[Case Study] Building a fashion brand from the ground up — Bombshe

Gabriela Kanik

Gabriela Kanik

Every business has a founding story. Some owners specialize in what they’ve been doing for years, swapping cozy sofa at home for a private office and a team of employees. Others find the courage to do something new and niche – something that is not necessarily in high demand but requires them to acquire new skills and take up risks.There are also people for whom the business is simply a dream come true. Sometimes they have have carrying that dream since they had been little kids. Such was the case for our client who asked us to create a name and logo for an original fashion brand. We made sure that the fruits of that first, very emotional stage of building a business – creating elements of branding – helped the client launch her brand effectively and keep ahead of the competition.

HOW WAS IT WITH BOMBSHE?

Smart business owners do not wait

The client approached us first in July 2016. She was at the stage of preparing the business model – f.e. finding a reliable sewing factory that could take over sewing dresses by her design. She acted early which helped her implement different elements of her business simultaneously and, ultimately, launch her new brand in less than half a year. That’s quite a success. We completed our work in just a few months and the brand went live in 2017, with its simple online store built by a different agency.

 

If you want to learn more about other complex projects where we translated branding and visual identity into website design, see our designs for SmartYou, Codee and Aviso.

 

Preparing and setting direction

We received unfinished client brief without explicit branding preferences, consistent and numerous style examples and ideas for the brand’s communication and unique values that would set it apart on the market. It was the first time our client had ever worked with such a document and since it was also the first business she had owned, her confusion was completely understandable.

We worked together with our client to set a creative direction for the project. We started by describing key features of future products. We knew that – at least in the beginning – the brand will offer only dresses. They will all be very womanly and each model – no matter the type – will accentuate one particular part or the whole body of the owner. Next, we talked about aesthetic preferences and established the type of experience our client wants to offer through Bombshe. Based on feedback, we created a set of propositions that we worked with during later stages of the project. Debriefing was not necessary as the client fully trusted our experience and intuition. She made the right choice – our initial ideas were spot-on and the client accepted both the name and logo without any changes.

Priorities

Right at the beginning, when nobody knew about the brand that was about to launch, the client bore significant costs of research (travelling, partner meetings, assessing sewing samples) and production (prototypes, fabrics, sewing). Given her limited budget, the client ordered only the most basic branding elements – name, logo, and simple collaterals. Despite that, the scope of our work was sufficient to allow the client to continue production – prepare product tags and print shipping boxes. By trusting the specialists with naming for her new business, the client removed the issue of making additional decisions and keep the brand’s communication and visual identity consistent. Many business owners try to work on their own in this aspect and face many unexpected problems as a result.

BUSINESS GOALS

Stand out from the competition

Our task was to design basic elements for a brand that was about to enter a very saturated and diverse market. It is targeted at clients interested in dresses in a range between 200 and 400 zł. All the same, the brand’s products are intended for popular tastes and answer current trends popularized by chain fashion stores.

Accentuate the quality

Additionally, we were asked to help the brand reach customers accustomed to diverse selection of cuts and forms available at very affordable prices – many of which are sewed mainly in China from low-quality materials and sold in chain stores by the competition.

Rise against constant sales trends

Thanks to low production costs, those same companies can afford the business model of „constant sales” – they draw attention of young customers both through large selection of products and attractive prices. Low production costs allow the competition to invest large portions of their income in steady and intensive marketing. Lack of recognizable and memorable identity is not problematic for customers who mainly care about low prices. While names and visual identity of many brands do not authenticate values highlighted in their marketing communication, Bombshe stands out as a quality and true brand.

Sexy in a slow fashion

We assumed that we will not position Bombshe as a fast fashion brand – it leans much closer towards the slow fashion trend. The owners from the very beginning treated suppliers and tailors with respect, describing their work as an important part of the brand. They carefully selected fabrics and decorative elements. Designs are created in close proximity of their home, in Wrocław, Poland. The sewing factory is managed by the owner and the brand and online store themselves are run by his wife. The brands employs older, very experienced sewers and tailors. Fabrics are purchased in Poland – in Łódź, among others – but limited editions dresses are created using exclusive materials originated from Barcelona. Bombshe puts a great deal of attention to make the quality of their products as unique as the brand itself.

Design goals

  • Name that lays foundations for the brand’s marketing communication
  • The logo is recognized as a mature fashion brand, high quality and sensible positioning
  • Shipping box design that offers the right level of experience, helpful while building added brand value (basic unboxing experience)
ABOUT THE PROJECT

Simple communication

I started the creative stage of the project by describing the brand’s identity. I put branding against key features of its products – dresses, womanhood and sensuality as well as sensible body accentuation that follows. The same unique features have been applied during later parts of the process, allowing us to maintain coherent design that lacks random and unnecessary elements that would only fill a blank but not offer any useful function.

Name as an icon

Bombshe is a name created by shortening an English word „bombshell” which means something sensational, very interesting and, in colloquial speech, a sexbomb – woman who is incredibly attractive. I cut the ending to additionally highlight the „she” part. She-bomb, she-sensation, she-special. That combination of two words, despite having roots in an existing words, is built similarly to other well-known names: Facebook, WeTransfer and PayPal are just to name a few.

The client selected the name because of its unique, neologistic character that conforms to current naming trends in the industry as well as subtle yet easily recognizable reference to womanhood at the very foundations. In addition, the name is extremely functional – it’s melodious, memorable, easy to spell and write down.

What’s even more important, in this case I managed to design a name that was available under the .com domain – currently it is very easy to manage and possible only for advanced neologisms or after adding other elements to the brand’s name in the URL. In other cases, acquiring a .com domain means negotiations with its current owner which, more often than not, leads to significant financial investments.

Tagline as the brand’s manifesto

Tagline The world is your runway is a direct reference to both fashion character of the brand and its position in a broader, more lifestyle-like aspect of communication. The brand was born with strong and confident women in mind as well as those who are yet to discover that inner strength. Bombshe wants to convince their clients that the world lies at their feet – they don’t have to be celebrities, movie stars or supermodels to feel special.

Logo and simple printed materials for launch

To fit the standards of fashion brands of the medium and high tier, we went for a simple wordmark. We did not use any symbols and did not create a graphic signet. Such design allows the dresses to become the one and only icon of the brand and modern, fresh-looking logo doesn’t stand in their way. It sets a pleasant and adequate but still very minimalist background.

We used a ready-made font as the basis for the brand’s unique sans-serif font that features subtle curvature of the letters. Lines that make them are expressive, while connections and ovals subtle yet distinct. There’s plenty of light between letters. Gentle edges refer to not just feminine aspect of the brand but also the overall meaning behind its name. Shortened version of the wordmark is meant for special use (where it is not possible to feature the whole name) and complemented by diamond-shaped frame. We removed two of its arms to offer more space to the letter and give it a less obvious setting.

It was safe to assume to the customer’s first physical contact with the brand requires bigger involvement. The buyer receives a package and, after putting it out of the courier’s safety packaging, finds a branded box decorated with a black ribbon. Untying the knot is meant to bring to mind opening a gift – a gift to herself. Strong, aware and confident woman doesn’t need anybody else to please her – she can do it very well on her own. Inside the box, there is a small thank you note. The shipping box is the only collateral where the tagline is used and exhibited (it’s printed on the sides).

All other printed materials are equally minimalist and modest. They’re designed around the logo, with limited printed area and plenty of white space. We aimed for an elegant yet approachable look, devoid of blatancy and unnecessary, useless slogans.

SUMMARY

Conclusions

It’s been two years since Bombshe went on the market and we can objectively evaluate the impact of our work on this brand. We collected a couple of valuable observations that we’d love to share with you, dear Reader.  

  1. Both Bombshe’s products and visual identity were noticed by Showroom. They quickly got in touch and started collaboration. As a result, Bombshe joined Showroom’s portfolio of many other recognizable and experienced fashion brands. Given the early stage of its development, this event helped Bombshe get noticed by a wider group of potential customers.
  2. Owners of the brand test different aesthetic styles while working on campaigns promoting new product collections – they change photographic backgrounds, scene arrangement, make-up and stylisation and, above all else, types of dresses that join their offering. With pleasure and all confidence we admit that the brand’s identity, designed in 2016, fits all different variants and is still a common ground for all its projects.
  3. All these experiments are much easier for the brand’s owners thanks to visual identity that has a minimalist, spacious and open for interpretations style. Such aesthetics is highly recommended for brands that benefit from a more „evolutionary” type of branding and progressive discovery of its identity and direction.
  4. To get a truly adequate design that will reflect unique features of a product or service, one must sometimes go in a more challenging, unusual direction and make a significant creative effort. It’s worth to take that into account and try not to follow the exact steps of the competition.

While building my own brand, I felt the need to refine even the tiniest detail. I knew that multitasking while creating a business is something obvious and natural but in certain aspects it’s good to trust the specialists. I selected Holy Sheep! because of their diverse portfolio, rich experience and recommendations from other clients. Although I was aware of different rates among designers, I did not wait long to make the choice. The results speak for themselves and Bombshe’s new logo and name reflect true character of the brand I meant to create. My clients positively react to the sound of the name and shipping boxes collect great feedback. If I were to go back in time, I would work with Holy Sheep! once again. Our collaboration helped me focus on other parts of my business and I probably would never create such a quality identity on my own.

Katarzyna Heider-Pryjma
Bobmshe owner

Katarzyna Heider-Pryjma
Bobmshe owner

This is how it looks

Check out project presentation for this brand

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Can we help you out? If so, speak to us. Don’t delay, expand your brand with us. Let’s talk about what we can do today.

Piotr Synowiec

Peter Synowiec
co-owner

meee@holysheep.co