Why We Start with the Story First // Chelsea Von Mach Brand Story Dev: Part 2

I like to focus on the story behind the brand first.

When we take the time to get our story straight and clear, bringing the story to life through marketing and branding is SO MUCH EASIER and thoughtfully connected in all respects. 

I know it's tempting to jump into the fun stuff (I think they're fun).

Things like websites and photography absolutely help us sell and market our products and services. I too felt a desire to do this (and did some of it) when I first launched W&S.

Yet, after working with clients over the years, I've realized that taking the time to put words to the purpose and reason for why you are creating this business is incredibly helpful to do first. 


Well, for starters, the experts you hire to help you with all the marketing things are not in your head.

If you can put words to the essence of your business, your team, your experts and your customers will understand what you're all about without a lengthy conversation with you on the phone or in person.

That's huge. 

However, many of my clients are like me.

We wanted to just get out there and tweak while we went along. That's totally fine and honestly sometimes you need to test the waters to know what you love about what you do to know why you do it.

The awesome part about our digital world is that we can make changes pretty easily.

I invite you to try our quick and easy Brand Story Audit Exercise to see if your story and marketing are out of alignment.

Once you have the awareness about what isn't jiving, you can take the necessary to steps to adjust your story or your marketing or both. 

Part 2 of Brand Story Development with Chelsea Von Mach

As we dive into the continuation of our series to explore developing a brand story for fashion stylist Chelsea Von Mach, we share how a combination of both a written explanation and visual examples will help get you closer to what you want, much faster. Thus, saving time, money and avoiding unnecessary confusion and frustration. 

If you'd like to learn more about Chelsea and the overall project, read Part 1.

Once it was determined that Chelsea's goal was to share her story through a unique video series, we determined a media kit would be a great way to go. Our focus would be to share her story, the series concept and how potential collaborators could partner with her.

I brought in Art Director and Designer, Mandi Gum to help us visually bring Chelsea's ideas to life. Mandi designed our logo as well as all of our branded forms, templates and marketing collateral. However, I've been working with Mandi for years within in-house marketing roles, way before launching W&S. 

Currently based in Minneapolis, Mandi began her design career in Los Angeles where she orchestrated digital marketing campaigns for premium entertainment clients such as Disney, Showtime, HBO and more. Today, in addition to developing design related projects for us, she focuses on helping small businesses establish and grow their identity across a multitude of platforms.

Along with the Brand Story Questionnaire from the beginning of the process that we shared in Part 1, I asked Chelsea to pull together images that would help us create a mood for her story, her past work and the video series.

Visual examples always help - it's not all that different from getting your hair done. :)

Tip: We like to create and work within Google Docs because everyone can easily share files and edit content.  


Here is a little snapshot of the awesome visuals Chelsea provided to help convey the essence of the video series.


"Chelsea's brand story questionnaire and reference imagery allowed me to really get to the heart of who she is, her perspective and desires as a stylist and businesswoman, the ways in which she hopes to impact the fashion community, and the overall mood and aesthetic she is hoping to portray. These items were incredibly thorough and strategic, and because of them, we were able to quickly establish a design direction that is so uniquely Chelsea!"  - Mandi Gum

After absorbing everything, Mandi designed a set of 5 different options that Chelsea could pick from to help inform the aesthetic direction.

You can click on the thumbnail images below to scroll through the options.

We tried a few combinations of the various designs, but ultimately landed on the very first option that Mandi designed. 

It's funny, I will usually ask Mandi for a couple of additional options when working on projects, but I would say about 98% of the time I end up choosing Mandi's first concept. It feels so great to be in such capable hands!

While Mandi worked on the visuals, I dove into Chelsea's bio and a written explanation of the video series concept which I'll be sharing in the next part of the series!


The Right Collaboration is Key: How to Learn from a Bruised Ego

I'm going to be real honest with you guys. 

My ego was beyond bruised last year, so much so that I didn't even realize the lies I told myself to avoid feeling it.

Back in September, I tried my hand at hosting a solo workshop all about brand clarity. I worked really hard on the content over a period of months so that it would be incredibly thoughtful and valuable to my guests. I was presenting to a group of alumni at a college and later realized that I had relied too heavily on receiving support of the organization to help promote the workshop and get tickets sold. My contact there at the time who set it up is still one of my favorite people in the world, but unfortunately things just didn't work as we had hoped. They did some Insta Stories and sent an email out to their alumni, but it was buried in a long list of events and news. Not great.

It was the day of the workshop and I had sold 3 tickets.

To make things worse, one of the girls was sick. BUT I didn't cancel. I drove my butt downtown and did my very best. I threw my plan of a formal presentation out the window and dove into the content. I focused on providing these two women with a very personalized experience split between each of their budding businesses. 

In hindsight, I see that it's important to have these rough experiences to learn how to do things better, but after it was over, I felt exhausted and defeated.

I decided that workshops weren't for me.

I turned my focus to client projects and on growing a team at Written & Styled. So I did that. I put my head down and got to work. I added some wonderful new clients to our roster and some new amazing team members. 

So why was I feeling like something was still missing? I couldn't figure it out. I went to workshops, met with intuitive readers, coaches, and even a traditional therapist. Of course, it was more of my "woo" women supporters that opened my eyes. I'm told I have a lot of masculine "doing" energy and need to be more feminine and tune-in to my intuition and "feel" - that still confuses me a bit, but I agree and once I let go and connected to what made me happy, it clicked. 

I really missed coaching and working with new entrepreneurs. 

Before the workshop last year, I was collaborating with a co-working space in downtown where I provided free 30-min marketing coaching sessions for a day once a month. That was so fun. It was kind of like speed coaching where I helped people get out of their bubble and see things differently. In near every experience, I'd hear how clear they felt about their business and how excited they were to put these new ideas into action. Some turned into clients. From there, I started taking on one-on-one coaching clients and, in fact, this experience was what gave me the idea for the workshop in the first place.

It just goes to show you need to pick your collaborators well.

This brings me to last Saturday where Written & Styled presented and participated in an incredible panel discussion and speed mentoring event in collaboration with Savoir Collab (Founded by Tamalin Srisook of Savoir Agency) "Telling Your Brand Story" at Industrious West Hollywood (the prettiest co-working space ever).

Scroll down to see my list of top 8 takeaways from our event. 


Over the course of a short 3 weeks we had to work out all of the details, including the panelists, location, photography, food, promotion, etc. Tamalin has been in event production for over 20 years and I'll tell you, she knows her stuff. She loves supporting women-led businesses and loved my idea for the event right from the start.

Yet, it still takes a village! 

Without the awesome support of our panelists and our friends - sending emails, posting on social media and just showing up - it would never have been as successful. 


My goal was to help shine a light on brand storytelling from a group of expert storytellers. And no surprise, these women truly rocked it (listed from left to right in the image):









The concept of "speed mentoring" is all Tamalin. It's awesome because attendees get to listen to a quick 30-min panel (I think we only got through each of our stories and none of the questions I had prepared!) then everyone is broken into small groups to speak with each panelists. 

The groups rotated every 15 minutes and then we ended with a little networking, photo ops, along with cupcakes and champagne for our birthday girl panelist, Haely. 


8 key takeaways from our event:

1. Partners. Find a collaboration partner that has a true desire to have a good turnout. 

2. Description and pricing. Once you have your event concept nailed, make sure to share the description and pricing with a few friends (who love you enough to be honest) to make sure they get it and would want to go. If not, tweak early. 

3. Promote early. Begin promoting earlier than you think you need to and get creative about how to spread the word. In the days leading up to our event I had quite a few great suggestions from friends that I wish I had plotted out sooner. 

4. Everyone needs to pitch in. Make it clear to those participating in your event that you're going to need their help promoting ahead of time. No matter the budget, it always helps and can make all the difference.

5. You're not annoying. No one ever sees all of your social posts, so don't feel like you're being annoying when you are posting all over the place leading up to your event.

6. IRL Opportunity. Find opportunities for personal connections. We are in front of our screen enough getting talked to, let your guests get involved and help them create relationships with your experts.

7. Photography + Video. Probably goes without saying, but it's so nice to look back on all the hard work you put it. We were lucky enough to have the lovely Stephanie Tusler of TSLR Lifestyle take the gorgeous photos seen in this post. We took a bunch of videos for our Instagram story and shared portions of the event live.

8. End on a high note. Keep the magic alive with thank you emails/notes to your collaborators and guests. Get as personal as you have the capacity for. 

The moral of this post is that I encourage everyone to be OK with failing or whatever you consider less than ideal. It teaches us the lessons we need to do better the next time if we are determined enough to try again. 

"In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety." - Abraham Maslow

With love,



Don't miss out on future events! 

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All photography provided by TSLR Lifestyle. Contact stephanie@tslrlifestyle.com for amazing custom content for your brand. 

Behind-the-Scenes of Brand Story Development // Chelsea Von Mach: Part 1

I'm having such a great time with a current client project that I realized there are so much gold in sharing our process with you. Luckily my client, the lovely Chelsea Von Mach, is down to share her experience as we dive into the early stages of developing her brand story and bringing it to life.

Chelsea Von Mach is a Los Angeles-based fashion stylist for television, film, editorial, advertising campaigns and red carpet events. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, she moved to Los Angeles to study Merchandise Product Development and fine-tune her innate creative talent at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

After graduating, Chelsea assisted numerous fashion stylists and costume designers including celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe & Mad Men Costume designer Janie Bryant. Styling projects include The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas advertisements, V-Magazine editorials, American Idol, The T.V. Show The Real and the CW Network campaigns. Chelsea’s personal eclectic street style has also been featured in some of the industries top style resources, such as The Sartorialist, Japanese Vogue, Refinery29 and The New York Times.

Chelsea and I were introduced by our mutual dear friend Bill Cliatt, another veteran survivor of the fashion industry, and we began working together last year when she signed up for my 1:1 coaching program. Her goal was to begin the process of extending her career beyond that of traditional fashion styling. At the beginning of this year, I reached out to Chelsea to see what kind of progress she had made in developing her personal brand and an exciting video series concept we discussed during our sessions. Being that her styling career keeps her incredibly busy, she felt less than accomplished in the areas we worked on and wanted to chat about how I could provide her a little more hands-on help to get things moving. She also knew that I'd keep her committed to her goals by providing a level of accountability and a solid sounding board for her creative ideas. 

So we got to work. 

First things first, we set up a 2-hour in-person work session to work through a slightly intense brand story questionnaire that I've been developing over the last couple of months. The questions are a deep dive into all aspects of how to discover and tell your story. Although not all of it will be used in the copy, understanding all of it helps my brain work and come up with different ways to position and help clients market themselves later on. In this case, we decided to focus our energy on the development of media kit that would include a concept for the video series.

Below is a glimpse into the questionnaire. It's never meant to be edited perfectly, it's more so written as a stream of consciousness because that's just the way it works best.

Here are some of Chelsea's kind words after our initial session:

 "It was so great seeing you Thursday!! That work session WAS AMAZINGGGG! I'm going to work on filling out everything this week/weekend. Ahh I'm so excited! The work session was so helpful bc it really got me thinking and brainstorming ideas I hadn't really thought of yet." 

Next week I'll be sharing how Art Director Mandi Gum began crafting the aesthetic direction for Chelsea's media kit. I LOVE this next part, it's like opening a present. 



Have you been thinking about your own brand story?

Join our list via the button below and receive our begin with our free brand story audit exercise.

Story dev begins with awareness. You can download and fill in the PDF template with your responses to start seeing what might need a little love and attention.