826NYC + The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

Back in Brooklyn, I had the good fortune of living just down the street from the gutted storefront that would become 826NYC and the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., a non-profit writing center.

I first started helping out by writing mission statements, web copy, press releases, and fundraising appeals—and, of course, before long I was inventing Superhero products by the dozen, naming them, writing product descriptions, and spray mounting labels onto empty cardboard boxes, stocking the store until the wee hours to prove that, indeed, art had the power to invent a new world.

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Collective effort went into most of the store signage; Scott Seeley and I concocted the original roster of Secret Identity Kits. I wish I had more pictures but somewhere in my parents’ basement, I have a prototype label for the never-released “product” Sticky Foot: For Better Shimmying and Climbing. Get me some of that, I say!

Brand to the Bone: Small Print Matters

When you’re dealing with a company with a brand voice that’s absolutely crucial to its appeal, it’s often worth the effort to brand to the bone.

If you’ve bothered to cultivate an illusion of camaraderie between your brand and the consumer, bureaucratic-speak can come as an illusion-shattering jolt, forcing a sudden awareness that you are, indeed, just another business with a bottom line.

But by sustaining the beloved brand voice even through bureaucratic text, even the nitty-gritty logistics are fun to be around—and consumers may even come to trust the brand more if its character is consistent no matter what it’s talking about.

The ultimate bonus to all of this trust? Forgiveness. If a brand voice has established trust, the brand can more safely deliver the inevitable not-so-great news.

For example, the charm of the “disclaimer/apology” sent along with touch-up paint to all purchasers of the Ping-Pong Conference Table was successful because Poppin’s workplace savvy was already well established—as was its good nature. Both are apparent in the copy, and the brand is forgiven for this (and any) gaffe—because, after all, it’s only human.

Side Effect: The Pleasure of Reading…

Not only does voice consistency build trust, by engaging consumers in text blocks presumed boring  (SEO-savvy product specs, error messages, and disclaimers, for example) shoppers may be inspired to cruise the site just to read around it, prompting impulse buys and repeat visits you just can’t prompt with pop-up ads.

The Story Is In The Juju

There’s a whole lot of story behind the story of Juju Supply Co., which offers up a stunning jewelry collection—along with the galvanizing reminder that the objects we keep close have the power to harness our focus, transform our attitudes, and inspire us to keep going, no matter what we’re going through.

The company’s backstory spans decades and enough drama to convince anyone to keep a totem at the ready, so it was a challenge to boil down to a mission statement and quick copy sound bytes to beckon a new breed of jewelry shopper. I’m truly honored to have been a part of it!

I also loved helping come up with copy for Juju’s social media staple, 5 Questions—and there’s no better treat than reading a new set of answers.

 You definitely must check out Juju Supply Co.

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Let’s Talk Shop: B2B Marketing


Though Poppin initially geared its collateral toward the office fashionista with messaging about extending your style all the way to work place, the focus shifted toward B2B accounts. With this shift, I began writing materials that spoke directly to CEOs interested in boosting morale; HR reps in need of “New Hire Attire”; and various niche groups interested in increasing productivity with a workplace that made work feel good. In addition to touting bigger ticket items, such as furnishings, Customization was also a big campaign geared toward our B2B audience.

Workmates of the Year: A Campaign Riff-o-Rama

We were already running a traditional year-end category round-up of Best Poppin Products, when it was time to cook up another. 

This one was to be based on our hottest sellers. Which among Poppin’s charmingly personified products were bringing consumers the greatest pleasure? Who were the favorite workmates?

Workmates of the Year were featured on the web and across social media and email streams. Indeed, I love a campaign that keeps you riffing.


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