthy lunches.
The Branding: Hey Happy’s modern and playful branding translates into colourful, happy, and trendy merchandise, interior design, and even their food (their squash toast is gorgeous!).
The Brand’s Sticky Factor: A consistent branding strategy and exclusive products, like their monthly coffee subscription, make Hey Happy an unforgettable boutique coffee shop.
Why This Brand Designer Loves It: With its unconventional take on coffee, branding, and design, Hey Happy brightens my day and stands out from the typical brick-and-wood styling seen in other cafes around town.
What Is It? Rook & Rose is a lifestyle boutique, wedding floral designer, and photo studio offering curated goods and fresh, dried, and custom flower arrangements in Victoria.
The Branding: From their bouquets to their studio, Rook & Rose brings a sense of stylish, minimal, nordic vibes to everything they do. While the business continues to expand, its new services and marketing remain anchored in its branding.
The Brand’s Sticky Factor: Whether it’s their brand photography studio or custom wedding floral arrangements, Rook & Rose considers all aspects of their clients’ needs and lives to create new offers and grow with them.
Why This Brand Designer Loves It: Not only will you spot the Rook & Rose studio in my brand photos, but I’m also a huge fan of their colourful bouquet t-shirt and branded reusable water bottles!
What Is It? Citrus & Cane is a tropical, boutique cocktail bar in Victoria with a mid-century modern design that transports you back to 1970s Los Angeles.
The Branding: It’s all in the details at Citrus & Cane. Its tropical and playful brand is reflected in every feature of this cocktail bar, from the handcrafted cocktail syrups to the retro interior design to the tiki glassware.
The Brand’s Sticky Factor: While Victoria has a plethora of local breweries, pubs, and hotel bars, Citrus & Cane sets itself apart as one of the few modern and vibrant cocktail bars for anyone seeking a one-of-a-kind experience.
Why This Brand Designer Loves It: With walls covered with multicoloured birds, tropical drinks in tiki mugs, and some of the comfiest velvet pink chairs you can imagine, what’s not to love about Citrus & Cane?
From vibrant interior design, strong community connections, and specialized services that resonate with their audience, these Victoria businesses keep branding at the centre of their work.
(Don’t forget the outstanding products and services that keep their clients coming back for more).
If you’re ready to establish your business as the go-to in your industry, in your city, and in the hearts of your dream clients, then I have a little gift for you.
Download ‘The Business Owner’s Guide To Building A Sticky Brand’ to start designing your business’s cult-status brand that makes you the go-to stop in your city.
Principal, Honey & Co.
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