Sauce On Sunday: Brand Story
Sauce On Sunday is a niche brand that I created that has developed into its own business. What is Sauce On Sunday? Being an observant reader, you may have correctly assumed, simply by counting the number of vowels in my last name, that my family heritage is Italian American and Sunday is the traditional weekly get-together day for large families like ours. Sauce is the shorthand term for any pasta dish with a tomato sauce that was served, in some form, every Sunday. "Are you coming over for sauce on Sunday?" was a common expression in our home and seemed like the perfect name for a business that focused on the Italian American niche.
Shaded Trinacria T-Shirt Package
Shaded Trinacria T-Shirt Package
Trinacria Line Art - Cutting Board
Trinacria Line Art - Cutting Board
Trinacria Sicily Flag reimagined daily tote
Trinacria Sicily Flag reimagined daily tote
Flat Trinacria Throw Blanket
Flat Trinacria Throw Blanket
Sicilian Flag Trinacria reimagined
Sicilian Flag Trinacria reimagined
It started with a tattoo. I didn't have any tattoos at the time. My mother had just passed and I was looking for some way to honor my family and her memory. I had been doing a lot of reading about the art form and I was really curious about it, but like so many artists, I find it hard to say when something is done being designed and tattoos seem so permanent to me. 
While going through some of my mother's books, I came across an image of a Trinacria. Unfamiliar to most, the Trinacria, traditionally represented as a gorgon head, with snakes for hair, centered atop a pair of folded wings and flanked by three bent legs arranged around the head. The three bent legs form the corners of a triangle or 'Trinacria' which was the ancient Greek name for the Island of Sicily. The form is an ancient one with similar designs showing up as the English Manx and the Celtic Triscallion.
With nothing more than fresh ink on my shoulder, something clicked when someone said "That would look cool on a t-shirt". I began analyzing the market, talking to family and friends, attending Italian cultural events, and asking questions. 
Then I started designing, working to stay on the right side of the line between sincere cultural tribute and crass parody. The niche is not wide open and there are others who embrace popular culture memes that I believe most Italians find objectionable. In the process, I have built a brand identity, an online store, a registered trademark, and a growing customer base that enjoys tens of thousands of dollars per year in recurring licensing commissions.
You can find out more at Sauce On Sunday.
Pacific Standard Brand: A Self-Imposed Challenge
I had been reading a lot about the idea of launching a physical product into the marketplace, through a process known as ‘White Labeling’. The idea is that a small business entrepreneur could source an already existing product, design the packaging and the marketing materials and launch a product into the online market. The idea seemed like an interesting challenge and something totally new for me. I like package design, and I liked the idea of being my own client, so I decided to make a small side investment in my time and money to bring the project to market.
The challenge was to develop a product within a defined audience niche and then develop complementary products once the initial product has been proven viable. After proof of concept for the product line, develop an advertising and marketing strategy that engages this niche to build brand recognition and loyalty.
Launch Video
This is the promotional release video for the Pacific Standard Mixologist’s Cocktail Essentials Barware Kit.
The client (me) wanted a fun, bold, product launch video and wanted the vibe to feel 'Mad Men Vintage' but have a modern clean look. I then gave myself the following problem to solve: The video launch date was set, but the products were still being manufactured and had not arrived in the states before the video deadline. The product samples were too dinged up for photography and we had no physical box art. We only had my printer’s mechanicals to work with. Instead, I built the product in Cinema 4D, lighting and rendering the whole thing in a white room global illumination set and knocking the whole project out within a few days.
I was so please with the results that I decided to use my 3D models for the product photography instead of the physical products. Win, Win.
This 6-piece barware kit comes with a Cocktail Shaker, Ice Bucket, Muddler & Spoon, Ice Strainer, Double Jigger for single and double shots, Ice Tongs, and a Classic Cocktail Recipe Booklet in a Retro Style Gift box.
We decided on a home goods product that would appeal to 1st time home buyers in their late 20s / early 30s. A product with a price point between $25 and $50. An item that can be both decorative and functional and an item that can be bought for the home or as a gift.
We formed a company, Crown City Home, Inc. and began talking about the types of products that could add real value to someone’s new home experience. I tried to take myself out of the vendor side of the equation and look at it from a client’s point of view. This was an invaluable lesson in understanding the needs of my regular clients. Regardless of what I thought as a designer, I needed to view the problem through the lens of sourcing costs, packaging costs, shipping weight, production time, import logistics and market competition.
Through a series of brainstorming sessions and some targeted market research ( i.e. drinks with friends ); we settled on a kitchen wear line and the Cocktail niche. Next, we needed to plant our flag somewhere. After developing a series of mood boards, and watching a lot of Mad Men, we settled on a brand name: Pacific Standard Brand.
Moving to Los Angeles in the late 1980s, we pined for what it must have been like in the 1940s and 50s. There is some definite hipster cred riding along with the old timey cocktail culture, but we didn’t want to be on the nose with 1950s Tiki style. Pacific Standard Brand sounded a bit like an old Railroad, and I liked the mood it invoked.
After settling on a supplier, the product configuration, pricing, and delivery schedule; it was time to get to work on developing the logo and branding.
After some work as my own client, we finally settled on the logo and packaging that appears on the product as well as some of the collateral we developed to help market the product. At the bottom of the pages, there are some early logo explorations and you can see how the mark evolved.
The Amazon private label market, known colloquially as Amazon FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) is the largest retail space on earth. More than 70% of Amazon sales generated in the US fall under the category of private label. Private labeling or white labeling is the process of finding a product currently already available in the marketplace and customizing and or repackaging the product for sale as a unique item under the branding of the private label client.
Private label brands are usually small, agile companies, often individual entrepreneurs or small partnerships working together as a side business, and using their low overhead and low margins to leverage this huge global marketplace. Many ‘Private Labelers’ have transitioned to lucrative sole proprietorship by using the power of outsourcing products and development, virtual assistants, a robust social media community, and online tools.
Currently, the product is successfully selling at online retailers and we are in the process of developing additional Pacific Standard Brand products in the line.
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