January 5, 2021

How Do I Create a Brand for My Food Business? Branding on a Shoestring with Lani Halliday

It’s one thing to make a delicious product your customers can’t get enough of. It’s another to create a brand that attracts new followers and gets them excited to stick with you as you grow your business. 

Don’t have the budget for graphic designers and ‘content creation’? Not sure where to start? We got in the kitchen with a friend of our’s a baker who sells online and IRL, to learn about building a visual identity on a shoestring: Lani Halliday. She assures us you don’t need to break the bank to build a brand your customers will love. 

As a seasoned baker, Lani landed on a line of cult-worthy vegan treats when she started; but just as key to her success has been her ability to channel her playful culinary viewpoint into a bold and joyful brand. It’s helped her grow her fledgling business (she currently has a waitlist for her monthly cookie tin drops!) and garnered her thousands of followers. And she’s done it all without the help of expensive designers or marketing gurus.

Visualize what you and your products are about

Create a mood board that captures what excites you most about what you make. Include images of things like your favorite ingredients, the places that inspire your recipes, and more. Use a tool like Pinterest or Google Slides to do this. Push yourself to keep going after the first few images—can you identify at least twenty that speak to you?  “I am a bold person, so when I did this exercise, it was all images of tropical flavors and locales. I try to bring what I call ‘island energy’ to my bakery,” she says. 

Pick your palate

Notice which colors dominate your mood board. Are your products rooted in earthy hues, playful pastels or loud primary colors? Select three to four colors that stand out and designate those as your brand colors for use across your website, social media and other touchpoints. She is inspired by bright, bold colors and knew they would compliment the vibrant flavors she uses in her products. “You’ll see hot pink, yellow and red across my website, packaging and more. It’s a visual thread that’s woven throughout Brutus.”.

Don’t forego a logo!

A logo is a quick way for your customers to identify your business wherever they encounter your brand. You can use a free design tool like Canva to create a simple logo or logomark. Intimidated to design one yourself? Platforms like 99 Designs allow you to set your price and connect with designers across the globe. Once you’ve created a logo you love, be sure to use it across your brand’s touchpoints, like your social media avatar, on your packaging, and elsewhere.  

Add branded touches to your packaging

For most businesses owners starting out, fancy, custom packaging isn’t an option; the cost and minimum quantities often make it prohibitive. Yet even if you’re using ‘off the shelf’ solutions to package your goods, you can still find simple and cost-effective ways to add a unique touch. She recommends bringing your colors into your packaging or unboxing experience. “Instead of stuffing them with the typical brown raffia, I found a supplier offering crinkle paper in bright pink!” she explains. “When customers open the box, they immediately get a punch of color and brightness.”


Surprise and delight

Your customers should love your products—that’s a given. But you can build an even deeper connection by surprising them with unexpected touches. She is so inspired by the tropical ingredients that go into her products, that she includes a palm-tree shaped magnet in each order she sends out. Other examples include illustrated recipe cards for product lines that include ingredients or a simple hand-written thank you note on branded stationary.

Ditch the complex order tracking spreadsheets and late night texts from your customers. The Castiron platform is purpose-built to help food artisans build and grow their businesses online. We're accepting new beta users — if you're interested, schedule an onboarding session below. We'll show you how to use Castiron, answer your questions, and get you set up with your free store in 30 minutes or less.
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