My first step in building this brand was envisioning its story. And, as any good story, it has to start with “once upon a time in a beautiful land”.

MLC1948 Brand Building – The “Once Upon a Time”

It will be difficult to convince you that the picture above is real. But it is. It was taken, on a sunny day, in a beautiful town on the shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The name of the town is Montreux, and it’s quite possibly the most beautiful town in the world.

You don’t know it? Oh, but it’s famous. Beside a 50 year old world renowned jazz festival and a cute little Christmas Market, Montreux is also known because Freddy Mercury used to live there. Ah, yes, and Smoke on the water was written there, too. During a jazz festival.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, because it’s here that the idea has it’s origin (including the difficult to pronounce MLC1948 brand name).

MLC1948 - Premium Fashion Accessories for the Elegant Adventurer
The first logo. It wasn’t extremely creative.

(More about Montreux and the region in The Diary of an Elegant Adventurer. And for some Instagram worthy pictures, well, follow us on Instagram.)

Walking by the lake one day, I thought about how nice it will be to create a fashion accessory brand that would be modern, but not too bling, minimalist, but not too boring, and easy to wear, but not sloppy.

With all these constraints, it should be pretty easy, right?

Luckily, there is always the “beginner’s enthusiasm” that saves us and helps us to get started.

Building a Brand Is More than Telling a Nice Story

My initial plan was rather straightforward: design some accessories, build a fancy ecommerce website, take some nice product pics, advertise and start selling. (Of course, the first thing I did was to secure the domain name and start building that fancy website.)

And I have to admit that I wasn’t so very far from the reality. If you exclude the details. And there was a whole bunch of them. Details!

There was the design of the collection (for whom? hmm. Good question), the packaging (I haven’t quite thought about that), and the whole brand identity (what a big word! My initial idea regarding what the brand should be about was a little all over the place. Well, maybe a little more than a little.). So much so that the whole plan of designing the product, making it, taking some nice product pics, designing a fancy website, advertising, and starting selling had to wait.

MLC1948 - Red Leather Bracelet - Rouge Rose Quartz Tube
One of the first products. Red leather with rose quartz and stainless steel inserts. Now it’s name is Octans and is part of the Wind Rose Collection. But more about this in another episode.

Building a Brand Is a Complex Process

A beautiful brand story, a fancy website, and social media alone are not going to sell my idea. I thought that by looking at the results achieved by the most visible brand I could reverse engineer them and adapt them to my own situation.

As I had soon discovered, there was more than meets the eye when it comes to brand building. There were a lot of elements that I haven’t taken into account. And this is where the business books (even if some of them seem a little obsolete) become helpful.

What I needed to do was to stop and take a step back and understand what were the missing elements. But, I’m going too fast. More about this in a future post.

The next post will be about my first attempt to design and make a product with the MLC1948 logo on it. That was my dream’s first contact with reality.

PS. I have recently given an interview to The Busy Lifestyle (I love the name, exactly my lifestyle at the moment) about the challenges of building a brand from the ground up. Enjoy the reading!

PPS. You may have understood by now that my experience in brand building is at most theoretical. But, I learning fast: lately, mostly from my own mistakes.