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Mom Was Right

“Just be yourself, and you’ll be fine,” Mom would always say before I left the house for the first day of a new school year, play date with a new friend, first date or new job. I’d always be fascinated at how right she was. Anytime I’d try to put on a facade and be someone I was not, I would fail miserably. On the contrary, the best relationships I’ve had all began with my being relaxed and confident in who I am. The icing on the cake was that I was unique in being myself, too.

I’ve done a lot of reading on transparency in marketing, and anyone who’s worked with me knows I’m really “into” that topic. Modern marketers have caught on that brands need to be more open and authentic to the world, but I find myself still struggling to convince clients of this strategy. Let’s look at it this way: the same psychology applies. Isn’t Mom always right about everything, after all? In the sea of too many distractions, too many options and too much stuff, brands have got to find a way to stand out. The sure-fire way to get noticed is to “just be yourself”, like Mom said. Here are a few reasons I think this is true:

  1. People want to know Why. Who are you? What are you passionate about? Why did you found your company? Everyone has their own story and wants to be able to relate to others’. If your company is providing a service or product that other companies offer, then let your uniqueness shine in the “why” of your business. Often, customers want to do business with a company simply because of their mission or purpose.
  2. You have a Story to tell. People like stories, plain and simple. Stories evoke emotion, and emotion compels people to act. What is it about You that writes the story of your company? Don’t let your story get lost in the factual content you provide your website designer or copywriter. It’s what makes you and your brand special.
  3. Comfortable = Confident. There is comfort in knowing and being oneself, and that comfort translates to confidence. Think about people you know who come across so comfortable in their own skin. Brands need to be comfortable and confident in their own skin, flaws and all. (People can also relate to flaws.) Sometimes this takes a good deal of soul searching. The best place to start is with You, because you are your brand.

Some of these thoughts were inspired by another great article I recently read called “5 Ways to Be More Transparent in Your Marketing”. I invite all business owners to read that article and evaluate your brand position. Are you still following Mom’s advice? She’s always right, after all.

5 Reasons to Build Your Website with Figvine and WordPress

Have you thought about starting an online business or building a website or blog for your company, profession or hobby… yet the thought of building that site seems overwhelming? Developing a site does not have to be an intimidating process. Here are five reasons to build your site with Figvine and WordPress:

  1. SAVE TIME AND MONEY – A Figvine website is going to be much more affordable than you might expect because we use WordPress. We will start with a theme, so the structure or skeleton of the site will already be developed. In other words, we won’t be starting from scratch, which cuts development time significantly. The themes are very affordable, often free, and usually cost no more than $100.
  2. THEME BASED, YET VERY CUSTOMIZABLE – Because WordPress offers thousands of beautiful themes, you will get to have a glimpse of what your site will look like when completed. And you get to pick your theme, too. Figvine will guide you through the selection process and help you find a theme that has many customizable options. Rest assured, the end result will not look like a cookie-cutter, generic website, but instead will have a personality that is all yours.
  3. TOTAL WEB PACKAGE – Figvine offers years of graphic design, PR and content marketing experience, so we are a one-stop shop for your website. Not only will we design your site, but we will also walk you through the content development process, help you with your copy-writing and blogging and connect the dots to your social media. We are happy to manage your social media, as well.
  4. SEARCH FRIENDLY – WordPress is built to be SEO-friendly, featuring streamlined code and a number of plugin options to push your content to the top of search engine lists.
  5. USER-FRIENDLY CONTENT MANAGEMENT – WordPress is a content management system with a user-friendly administrative dashboard, meaning you will be able to make updates to your site once Figvine has completed the design. Figvine is also happy to assist you with a maintenance program where we make those updates for you.

We look forward to working with you on your next web project!

The Essence of Charleston: Charleston Candle Works captures the scent of the Holy City

We are thrilled to be working with new and growing Charleston Candle Works! This eco-friendly line of 100% soy, naturally scented candles is already in five states and counting, but we decided it was time to spread the word further with this newly launched PR campaign! Be the first to read the press release here, and keep your ears open for more CCW news…

Charleston, SC (July 10, 2013) – One reason Charleston, SC is currently ranked the number one tourism town in the world might be the alluring aromas of confederate jasmine, honeysuckle and gardenia permeating the charming city streets. The intoxicating scents of vanilla, hazelnut and maple arising from Charleston’s fine culinary establishments might also contribute to the city’s universal adoration. Fortunately, an emerging company, Charleston Candle Works, has literally captured that essence of Charleston in an elegant and eco-friendly soy candle line.

“We use only 100% natural ingredients to make our candles that are not only supportive of our local farming industries, but are considered eco-friendly and safe,” explained CCW founder and Charleston resident, Michelle Bell. Bell, a former ICU nurse of fifteen years, developed a love for candles when using them for stress relief after long, emotional and physical days at the hospital. When burning them, though, she would find herself disappointed with the scent release or burn qualities, and she would imagine methods of improvement. Two years ago, a running injury that required two foot surgeries left her with limited mobility and unable to continue her nursing job. Her husband encouraged her to make her dream a reality, hand-making her own candles, and Charleston Candle Works was born.

After testing various waxes and scents, Bell developed a process using domestically-grown soy wax, containing no chemicals or stabilizers, 100% pure essential oil for fragrance and cotton-core wicks. She was especially pleased with the scent release benefits of pure soy, as well as the way the cotton wicks reduced smoking and extended the burn time. She also liked the fact that the pure ingredients could be easily washed with soap and water, making the lovely glass containers reusable. Lastly, she hired a Charleston-based design agency to hand-draw the classic, horse and carriage adorned label and to help her brand the company.

Today the candles are still made by hand when ordered to ensure the finest and freshest product. They are sold in sixteen retail stores in five states (and counting), as well as at crafts fairs and online at www.charlestoncandleworks.com. The candles are affordable, retailing between $12.95 and $22.00. Perfect for gifts or personal relaxation, they offer a variety of scents available in several container sizes, including custom candles for special occasions such as weddings. The company also supports Local Happiness, a South Carolina based fundraising organization that promotes the local economy.


 Charleston Candle Works started as a way to create something unique, sustainable, economical, enjoyable, and ecological. Our candles burn longer, cleaner, and with more fragrance because they are all natural. We work with a southeastern soy bean farm who produces fresh soy wax of the highest quality to make our candles from 100% natural soy, with no chemical stabilizers and with top quality imported essential oils for fragrance. We are proud to support the local economy and farmers with our “farm-to-candle”.