Heather Lou is a pattern designer, blogger, and sewing educator for the modern maker and the mastermind behind Closet Case Patterns.
Heather creates challenging patterns with step-by-step directions that help intermediate sewers build a wardrobe they love – and not one they're limited to buying off the rack.
Heather came our way knowing that all of the pieces of her brand weren't quite fitting together. She wanted our help navigating what was working, what wasn't, and to build a more cohesive brand.
Where we started
We kicked off the project with Heather by working through our Brand Audit with her. A Brand Audit is a review and diagnosis of anything and everything your business touches: your brand identity, your website, your social media, and the list goes on and on. Inside this brand audit, we pointed out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to her brand as a whole.
Based on the audit, we had a conversation about where we were going to take the brand next.
Our focus became fixing two big pain points. Heather's blog was going by the name of "Closet Case Files" while her shop was under the name "Closet Case Patterns." To go along with that, the blog + the shop were not visually cohesive. All of this was causing confusion for visitors.
We knew that we didn't need to start with scratch with anything. What we needed to do we something that is sometimes harder -- tweak, simplify, and modernize.
Q: Why did you decide to hire us?
Heather: I was hunting around madly for great graphic designers, which is harder than you think, since every Tom, Dick and Sally out there is calling themselves a designer, and it can be hard to see past a shiny website to the real meat of a portfolio. I really connected with 4oh7's work immediately; they have a fresh, modern, original aesthetic and it resonated with me immediately. I connected with them and the communication was so great right from the beginning that I decided to "gamble" and hire them despite not having a personal recommendation from my network (all the personal recommendations I had been given didn't excite nearly as much!) Turns out you can judge a book by its cover since my first impression was 100% correct; these ladies rule.
Q: What was it like handing over control of a portion of your business?
Heather: Scary but also intensely liberating. I am a crazy Type A perfectionist with a lot of opinions about how things should look and feel, and was super nervous to let someone else have a crack at figuring out where our brand was heading. I was reassured almost immediately; I liked everything they presented at the beginning and it got easier and easier to let go and let the pros do their thing. In the end it looks sooooo much better than anything I could ever have come up with on my own. Handing over the reins was one of the best investments I ever made.
What we did
To help solve the confusion with the two business names, the first item we addressed a name change... sort of.
A name change is daunting but in this case essential. "Closet Case" already had the brand equity from the past several years and it didn't make sense to stray from there. However, using both "Files" and "Pattens" as business names was too much.
Although Closet Case Files is where Heather had started years ago, the business had transformed into something more than just a blog. Closet Case Patterns mostly clearly described the brand today. And that was that!
After deciding on a name change, we made subtle edits to the logo, color story, and typography that will help carry the brand for years to come.
Q: What surprised you about going through our design process?
Heather: It really forced me to think about my business from a deep, holistic place almost before we even got started. Plodding my way through the 40h7 workbooks I learned so much about my business, and they are such great synthesizers that getting their brand strategy guide felt a little like a revelation.
Also, I was totally unnecessarily stressed about what it would be like working with a team. The entire process from beginning to end was so seamless and easy; it was simple to stay on top of updates and developments, and I never felt over or underwhelmed.
Heather runs her blog on Wordpress, her courses on Teachable, and her shop on Shopify.
Before we redesigned the website, all of these sites had a bit of their own vibe happening. This is confusing for visitors, especially the super duper important first time visitor. They're not always sure if they're in the right spot as they navigate from site to site. And on top of that, all sorts of different visuals stories leads to inconsistency and sense of unprofessionalism. All things we were definitely looking to fix.
Heather wanted to stick with all of the current platforms, which was 100% the right choice. Wordpress is an excellent blogging platform, Teachable is where you want to be if you run courses, and Shopify is the e-commerce king (or queen). So, our challenge was to make these three very different platforms tell the same story seamlessly.
A big way that we solved this problem was by unifying the Wordpress + Shopify design as much as possible. We also created a dedicated homepage for the entire brand, whereas before each site had their own homepage of sorts.
Q: How did our work add value to your business?
Heather: For the first time, I have a beautiful, cohesive brand identity that carries through from my website right into my email signature, that will grow and evolve as my business does the same. I feel incredibly confidant about how Closet Case Patterns looks and what it communicates. The work 407 did ensures that I can plan for the future knowing that one of the really key parts of my potential success is totally taken care of.
The finished product
...is something that we couldn't be more proud of.
For every project, we create a list of 3-5 words to describe the ethos of the brand. As we work, these words are always on our mind.
For Closet Case Patterns, our words were wit, ambition, knowledge, and delight. And we think the finished product encompasses just that.
*This post was written on 2.21.17. Websites are constantly evolving and may look different now than when originally launched.