Brand Interview: Ann Bingley Gallops, Open Spaces Feng Shui
How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
- I launched Open Spaces Feng Shui in February 2009; previous to that I had been a Feng Shui practitioner and professional organizer with the business name of The Organized Life (since 2003), but my dedication to the Feng Shui business finally meant that I needed a new business name.
- My business mission is to help people change their lives for the better by enhancing their physical environments with Feng Shui. The state of your home and/or office is usually a good indication of the state of your life, so by making meaningful changes in your space I can help you make meaningful, lasting changes in your personal and professional life.
- I work with people who are going through major life transitions related to their finances, romantic and family relationships, careers and so on.
- My mission is also to make Feng Shui approachable and useful for my clients – I take a down-to-earth approach to this ancient science, reducing the amount of superstition and “woo-woo” that Feng Shui can sometimes offer but which many people are unwilling to bring into their lives.
Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
- I donate my services to silent auctions for various charities that are aligned with the values I represent: integrity, personal growth, creativity, lifelong learning, etc.
Tell us about your brand.
How did you know what typeface (font) would be right for your company wordmark or logo? If your logo has an illustration, describe why that art was the right thing, animal, place, object, etc…
I just re-launched Open Spaces Feng Shui in January 2012, with a new logo and completely re-designed website. Here’s what I wrote on my blog about the look of this logo.
“Working with the fabulous team at JPDStudio, we came up with a look that packs a lot of Feng Shui symbolism into a tiny space.
- Feng Shui situates humanity between Heaven and Earth, which are represented by the circle and square respectively in Chinese cosmology, so we made it a point to use these two powerfully symbolic shapes.
- We also allude to the symbol for Yin & Yang, the ever-changing flow of Chi that connects Feng Shui with universal feminine and masculine energies.
- The Five Elements come through via color and shape: green for Wood, red for Fire, the square shape for Earth, the circle for Metal, and the sinuous movement of Yin & Yang for Water.
- Overall the logo also evokes ancient Chinese coins, wonderful symbolism for a profitable business.”
For the typeface I wanted something very simple and clear. Clarity is a major part of my mission as a Feng Shui consultant.
How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
- Partly I tried to evoke the Five Elements of Feng Shui, as mentioned above.
- Also I wanted to be sure that the logo had some warmth to it, using a color in the red family. In the end all three colors have some warmth, making for a logo with a lot of vitality and good sense of movement.
How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
I chose JPD Studios for several reasons:
- They work with a lot of female entrepreneurs
- They came highly recommended by people I trust
- They have created a lot of lively work that I like, using great colors and clear, interesting design.
- They are young
- The price was right
- They understand WordPress, the platform I wanted to use for my re-launched site.
In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
I started with my site and a monthly newsletter, which I still send out nine years later. In 2009 I launched my blog and started gathering steam in social media. Just last month I launched my first product, an ebook about the Feng Shui Bagua Map, and how to use it to change your life.
How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
Did you do research or study any software, take webinars, teleclasses, before approaching any area of your marketing or web presence?
I have a marketing background from my former life as a marketing executive with an MBA from Columbia University. Some of the companies I worked for included Time Inc, BMG Music and Marvel Entertainment.
In addition to that extremely helpful background, I studied SEO on my own so I could take care of it myself which I still do. I am happy about my ranking on Google for the search term of my choice (Feng Shui consultant in New York City) but still have work to do in terms of being found for other Feng Shui terms which will lift the profile of my blog.
Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? Are they effective?
No and no (I’ve tried it!).
Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
I’ve tried Facebook advertising for a few weeks. I did gain followers but it did not turn into sales or increased page views on my site, so I am thinking carefully about whether the increase in visibility is worth the price.
Which social media site to spend the most time on and how does it help marketing your business?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest most actively. Mostly they seem to contribute to my credibility as an expert, and to show me what resonates the most with people who are into Feng Shui. Of course they are also the top referring sites for driving traffic to my blog.
Do you belong to community sharing websites? Which ones and how effective are they in building your audience? What are the best features that help your business?
I am an active member of a “blog round robin” in which we all take turns leaving comments on one another’s blogs. This has had a very positive effect in both driving traffic and improving my Alexa ranking. I also leave comments in various Feng Shui-related LinkedIn groups, which raises my worldwide profile as a Feng Shui expert.
When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
I used a local vendor to print my business cards, in order to have the most control over what it looks like.
Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
Yes, I know a lot about paper and printing as I started my career as a print production manager (a million years ago!).
Have you ever used “green” technology in printing, using FSC certified papers or recycled paper and if not, how likely are you at trying this on a next project?
I have used it in the past – the quality can still vary and pricing is higher, so I think carefully about it each time I consider it at all.
If you sell products, are they produced in the USA or abroad?
I’ve produced a 40-page downloadable book so far, with more to come soon. You can see what it’s all about at Map Your Space To Change Your Life: The Feng Shui Bagua Map
Do you speak at events? If so tell us about that.
I love to speak about Feng Shui whenever I can. My talks range from a basic Introduction to the topic, to specifics like Feng Shui for the bedroom or office, and to Feng Shui for real estate staging. Feng Shui applies to so many situations that there’s a bit of it out there for everyone!
What is coming up in the year or two we should watch for?
I will be speaking more, creating more Feng Shui books, and curating a selection of affiliate Feng Shui products to sell on my site. I am also very actively building traffic to my blog so I can start monetizing it via advertising and marketing affiliate products.
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
I am working hard on increasing the pageviews my site attracts so that I can carry profitable advertisements for Feng Shui and interior design-related products and services.
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