Behind the Brand: Sheila Lam of Herschel Supply

    December 07 2016

    There are few brands that portray a particular type of remarkable quality and self-awareness that we truly admire. Herschel Supply is one of those brands, and that's why they have become as successful as they are. We were excited to sit down with Herschel's Community Manager, Sheila Lam, to discover the story behind the brand. Read on to find out how Herschel tells a consistent visual brand story, creates and shares content, and continually cultivates their community.

    Hi Sheila! Tell us about yourself, your background, and how you started at Herschel Supply.

    Hi PLANOLY, where to start? Today I identify myself as a writer and content creator, but I studied business in university before finding myself in the creative industry. I had a short-lived career in the tech realm before leaving to intern at a publishing house for two luxury lifestyle magazines in Vancouver, Canada. I was hired with almost no professional writing experience because my future editor liked my Instagram—true story. When my term ended, I was hired to stay on staff full-time until I left Vancouver all together to move to Copenhagen, Denmark. There, my work concentrated on travel features for titles like CEREAL and Life and Thyme, as well as brands such as Norse Projects, Steven Alan, and of course Herschel Supply. Upon returning to Vancouver a few years later, the perfect in-house opportunity for me came up at Herschel and the rest, as they say, is history.

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    Tell us more about Herschel Supply Co. What is Herschel's brand story, inspiration, and what type of person embodies the Herschel brand?

    Founded in 2009 by brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack, Herschel adopted the name from the town where three generations of their family grew up. They created the brand to fill a void they found was missing in the accessories market, and as I'm sure you can see from the reception, so did many other people. The main source of inspiration for the brand stems from the brother's love of travel, and everyone who works at Herschel shares that affinity, myself included. Describing what person embodies Herschel is difficult because with the range of silhouettes, prints, and fabrics, there isn't just one. Even at the office, everyone has their own style and interpretation of the brand.

    We love the way that Herschel's Instagram is not only visually beautiful, but also in line with the brand. What tips do you have when it comes to keeping your storytelling consistent?

    Thank you! It takes a lot of hands and talented people beyond myself. I work with our incredible design, photography, and editorial departments on a daily basis. My best tip for keeping things consistent is to understand the brand identity and key messages first, whether that be for you as an individual or something larger. When you understand who you are, where you stand and where you want to go, it's just a matter of connecting the dots to make sure you eventually get there.

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    How do you decide on content to create and post for Herschel? In your opinion, what kind of content or strategy really ignites a brand's following and cultivates a community?

    That's a bigger discussion than most people think. All of the content has to support our current season, from our lookbooks, blog, and even what user-generated content we share, it has to make sense for what we're doing as a brand at that moment. Though, our major theme is always "travel" and travel related experiences. I love sharing content that our community creates themselves. There are so many talented people who wear Herschel, and the images they produce are beautiful. When we share something on our social platforms from them, it's a nod of appreciation for being a part of our community. That type of inclusion has always organically promoted and supported our presence.

    Social media can be overwhelming at times. How do you stay organized and stable with your workload?

    For Instagram, which is our biggest social platform, PLANOLY absolutely helps. Being able to visually schedule what's coming up lets me understand what needs to be done and what's already been taken care of. With those touch points, I'm able to manage the rest in my head.
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    What are the top 3 tips you would give when it comes to Instagram or Social Media content?

    1. Have fun; if you're not having fun creating or managing your social media feeds, then neither are your followers.
    2. Be singular; it may not be groundbreaking advice but it's effective. Bring something to the table whether that's a different aesthetic, unique content, or an honest voice.
    3. The internet never forgets, except when it does; the shelf life of a social media post is so short, don't be afraid to take risks because it's one of those rare cases where you will have another opportunity to do it over again tomorrow.

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