2021 was filled with many ups and downs, both personally and professionally. Like 2020, many small businesses continued to navigate unchartered and ever-changing waters to keep afloat. At Nahamani.org, we have the privilege to work with some amazing small and start-up businesses on their branding, and we take pride in both helping as well as learning from our brand coaching clients.

We recently spoke with a few of the business owners whom we worked with throughout 2021 to gain a deeper understanding of their experience, the lessons they learned in 2021and how they plan to use those learning to propel their brands forward in 2022!

1) This past year, we talked about the importance of authenticity in your company’s branding. How important do you feel it is to show who you are through your brand interactions? Did you employ any new tactics to better align your branding with your authentic self in 2021?

Kristi Williams is a retail entrepreneur who using her home goods brand to promote emotional wellbeing.

Kristi D. Williams of Kristi Kollections: Authenticity is very important to me and my business. The tactics I use to align my branding with my authentic self are incorporating pictures of myself and sharing my involvement in the community.

Brea Reliford is a cosmetics manufacturer who helps independent cosmetics brands thrive in this multi-billion dollar industry.

Brea Reliford of The Makeup Lab: People buy from people – not businesses. Two companies can sell the same product. Company A can be more relatable and personal, while Company B only markets its product offering. More than likely, people will purchase from Company A because of how they felt during their buying experience. Nowadays, customers want a peek behind the curtain, so they feel included. We make our customers feel appreciated by educating them vs. always selling to them. Once they learn what a product can do for them, how profitable it has been for others, and how we can increase their brand growth, it’s a no-brainer.

Yosiah Johnson is a creative entrepreneur who uses his brand to create opportunities for others.

Yosiah L. Johnson of Yosiah Vision: I think that I’m still working on that. I’ve put together a team, but we’re still evaluating roles and things like that. As a sole entrepreneur, I have my personal page and my business page. I always knew I needed to engage with followers as my page and create that voice for my company, but I’m still working on really creating a voice for my business. I know some of the fundamentals going back to learning my identity with my brand being fun, inspirational, and creative, so with those three things alone, just imagining what the voice of my business sounds like. That’s one of the things I look forward to going into the new year, building a solid voice for the brand where people really enjoy interacting with our posts.



2) What was one frustration that your business was facing before working 1:1 with Nahamani on branding?

Kristi: One frustration my business was facing before working 1:1 with Nahamani was growing my brand on social media platforms. The biggest benefit that my business and I gained from working with Nahamani was the support received through monthly coaching.

Kristi D. Williams MSW, LSW, founder of KristiKollections.com

Brea: Before I started working with Nahamani, I didn’t have a clear strategy on how to market The Makeup Lab to ideal clients. To be honest, I felt like a beginner, even though I knew I was qualified to sit at the table. I was ready to make an impact and be the “go-to” in my industry and embrace what I was known for, but I needed someone with experience who could direct me on my journey. As simple as it may sound, since working with Nahamani, I’ve learned how to communicate my business strengths and what sets my company apart from our competitors. My WHY. Before, our message was kind of everywhere. We have a clear vision now. We’ve learned our worth and value.

Yosiah: My biggest frustration was brand identity. I was aware of the business I was getting into and I knew the products I wanted to offer, but I was struggling with becoming completely aware of my brand, which was kind of hurting me when it came to online marketing and just trying to sell the brand to consumers. So she definitely helped me to take the time, ask me the tough questions, and realize what my brand was. Nahamani helped me realize how important it was when looking at major corporations; their brand identity differs from their competitors. So her helping me to realize that absolutely put me ahead of my local competitors, my national competitors, and my global competitors.

3) Building engagement with followers on social media is a favorite topic of ours. What was one thing that you did differently to build engagements and relationships with your customers and followers on social media? Can you share a quick story of how this impacted your brand?

Kristi: One thing that I did differently to build engagements and relationships with my customers was working with Nahamani and her team to increase my brand presence on social media utilizing pictures of my grandchildren and myself for the marketing photos. This impacted my brand by increasing sales.

Brea: To build engagement and strengthen our relationships with customers and followers on social media, we shot authentic content of beauty brands we developed and launched, collected verified product reviews, and gave our followers a chance to chime in on upcoming releases. This helped build credibility and establish trust. We gave our audience a chance to feel relatable and connected to our brand.

Brea Reliford, founder of The Makeup Lab

Yosiah: This question takes me back to one of my meetings with Nahamani, where we talked about building a relationship with my followers and community. One of those topics was about pushing the conversation along. Not only am I wanting people to subscribe or comment, but I’m actually engaging with them to continue the conversation, build a more loyal consumer or supporter, or just getting them to push the brand along because nothing is like word of mouth. So I think what I did differently was engage with people past the subject at hand. For instance, my film or tv series that I’m in the midst of promoting, someone could comment and say, “I love it! What’s your favorite part about this?” and I could just respond, “Thank you! I appreciate it,” versus responding in a way that would continue that conversation and build engagement.

4) Did you re-evaluate or change your pricing strategy during 2021? If yes, what did you learn from this experience? Any plans to adjust your pricing in 2022?

Brea: With the ongoing pandemic, we are still experiencing a supply chain disruption. We’ve had to increase our prices twice this year. Business has steadily increased. We have no plans to increase pricing in 2022; however, that is determined by our suppliers if the supply chain worsens. We’ve learned that clients will adjust as we adjust. The world is becoming expensive. We have to stay with the flow to make sure that our doors stay open.

Yosiah: I didn’t really adjust pricing, but I think I became more strategic in the sense of maybe putting two merchandise items together and using different holidays or seasons to make my pricing work together, not only with the brand but also with the brand marketing strategy as well. I definitely think I will adjust my prices going into 2022 because I’m growing my brand and taking things to the next level, meaning higher quality and things like that.

Yosiah L. Johnson, founder of Yosiah Vision and creator of Zeal the series

5) Virtual events reached peak popularity in 2021, and now we’re seeing a trend towards hosting hybrid events. Did you host a virtual or hybrid event this year or do you have any plans to host one in 2022? 

Brea: We were so focused on production this year that we didn’t get the opportunity to attend any virtual events. For 2022, we have plans of hosting at least 3 hybrid events.

Yosiah: I attended a virtual film pitch event recently, and it talked about pitching your film to Netflix. One of the Netflix department heads was there laying out the different things they look for in film and tv projects which was very informative because it was a lot of information I did not know. Nahamani really pushed me to network more because that was always a thing I was wary of, just networking with folks and talking with people, so she definitely pushed networking. I absolutely plan to host an in-person event, but I know how the times are, so we’ll see. I definitely want to host an event that will allow me to bring all my brands together under one roof and give people an experience.

6) What was one major win for your business this year of which you are most proud?

Kristi: I am most proud of the increased sales via my website. Also, I became a Certified Women Business Enterprise and Minority Business Enterprise through the State of Ohio.

Brea: We contracted with a lab to handle our production. This gave us the ability to autopilot the business and focus more on it, than in it. During a pandemic, we reached 6 figures in sales within 8 months. This was major!

Yosiah: I would say a major win for me was building a solid team and this is another conversation me and Nahamani had before: just having a team. That was a win, and I realized that the people I’ve known and have relationships with and done things with, I didn’t really realize that those would be my people. Still, on a recent project that I’m working on called Zeal, I really just came to grips with just knowing, ‘Okay, these are the people that I need to work with, and we need to establish a more long-term relationship.’ So the major win for my company was realizing and creating a solid team that’s going to take to the year 2022 and do some wonderful things.

Brand coaching clients Kristi D. Williams, Brea Reliford and Yosiah L. Johnson.

Special thanks to these small business owners for providing their feedback.  Please show them some love and support their brand(s).

7) What’s one goal you have to strengthen your brand awareness in 2022? How will you know when you have achieved this goal?

Kristi: Strengthening my brand in 2022 will continue to be a challenge for me. My goal in 2022 is to remain hopeful, obedient, and prayerful that my sales will increase and/or I receive a business loan to assist with the growth of my business. I will know that I have reached my goal when my sales increase.

Brea: I know brand awareness isn’t a “one and done” type of thing, but my biggest goal is similar to Glossier’s strategy with their brand. People live for authenticity. My goal is to use my customers and clients as my influencers. They are my biggest marketing tools. Running a campaign with women we’ve worked with will establish a whole different level of trust. This will increase website traffic, leads, and sales.

Yosiah: One of the goals is to create more content. This year and last year with the pandemic set some of the things back that I wanted to do and create. With social media, content is everything, so you lack engagement if you lack the content. So going into the new year, I’ve created a slate of content and productions that I want to put together. Short-form content, long-form content, inspirational posts, videos, live streams, whatever it is, there is a slate of those things to come moving into the new year. It’s hard to have consistent engagement or build followers when you post two weeks here, three weeks there, one week there, so it’s just really about building consistent content even if we don’t have a new product or film coming out, and just having something to post that not only speaks in the voice of the brand but really builds up that engagement, brand image, and awareness.

In Conclusion: If you are a brand manager looking to experience growth in 2022, you may want to consider working with a branding coach like Nahamani Yisrael.  To get started schedule a 1:1 Brand Coaching Session today.