Hi Founders and Fellow VC Friends!
You know the drill, people give companies superpowers. Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. There are the people you need to know. The best part is, everyone is hirable on a part-time basis.
In today’s digest:
Meet Taylor, she’ll make your brand pop 🤩
Social media design tips 🎉
The marketing skillsets you need (I wish I’d learned this earlier in my career) 💪
1000s+ of FT gems - round 2 😍
Asks (no pressure!) 😎
Please meet Taylor Slyder, your Freelance Art Director + Designer
Do you ever see super cool brands on Instagram with tons of low-fi gifs, colors, memes, and animations? Then wonder how they look so cool? Well, Taylor makes that magic happen! I met Taylor through a dear friend Lauren, a very talented letterer in Brooklyn. When Taylor showed me her insta and portfolio, I immediately put her on my collaborators wishlist. Most recently, Taylor worked on the launch of the footwear brand, Thousand Fell, a future-forward startup that recycles and reuses their old shoes to minimize landfill waste.
She started her career in editorial (Conde Nast) and at top advertising agencies (Laundry Service, FCB, Hunter Public Relations). Now she freelances and helps younger DTC brands grow through social-first creative.
You can hire her to:
create and build out your brand’s presence on social
concept your next digital campaign
create fun non-still content (both paid and organic)
lead your rebrand
If you want an intro to Taylor, please respond to this email and I’ll connect you ✨!
She was gracious enough to share some pro-tips with us here
There are so many tools to create content and community, test them and see what sticks!
Expensive, highly produced shoots and perfectly-placed art direction are being replaced by instant, in-the-moment, no-set-aesthetic techniques. Brands that do it right, use all the tools in their arsenals to connect with their consumer— user generated content (UGC), Tik-Tok, Slack channels, SMS campaigns, and more.
Remember that it’s a game of testing and iterating. Not everything will work the first time or is right for every brand. Have an open mind and give it time. Brands and communities aren’t built overnight!
Creating a brand that stands out requires a team.
Founders often overlook what goes into building a visually engaging brand. Here are the key skills and people you need:
Strategic Talent: Someone who is extremely in touch with your space and can think strategically on how to differentiate from the competition.
Conceptual Talent: (Art Director or Creative Director) Conceptual talent is vital for taking the insights provided from the strategist and using them to concept “big ideas” for your brand. Check the P.S. section for a fun example of a “big idea” 😀.
Executional Talent: (Designer) This person’s role is to actually bring your “big ideas” to life in the final output.
Messaging Talent: (Copywriter) This skill is often underrated. A compelling message distinguishes a successful brand from the rest. Messaging should never be an afterthought. Your copywriter should be involved at the beginning of your creative process.
Julia’s Sidenote: sometimes multiple skills can be found in the same person— for example, I’d put Taylor in both the conceptual and executional bucket.
Connect with your audience as people first, and customers second.
Brands that do well on social feel the most human. Here are some I love and what we can learn from them:
Parade (women’s underwear) - Parade is a great example of using all of the tools in our modern-day, digital arsenals. Almost their entire feed is UGC along with internet-found color content (keep in mind that most of this is free or very low-cost!). They built buzz around the launch by seeding super fun scarves to micro and nano influencers. They paired that with a simple pre-launch splash page for you to text your SMS# for free underwear. Everything they do feels unpolished and real in all the right ways. I’m a fan.
Man Repeller (lifestyle publication) - Man, I SO appreciate the voice behind this brand! Everything from their posts to their bio line demonstrates that they view their customers as people first. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They have a great balance of editorial vs lifestyle content, and they create things just to make people truly happy.
Recess (sparkling water) - Recess is designed for calm and clarity and is a self-proclaimed “antidote to modern times.” It's a brand with a personality that isn’t afraid to be bold or take risks. There’s no brand quite like it.
Full- Time gems
Our hiring spreadsheet now has 500+ people on it. If you want a copy to search and filter, let me know and I’ll clone you one 😉. Pro tips: scroll to the last column to see people’s vouches. Also, click to the companies with layoffs tab to see the companies’ talent lists.
(I know you’re swamped, so only respond if you have a hot second. No pressure 🙏.)
What do you prefer for FT Gems? I suspect we’ll have more layoff lists coming out weekly. Do you prefer links to lists or 1 or 2 full-time spotlights (aka what I did before)?
Do you know any incredible sales consultants? Can you please intro me? Ideally, people who have experience selling to startups, SMBs, large enterprises, or healthcare systems. I’d love to meet (and feature!) more of these revenue superheroes.
Let me know if you want a copy of the talent google sheet 📊
Thank you in advance for intros to sales consultants 💃🏻
Let me know if you want an intro to Taylor 🤩
Stay healthy, safe, sane, AND awesome!
Founder of Awesome People List
Founder of Awesome People Ventures
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PS. Here’s an example from Taylor that showcases what conceptual talent does and how they come up with the “big idea.” I cut it (because it’s long), but I like the story and thought process so I’m including it here 😀.
Lululemon is a true ally of the LGBTQ+ community and wanted to support and celebrate all identifications during 2019 World Pride Month. They wanted to avoid throwing a 🌈 on their logo and blending in with all of the brands who don’t have a true ❤️ for the cause. Conceptual talent ideated around this ask, and eventually came up with the “big idea.” The Proud + Present campaign encouraged people to reflect on Pride’s progress over the past 50 years. This campaign was authentic for a brand rooted in yoga. Proud + Present was activated solely through user-generated content, featuring LGBTQ+ employees of Lululemon. They shared their own personal stories of progress. These stories were showcased in stores globally during Pride month. All sales generated from pride apparel went toward the Trevor Project. All of this thinking was accomplished by the conceptual talent.
PSS. In case you need your own personal cheer squad right now, I’ve got your back. The guy’s face at the very end is the best 😂 (can’t stop LOL).