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Artwork by Say Hello Design
“Archetypes are the "software" of the psyche." - Margaret Mark
Hey Starter Fam,

Many months in the making… I am especially stoked for you to officially meet Rainbow Rd. Our plant-based soft-serve business has a name and more importantly—a brand. Building a brand is one of my favorite parts in business. It’s storytelling and design all rolled up together.

We’re all searching for meaning in life and yes, strangely, we are looking for it in the restaurant we choose or the chocolates that we drop into our shopping cart, or the adaptogen powder we swirl into our matcha — whether we realize it or not. A brand goes beyond just the features of your product or service, a brand is about a story you tell and a feeling you convey. Go one step deeper, these stories and feelings tap into universal archetypes stored in our subconscious that go back to Plato and were formalized by Carl Jung.

Developing a brand requires you to explore your own personal why and mission and what authentically matters to you. Who is your customer? What is true for you will fuel the stories you tell through your product, and the images and words on your website, youtube channel, or instagram feed. And once you identify that archetype and emotion you want to convey, the most important thing is consistency. 

For us at Rainbow Rd., the intersection of creative play and the natural world powers everything we do. It makes us feel alive, feel happy, and it’s from this place we can create a better world (and it’s urgent we do so). We named this feeling vibrant earth. Our name itself was inspired by a photographer, Daniel Mercadante, who's photo graced the cover of Issue #02 on Alignment.
A long-exposure creates a stunning rainbow road that bends and twists, illuminating natural landscapes. Rainbows are like nature's paintbrush. They feel both natural and magical at the same time, and it's the state nickname of our home, Hawaii. 

This issue takes you through #protips for developing your own brand before you a pay a dime to anyone, including a free worksheet from Say Hello Design (the design team we love and worked with!) to get clarity on your own brand direction. We share brand stories from a design team that’s creating the best restaurant brands in SF to the fastest growing beverage brand in America. Plus, you all shared feedback last month that you want more of The Journal, so including that again too. :)

Thank you for being here, I hope you enjoy this issue. Say hi if you have a moment. I love hearing from you all. :)

In Good Food We Trust,
-Emily LaFave Olson aka ELO


PS - If you are new here, welcome! You can expect an issue each month, usually about mid-month (sometimes a bit later if motherhood gets the best of me ;) as each issue explores whatever I am working on real time each month.
The 🌿🍦 Journal
Working on our website from a hotel room in Baltimore this month. Don't let anyone tell you what optimal conditions you need to get the work done. If you care enough, you will find a way with one numb arm. ;)
Last month we got so close to launch, but unexpected issues with our machine kept us from our first public event. Just a week after that, I had some travel on the books to the mainland to see family, so the last month I have been on the road. I will say, it was hard to hit a roadblock and not be available to double-down with my team. I was feeling on some level a feeling of guilt, until I zoomed out and looked at the big picture.

We want to build Rainbow Rd. with family values integrated into our culture. For the first two venture-backed businesses I built, as soon as we started it was a full sprint all the way through. There was never time for vacation or family and our connection and time for family very much suffered. I must lead by example. From mid-July to mid-August we went Europrean-style and took most of the month off. I did do some work in the late hours and nap times, but I am very grateful for hang time with family. Every time I got a bit anxious about taking time off and going too slow, I thought about the story Yancey Strickler shared in building Kickstarter, which took a long while to get off the ground (compared to most tech startups). He said, we did our best with the time we had, that's all you can do. 

The downtime this past month created the space necessary for my co-founder Marika to fully immerse with her new baby and family too. We talked about how important it is to us that paternity leave is built into our culture and this period allowed us to see how a small business adapts. The unexpected surprise for me was noticing when I stepped out of the tactical day-to-day of ice cream testing and machine trouble-shooting, I went from 50 ft to the 5,000 ft view. It allowed me to think big picture and more strategically. I just made re-entry into island life and ready to crank on finding a home for our little soft-serve business, while we perfect our recipes in our machine. See ya in September. 🤙🏽
Three #Protips for Branding Excellence
1. Q&A with Design Womb
Design Womb excels at creating remarkable food brands. Ya know that shelf-popping California Olive Ranch label? Nicole and her team at Design Womb crafted the look.
2. A Worksheet with Say Hello Design
Ok, so what branding is right for your business? Time to interview yo-self. This is a gem right here. Sharon McPeake, founder of Say Hello Design excels not just at design but the process for creating a great brand. She's sharing her worksheet for free that walks you through the questions you to need ask to get to the heart of your brand story. Email Sharon to get the full PDF.
3. A Book on Brand Archetypes: The Hero & The Outlaw
When you build a brand - one of the questions you'll answer is: what is the personality of your business? This personality should fit into one of twelve brand archetypes. This post will give you the cliff-notes version, or you can fully immerse and read this classic book: The Hero and The Outlaw that breaks it down. 
The Starter Pack
1. Hakuna Banana - Banana Spice: We're into plant-based ice creams if you couldn't tell. ;) When we're too lazy to bust out the blender and blend up frozen bananas on our own, this banana coconut blend is a creamy, clean ice cream alternative sweetened with fruit. 

2. The Buttermilk Co - Khichdi: Most nights we have our eyes set on a one pot dinner situation, and these kits eliminate the thinking. Khichdi is a common comfort food in all parts of India, each with its own combo. This version is made of semolina flour mixed with vegetables, spices, and turmeric - and only needs water to transform into dinner.

3. Mina - Sparkling Tea: Once La Croix made less sweet bubbles in a can a staple in our fridge, there was no turning back. These up the interest with sparkling teas like Tropical Green Tea, Citrus Black Tea, and Hibiscus Lime Tea.

4. Seedible - Sesame Butter: You crave almond butter and you want to work more tahini into everything. Ding ding! It's a match. You'll love this sesame butter, especially the chunky version. Bonus points for being totally allergen-friendly and school-safe as it's nut free.

5. Tochi - Salted Egg Potato Chips: If you have been to Japan lately, you are likely nodding your head as we did...yes, yes, and yes. We are into the salted duck eggs trend and potato chips are a quintessentially American way to serve up the flavor.
One More Thing!
Alli Ball launched a podcast! 

Food Biz Whiz™ is a weekly podcast for emerging brands in the packaged food industry. Through a combination of solo episodes with Alli, guest episodes with leaders in the CPG industry, and live coaching episodes with Alli's clients, you'll learn insider info on launching, growing, and scaling your packaged product line. ⁣
Meet Alli Ball our Contributing Editor to The Starter Pack!
Alli Ball is the creator of Retail Ready™, an online course for food business owners who are looking to grow their packaged food businesses. Prior to that, Alli was the former Head of Grocery at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, where she supported the sales & growth of thousands of products. Find her on Instagram at @itsalliball.
Food.
Founders.
Stories.
Listen: How Health-Ade Kombucha Became the Fastest Selling Refrigerated Beverage in America
- Brand Builder
"I think people mistakingly think that the product alone is the most important thing. Or says things like you'll need a great product and then (dot, dot, dot). I actually think the brand is bigger than that, I think the brand is... it's like the blood, it's the life blood of a product." Listen.
STARTER SAYS: Never would guessed Health-Ade has grown as rapidly as it has. A captivating story on company creation and how your brand is also your culture.
Read: Meet the Sister Design Duo Behind SF's Buzziest Restaurants
- Eater
“[Design] sets the stage to charge what you want for food,” says Emily. “It’s a way to add value beyond food and service.” Read.
STARTER SAYS: Fun to learn about this duo behind stand-out restaurants in SF and what makes a brand when it's inside four walls of a restaurant. - ELO
Read: How Brandless' Creative Chief built an anti-brand from Scratch
- Fast Company

"Brandless is vertically integrated. We’re a small design and creative team, and we touch everything. The advertising, packaging design, the site, product photography, the unboxing experience, and so on. Every part of the experience of Brandless is driven by the same design principles." Read.
STARTER SAYS: Brandless is brilliant in its own contradiction. A very strong brand that's positioned itself as anything but to its customers.  - ELO
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