Never feel like you’re above any aspect of the business. You can find us doing things across any aspect of the business at all times. For example, managing the social media requires a lot of our time and attention and it might be easier to hire someone to manage all of our social. However, having that direct access to our customers is invaluable and absolutely worth it to us.
As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kendall and Libby Glazer.
Sisters Kendall and Libby Glazer are the co-founders of lifestyle brand Stoney Clover Lane, one of the fastest growing accessories companies in the marketplace. They began Stoney Clover Lane in 2009 as teenagers and fashioned the endeavor into a multimillion-dollar brand in less than a decade. With a successful eCommerce business and quick expansion into the retail space with four brick-and-mortars and counting, Kendall and Libby Glazer have solidified Stoney Clover Lane as the go-to brand for customizable lifestyle accessories.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
From a young age, we were drawn to self-expression with our sense of style and how we accessorized. We were very creative and have always been business minded. Stoney Clover Lane began over the summer of 2009, when we were teenagers making beaded bracelets in our bedroom. It started out as a hobby we enjoyed. From the beginning, we recognized that personalization sets you apart and adds to your unique sense of style. The idea behind the brand was to create what we truly like. Then through friends, family, social media and eventually, celebrity influencers wearing our bracelets, it very quickly turned into a company.
Can you tell us the story of what led you to this particular career path?
Stoney Clover Lane became a career for us in college. While all of our friends we’re looking for summer internships, they were asking if they could intern with us! It made us realize that this was much more than a hobby and we should focus seriously on building the brand.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We were actually revisiting this mistake relatively recently! As we were initially building the brand from the ground up, there were times when we would consult with people to help us along the way since we were so young and new. One of the consultants we worked with insisted that our website needed to be black and red for people to take us seriously versus the bright, fun colors that we were leaning towards. It’s hysterical to look back and see how crazy the website looked!
We tended to trust anyone who had more experience than us even though in our gut, we knew it wasn’t right. So from that day forward, when it came to branding, we’ve always done what feels right for us. Bright colors are now our staples!
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
There are so many books that are special to us, we can’t possibly choose one! We love reading and this past year we actually started an SCL Book Club. Although we initially created it as an employee initiative, it quickly grew into something bigger and better. Our Stoney Clover community joins us every month as we read a book hand selected by us and the rest of the Stoney Clover Lane team. We’re big believers that books are magic, and love to share what we’re reading with our dedicated followers. You can find out what book we’re reading on our Instagram @StoneyClover
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” We always, always go with our gut when making decisions even when it might seem like a non-traditional choice or a riskier path.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. For the benefit of our readers, let’s define our terms. How do you define a Lifestyle Brand? How is a Lifestyle Brand different from a normal, typical brand?
With a lifestyle brand, it’s not simply about the specific product offerings.It’s about the aesthetic, culture, interests and attitude the brand and products convey. While a typical brand might focus on the product alone and its use or purpose, a lifestyle brand will inspire or motivate consumers and contribute to their lives in one way or another.
A crucial part of the Stoney Clover Lane brand is having an aspirational but attainable brand image. We want our community to feel included and a part of this lifestyle, no matter what. We offer Stoney Clover Lane University, our free Zoom with Kendall where people can learn about different areas of the business. Those sessions are free and even though we sell our book club books, people can buy them from anywhere and still participate. To us, it’s about building a community that has a lasting impact, not necessarily a direct profit.
What are the benefits of creating a lifestyle brand?
First and foremost, there are no limits or boundaries when creating a lifestyle brand. We were able to build a unique and special identity around Stoney Clover Lane that continues to attract likeminded consumers. From the name based on our childhood street, to the growing products and customization offerings, Stoney Clover has unlimited potential. There are also endless ways that consumers can express themselves with a lifestyle brand. As a result, followers keep coming back for more.
Additionally, we’re able to form a deeper connection with our followers and learn from them every day. Consumer connection has always been very important to us and staying engaged with our consumers has helped us develop a strong and loyal community. Through Instagram, we respond directly to feedback and ask customers for suggestions and opinions. Through this, we’ve created a dedicated and engaged fan base where people are always awaiting and looking forward to our latest launch.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved Lifestyle Brand? What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
Honestly, we don’t often focus on what anyone else out there is doing! Focusing on our brand, the next steps, and new ways we can outdo ourselves, directly contributes to our success rather than checking in on what other brands are doing. We’re immensely proud of the time and effort we’ve put into building Stoney Clover Lane. It’s built entirely based on our lives, needs, and things that were loving and we’ve seen that resonate incredibly well with our customers.
Can you share your ideas about how to create a lifestyle brand that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?
There is something special about providing a personal experience where people walk away with a product or service that they believe is perfect for and unique to themselves. Combining great quality products and tools for self-expression with a seamless online or in-store guest experience will elevate your brand. For example, customization has always been a cornerstone for Stoney Clover Lane. From the various shades of our bags, pouches and organizational accessories, to the endless customization options we have with our patches — there is something for everyone and it’s easy to make something feel your own.
The other driving force behind Stoney Clover is that there’s ALWAYS something new. We’re always keeping our customers on their toes, awaiting the next launch, which can range from a seasonal collection to a limited-edition sweatshirt to a surprise collaboration drop. They know there’s always something just around the corner to look forward to!
Developing products you’re obsessed with and staying true to yourself and your brand is also essential. When you understand what your audience loves, it’s important to build off of that momentum and stay consistent with branding.
What are the common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a lifestyle brand? What can be done to avoid those errors?
One common mistake is not having a defined identity when entering a saturated market or trying to emulate something that people are already doing. In order to start a successful lifestyle brand, you must bring something new to the table. Understand what sets you apart from your competitors, prove this to your target audience and build off of what makes your brand unique. This can be done by pursuing what you’re passionate about and taking an unprecedented approach to elevate the current market. With Stoney Clover, we were determined to bring much-desired personality and vibrancy to a historically unexpressive category of accessories.
Additionally, we believe a truly authentic lifestyle brand is an extension of its creators. Stoney Clover Lane began because we made bracelets that we liked and were wearing ourselves, then we began designing patches we liked and were using ourselves. Then we created our own customizable organization accessories, because we wanted bags and pouches we would use ourselves. Your brand should be intentional and special to you.
Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a lifestyle brand that they would like to develop. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
Truly understand and know your audience. Why do they need your brand, what parts of their life is your brand fulfilling, and why should they choose your brand?
Ok. Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Curate your branding! In our opinion, branding is the most important factor in the business and if we could only put money behind one thing, it would be that. It’s the public face that you put out to the world and you only get one shot to make a good impression.
- Any good lifestyle brand should be an extension! Stoney Clover Lane is an extension of our lives and the things that we love and feel passionately about. Our consumer base resonates with that passion and it sparks their interest in all things Stoney Clover.
- Offering a quality product! This is crucial for any business where you’re offering a product, but it’s especially crucial for a lifestyle brand. We focused on quality and durability when designing our signature pouches and bags. Now our customer knows to expect that level of quality with anything we produce! If the first thing you designed is poor quality, no one will be ever be interested when the brand expands into new categories or products.
- Know yourself and your company identity! We both have a very strong sense of Stoney Clover’s identity and where we’re looking to take the brand. That’s our foundation and it paves the way for everything we do.
- Get to know your community! Once you’ve got a following, appreciate, value, and listen to them. Getting to know our customers is one of the most rewarding aspects of our jobs and it helps us build a better company.
- A bonus tip! Never feel like you’re above any aspect of the business. You can find us doing things across any aspect of the business at all times. For example, managing the social media requires a lot of our time and attention and it might be easier to hire someone to manage all of our social. However, having that direct access to our customers is invaluable and absolutely worth it to us.
Super. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Definitely something to help eliminate poverty and provide essentials to those in need! We’re really proud of our partnership with Baby2Baby, a nonprofit that provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing, and all of the basic necessities that every child deserves. We work with them throughout the year and support various initiatives they have while also curating our own experiences for the kids they support. We especially love to support them around Back to School by providing backpacks to their network of families!
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen! We’re so inspired by their business savvy and the longevity and transformation of their careers.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.