When stylist, curator and brand consultant Julia Green was looking to showcase the latest line-up of Greenhouse Interiors wares she chose a novel alternative to the traditional trade fair. Taking over an entire St Kilda home (including relocating the family that lives there), Julia set about creating the ultimate ‘Greenhouse Interiors’ abode – think texture, fun, beautiful art and a kaleidoscope of colour. By all accounts the immersive experience was wonderfully received and you can check it out yourself via the pictures in this story.
“We dressed every bed in our linen, hung all of our new art collections, burnt our bespoke candles, put our hand soaps in the bathroom and encouraged all visitors to truly experience what it’s like to live in amongst our wares and by all accounts people loved it,” says Julia who squeezed extra promotional mileage out of the stint via the creation of a short video tour of the space and a lovely suite of still imagery. And according to Julia, the whole venture was produced for a fraction of the traditional trade fair costs.
With 10 years’ experience working on over 40 start-ups, Julia has become highly sought-after in the interiors industry – an industry that has changed monumentally with the advent of digital marketing, social media and online shopping. “I began my career in this industry just prior to the interiors explosion, excessive noise and competition, before ‘The Block’ rose to fame, and in era where things were done in a ‘certain’ way,” says Julia. With retail goal posts changing on the daily and more competition than ever before, the changing retail landscape means only the most nimble will survive.
“There is an increased number of people vying for their share of the market – it’s noisy. Also, the days of owning a store only, without an online presence, are gone. The savvy marketers all seem to have a bricks and mortar presence but are using it as a hub for a more active digital footprint,” says Julia who shares her top tips for brand success with us today.
Hobby vs full-time
While most creatives don’t have the luxury of giving up their day job in the first instance, Julia believes it’s important to eventually make the jump to ensure your brand’s success. “You need to know when to tip the balance from hobby to full time maker/creator. Dabbling rarely works, but commitment usually does,” says Julia.
Creative vs salesperson
Diametrically opposed in some respects, it’s no surprise to hear that creative people are often not that great at selling their wares. “I often refer people to outsource this part if it is not their skillset, so they can concentrate on making and not be distracted by customers!” says Julia.
“Ensuring they take their fans on a journey is key. It’s like telling a story. People want to know WHO they are buying from,” says Julia. From static imagery to video content, embracing the digital realm is key to this aspect of winning the brand war. “Brands need to have a ‘face’ for the public and not just push their sales pitch. Brands must sell a lifestyle and not a product,” says Julia.
The power of pictures
“In our industry, there is no denying the importance of the visual, and the tactile. People want to see inspirational imagery that promotes a lifestyle they wish to be a part of. Producing imagery and video is expensive, undoubtedly. But there are some economical ways to do it, that don’t all revolve around a crew of 20 with expensive equipment,” says Julia who has found that brands almost always get their ROI in this regard though the resulting imagery must end up in the right people’s hands – magazines, influential blogs and the like.
“I’ve learned and have seen first-hand the power of social media, and the influence it has. I run an excellent workshop on this and teach people how to maximise their influence here,” says Julia.
When it comes to social media, Julia believes a brand must have a clearly defined point of difference that can be articulated in 30 seconds or less, must maintain authenticity at all times, provide outstanding customer service (nobody wants to wait anymore) while creating a ‘story’ (as mentioned above). “People want to know who you are out. Come out from behind the camera even if it pains you. Failing that, get a staff member to do the honours,” says Julia.
From a phone consult to a full day in person with an individual or company, Julia is now formally available for brand consulting. “This service is not a one size fits all, as I like to review each business, and find their strengths and weaknesses before delivering change on a platter. In short, after consulting to over 40 start-ups in a decade, many going on to become household names, I have a good idea of a recipe that is foolproof, and my recipe is up for sharing!”