Eat, Sleep, & Live Your Brand: Straight Talk from Entrepreneur Nichole Imperi

by Jill Foster on February 9, 2009

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Guest post from Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, regular guest contributor to Women Grow Business. Mayra works as an independent marketing strategist, social media enthusiast, and blogger. With over 14 years of marketing, PR, and communications experience, Mayra helps businesses and non-profits with all aspects of their brand identity, outreach communications, and competitive positioning.

She produces the marketing thought leadership blog Marketing Misfit and can be reached there or at www.twitter.com/marketingMisfit.

Another day at the Emmys
I was speaking at the NATAS Ohio Emmys this past weekend presenting a topic on digital marketing to a bunch of broadcasting and media professionals. During my second session, lo’ and behold, a vivacious young lady sitting near the front row seemed really engrossed with the topic and the presentation.

Brand-a-holic dogmas unite
After a full day of professional development seminars, award ceremonies and networking luncheon, I happened to bump into the very same young woman again while walking out of the reception hall. Who knew that this second run-in would have boomed into an incredibly fortuitous exchange of like-mindedness ideas, brand-a-holic dogma and kindred marketing and communications spirits?

Nichole Imperi

Nichole Imperi

Helping entrepreneurs help themselves
Turns out this fab femme is Nichole Imperi, owner of Cincinnati-based brand agency Doth Brands. She specializes in helping small businesses in branding and design.

The Cincinnati native, once hesitant about making her own entrepreneurial move, says the demand for her services have steadily grown, alleviating her initial concerns.

I was afraid that if I did brand and design work full-time [for myself], I wouldn’t love it. But I’ve got so much work (now) I’m not even considering doing it part-time.

Imperi lives in a city with the highest concentration of branding and identity firms than anywhere else in the country.

Imperi says:
I attribute this phenomenon (in Cincinnati) to P&G (Proctor & Gamble) and the many P&Gers who quit and started their own businesses.

Might this high concentration present a problem for Doth Brands? Well …yes, but not how you think. Imperi explains. The problem with branding is that there’s no real way to be ‘accredited’ or ‘qualified.’ It’s also hard to differentiate yourself. This is especially a problem in Cincinnati.

Many of our clients and potential clients have been duped into working with completely unqualified people with [only] a laptop and software.

It’s all about the 80/20 baby!
So what makes Imperi’s Doth Brands unique?

She elaborates:
We base our designs off of color and spatial theory, as well as research and, of course, the competition. I like to follow the 80-20 rule i.e. 80% fact, 20% feeling. I believe you have to have some ‘feeling’ in design, but I also believe that factual information is what will allow your designs to stand the test of time.

On fees: the flatter, the better
About charging brand and design fees, Imperi likes to say…:
We charge a flat fee (rarely do hourly) for our branding packages and 90% of the time our complete packages are less than $10,000.

Keeping costs competitive
Our costs are so competitive because we’re based out of my home (creative people like to freelance and work out of their homes) and we do much of our work over the internet, which saves on shipping and printing costs.

Beyond the brands, there are “golden shoes”
Golden Shoes is an organization dedicated to supporting women who have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and their support networks. I was diagnosed with PCOS just a few months after I got married and it absolutely changed my life.

The website for Golden Shoes launched last week.

In the works: films & jewels
In addition to branding projects and “golden shoes,” Imperi is assisting her husband by promoting his first film produced by his production company, Pile of Sand Productions.

As if that weren’t enough to keep one quite the busy bee, Imperi brands and helps design a jewelry line — all while selling children’s illustrations online as well.

The word ‘busy’ can hardly describe Imperi’s rich and over-full plate(s), but that suits her just fine.

I love it. If you’re happy, everything works.

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