ComplexLand is just
days hours away. While the hyped-up brands tend to get a lionshare of the pre-event buzz, there are always those lesser-known brands with equally dope products that deserve just as much attention—if not more.
The three-day virtual event (June 16-18) is the perfect platform to catapult a small business from unknown to undeniable or from niche to the next big thing. But no matter how great your products are, success often boils down to the strength of your brand. In an effort to help entrepreneurs establish a foothold in the marketplace, 99designs by Vistaprint gives small businesses access to a global community of professional designers who provide creative direction to enhance a brand’s logo, website, product packaging, and countless other visual extensions.
Continuing to pay it forward, 99designs by Vistaprint is extending its design services to five small businesses that were handpicked to be featured in the 99th Street section of ComplexLand. As part of the activation, these rising brands got the opportunity to curate their own ComplexLand-exclusive merch. Each business worked hands on with a 99designs by Vistaprint designer and a celebrity committee that consisted of Killer Mike, Melody Ehsani, and Louis De Guzman to create a customized version of their logo for the event.
This is all part of a larger initiative from 99designs by Vistaprint called “99 Days of Design.” Spread across 12 countries, the global program spotlights 99 small businesses and provides them with a design makeover as well as a $15K financial donation to reinvigorate their brand. Be sure to visit 99designs.com/99DaysOfDesign to learn more, but in the meantime check out what the five small businesses that’ll be featured at ComplexLand had to say about their brand makeover experience and why what 99designs by Vistaprint is doing is so important.
Children’s Streetwear Brand | Est. 2014 /// Location: Brooklyn, NY /// Founders: Ivan Rivera & Khrysti Hill /// Website: WeAreLittleGiants.com /// 99designs by Vistaprint Designer: Mikata
What’s the inspiration behind the Little Giants name?
Ivan: The name comes from our worldview and perspective on children. Our sentiment is that there’s infinite potential and an unlimited greatness in every child. So if we can feed them the right foods they will grow to become real giants in the world…. fearing none and conquering all things that they dream of.
What’s the best way to describe your brand?
Khrysti: We’re a children’s streetwear brand, striving to make cool shit for the little ones. We believe the uniqueness of the brand and its appeal to parents is our voice, passion, and commitment to expressing the cultures and things we grew up on; yet making it palatable for the little ones. Authenticity also plays a major part. People rock with us genuinely ’cause they know we really love and adore these things we’re celebrating and paying homage to through our designs.
What immediate impact do you foresee coming out of working with 99designs by Vistaprint on a new logo for ComplexLand?
Khrysti: For a kids brand we’re a very underground brand. This opportunity will provide thousands of people with an introduction to us and a taste of our products and who and what we’re about. And if what they say about first impressions being as important as they are, what a great way this is to introduce ourselves to the masses of like minded peers via this special product for ComplexLand.
Ivan: We’re actually in a phase right now where we’re enjoying exploring and working with outside designers, creatives and other brands that understand us and “get it” so to speak. So this is like the perfect opportunity for us to work with 99designs by Vistaprint, a company designed to provide so many resources and options for small businesses.
Given the tough year-and-a-half we’ve all had, how impactful will the 99designs by Vistaprint grant be to the long-term health of your business?
Ivan: Before even speaking about what the benefit of it will be to our specific business, I want to big up Vistaprint and Complex for doing this for all five of the brands participating. Knowing how important small businesses are to the economy, having larger brands offer a helping hand like this is crucial because oftentimes that can save the life of a brand.
For us in particular, the past year was very very hard. We caught major L’s in every level of our business; from the supply chain level, all the way through ’til the customer got their product—if there was something that could’ve gone wrong, it did. We felt it and learned from it all. This will significantly help us get through what we hope is that last part of the tunnel. Now we can at least see the light and this will help us reach it.
Pottery Brand | Est. 2019 /// Location: Brooklyn, NY /// Founder: Latrice Thompson /// Website: PalettePots.com /// 99designs by Vistaprint Designer: Graphicscape
What’s the best way to describe Palette Pots?
It’s a vibrant brand designed toward plant parents and individuals who embrace a lifestyle of playful, colorful, and purposeful products for their plants and personal space… Palette Pots was designed to help people who were having difficulty finding functional planters with drainage holes and planter pots that came in colors that fit their personal aesthetics.
What are some of your bestsellers and why do you feel consumers are drawn to those particular products?
My bestsellers are “The Mug” in large and The Cyn collection in both. Consumers are drawn to these particular pots because of the matte color options with the saucer and The Mug is ideal for medium to large plants, which have been popular nursery purchases in the past year.
What was your reaction to the new logo 99designs by Vistaprint provided for ComplexLand?
I believe the new logo highlights and showcases the vibrancy of the brand and also feels more welcoming. Plant parenthood can be intimidating at times but with the new logo, it brings a sense of comfortability to the idea of being a plant parent and showcasing your personal style. I kept an open mind through the process but I wanted to make sure I communicated the brand’s mission to designers.
How would you describe your current brand identity and how will this ComplexLand exposure enhance that?
The current brand identity for Palette Pots aesthetically is straightforward and pleasing to the eye but the ComplexLand exposure is enhancing the identity by introducing it to consumers who may not have thought about being a plant parent.
How vital are programs like 99designs by Vistaprint to small business owners looking to establish their brand identity in the marketplace?
99designs by Vistaprint is very vital—especially for small business owners—because from my own personal experience it was difficult finding designers who were capable of designing assets and logos that fit the brand message. 99designs by Vistaprint makes it easy to find quality designers who can get the job done and fast for small business owners who are not experts in that area.
How impactful will the 99designs by Vistaprint grant be to the long-term health and growth of your business?
99designs by Vistaprint will be very impactful because I now have a central place to get all my branding done when needed or even being comfortable with the idea of redesigning the brand. The support team is very helpful and I would definitely recommend it to other small business owners in my community.
Streetwear Brand | Est. 2016 /// Location: Los Angeles, CA /// Founders: Daniel Buezo and Weleh Dennis /// Website: KidsOfImmigrants.us /// 99designs by Vistaprint Designer: meltz13
What is the meaning behind the Kids of Immigrants name?
Daniel: We are a “commUNITY.” We create products with purpose and intention, empowering our people, sparking creativity and spreading love. Kids Of Immigrants is who we are and who we want to represent and empower. We are inspired by our roots, our culture and bringing that to the world. The clothing is just the byproduct to experience.
How would you describe your current brand identity and how will the exposure from working with 99designs by Vistaprint for ComplexLand enhance that?
Daniel: Our brand identity is based on affirmations, representation and positivity. Being at ComplexLand will expose our message of love and community to a new audience. I feel getting this new logo done is a great opportunity for our evolution and something fresh and new we can use to brand our business. We don’t have an in-house designer and this is a huge help for our branding.
How vital are programs like 99designs by Vistaprint to small business owners looking to establish their brand identity in the marketplace?
Daniel: Branding is a major key to small businesses. There’s a lot of businesses that do great work or have great service/product but don’t have the branding and that can hold them back from growing.
Given how tough the past year-and-a-half has been on us all, how impactful will the 99designs by Vistaprint grant be to the long-term health and growth of your business?
Daniel: This grant will be an investment to the company and community. Our goal is to circulate funds within our own community and this will help us, help others.
Fragrance & Hospitality Brand | Est. 2020 /// Location: Hudson, NY /// Founders: Dennis Green & Ricky Tiscareno /// Website: PouredCandleBar.com /// 99designs by Vistaprint Designer: The Seño
What is the meaning behind your company’s name?
Dennis: The name Poured is the culmination of our retail products, customer experience, and hospitality all blended together. At Poured Candle Bar, we create original, hand-poured fragrance products. Alongside our direct retail business, we allow our customers to join in on the process, giving them the opportunity to pour their very own products at our fully licensed wine bar, where we pour local wines, beers and ciders to complement their experience… Our priority is to promote creativity and nostalgia in our customers while educating them about the fragrance and candle making process. The end result is a bespoke product that they created while doing so in a hospitable setting.
How would you best describe the unique need Poured Candle Bar provides people?
Dennis: With our premade product collections, we like to storytell with our scents through our sometimes tongue in cheek, double entendre fragrance names that resonate with people. In return, our customers have a tendency to use a similar strategy while naming their own custom made products. Some memorable ones have been “Absinthe Minded” or more on the nose with names like, “Beyonce, Can You Candle This?”
How do you think the new logo provided by 99designs by Vistaprint for ComplexLand will help your business standout and ultimately grow?
Dennis: While thinking of the redesign for this project, we were seeking a strong impact visual that’s clean, modern, and universally appealing, while still keeping the core of our brand’s DNA intact… Our current brand identity is strong within the Northeast as we are the only business offering combined services retail/experience/bar on the East Coast, but we absolutely feel we could further benefit from this collaborative exposure with ComplexLand and 99designs by Vistaprint on a more national stage.
How vital are programs like 99designs by Vistaprint to small business owners like yourself looking to grow in the marketplace?
Dennis: Programs like 99designs by Vistaprint are so valuable for small businesses to be able to react to current trends and have the agility to align their branding accordingly. With the past year being so unpredictable, affordable and effective branding resources are more important than ever.
High Concept Apparel Brand | Est. 2020 /// Location: Southern California & Bali, Indonesia /// Founders: Yok & Sheryo (in collaboration with The Curative Co.) /// Website: HeatstrokeHotel.com /// 99designs by Vistaprint Designer: deer203A
What sets Heatstroke Hotel apart from other brands in the apparel space?
The Curative Co.: Heatstroke Hotel is unique in that it is not your typical apparel brand. It’s more of an art project that serves as a platform to bring Yok & Sheryo’s crazy ideas to life. What’s unique about our brand is that you’ll never know what you’ll get from the Heatstroke Hotel Souvenir Shop. One day it could be a capsule of apparel, the next day it could be a hand carved wooden sculpture. We don’t think there are any brands that are as free-flowing and creative with their product offering as we are.
How will the exposure from working with 99designs by Vistaprint at ComplexLand enhance your overall brand aesthetic?
Yok & Sheryo: The brand ID and vibe is a mix of vintage luxury with slight sarcasm, parodying luxury hotel resorts in tropical tourist destinations. 99designs by Vistaprint will provide us with all the marketing tools a hotel would ever need… From keyrings, door hangers, slippers and robes, to floor mats, bed linen embroidery, marketing brochures, restaurant menus, and more. Being at ComplexLand will give us so much exposure to the right audience who will appreciate what we are doing as an emerging brand.
How vital are programs like 99designs by Vistaprint to small business owners looking to establish or enhance their brand identity in the marketplace?
The Curative Co.: Considering that everyone on the Heatstroke team is working remotely and separated by a 14 hour time zone difference, it’s really important for small businesses like ours to have access to professional services that can ease the burden of certain tasks. All of the artwork for Heatstroke Hotel is actually hand drawn and inked by Yok & Sheryo, so it’s very useful to have access to a service that could help us [create new] artwork to apply to products. Streamlining workflow like this will save us time and let the artists focus on being creative and coming up with new ideas instead of focusing on busywork.
Given the tough year+ we’ve all had, how impactful will the 99designs by Vistaprint grant be to the long term health and growth of your business?
The Curative Co.: The grant is going to be instrumental in the growth of the brand and really give us an opportunity to produce some of the weird and quirky ideas that Yok & Sheryo have. The business is self-funded so we’re still in the learning stages with how we operate and lean into the creativity that Yok & Sheryo bring to the project. It is definitely a blessing to have the grant fund some of these ideas.
Yok & Sheryo: This will allow us to create rad products without the worry. It allows us to focus and bring better ideas to the table for our audience.
For more info on “99 Days of Design” and their support of small businesses, visit 99designs.com/99DaysOfDesign.