The Heart of It All!

The Caroline Doll shares lessons in branding from Vogue and Sarah Rutson, the former VP of Net-a-Porter! 


What do the labels Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliot all have in common? Sarah Rutson, the former VP of Net-a-porter. She has taken each label through a fashion resurrection, re-branding each of them simultaneously. 

Do you ever read an article or listen to an interview and find yourself agreeing with everything the person is saying and then find yourself re-reading the last paragraph you just read just to put off the inevitable end? That was me by the end of this article in Vogue

Rutson took three brands that had lost their way after 10, 17 and 42 years in the running and gave them new life by harkening back to the old — the why behind the brand’s reason for being. The article reads, “She jumped at the chance because it was an opportunity to do what she does best: be a shaper of brand identity, a diviner of trends, and a catalyst for moving things forward.” As a brand officer, she helped these brands re-discover their vision and worked alongside them to move their brand forward into the future. What I refer to as “The Why Behind the Brand,” she refers to as the “heartland” of the brand. Equipment, for example, started in 1976 as a salon in Paris, only selling shirts. Re-incorporating the brand’s French heritage was the first thing Rutson saw necessary to retain its je ne sais quoi here in the States. 

Today, branding is a ubiquitous word. It is hard not to get caught up in what every one else is doing. It is hard to resist the temptation to put out a product or service because another similar brand is. When it came to re-branding these fashion brands, Rutson shares, “It’s not about us turning product around in three or four weeks because we’re not actually here to be copying what’s coming down the runway as a fast fashion brand would do. It’s about building up our brand identity, and having confidence in that and having integrity. You keep a steady ship, you don’t start panicking about what others are doing and whether we should we be doing this.” This, dolls, is exactly how you create a brand that has no competition.

Your brand is entirely capable of inimitability. How? By allowing your unique personality and your dream vision to be your driving force, your why behind the brand, your heartland.

This article is a pearl necklace of wisdom, dolls.  Do you have a brand that could use a little resurrection? Click here and let’s start!