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OTHER EPISODES:

S2 E19 How Life Design is Your Key to Happiness and a Full Life with Gaby Cevallos

S2 E18 Tapping into Your Feminine Energy to Create a Holistic, Soul-led Life and Business with Megan Hatfield

S2 E17 How Recess Came to Be and Advice for Building Your Own Community

S2 E8 What Creative Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Building a Brand with Giulia Previati

Your brand is the face of your business and a representation of who you are. Through your branding, you give your business a voice and your audience a promise. As a creative entrepreneur, it's vital to build a brand that is aligned with you and your creativity. Giulia Previati has seen both sides of the coin. She's been in the big brand space — and we mean BIG — and yet, is just like you and me: a creative entrepreneur working to build her own empire. She's seen the hustle-and-grind mentality and decided to say: "no".


In this episode, she talks about how her brand is like a spa: anti-hustle, calming, and relaxing. Giulia explains how the core of your brand is you – who you are, the mission you have, and your values. We break down what creates a brand, and how you, as a creative entrepreneur, can take that into your business.


If you're a creative entrepreneur, this episode can help you create a brand that helps reflect who you are and what you represent!


👂 Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:

  1. Break down the true meaning of branding vs brand identity vs brand promise.

  2. Lessons Giulia learned working with some of the biggest brands you know.

  3. Anti-hustle culture and feeling relaxed in your work.

📘 Resources

🎧 Episode Highlights

[06:42] Welcome to Giules’ Spa: Building Brands With Calmness

  • Giules builds brands for various businesses. Her experience with big brands has taught her many life lessons.

  • Her main message is about the anti-hustle. After experiencing the hustle of corporate work, her relaxing, spa-like brand focuses on working from calmness.

  • Creative entrepreneurs often get caught up in the grind. Breaking out of it leads you to be more intentional and aligned with who you are and what you want to create.

[11:10] Giulia: “We, as creative entrepreneurs, are able to design this new way, this new path forward, and so we have a big responsibility that we should, you know, cherish and uphold.”
  • Giules considers her French and Italian heritage to be a big part of her life. She has also lived in six different countries.

  • She and her husband are planning to travel across Europe before looking for a place they can call their home.

[16:55] Creating Your Brand

  • Step back and look at what your brand is supposed to evoke. Identify your brand feeling.

  • Identifying your brand feeling makes you unique and clearly conveys your brand’s intention. From that feeling, your brand will start to take direction.

[17:59] Giulia: “What's the feeling that they want their customers, or the community that they're going to be engaging with, to feel when they interact with them? Because that feeling is going to be the cornerstone of their brand.”
  • Look outside of your industry and the many different brands you consume for inspiration.

  • Use your own consumer experience. Learn from how they build their branding to create a similar experience.

  • You can also look at global consumer trends across all industries. Understanding the people, the market, and the customer experience can set you apart from others.

[26:05] Working on Your Branding

  • When you build your brand depends on who you are as an entrepreneur.

  • Do not compromise on honing your mission, vision, values, and brand feel. From there, you can create the first version of your brand.

  • Interaction with your audience is vital for your brand to get feedback and understand what your clients want. With this information, you can tweak and improve your brand.

[27:59] Giulia: “Branding is just a conversation, and you can't have a conversation if you're alone in a vacuum. You need to start interacting with the outside world for that conversation to be a two-way street.”
  • Your branding is never a finished product. It will continue to change as the world and customers around you also change.

[29:01] Branding Basics

  • Giules recommends starting with brand strategy and visual identity.

  • Brand strategy is the promise you’re giving your audience. Visual identity is your brand aesthetic.

  • Your brand image is a result of your audience’s views and opinions. It’s something that you can’t control.

  • Brand experience is customer experience. Through this, you can ensure that your brand is aligned with your goal.

  • Using your imagination can help you build your branding and hone in on how you want to execute all these factors that make up your brand.

[33:19] From Fashion to Creative Freedom

  • Giules had initially applied to study applied languages. She realized this wasn’t what she wanted and decided to go into fashion and luxury management instead.

  • Over time, she craved something that allowed her to be more free and creative.

  • She left the fashion world and started something different.

[36:05] Finding Inspiration

  • Giules’ core values are honesty and transparency.

  • Despite the regular travel, she feels lost and uninspired moving around for the past month.

  • It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself no matter where you are.

[37:36] Giulia: “It's just a matter of being kind to yourself, being patient, accepting the ebb and flow. And as a recovering perfectionist, that's always an interesting ride. But it's really trying to be kind to yourself and know that every moment is meant to be exactly what it is and there are lessons to be learned every single time.”
  • As creative individuals, sometimes you need to just be without doing anything. Sitting in stillness helps you hear the lessons you need to learn.

[43:44] Freedom in Creativity

  • Giules is a Cancer sun, Taurus moon, and Scorpio rising.

  • Creativity is what keeps Giules going. She tries to spark her creativity daily.

  • Creativity is also freedom. Creative entrepreneurs are able to design both their businesses and their lives.

[45:00] Giulia: “Creativity is freedom too. Because as creative entrepreneurs, we literally get to design not only our business but our life. So by definition, everything we do is creative.”
  • Romanticize your life. Make the simplest things a beautiful and enjoyable moment.

  • Giules follows and listens to various creative entrepreneurs.

[50:10] Giules’ Creations

  • If she had total freedom, Giules would buy and renovate a b&b.

  • She enjoys interior styling and decoration as much as branding, strategy and focusing on the customer’s brand experience. Having a physical space brings all of that together.

  • She also wants to create a place for a community where people can gather and connect every day.

  • In the past year, Giules hosted her first-ever creative retreat. Despite being out of her comfort zone, she had an amazing experience.

👩 About Giulia

Giulia Previati, or Giules, is the founder of the Groundwork Club, a Brand Development & Deployment Studio that helps burnt-out founders and fearless brands create a purposeful foundation for their business and brand, with a spa-like feel. Because compelling brands come from a place of calm. The mission: To combat hustle culture, copy-paste and below average advertising in a sometimes suffocating digital space.

😍 Enjoyed this Podcast on Having Who You Are at the Center of Your Business?

Pollen is a podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs—just like you! If you enjoyed this episode of Pollen Podcast, subscribe and help us spread the word by sharing it! Your dream life is there for you to take — and you can help others find lives they can love too.


Leave a review and share it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐If you enjoyed tuning in to this podcast, we'd appreciate it if you wrote us a review. You can also share it to help other creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Your identity — who you are, deep down — is one of the most powerful things you can leverage as a creative.


Have any questions or want to leave a suggestion? Come say hi on the 'gram, @dianadaviscreative! You can also subscribe to my newsletter for travel updates, learn about special projects, and get tips and tricks for the creative entrepreneur life!

Connect with me on Linkedin: Diana Davis Creative.


Thanks for listening! Stay tuned to my website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources!


Transcript

Giules: We consume a lot of brands, whether it's the water bottle that you got for your workouts, whether it's the clothes that you wear, the travel agency that you use to book your vacation, the hotels you stay at, the food that you buy. And looking at all of those brands for inspiration, why did you choose that specific water bottle?


Diana Davis: Welcome to Pollen, the ultimate podcast for creative entrepreneurs. My mission, to empower you to make more money doing what you love, work with dream clients, and turn your creative gifts into a thriving business without the burnout. I'm your host, Diana Davis, business coach, Gemini, manifesting generator, matcha snob and full-time nomad.


Here's the deal. I went from creating a six-figure photography business to helping amazing creative souls like you build your own empires. So I've been there. I get it. Whether you're an artist, designer, writer, Yogi, or anything in between, this podcast is your treasure trove of inspiration. So grab your favorite notebook, maybe a matcha, and let's embark on this incredible adventure together.


I was having a conversation with a client who went on my Greece retreat back in May the other day. She had gone to this conference after the Greece retreat and someone had asked her, like a stranger had asked her, “What was the result of this Greece retreat? What was the ROI? What was the transformation?” And she just kind of giggled and said, “You just don't really get it.” And if you've been in my zone, if you've been in my circle, if you've been in my community, you know what I'm talking about. You know what she's talking about.


Yes, there are results. Absolutely. People figure out their lives, people figure out their businesses, people have $30,000 launches, people make art, and they're able to have that as a living, as their full-time job. People quit their full time jobs. There's all sorts of results. But it's not just one promise thing because this space is not a blueprint. I do not sell you a blueprint. And if you've been on the retreats, especially, you will know the vibe in the community and just being in a room of people who get it is so huge.


Community has become our biggest core value at DDC. That was not originally the plan, but it has happened. And we have cultivated such a beautiful community of alum, a beautiful community on Instagram when we host masterclasses, there are so many collaborations that even just come out of those. So community has been this, like, pinnacle word for us. And having a community is really important to me and has been on my heart for a long time.


You are the first ones to hear that we are actually going to start an official community. This community will be like a membership, where you can come together with like-minded people every single month, and talk about things beyond the business. Beyond the strategy, and the Instagram, and how many hashtags we need to post, and all of that stuff.


I want this to be a space where we can come and really get real with each other, to just drop all the masks and show up as humans and not as our businesses. Where we get to be heard, where we get to talk about things like having a partner that doesn't get the entrepreneurship stuff or you know, how stressful it is, and the pressure around retirement as an entrepreneur, and what that looks like, even dating as a nomad, all of these things, and just being in the room with like-minded people.


The vibe is going to be like sleepover vibes, right? Where you can come and show up and be in your PJs and show us your retainer, and just be you, and be just held by other people who just get it. So this is in the works. We are so thrilled about this. We are going to do a three-month beta so that we make sure it works, which I recommend to do with your offerings as well.


We make sure all the kinks are worked out. We make sure this is aligned with us. We make sure we get some feedback and we let our founding members really kind of sail the ship. So, you're the first ones to hear about this. We haven't even named it yet, so feel free to DM me and let me know if you have an idea and any thoughts, things you want to see.


What I want this to be is like a space where things and ideas and brainstorms can be percolated, where we can collaborate, where we can just come and like let our hair down and have conversations and network in like, the least sleazy way ever. Just be with each other. And if you know, you know, and if you don't know, just sign up for the waitlist and try it. The waitlist is in the show notes. Sign up and we will be announcing this very, very, very soon.


Hello, Pollen, we have an amazing guest for you today who is joining me from around the world, which I don't know what I'm saying because I'm in New Zealand right now. So I'm around the world too. But my good friend and client and collaborator Giulia is here. Giulia spelled with a G, which I love so much.


She is here to talk about her story, which is a very unique story, as well as branding and what that means for your business, and how to think outside the box. And also just bringing calm and groundedness into your life and your business. So say hello, how are you?


Giules: Hey, hello, Pollen peeps. Thank you so much for having me, Diana, I'm so happy to be here.


Diana: What do you do Giulia? Who are you?


Giules: Who am I? Well, I'm French-Italian, as a human. And what I do in my business is I build brands. I create brand strategies and visual identity for entrepreneurs, brands, and different businesses, from wellness, to hospitality, to beauty and luxury.


Diana: You've done some pretty big campaigns with big, big companies. Can you just like brag for a second?


Giules: Yes, so I worked with very, very big brands, and I still do right now with my own business. So it's quite a namedrop, I work with quite a few of the LVMH brands, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, L'Oréal, Sephora, all of those big brands. But I do love working with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs as well, because the creative freedom is a little bigger than with bigger brands. But yeah, I've done quite a wide array of projects and touched on quite a few brands.


Diana: Yeah, I think it's, I was just talking about this in we started the ASCEND mastermind today, right before this call. And I was talking about my time in magazines and how amazing it is to like ride up that elevator with the Food & Wine covers and the People covered when I was working at Time Inc. But how not sparkly on the inside it can be, you know? But it is cool when we're like, oh, yeah, like, I get to name-drop that stuff, right? It's, I mean, it's good. But it can be really a little disheartening and all of the above. So it's cool that you found that.


Giules: It's definitely an amazing learning experience, for sure. But what it's taught me as well as all the things that you shouldn't do, whether it's how to treat your employees or how to build a brand and how to manage your work-life balance. I think there's a lot of lessons that I've learned from my past and, you know, climbing that corporate ladder and just hustling and doing all the things.


It's given me all of the learnings to do things differently and to do things the way I do them around right now in my business and with my clients. So it's brought me those two aspects.


Diana: Yeah, you've literally kind of built your own branding, which is spa-like, you know, feeling grounded and calm in your brand and confident because of this crazy world you've been in. It's sort of nurtured and birthed this brand of yours. What are the biggest lessons you think you're bringing into your brand from working in big corporations like that?


Giules: I think the main message that I'm trying to convey, and that's what I wanted my brand to portray, first and foremost, when people come into contact with it is the anti-hustle. It's really all about feeling relaxed and calm. Whether it's the experience of working with me or just experiencing my brand, and the process of developing a brand with me, or working on a strategy with me.


It's really all about feeling calm and igniting that calm because the tagline that I stand behind is, Compelling brands come from a place of calm.” And to be able to find that calm, it comes from within, first and foremost.


It's really all about trying to break that hustle mentality and trying to do all the things and we go, go, go, and those empty milestones that as creative entrepreneurs, we get caught up in, unfortunately, because of social media, because of, you know, the pressure to succeed and impostor syndrome and insert common affliction that us entrepreneurs suffer from here.


It's really trying to debunk that mentality and work on ourselves to make sure that we create something that's intentional, aligned with what we want to put out there and who we are as people, as humans first, and just changing the narrative and changing the way we do things.


Having worked in the corporate world, and the ad agency space, it's really taught me that there's a different way to do things. And we, as creative entrepreneurs are able to design this new way, this new path forward, and so we have a big responsibility that we should, you know, cherish and uphold.


Diana: I love that, I love viewing it as our responsibility. So good. Okay, I want to back up for a second. What does being French-Italian even mean to you? How do you identify it, with it, I guess I should say, and are there, like, things you love, things you hate? And tell us why you’re French-Italian? And can you just give us the little story about the languages and stuff because it just boggles my brain and I have so much admiration for the the bilingual, multilingual people of the world, including you.


Giules: Yeah, so it's a funny story. And depending on how many French people listen to this podcast, I might get under a bit of hate, but you know, I'm just gonna go for it. So my dad's Italian, my mom is French. I was born in Italy, but I grew up in France most of my life. And so I really consider myself half-half. But as a lot of people might know, French people have kind of a bad rap, especially abroad. And so I was always taught growing up that I should say, I'm Italian first and not French.


I've always had that in the back of my mind because French people can be a bit, you know. They have a reputation for being a bit different and having that kind of superiority complex, which Italians don't. We’re the chillest people ever. And so I grew up in France, I'm very influenced by French literature, and culture and food, of course. But Italy was always a big part of my life, I would go to Italy every summer, see my dad all the time, and travel there.


I speak French and Italian, of course. And then I learned quite a few other languages because I lived in six different countries so far. So it's five and a half languages.


Diana: Can you list those countries and give us a little timeline? Just a quick timeline.


Giules: So I stayed in France all throughout middle school, high school, university, and then I moved to London, where I worked for Max Mara, and I went to the London College of Fashion for fashion journalism. After that, I went to Los Angeles, and I stayed there for a year. I worked for a showroom of emerging designers. And then, while I was actually in New York at the time vacationing, I got a job offer to move to Qatar, which is if some people don't know yet, is the country that just hosted the World Cup, and it's right next to Dubai, in the Gulf.


I moved to Qatar in the Middle East out of nowhere, having never been in the Middle East. And I moved there to work for a luxury department store. And so I started working on social media and I was heading up all of their digital efforts on their website or social media. And then I climbed the ranks and I became marketing director of that department store. And so I stay kind of client-side for about five years of my career. And then that's when I made the shift to go agency side.


I started producing concerts. I produced The Chainsmokers concerts in Doha, which was super cool experience. I produced quite a lot of films for different clients. I worked for big hotels like the Mondrian, and then I joined the JWT team, which is the advertising agency that I stayed at for four years. And I managed various projects for the National Museum of Qatar for a big development company, some real estate lines, luxury clients.


After Qatar, I met my husband there, we were working together at JWT, the agency. And after a couple of years there together, we decided to move and come back to Europe. And so that's when we went back to Italy, which was about two years ago. We stayed in Italy, in a little village in the Alps for about two years. I was able to set up my business and kind of, you know, work my little heart out in my little village in the mountains. And then we both knew that we wanted something that had a little bit more action, and we just moved to Lisbon in Portugal.


Diana: And you're being nomadic. So you're in Lisbon for five months?


Giules: Yeah, for four and a half, five months. And then we're going to be traveling all across Europe, London, Berlin, Paris, Italy again, for a little bit, you name it, Switzerland, we're going to do a little loop in Switzerland. And then by the end of this year, we want to decide where we want to settle, like, where is our next home away from home, I should say. Because my husband's Australian-Lebanese, and so we come from different backgrounds, and we don't really have a home anymore, per se. So we just, we’re looking for that next place to call home.


Diana: Feel you I feel you there, I don't know where my next place is gonna be. Wouldn’t it be crazy if we lived in the same city? Not the worst, not the worst.


Giules: Not the worst.


Diana: Okay, so coming from such a cool background. I mean, I love your background because it is just like so dynamic and unique. And I think it lends really good perspective to being a branding expert, just because you've seen a lot. You've seen, you're not stuck in like an American culture, or just French culture. You've seen a lot and you know how brands can kind of spread across different platforms, across different countries, across different cultures, and what that looks like.


Creative entrepreneurs who are listening to this, who are maybe just starting out, and they're thinking, “Oh, my God, I have to get a logo and colors, and I'm not even sure what I'm doing yet.” Let's just call them, let's use the example of like a photographer, just because we use that a lot because I was one. If I'm a photographer and I'm just building my portfolio, but I want to be hired. Where do I even start with branding, and what should I be thinking about?


Giules: So it's something that you and I have talked about before, but when, especially creative entrepreneurs that are just starting out and just building their business, they often get bogged down and stuck in the branding, part of “I need the logo and the color palette, I need a website, etc, etc.” But I want to invite them to actually take a step back and look at what their brand is supposed to evoke.

When I say that, I mean trying to kind of hone in on their brand feeling. What's the feeling that they want their customers, or the community that they're going to be engaging with, to feel when they interact with them? Because that feeling is going to be the cornerstone of their brand.


Because if we don't identify that feeling, the risk is that we build a brand that's going to look like everyone else, just because we're so, I don't want to say inspired because it can be both a positive and a negative thing. But we're bombarded with so many messages and so many pieces of content on a daily basis. And so if we're not really crystal clear on our intention and what our brand is supposed to achieve, and that brand feeling, we risk creating something that looks like everything else that we're exposed to.


Taking a step back and really making sure that they hone in on their brand values, the feeling that they want to evoke, the experience that they want their customers to have, whether they're a photographer, a product-based business, restaurant, any type of brand, any type of business. From that feeling, a lot of things are going to kind of, you know, germinate from that and be born, whether it's the colors, because if the brand feeling is energetic, it's going to look very different than if the brand feels calm, or easeful, or trustworthy.


I think we can go into so many different directions and then we get lost. So identifying that gives us a very clear kind of direction and guiding principle that everything can kind of stem from.


Diana: Yeah, that lens, the lens you look everything through, even from, I always use, people probably said it a million times on this podcast even. Like if I'm gonna have an assistant go get coffee for the group, it's also going to be from like a local, cool, little spot. It's probably actually going to be matcha, not coffee. And it's not going to be Starbucks for example, because that's not the vibe. It's just not the lens in which our mission stands. Right. So I love this.


Also, can you talk a little bit about kind of looking outside your business, like outside your industry, for inspiration?


Giules: Yeah. So, again, going back to what we're exposed to, chances are that you're following a lot of people that are either doing something similar to what you're doing, or in your industry, or maybe potential clients. But your feed is probably looking very cohesive, which can be great. But it can feel a little bit closed in when you're trying to look for inspiration and build something.


I always tell my clients that they need to look outside of their industry for inspiration by using themselves as a case study. Because we consume a lot of brands, whether it's the water bottle that you got for your workouts, whether it's the clothes that you wear, the travel agency that you use to book your vacation, the hotels you stay at, the food that you buy, and looking at all of those brands for inspiration.


Why did you choose that specific water bottle? Why are you ordering those supplements online? Is it their branding? Is it their messaging? Is it their customer experience? What is it that makes them great? Why were you attracted to them in the first place? And try to kind of take all of those learnings and create a similar experience in your business.


Because that way, you will make sure that you create something that, first of all, resonates with who you are as a person and what your clients will need. That's at least somewhat different in the way it's going to look like, rather than doing what every photographer is doing, or whatever graphic designer is doing in your industry.


Diana: Yeah, I love that. And I love just in general, even if you're six years into your business, and you've got it figured out, and you're making all the money and have all the clients, I think it's so important to look outside of your industry. Even for inspiration for new products and offerings and all the things. Like what is Toyota doing? What is this restaurant doing? Are they doing, you know, is the restaurant-


For example, Noma which was planning to go to we'll see if it happens. I don't know if anyone listening knows Noma. But it's one of the most famous, amazing Michelin-star restaurants in the world, but it's in Copenhagen. And they just decided to, like, I think, close their doors, but turn into more of a lab, like a food lab, because they're creating like crazy shit.


It's like, if we look at that, as an example of someone doing something totally different outside our industry, it's like, “How can I bring a little bit of that inspiration into my own products and services and offerings, not just even into my brand, but into my whole ecosystem?” So I love this exercise. And I know like, you bring this up a lot.


Giules: To add something on to that, I think on top of using yourself as an example, as far as you know, your own kind of customer experience and customer preferences, it's really looking at global consumer trends. So why is Noma doing this specifically? And there's global consumer trends, and I do that a lot, whether it's in my free time, or whenever I work with clients, I research a lot of trend forecasting and benchmarking.


There's consumer trends that we can see across, spanning across all industries. And so Noma is probably doing that, because people are looking for more exclusive experiences and something different. And so using those consumer trends and understanding them is the way for us to create something that our customer is going to want, is going to crave, and is looking for from every brand that they consume because now big brands are setting a standard.


Your customer is not a single-minded customer. He's consuming a myriad of brands on a daily basis. And so if the benchmark and the expectation is set at a certain level from these brands that they consume, they're going to expect the same, if not better, from you.


Looking at what people are doing, and understanding where the market is going, and what kind of customer experience people are wanting, and what services they're looking for, is what's going to set you apart instead of just using the cookie cutter recipe of, If I'm a photographer, these are the packages I'm supposed to offer.” “If I'm a graphic designer, these are the things that I'm supposed to do.”


Look at it the other way, flip the script, and look at what do people want? And then adapt to that.


Diana: Yeah, I love that. And I'm so inspired, on top of that, by companies and places that send their team on like research trips. You know, I remember even being out of graphic design school and going on a big senior trip to Seattle where a lot of our alumni tend to reside. And they always go to New York, because that's one of the first places trends start to pop up.


They're like, literally trend-forecasting, and seeing what colors are being used, what materials are being used, and they're like a ski company, you know? But they're in New York, like, just looking for that inspiration.


Also, Hiša Franko, which was the restaurant that I went to in Slovenia. Their whole menu is world-inspired. And literally, they spend part of the year bringing their team to Japan, and, you know, Australia or France, or, you know, all these places to bring back inspiration and then make it their own, which I think is just really cool. Like what a cool ride on. Travel is such a cool thing to have a wider view of what is possible.


Giules: Yeah, definitely.


Diana: Okay. So, back to our photographer friend who is overwhelmed and not sure where to start. If they're playing in the sandbox, as I call it. For example, I was literally shooting Bar Mitzvahs, and events, and Yogi photos, and I didn't know what the fuck I was doin and where I was going.


I was just sort of like, trying to make it and pay rent and kind of taking everything to figure out. Am I a Bar Mitzvah photographer? The answer is no. But if we're just playing in the sandbox right now, figuring out like, what it is that we are wanting in the first place? Is it a good idea? Like when should we be worrying about branding?


Giules: It's a complicated answer. But I think the first piece of the answer is it depends on the type of entrepreneur that you are. Totally, for example, me, I would never have been able to launch a business without having a brand. But that's me. Not everyone works this way, nor should they.


I always say, people can get really stuck in branding, and start second-guessing their choices and just rework their logo a million times and tweak their website copy a million times, and just have that, hold them back and be the excuse for not starting. And so like you say a lot, messy action is 100% valid in this case.


It's actually beneficial, because as long as you found the first piece that I absolutely would not recommend compromising on is kind of honing in on your mission, your vision, your values, and finding that brand feel. And then get a beta version, the first version of your branding out, the first version of your website out, and start interacting with your audience. Start interacting with your customers, because I see that a lot as well.


But branding is just a conversation, and you can't have a conversation if you're alone in a vacuum. You need to start interacting with the outside world for that conversation to be a two-way street. And so you start getting feedback, you start understanding what your clients want, you start seeing what they respond to, what they like more, what they like less. And you can tweak along the way.


I do branding for a living. And I've iterated on my brand and my website many times since I started. What you see right now is not the final version, and I'm currently in the process of reworking my whole website, which is going to launch soon. So there's, it's never a finished product and that's the beauty of it.


We get to keep creating, we get to keep iterating because we change, because the world around us change, because our customers need change. And so the brand that you're going to launch today isn't your forever brand. Don't let that stop you. Just create something that's true to you, true to your value, and that evokes the feeling that you want people to feel and run with that.


Diana: And what is the brand? Are we talking like logos and colors? Like what do they mean? What's the package? Like, what do you give people when you first work with them?


Giules: So there's two ways that we go about this. And I always recommend to start with brand strategy and then visual identity. When people think of their logo, their color, etc., that's the visual identity, which is just one piece of a bigger puzzle. Your brand starts at the top of your strategy. And so it's your brand promise, what it is that you're saying, what it is that you're promising, how are you going to change people's lives.


Then we've got the visual identity, which is your brand look, your brand aesthetic. So it has your logo, your color palette, your tone of voice, your websites, any collateral, any physical kind of element that people can see. Then we have the brand image, which is the opinion and the view that people have of your brand. So that's not controlled by you but if you've made sure that your brand promise and your brand identity are authentic and aligned with the vision and the mission that you have, the brand image that your customers have should be aligned with that.


Then the last piece is the brand experience, which is often neglected. People don't necessarily think that it's part of a brand or branding, it's just customer experience, customer service. It isn't, it's an extremely important piece of the puzzle, because the experience is what ties it all together. It's what's going to guarantee that what you set out to be, set out to create actually comes through at the end of the journey.


It's making sure that all of the steps, all of the different touch points that you have, are seamless and create that experience that you want your customers to have. And so that's anything from your onboarding experience if you're a service provider, your delivery-tracking and boxing experience if you’re a product-based business. It's how do you reach out to clients after they've worked with you? What's the experience of working with you like? All of those are massive, massive pieces of that brand puzzle that people really need to pay attention to.


Again, don't let that scare you. If you don't know yet what you're doing in terms of your brand experience, and you're just barely figuring out the offers and the services that you want to put out there, just start bit by bit imagining. Put together a scenario of okay, if I get my first Photoshop client tomorrow, what would that look like? And put it very simply on a Google Doc, a piece of paper, anywhere, a sticky pad. And try to think of okay, they reached out to me, they sent me a DM on Instagram.


What's the next step? What happens? We jump on a discovery call? Cool. What's the discovery call? What do we talk about? What do I ask them? What do they need to give me? Follow up — how does that happen? The mood boarding process, the shot list, start imagining all of those things. And for example, my business is all about relaxation and calm. And so even my onboarding experience feels like that.


When I reach out to people that I've onboarded under my plan, the first email that I send to them has a link to a soothing, calm playlist. And there's a few kind of grounding exercises that they need to do. And then at the end of working with me, they get a care package at home with a candle, some incense, the whole experience from start to finish. And body is my brand feel.


That's kind of tying the customer experience with a bow. But even if you're not there yet, just thinking of those small little details of what do I want them to feel? Cool, I've identified that. How do I make it happen?


Diana: Yeah, I love that. I love that you do the playlist and just like getting creative. I love getting creative as creatives. Like it doesn't have to be a blueprint, I'm just gonna keep preaching that. And like, how can you make it unique? Get creative about your creativity, right? I love that so much. So good. So I think that's a really good starting point.


Back to your story just for a second, fashion journalism. Record scratch here, like fashion journalism, how did we end up getting into being this branding expert person?


Giules: I know well, I studied applied languages, because I spoke a few already. So I was like, why not? And I was actually studying to be an interpreter and I realized this isn't what I wanted to do. And so I feared and went into fashion and luxury management. So I studied at the French Fashion Institute in Paris. Then I moved to London, I did fashion journalism. And the first four years of my career were in fashion, in London in LA. And then at the beginning of Qatar, I was working in fashion.


I was doing fashion marketing, so anything from marketing campaigns, PR events, blogger partnerships, you name it. And I wasn't planning on leaving the fashion world, but in a lot of ways, the same thing I felt about the advertising world and why I quit and opened my own business is what I felt about the fashion world. I was a bit disenchanted, let's call it that. And it wasn't an environment and an industry that I felt like I recognize myself in anymore.


I was craving something different. I was craving more freedom, more creativity and just working with different clients and being able to explore other industries. And so that's why I decided to go agency side because instead of having one client, which was my main fashion client because I was working embedded in a company, I had the opportunity to work with hundreds of clients on the agency side and so yeah, that was kind of the reason.


I do miss fashion a little bit. I still work with beauty, luxury, and fashion clients right now even on my side of the fence. But yeah, I just, I needed something different.


Diana: Yeah, I love that. I think for me the whole working with multiple companies, when it was even in magazines and thinking, I had a lot of pressure on myself to work with an under some company in New York because I was just like, “All of them are here and I should take advantage of that.” Not realizing that entrepreneurship would allow me to work with many, many, many of those people in businesses, which is so cool. Yeah, I love that.


Okay, so I love all of this knowledge. First of all, I want to shout out that Giules actually has a guest module on branding in Camp Clarity, which is epic. So for those of you who are in Camp Clarity, or who have taken it, that's recent. So go check those modules, because you get them for life. As well as anyone joining in the future, you'll get Giules’ goodness.


I want to ask before we go into like, lightning round, fun stuff. How do we work with you? What does that look like? And also, let's just take a little honesty check of how working as an entrepreneur has felt for you as a nomad these first few months.


Giules: Loaded question. I'm always honest, that's also one of my core values as a human and in my business, which is total honesty and transparency. So I actually posted about this on Instagram today.


It's been hard. It's been different. It's been a journey, for sure. I felt a little lost, a little uninspired at times. And just, I'm a Cancer. And so for me, my home and my space and having roots is super important. And I did not expect for this to be as jolting as it's been because I'm also coming off of a four-month in Lebanon, where we were visiting my husband's family. So I've been living out of suitcases for a month and a half. And I've just settled now in Lisbon.


It's been interesting, but I just have to remind myself that it's a phase. And it's always a very interesting phase. And it's funny, I was working on quite a few things today, because as I said, I'm relaunching my website, and I'm kind of revamping my offerings so there's a few cool things that are going to come your way very soon, by the way.


I finally felt that sparking that connection. And I was like, “There you go, you've been here all along.” 3ewSo it's all good. It's all well and good.


Diana: Yeah, I think. Let me see if you agree, especially with the anti-hustle culture. But I do think action sort of negates fear, in a way. Even if it's just like, if you're uninspired, go to a pottery class, or go to a workout or something just to like, even you just posted going to a spin class in Lisbon. And it's like, they have branding and that could be inspiring, and you're also moving your body and getting endorphins and whatever that looks like.


It doesn't have to be okay, grinding on the computer because I'm stuck, and I'm just gonna, like, make myself get unstuck. But getting out of your element getting out of your space, and like going and doing something, I feel like, starts that spark, right? And it can be really hard. Sometimes we also just need like a day in bed watching Netflix. That's cool, too.


Giules: That's what I was gonna say. Actually, I have a little spicy take on that because I do agree with you as long as it's not mental and brain work. If you get into your body and you go for a walk or you go to a museum, because might still be brain work, but not really. It's just getting inspired, or you go to a spin class, anything to get you out of your head. But at the same time, I do think that there's a lot to be learned and a lot to be said for sitting in the stillness, and not always doing. Just being.


Being, without doing anything, is the hardest thing for most people. But for us, as creatives and not being able to create and do and be on to the next thing and just sit in the stillness and the nothingness, is extremely hard. But sometimes we have to. It's a really good gut check to kind of realize, okay, this, I'm shedding. I don't need anymore. I need more of this, I need less of that.


If you don't have, if you don't sit still and you're always going and you're always in action mode, you don't hear those things. You don't hear those lessons. You have to get quiet. It's the hardest thing.


Diana: Especially for a Gemini, it's hard.


Giules: It's extremely hard. It's extremely hard. But I've embraced it for the past couple of weeks, which is the first time in a long time. Because although I work in a calm way, and I do believe that there's a way to do things with intention and with alignment always, I've still been working. I haven't taken that much of a break.


It has been very interesting and I have learned a lot of things. I've gotten quite a few insights. So try it. It's even if it's just for a day, being quiet, and just emptying your calendar and doing nothing. And don't numb with social media. Just be with yourself, journal. Get it all out and on paper. Yeah, it's cool, right?


Diana: Love it. So how do we work with you, or are we still figuring that out? Because you're kind of revamping things. So what does that look like? How do we connect?


Giules: I mean, yes and no. So I'm over at Groundwork Club. So that's groundworkclub.com for my websites, and Groundwork Club on Instagram. My doors are still open. The doors to the spa are fully open. So I do primarily brand strategy and visual identity, but I also do one-on-one consulting work. So you can find all about that on my website, you can reach out on the contact form, or send me a DM on Instagram.


Yeah, as I said, I'm doing quite a few new things this year. I'm not gonna say too much. But there's, there's a podcast coming. There's some cool kind of lifestyle offerings and a subscription box. A few cool little nuggets that are coming our way, but I'm letting it percolate. And I'm letting it take its time there is no rush. There's no timeline. So yeah, you can find me there and I'd love to connect.


So please, social is all about connecting intentionally. That's also something that has taken me quite a while to figure out. I have a love-hate relationship to social media. But today I share the super vulnerable share, and I've gotten so much feedback and people are resonating with it so much and so I was doubting myself. I was like, should I say, should I not? If I say that I'm a mess, and I'm uninspired, are people not going to want to work with me?


I was like, No. I'm just going to post because I'm human and I want to be honest and stand behind my values and just tell people what I'm feeling. And so many people are feeling the same. So it's really equal to connect with other humans without necessarily having an end game, per se. So come and connect. Let's have a digital hangout.


Diana: And we met on Instagram, which is so cool. And you know, I was in Florence and you met me there. And then we met and hung out for the weekend and Annecy, France and now you're coming to Greece for the retreat.


Giules: You’re my birthday gift last year.


Diana: I love it. It's so good. It's like, it's just one little connection and one little conversation, like we've bloomed this whole garden of a friendship and collaborative ship, furcation, all the things. Okay, so your astrology. You said you're a cancer. Do you know your moon and your rising?


Giules: Yes, Cancer sun, Taurus moon, Scorpio rising.


Diana: Literally. I was like there's with the home and all of that like Taurus, Taurus, Taurus. All the way. Candles, the luxury, the call?


Giules: Yeah, I've got my palo santo going. I've got the candle sparkling. It's a whole mode.


Diana: I love it. What does creativity mean to you?


Giules: So many things. Creativity is what keeps me going. And that's why it's been an interesting ride the past few weeks because if I'm not inspired by what I do, it's really hard for me to keep going. It's really hard for me to pretend. And so, especially in my business, in my own business, if I don't like the step that I'm putting out, it's really hard for me to keep going. So it's my fuel. And so I'm trying to spark that creativity on the daily.


I'm actually diving back into The Practice by Seth Godin, I don't know if you know that book. It's all about kind of strengthening your creative muscle and a lot of tips and tricks to kind of keep that going. So, I read it a long time ago and I'm diving back into it and it's been pretty cool.


Creativity is freedom too, because as creative entrepreneurs, we literally get to design not only our business but our life. So by definition, everything we do is creative. From the way we build our daily routines to what our home looks like, to what our life and our schedule and our travel, and everything we do, everything we touch is creative.


It can be a bit daunting, but it's also super liberating because we are literally the designer of our own life.


Diana: Yeah. So good. I just picture like touching everything and like rainbows coming out of our fingers.


Giules: It's literally that like, we get to and we get to scrap, we get to create things, and then scrap them and reinvent them. Like who does that?


Diana: Yeah, so cool. As I'm sitting here with my iridescent rainbow microphone. Do you have an entrepreneurial crush, someone you like, really admire?


Giules: I mean, apart from you, because, you know, it would be boring if I just vent about you for five minutes. But I would say Xanthe from Oh Sierra Creative. I don't know if you know her. They have creative membership, like a community that's really, really cool, called The Table. And they do strategy, they do consulting, similar offerings to what I do, but they're a couple, husband and wife team. They're Canadian, they live in LA now. And I just love her no-bullshit approach. Can I swear? or good.


Giules: Oh, my God, we’re marked explicit on the interwebs.


Giules: I love on the interwebs, on the web. Yeah, so I love her no-bullshit approach. She keeps things very simple, she gives a ton of value, there is no gatekeeping. And she's also a photographer, and so she kind of romanticizes her life. So even if she's just lighting a candle and having a coffee in the morning, she makes it look like it's a 1930s holiday movie. And I just think that's pretty cool because you get to romanticize your life when you're an entrepreneur as well.


Even the simplest thing that you do, you get to put your spin on it and just look at it as a happy moment. Like the sun, the first rays of sunshine coming through your window in the morning, and you get to bask in them and enjoy them. And you're not, you know, rushing to get the train to go to the office. And I think it's nice to remind ourselves that we get to enjoy all those small simple moments every day.


Diana: Yeah, I love that just the permission to romanticize our lives. You know, it doesn't, really like doesn't have to be looked at as a highlight reel. It can be just like, wow, I'm really grateful for the sunrise this morning which I saw, and I'm going to share it because I want people to think about the sunrise too. And be reminded that like, maybe you could get up and watch the sunrise and enjoy that and take it slow. So I love that, that permission to romanticize your life. Yes. So, so good.


So you said The Practice, but is there anything else that you're reading or listening to that you would recommend right now?


Giules: I mean, I listen to Pollen religiously, obviously. And I have ever since the trailer dropped. But I listen to, I'm an OG Almost 30 listener. I listen to their Morning Microdose now, which is kind of like those little snippets of Almost 30 because they tend to do like hour-long episodes. So when you don't necessarily have the time you get to kind of download that little juice with the Morning Microdose.


I listen to Funny Cuz It's True, Elyse Myers. She blew up on Tik Tok with like this random tacos date night story. If you haven't seen it, absolutely have to watch it. It's hilarious. She ended up buying like 100 tacos on the first date and paying for them. It's like the most ridiculous thing. And so she just sells like life stories so that's more of I listen to that to kind of like chill out and decompress.


I listen to Girlboss Radio still, I love Puno, the host, which is also the creative ilovecreatives that's super cool website that has like a massive community of creatives. So she's really cool and fun too. So I listened to interviews of that as well. And yeah, I definitely watch way too much Netflix for my own taste. But you know, we all indulge in our own ways.


Diana: Yeah, and permission, you know, like we can do that.


Giules: Exactly.


Diana: Freedom. Okay, beautiful, ilovecreatives was an OG for me when I was first like laid off and digging into just connecting and all the things. I think they're based in New York City, yeah? Okay, if money, time, resources, all of it didn't matter, you just have total freedom and didn't have to worry about anything, what would you create just to create?


Giules: There's two things, but the one thing that I know I want to create is that I would like to buy, renovate, and run a b&b. It kind of combines everything I want to do, which is I have a massive love for interior styling and decoration. I love branding and just strategy altogether, so I could kind of strategize my heart out for what we would offer. And just customer experience, brand experience is so important to me. And I offer that to all of my clients, even if they're service-based businesses.


But when it's a physical space, it's even more apparent. And you can really have fun with what that brand experience looks like, from the check in to the key to everything that's in the room, etc, the events that we could host there. And I would love for it to become a kind of community-driven space where it's not just people checking into the b&b that are just kind of passing by, and tourists or whatnot.


But for it to really be in a place where it would become a community hub. And there could be like, you know, talks and creative gatherings, and there could be a coffee shop and a yoga studio in it. And it would become this kind of, you know, big community-centered space. Where, don't ask me, by the water, but it could be the sea, a lake, I'm not quite sure. I see water. But yeah, it would be running that space and just being with people every day and connecting with different people every day and just giving them the best experience possible.


Diana: And so fun to create the visual identity for that too.


Giules: I know. I mean, I would secretly do it now even if I don't open the b&b just to have fun.


Diana: You should. I think it's like manifesting it, like creating it before it's a thing. I love that. Okay, last question that I'm just kind of adding for the first time is what are you most proud of from this last year?


Giules: Wow, catching me off-guard, Diana. Personal or business or all of it combined?


Diana: Either. Let's go with let's go with business.


Giules: Okay. Well, I'm gonna go with that one because it is that one. Hosting a retreat for the first time ever. I hosted a creative retreat with a friend of mine last October here in Portugal actually, which is before I knew I wanted to move here. But I already kind of had the inkling that I was meant to be here.


Yeah, it was completely out of my comfort zone and we hosted 10 women in a beautiful villa. And it was absolutely amazing, and everyone loved it. And that was a big step out of my comfort zone. But I worked on it for months and months and months, and I did it and it turned out amazing.


Diana: Love it. I’m so proud of you and inspired by you for doing that. So incredible. Doing retreats right alongside each other, cannot recommend enough. So good. Amazing. Giules, thank you so much for your expertise today. Thanks for your time and your energy.


Giules: Thank you for having me.


Diana: Please tag us, share this episode, Groundwork Club and Diana Davis Creative. We love to hear your thoughts, what you got out of this, what you took away, questions you have, further questions, and where you're listening in from. So many of you post like about your walks, and you know you're by the ocean, you're in the city, you're doing all these things while you're listening to Pollen, which is so cool.


Tag us, share. We would love to hear from you and just connect just for the sake of connection. And yeah, stay tuned for I'm sure more collaborations to come with Giules and the whole branding side. And definitely reach out to her if you are one of those people who is ready to just streamline and feel really confident and grounded in your branding, your brand's story, your verbiage, your client experience, the visual identity, all of it.


She's your girl and she's obviously, as you've heard, had a lot of perspective, worldly perspective all over the board. So thank you for being here.


Giules: Thank you, Diana.

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