Anthem Branding hosted an internal speaking engagement where we invited people of business, excitement, design, branding and culture to speak around their experiences and inspire our agency; we call this our Speakeasy.
Last year, we were proud to host guest speaker Todd Reed, Founder and Owner of Todd Reed Jewelry, a worldwide artisanal jewelry company renowned for creating one-of-a-kind works of art. The 25+ year old brand transforms the idea of raw elegance into tangible and wearable masterpieces produced with up-cycled gems, diamonds, and recycled metals. Todd has been doing this since the early nineties, before we had recycling bins. It was a refreshing experience.
Since Todd’s very humble beginnings of creating hand-crafted, personalized jewelry in a cabin outside of Durango, CO, he has globally scaled the Todd Reed brand, creating a unique experience for his customers that is almost unmatched in the jewelry industry - certainly in the 90’s and 2000’s.
It is rare to find an artist who understands the need to grip a bit of branding acumen so they can find success financially, in turn freeing them up to produce their art form. Todd Reed is an artist who has learned to embrace the craft of brand building as earnestly as any startup CEO in Silicon Valley - while successfully maintaining a unique artistic style. He has unknowingly built his incredible jewelry brand just as a startup approaches their business model. And unwittingly, Todd Reed created a business process similar to the one adopted in the Valley.
Concept > Develop > Deploy > Learn > Revise
Todd Reed describes his concept and production process as “brutal”. Hundreds of drawings for one piece, showing exact details from all angles. In the production, his jewelers “beat” the metal into submission, leaving the piece with the distinguished Todd Reed brand look, rough and elegant. While listening to Todd speak about his process, you feel moved at the core for his unapologetic passion to create a sense of belonging, and a unique form of love for his customers thats defined in his jewelry.
In this process, he finds things that work, things that do not, where to look in the future and how to optimize the process so he is always creating something unique for his customer. Todd Reed is not interested in jewelry trends either. As he explains, if he follows a trend happening now, his jewelry collection hitting the shelves 6-12 months from now will be irrelevant. Going further, he wants to create things that his audience and customers did not know existed, but where they have an attachment.
This is the soul of the Todd Reed brand. With every piece, Todd wants his clients “to have less, but have more.” Meaning that rather than have many pieces of his collection, he wants his customers to hold a connection with each item. For Todd, each piece tells a story, speaks to an experience, and they all have a soul.
Soul. That is what defines his brand. When you view his work, each item have very unique characteristics, yet they hold an identity and belonging under the Todd Reed brand. This really resonated with us, his branding is subtle and brilliant. It goes much further than a logo or a name. Just as Apple customers have a tribe like loyalty to its products, Todd’s customers are fanatics. They crave the particular feeling Todd Reed jewelry gives them when they see it and when they put it on.
As Todd started off in his discussion, he stated, “We are not a jewelry company, we are artists who create jewelry pieces.” In that tone, I would say Todd Reed is an artist who has built an unparalleled brand using jewelry as his medium of choice.
I suggest everyone check out his work on his website and take the time to go to his studio on Pearl Street in Boulder, CO. It will inspire those of you as an entrepreneur, as a brander, as a creative and as a human with soul.