Branding Interview – Honeybell Waterwear

“Invest in branding up front. Write your style guide down, even if it’s just you, and keep to the rules.”

In this interview, I asked Annaliese of Honeybell Waterwear all about her branding and what makes it tick!


Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?

Want to become the CEO of a fashion label? Why not try The Annaliese Method. First, graduate with a Bachelors of Commerce; begin working life in an accounting firm that soon after sends you overseas; find your way into the NY head office of a global management consulting firm; then slow it down a little in Sydney’s ‘relaxed’ corporate environment. Add a move to Melbourne, marriage and a couple of kids into the mix and you’ll find that you now have a lifetime of experiences under your belt to do anything you damn well put your mind to.  When Annaliese is not running Honeybell Waterwear, a boutique sun protection clothing label for women, she enjoys running around after her two preschoolers and her cavoodle puppy, Bally.

What is your business? What does it specialize in? Who is your target market?

Honeybell Waterwear is an Australian boutique sun protection clothing label for women.
I got tired of feeling body and fashion conscious when wearing sun protective clothing, which made me realise that other women were probably feeling the same way too. On a mission to give women a sense of confidence, I decided to redefine the sun protection clothing industry and launch Honeybell Waterwear.

All Honeybell Waterwear garments are made of a breathable fabric that is certified as providing UPF 50+ protection, that blocks 98% of the sun’s damaging UVA/UVB rays. The collection features 100% exclusive modern Australiana prints in lightweight, quick-drying materials designed to provide a feminine fit that drapes your body shape and leaves you feeling comfortable and relaxed.
Target market: Stylish Australia mums, who think rashies are ugly but know the damaging effects of sun exposure are real.

What touchpoints do you have that make up your brand? Why have you chosen these specific touchpoints? What about them makes them unique to your business brand?

Business cards:  I’ve used extra thick, premium 600 gsm stock with a branded orange seam. Yes, they were expensive.  But I am not handing them out to friends, so I don’t need thousands.  I’m giving them out to industry insiders and influencers, people I wanted to make an impression with. They were my only touch point for 6 months before I even launched my website. So it was important that they were stylish, modern and luxe – just like my brand. People love the feel of them, always comment on them and most importantly keep them – it was definitely worth the extra time and money involved in getting them made!

Website: This is the most important touchpoint for my e-commerce business. I use Shopify and have a paid theme that is modern, clean and fresh. All imagery is bright, fresh and professional. All fonts and colours are consistent with those used on my logo, business cards, postcards, and social media images.

Post Cards: I include a little handwritten note with every order I send out (yes, I personally pack and send each order!). I write this note on a double-sided postcard that includes a hero image of my best seller on one side and my contact details on the other side (and plenty of space to write the note!).

Care label: I’d never thought about care labels too much until I had to design one! My care labels are designed to be easily torn off with a ‘tear and save’ feature (because no one wants scratchy care labels attached to their clothes!) and include more than just the typical ‘wash with care’. Again, the same modern/rounded font is used on these labels.

Packaging: I have no plastic packaging.  All garments are delivered in a fabric toggle bag, made in the same material my garments are made in.  The bags include a discreet fabric logo sewn into the front to increase brand recognition.  Not only great for the environment, but they are designed to be kept to store the garments or other belongings.

Swing tags: Swing tags are attached to my fabric toggle bag that includes my logo, website URL and my UPF50+ certification.  Whilst I am not currently wholesaling, there is space for retailers to add their barcode, should I explore this avenue in the future. The card stock is thick, coloured and consistent with my other touchpoints – a long way from k-mart tags!

Social media:  I own all the social media handles I can think of, but I am concentrating on Facebook and Instagram because this is where my target market is hanging out. I use images on these platforms that are consistent with my other touchpoints in terms of colours, copy and font types.

What mediums do you use to promote yourself?

Paid editorial:  I have done a couple of paid editorials on mummy blogs, where my customer’s hangout.  These have been successful when I have chosen bloggers that share my passion about my designs, so their writing is authentic and real.

Unpaid and paid email newsletter: I have shout-for-shout arrangements in my email marketing with likeminded sun-safe small Aussie businesses.  We successfully share our audience.  I have also paid for promotion in email newsletters (ie Mums Grapevine) with success.

PR: If I see a media call out I think I can respond to, I respond to it. It doesn’t matter if the callout is not relevant to my business. For example, I was recently interviewed and featured in the London Financial Times on a piece relating to being an expatriate! This has nothing to do with sun protection, but it builds my personal brand and influencing power.

Guest Blogging:  I do this to introduce my brand to a wider audience and also for fun. I only guest blog for people who share my passion and style – so I can write in my own voice authentically.

My own blog: I partially do this for SEO and partially do this to increase awareness of the damaging effects of sun exposure. The content from my blog is then repurposed into shorter posts or quotes for social media.

Facebook page: My brand has its own page and I post to that page at least daily.  The vast majority of my sales are coming from Facebook.

Facebook groups: I use Facebook groups, mainly marketing and mumpreneur groups to be social, learn, discover and also to market directly to my target audience.  It’s important to always follow the group rules!

Facebook ads: This drives that largest amount of traffic to my site. I have 2 ads constantly running.  One ad to target 1-2% lookalike audience. The other ad to re-target people who have visited my site. I have also created ‘offers’ that have worked successfully and will continue to experience with these.

Instagram: I post at least daily, using an app called Prime to determine what time of the day I should post. In busier periods or times when I have a promotion running, I will post to Instagram more frequently.

Customer reviews: I use an app called Loox to manage my customer reviews. The reviews are posted on my website under the relevant product and I also create images from the reviews to post on social media.

Refer-a-friend program: I am currently trialing a refer-a-friend program with Referral Candy, as I am learning that a lot of my customers are finding Honeybell Waterwear through their family and friends. It’s too early to say whether this is successful or not!

What do you find works best for customer engagement?

Social media. Instagram works best for engagement, Facebook works best for sales.

Has your business always carried the same logo and branding or have you undergone a rebrand?

Always the same – but it’s a new brand!

Based on your businesses branding journey, what benefits has your business received from having a solid brand?

I think 2 major benefits.
The first, being memorable! When I reach out to brands for collaboration, despite only launching the website 4 months ago, my products are easily recognised.

The second, looking larger than I am!  I’ve been contacted by retailers and much larger brands for collaborations – all shocked to learn I’ve only been in operation for 4 months. People have this idea that I have a design team and a huge warehouse – the reality is that I design everything, I have my stock in my study and a pack and ship every order myself!

What do you think is the number one thing that has contributed to your businesses successful branding?

Consistency – being consistent with my colours, fonts, copy and style.  My customers (and leads) know what to expect from me whether I am reaching them through email, social media or via my website.

Why do you think it is important for a business (no matter what size) to have a professional brand?

There is a lot of data out there indicating that it takes anywhere between 6-16 touches with a customer before they make a sale – so it is important that your brand is recognized as the same brand throughout the customers buying journey.
Further, the consistency that a strong brand provides help to build trust – my customers (and leads) know what to expect from me whether I am reaching them through email, social media or via my website.

Do you have anything else which you would like to add? Thoughts or advice to readers?

Invest in branding up front. Write your style guide down, even if it’s just you, and keep to the rules.

© Studio: tiffany gouge