In: Branding, Business 101, Success,
Andddddd it’s a wrap!
We took The Cotswolds by motherloving storm this past week, as I led a cozy, intimate business retreat with five killer women in the English countryside, complete with fireside chats, darling little pubs, open-air picnics, tons of peppermint tea, and, of course, trekking around in our wellies through refreshingly moist meadows to get that crisp, fresh air into our lungs. (And our brains. Because let’s face it: when you’re inside all day, sucking in the same air as your vacuum cleaner, shit gets stale—and that includes your creativity.)
So what did we talk about? Everything!
However, there was one primary theme that took center stage by design: the importance of contrast. So many new business owners are trying so hard to “do it like they should” and “get taken seriously” and not have their authority questioned, that they end up building their business around the lowest common denominator. So instead of creating something worth paying attention to, they end up not creating, but copying, for the very act of creation requires originality. And yet, that’s the one thing that everyone’s the most unsure about: how to create something that feels fresh?
After ten years of creating fresh-feeling concepts for brands around the world, I can assure you that the answer is not by inventing an all-new thing; it’s about taking whatever you want and learning how to put an all new spin on it. The way you do that?
By finding the contrast.
To illustrate my point, on Day One I wore a knee-length, bright fire-engine-red slip dress—complete with lace around the edges—on top of a white tee-shirt with red letters scrawled across the back: ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE. I then layered on multiple strands of pearls, and paired the outfit with teal flats and a smoky rocker eye. I asked the girls: what do you notice about my outfit? After a short discussion, my point was made: it was an outfit full of contrasts. Tee shirts and lace. Pearls and rocker eyes. Red and teal.
And it’s that contrast that makes something interesting.
Which is exactly what we need from you. We don’t need you to be the best. We don’t need you to be the most. We don’t need you to be like everybody else. What we need is for you to create something of interest.
And the way you do that is by taking one idea and smashing it up against another. You create friction. You create inequality. You create conflict. And this is how you breed originality.
As it turns out, the best new ideas aren’t new at all—they’re recycled.
They’ve just figured out how to pair the right materials.