What does it mean to develop a brand? It means having a vision and sticking with it, It means pushing through discouragement and self doubt to create an experience for customers and hopefully ad to life’s memories. But most of all it means showing the world a piece of yourself in a manner in which others connect to your message and support you.

Here are some FB status updates from this past week, which reflect the reality of creating a new brand.

Keep it Simple: Simple Slogan, Simple Agenda, Simple Service

This has been a very encouraging work week at my teahouse. Foreigners and Ecuadorians have been able to chat over tea, cupcakes, coloring & board games. My “Why Sip Alone?” motto is living itself out as I develop into a spot for exchanging ideas and learning about each others’ cultures. Plus, I’ve learned from a pro-Trump American, an anti-Hillary American, an anti-Trump American, & I-don’t-care American, I need to refrain from sharing my views so strongly and remember the point of chatting over tea is to really listen to others’ points of view & find common ground. (I’ve noticed people are coming to chat with Mama California bc I actually do listen to them.

Team Development: Explain clearly the logic of brand building

My new employee is a super energetic young lady bursting with a strong desire to show me all her college/culinary knowledge. Now comes turning that energy into focused skills and enhancing her ability to execute my vision while allowing her to enhance the vision and become an engaged member of the IncaZen/Mama California family. It’s possible bc my manager-in-training understands after 6 weeks, we are brand building and China will cover the bills.
To be young, female and full of bright ideas — I remember those days.

False Advertising: Build a Brand with Integrity 

Lesson of the day: If I say my teahouse is open at 10am, then I need to be opened at 10am. (A client said she stopped by but I was closed. Then she asked, “What time do you open?”)

Team Building: Let Others Enhance the Vision of the Brand
i’m a fan of choices, so i like to give other choices, too. this would deeply confuse my students when i would tell them to set the due dates of project. (when are you not going to give me crap to read? how much time is needed for something decent to come across my desk?)
*for the past 2 weeks, my employee has been struggling to pick her schedule.
“your other boss just told you the hours. you had no freedom, right?”
she smiled and nodded as if to say, “duh! that’s how the normal world works.” (we’ve already established i’m not her typical boss in some ways.)
** but i sit it out like the seasoned teacher i am. i clearly remember playing on my cell phone waiting for a student to figure out a sentence “i won’t think for you.” .i’m trying to develop a manager, so minor decisions are critical building blocks.
Branding the Image: Setting Yourself Apart by Challenging Assumptions
I’ve been trying to figure out why so many people are surprised when I say the teahouse is mine. Yesterday when a group of gringas visited and were surprised, I understood they were surprised that an expat had actually stopped talking about opening a biz, but had taken action and opened an “elegant” teahouse.
**Next up – opening that small English center.
What Have I learned at the start of my 2nd month of operating?
Create a Unique Experience
Reflecting on these posts and almost 1.5 year of entrepreneurship, I am fully accepting the truth — I am my brand. My tastes, my travel experiences, my Seoul Cafe Diaries blog, my likes/dislikes — all of these things are what customers are paying for. Thus, I must stick to my vision/my ideas when presenting them to the public, to friends, to employees, to potential partners. If I always remember that, I should be able to fully establish a unique brand that will let me stand among giants.