takeaways from the first three weeks of re-branding

Today I’m gonna jump right in. Hang on, its gonna be a bumpy ride.

Here’s where I get real and share some of the tough stuff I’ve learned from the past three weeks of the “new” Jess LC. Though I usually wait a bit longer to share lessons, I think it’s safe to take this moment and really get into what I’ve learned and gone through the past 21 days since I re-launched. As you know from the behind the scenes series, the process to make the new brand took six months and a ton of work, miracles, and amazing help. I was ecstatic, elated, and overflowing with gratitude.

For 72 hours.

On the third day after the re-branding, I had what I now call The Pilgrim Effect. What is the Pilgrim Effect you ask? Well, let’s put it this way (in my fuzzy and distorted recollection of American history), I’m sure that when the Puritans decided to leave England to practice their religious freedom, they felt that God had put a knowing-ness in their heart, they knew deep in their bones they were destined to move to the New World and start afresh. They made plans, built boats, sailed countless days in said boats, struggled, survived, and eventually landed on our dear shore. I’m guessing that they were ecstatic, elated, and overflowing with gratitude.

For 72 hours.

Because you see, I too had a similar vision on a much more personal scale. I felt last November that I was meant to make this shift to the new site, the new brand, the new look, the new jewelry. I knew deep in my gut that I could no longer keep Jess LC in it’s previous state. I simply felt it was meant to be new, different, improved. I also had a bigger vision for the new site and bigger company goals. So I worked, and planned, and struggled, and had amazing help to get me to the new shores of the integrated shopping cart, video, lookbook, Division collection, and logo.

But what I (think) the Pilgrims and I forgot to realize is that after spending so much time and energy throughout the journey, we started to build up a vision of what that hard work would manifest. Sure, the Pilgrims got to worship however they wanted and I got a sweet new website and look for my company – but the reality of that shore near Plymouth rock was hard (pun intended). It was cold. The winter was setting in.

And they didn’t even have a city or home to live in.

Not that I think that the Pilgrims were dumb, but I am guessing that if they were any thing like me, by the time they got through traveling, they half hoped they’d find a quaint bed and breakfast or at least a Sheridan Inn on the other side of the ocean so they could finally rest in the Lord’s blessings and 500-count Egyptian cotton linens. And maybe even have a continental breakfast the next morning.

But it didn’t happen.

When I finished the site, I expected 75% of the female population to find out about Jess LC, fall in love with the jewelry, and buy for everyone they knew. I expected Daily Candy to write it up again, Lucky Magazine to call me begging for samples for their upcoming photo shoot, and if Obama or Oprah called to wish me luck and much continued success, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

But none of that happened.

I definitely got lots of great support, feedback, comments, and orders came in at average to slightly higher rates. But not a fraction of the expectation I had built up to that point. I expected things to come to me, when the reality was I needed to work even harder to see those new opportunities come to pass. I, like the Pilgrims, needed to build a city in the New World and that meant even more hard work.

Needless to say, it was unsettling and worrisome for a week and a half.

But then I started to see myself react to the situation, after hanging my head for a few days, I started to pick up the phone again, I started to make calls to Lucky Magazine, to Daily Candy. I started to go to new networking events and I started to talk to designers with bigger followings to learn what my next steps should be. I started to take risks and actions that I never dreamed of making while the “old” Jess LC was around. And over time, I’m starting to see results. I’m starting to see the possibilities open up.

I’m starting to build my city, just like the Pilgrims, brick by brick.

And so I guess what I’ve learned after this whole experience is that when we take a leap of faith on something we feel so inwardly compelled to do, we must not assume that the outcome will always be easy. But once we make that shift, we can expect ourselves to rise to the occasion and bring the outcome we seek to fruition.

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  1. Clara

    Jess, one of the things that makes “Makeunder My Life” a must-read for me is exactly what you’ve shown us here: your straight-shooting candor. It’s much easier, I suspect, to live in a mythical everything-is-beautiful blogland, but you don’t take the easy path, and your readers are the beneficiaries of your honesty and generosity.

    I look to hearing more about the lessons you learned from the people to whom you reached out. Thanks so much.

  2. A beautifully written post and such a good lesson. Thank you for being honest with us and opening up. I love your pilgrim analogy. It makes so much sense to me and will stick with me for a long time to come I’m sure!

  3. Annie

    This is one of my favorite posts you’ve written. Thanks for your honesty about all aspects of your journey. I feel like I’m learning through your experience!

  4. megan

    Thanks for sharing this Jess! I’ve gone through that same emotional roller coaster after launching new products, and then come to the same realization that no one was going to come knocking on my door – I still had to do the leg work.

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  5. vadjutka

    I really appreciate this: thanks a lot for this honest post.
    When I had my website renovated in January, I felt the same. And the same happened to me :-).

    When I started my online selling journey I felt that “hey world, here I come, embrace me” – of course nothing happened. And it was a hardly learned lesson, that it really takes hard work (brick by brick) to achieve something, to build up my own world.

    Thanks again, and I do wish you _happy_ building.


  6. your insight and experiences are so important and your writing is thoughtful. your honesty is much appreciated.

  7. Piper

    Wow, Jess, thank you so much for sharing that – I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful that was to me. I know EXACTLY what you mean about expectations – and how it feels discouraging when those expectations don’t match reality. But I LOVE how you pushed through, you didn’t just say “oh well”…you went back to networking, etc. And to me that’s inspiring! Your honesty is so helpful and appreciated.

  8. KathrynwithaY

    Thanks for being so honest and up front with the struggles of your new branding. I think that by acknowledging that everything isn’t exactly perfect from the get-go, you will be able to keep forging ahead and making your jewelry and company the best it can be. Just keep swimming! Good things are ahead, you just gotta start with that first building block! 🙂

  9. I am heartened by your expectations and your reality. That is true for everyone, but sometimes seeing someone as talented and blessed as you go through the same struggles and set-backs gives me hope that it might all work out in the end. That and it reminds me that it is all about preparation, hard-work and opportunity. Thanks for sharing so openly. That is why I come here.
    Enjoy the day! Erin

  10. Niki

    Thank you so much for your transparency and honesty about your path! I feel like I’m somewhere along the same road and it’s so nice to know that you CAN work through those feelings of defeat or loneliness and persevere.

    I can’t wait to you make it big; this is GREAT material for your book 🙂

  11. laura

    This post made me laugh, not because it was a funny post, but because I know EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL. I think this happens every time we launch something that we really believe in. It’s difficult for me to get rid of those expectations but the most important thing I’ve learned from it is brushing myself off and bouncing back.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Jill

    I loved this post Jess… you humor and your honesty. I too have sat and wondered why Oprah hasn’t called yet – figuratively and maybe a little literally too. She doesn’t know what she’s missing.
    I watched The September Issue last night and I loved the end, when the issue was done and was the largest to date ever and everyone was so excited and happy. And Anna Wintour went to the layout room and very matter of fact-ly said something to the effect of “NEXT!” – as in, yes, September was fabulous… but now we need to work on October and November and… in life and business, it is always “NEXT!” Keep moving, keep going, keep improving!

  13. Kelley

    As Clara said, it’s your honesty and openness that makes me come back to this blog. You are an inspiration to me because of the way you share your struggles with us, but your posts never contain whining and sulking. Instead, you always find a lesson in them, and challenge yourself to make an up out of a down. 🙂

    I think I’m going to save this blog post for future reading.

  14. Charlene

    Hey Jess, after reading today’s post, I think this quote that I’ve written on my board is so fitting. “Pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you”. Love your site

  15. Alina

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks, but this is my first comment. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your challenges – so often people just talk about their successes, and that kind of makes me feel like the normal thing is for everything to happen effortlessly without any work. But the reality is, pursuing your dreams still takes work, it just feel right-er. Anyway, thank you and I am sure that your new site will be completely successful!

  16. JulieFBT

    As I was reading your post, I felt like you had just stepped into my shoes. I felt the exact same way when I launched my website and it was quite a let down when my expectations weren’t realized. Thank you so much for sharing this candid look into your challenges and what you’re doing to make lemonade out of lemons! 🙂 Good luck with the re-launch!

  17. Erin

    This was very honest and well written. I appreciate you having the bravery to talk about the giant scale of your expectations – because I have them too (and we know we aren’t alone). Sometimes, when my larger than life expectations are not met, I handle it by retreating – which brings with it negative consequences. All the best!

  18. diana

    What a great post full of transparency. Being a fellow accessory design company, and actually spending the last months focusing on rebranding actually, I completely understand your struggles and the difficulty of finding a collision of vision, expectation and goals realized all at the same level. Not an easy task, and you can’t assume others will join in your excitement just because you are bursting with it. I have learned this only to be motivation for harder work, stronger marketing, better communication and a larger confidence…and it looks like these are the type of positives take-aways you have found as well! Keep up the great work! and thank you for affirming to me that this ‘pilgrimage syndrome’ is normal!

  19. Jess, this is what makes you and your work so accessible to us as merely little readers. In sharing your struggles, just know we’re all benefiting from it. The awesome part is, that with your rebrand and new look it should be easier to sell you and your brand. Someday, those magazines will come knocking, but for now they better just listen up when you call bc your jewelry is gorgeous and your mission to help others examine their lives/goals/etc is pretty awesome too. THanks!

  20. You forgot a great big piece of this, though, Jess. We’re still talking about the Pilgrims 500 years after they landed – just like they’ll still be talking about Jess LC in 2510!

    Yeah. They so will.

  21. Alicia

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It must have been pretty scary and exciting to do a huge overhaul and rebrand like that. Congrats to you and best of luck in the future.

  22. I can totally identify with this. After starting my blog nearly 4 years ago and building it up to be fairly successful and well-read, I launched my new online store just over a month ago. While I have received some great feedback so far, it does feel a bit like starting all over again. I’m trying to pound the pavement, so to speak, and get the word out to all of the bloggers, journalists and fans I’ve connected with over the last few years. It’s definitely easier once you have those contacts, but it’s still a lot of work and can feel daunting at times.

    Best of luck with your new endeavors, I’m sure your new brand will take off in no time!

  23. Rebecca

    girl, I totally hear ya but you really do have something special here – an incredible brand identity and product. Working months, days and weeks on your rebrand means you are also super close to the project. From my digital view – you are incredible and so is your brand! 🙂

  24. T for Edgar

    I love your new look! I, actually, can’t say that I saw your old one, because I didn’t. But, as a word of encouragement, before I read this article, I was on your jewelry website and I was drawn to the artsy and professional feel of the site. It looks great and I hope you see receive many great sales and opportunities from your company makeover!
    Also, I just read one of your other blogs about getting to business and just “doing” -fail or succeed! And, I think it is wonderful that you are contacting big names because you believe you can move forward. And, you can!
    Thanks, again, for sharing.
    T for Edgar

  25. Jacki

    This post actually made me tear up. Everything I’ve read while cruising your archives today has been exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much.

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