Rebrand: Education to Empower

First of all- huge thanks to everyone who has been giving me feedback about Sister House Collective and their interactions with the brand! This information is so so helpful, as this brand started out as a much smaller idea and has grown in so many different directions. I never imagined having a physical artist collective space in downtown Las Vegas last year, or becoming so emotionally involved with ethics in manufacturing and labor workers’ rights- two very different things but so integral to the growth Sister House has seen in the last two years.

 

I have always done my best to intertwine a relationship between creativity and social justice in the jobs I've taken and after creating this brand, I realize I have to prioritize the projects I want to work on because at the end of the day, I am only one person. There will always be dozens of projects I dream of but will not be humanly capable of achieving. It’s okay to not put the weight of the world on my shoulders. I can pursue my passion for social justice in a creative way but I have to prioritize my time and energy. If there’s anything I’ve learned since my daughter was born last August, it’s that my time is now so much more precious- if I’m working on a project, I want to be sure it’s worthwhile for everyone involved. (Which also, by the way- means saying no to projects I want to pursue but would burn me out. And saying no to projects I want to commit to is something I seriously struggle with. It’s going to take some trial and error for a little while, I’m sure!)

 

So where is the rebrand at? Currently, I am looking at a more personal brand- sharing more about my personal journey to conscious living. Not just the way I ‘vote with my dollars’, but my practices of self-care, slow living (which is a challenge when you live in a city), slow-fashion, supporting local and small businesses in Las Vegas and when I travel. For a long time, I’ve been telling myself Sister House Collective needs to be a BRAND for it to be taken seriously- therefore, no words like “I” “me” “mine”- but at this point in my life and after the closing of our brick and mortar, it makes sense for me to take the brand and shift it into the story of my journey. Not in like a, “oh my gosh, let me share photos of my family and sparkly home all the time so I can join all of the Instagram influencers and make you doubt your worth because your home/family/hair doesn’t look like mine” (woah, am I projecting? I’m kidding but really, I feel like many personal brands showcase the “everyday” life on a silver platter. Ladies: I am guilty of sitting at home doubting my worth sometimes as I scroll over these feeds too. I’m conscious of that feeling, and I have to remind myself that many of these idolized influencers spend a ton of time, energy and efforts making those feeds look that good. Their feed is made to look effortless, but that’s part of their BRAND! No more comparing, okay? This goes for me too.) Anyway, back to Sister House: I want to be authentic in my storytelling instead of obsessing over a perfectly curated photo feed. Sometimes this might look like sharing photos of my husband and daughter, sometimes it will be sharing about local artists, social impact brands and movements, and hopefully having blog contributions from others about living a conscious, empowered lifestyle. So as I say “personal brand”, what I really mean is on social media, you will just see less of a retail/workshop oriented feed, and more mindfulness tips, artist and brand features that I think are worth sharing, maybe a recipe here and there, highlights of what’s on the blog/what’s going on in my life as it pertains to conscious living. My goal with this rebrand is to empower my community with education, and in turn, empower makers and artisans around the world by creating a consumer market that supports them. I also hope to empower women especially, to live more mindful, purposeful and joyful life.

Along with the content shift of the brand itself and what you will be seeing in the feed, I’ll also be sharing a little about freelance work I am doing. Since March I’ve been focusing much of my energy on THE WORKSHOP downtown, where my (practically other half in social-impact business nerding-out) colleague, Kelly Bennett and I, curate workshops about sustainable entrepreneurship, creative living and holistic wellness for small local businesses in Las Vegas. I will also be offering 1:1 creative direction for entrepreneurs, as well as ethical strategy for entrepreneurs and small businesses- guiding and assisting both in creative branding techniques and ethical manufacturing and production. Over the last three years, this has truly become the core of what I hope to share: that ethical, people-over-profit business values will change the way products are made and consumed- and one day, the notion of labor exploitation or labor slavery will be obsolete. I also hope to collaborate with other socially driven businesses, artists and individuals, and share about those collaborations through the Sister House Collective community.

Am I going to change the name? I don’t know yet. I still have quite a bit of retail inventory, and if you listened to THE WORKSHOP downtown podcast last week, you learned that I also just bought a little 1969 teardrop trailer to do pop ups out of. There is also the possibility of opening up another brick and mortar location later this year, this time with a business partner and as a community hub for women as opposed to a retail space. The artist collective space last year was incredible so I am definitely praying if that’s meant to happen, it will! In the meantime, I’m perfectly content with this shift in focus for Sister House Collective and I hope you will continue to follow along as it all develops. So no name change (yet) as I haven’t decided if the shop will be closing altogether, but over the next several months, I’ll be refocusing and honing in on my original vision for this business- spreading awareness and empowerment, just in a different light.

 

P.S. THE WORKSHOP downtown podcast is available on itunes & soundcloud and episode 8 is all about ethical consumption- definitely give it a listen if you’d like to learn the basics of what the term ‘ethical’ might mean when used to describe a product or business!

 

Ashley Ayala