Brand Respect for Baboosha: The Pants-Free Lifestyle Luxury Brand
Most of the work I do is quite secretive. My clients don’t want their full brand strategy development story shared with the world. Or even the few marketing high-achiever geeks, like me, just trying to learn what’s working for other people. Right. Now.
I’m happy to be able to share, openly, some of the behind-the-scenes creation story for a brand I have a lot of heart for. I’ve invested my effort into this baby as an advisor and, full disclosure, I have been given two pairs of their first product. Which is going to make you insanely jealous momentarily.
But first you need to hear the story.
This is the story of a new luxury fashion and lifestyle brand that, in my opinion, has done a lot of things very well. Judge for yourself:
A couple of years ago, my friend Frank Amoros was visiting Miami. He’s also worked in advertising and marketing and now he had an idea for a product he wanted to create. Frank is a one-of-a-kind bachelor. He was born in Peru and raised in the US. We’d both worked at Crispin, he’d gone on to move to Paris and we became closer friends as each other’s American support system in Europe. He’s a third-culture kid turned globalista who has solid marketing instincts and contacts all over the world. A guy living a work hard, play hard lifestyle. The stress of working hard is made more bearable for him, just like most of the rest of us, by recuperating in his own oasis at home (read: bingeing Kardashians).
All of these threads converged when he pulled these over-sized white furry slippers from his bag. They were hand-made in Peru from sustainably sourced alpaca fur. He knew the alpaca herders personally. His cousins then fabricated the shoes by hand. They were clearly funky and fun, but the initial prototype had some issues to work out to feel more high-quality.
Frank set off on a long journey to get them there, including bringing on a designer with a day-job at LVMH who he never would have been able to even talk to without a connection. She fine-tuned the design silhouette and materials as a side project.
Frank and I had numerous conversations about the brand.
The projected price point would be 250 euros and he wanted to develop a brand world that inspired fun at home and resonated with our jet-setty sort of crowd who are generally fashion savvy and also care about how ethically a product is produced. Frank envisioned the brand on a mission to improve life at home, imagining product lines like blankets and candles down the road.
With several friends in the fashion industry, he was able to experiment with a few photo shoots and we’d talk about what worked and didn’t work. We talked about the kind of emotion we were trying to create for the brand as well as the idea of distinctive assets. Here are some shots from one of those early shoots:
While these shots could push the brand toward edgy fashion-forward connotations and it was easy to envision this type of spread in Vogue — the short bangs, the industrial setting — they lacked energy certainly, and even more simply, they weren’t very fun.
Rebecca, a young graphic designer from London crafted the logo. Here’s an early exploration:
Having both been single through our thirties, Frank and I carried around a cache of ethnographic data to draw from regarding at-home lounging behavior. We knew exactly what life at home was like for the future customers of this brand: working, watching TV, cooking, sex. Just regular life.
And who does regular life, at home, with their pants on? Nobody.
That’s an (almost) scientific fact: no pants are the best pants. It shifted the visual language:
We agreed this would be a prominent foundational element and the line “Have Fun. Be Lustrous.” emerged as a winner weaving together both the spirit of the brand and unique physical properties of alpaca fur.
The selected logo direction was refined. You can see here how it’s taller, more future slanted. It’s elegant. And Paris is the height of glamour and a driving force for fashion. We should use our headquarters as a luxury cue.
In perfecting the final products, the collection included white, browns, black, but also sassy pink and a rich emerald green.
All of this learning carried forward into in a day-long shoot in Paris to create the communication assets needed to launch. The crew of fantastic models and photographer were elevated by the addition of Vanessa Bellugeon, Chief Editor for Paris style magazine icon, L’Officiel, on board as stylist. The results were gorgeous:
Footage shot was edited into gifs and videos:
To build awareness, our friends at Brandzooka, a whip smart gang with a proprietary platform to get videos with any budget level in front of the right people, took charge of the marketing budget. These guys just happen to be the latest Alex Bogusky backed marketing service venture and another example of turning to your network to find the right partner — a critical boon for Baboosha’s development as well as a critical skill for any start-up.
With the product iterations perfected, the logo tweaked, the site designed, the content created, the social media platforms primed, Frank launched Baboosha.com just before the holidays and started shipping slippers to customers in the US and Europe. (HEATHERBBSHA15 for 15% off if you so desire.)
I had the chance to visit and celebrate with the team in Paris. We did leave our pants on while we worked.
Like many others, I’m searching for more meaning in my work. I have been steering my own business toward working with conscious brands, brands that believe climate change is not only real (a legit problem in the US) they also want to be a part of a solution. I’m very proud to have worked with Baboosha and OLAM Coffee this year, which I feel live up to my high ideals. I’m now always looking for ways to work with or spend my own money on products and services that live up to this value.
I think there’s also a lesson about community. Nothing incredible is accomplished alone. We all need others to help us on our quests. And the person you are working along side today may be your client, colleague, or the friend that makes a crucial introduction for your start-up some day.
I love the iterative and scrappy process of bringing a start-up to market. It is a different set of skills to create a brand from scratch and being a part of bringing a good brand into existence lights me up. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Baboosha’s creation tale. I’d love to hear your comments.
Heather LeFevre is a brand consultant, researcher, and innovation facilitator. Her book, Brain Surfing the Top Marketing Strategy Minds in the World, chronicles the year she spent apprenticing herself to nine top strategists around the world.