A Love Letter to Billie
Sorry to disappoint, but this love letter was not composed to Billie, that dreamy football captain you had a crush on in high school, but instead a rad brand that I’ve come to become a fangirl of.
I was given the opportunity to create a passion pitch; to seek out a brand that I’m personally interested in and present ways we (Hornall Anderson) could help serve them. Now, this was overwhelming at first, considering how many brands out there are making powerful, exciting, innovative moves.
I decided to choose a brand that I support and use regularly but that also proudly promotes social change and isn’t shy to speak up on “taboo” issues. I was initially drawn to Billie (a subscription based shaving and body brand) as a consumer, due to their dreamy and oh-so-aesthetic ads and product imagery. Their product really stood out in a dated category of pink razors by allowing you to select the color of your razor and not gonna lie, the magnetic minimal holder was a selling point too.
Their “Project Body Hair” campaign is a great example of how they’re disrupting the category. It blew my mind that this was the first time for female body hair to be shown, let alone celebrated in a razor campaign. They produced a video that romanticizes body hair in a fun, quirky way and showcases their strong voice and visual brand perspective. Billie is the master of celebrating realness along with imperfection and making it cool. Cellulite is nothing to be ashamed of, and your imperfections are what make you different and interesting. These are messages men, women and youth alike need to get comfortable with.
I dug a little deeper and fell harder for the brand...
Did you know that 63% of people don’t find themselves represented in most ads?
Billie understands how influential advertising is in shaping society's perceptions of one another. They consider it their responsibility to respectfully represent diverse audiences, and actively showcase women of all backgrounds in their campaigns. I think this should be a no brainer of course, but in the world of social media I believe it’s more important than ever to spread realistic, relatable, body positive portraits of women.
Did you know that women pay 13-15% more for in-category products than men?
Billie has taken action and created a rebate program that challenges the “pink tax” by reimbursing women for overpaying for feminine products. It’s rare to see a brand take action on such a systemic issue.
It’s pretty easy to understand and relate to this brand’s values. As a designer, I was also extremely drawn to the aesthetic representation of their brand; case in point their “Magic in the Mundane” campaign. It is so fresh and cool, I instantly want to be friends with one of those girls, not because they’re pristine and perfect but because of their creative personality and originality. Billie is amplifying the power of individuality and self expression, which I am personally all for.
Putting pen to paper
After all that, my creative juices were flowing and I was stoked to imagine how this incredible digitally native brand could be translated into physical space. I began with a bubble diagram, a typical tool used on our experience design team to expand on ideas.
Inclusivity was the first principle to inform the Billie space I was dreaming up. I pictured a space that was multi-sensory and intentional to include and inspire people of all abilities.
The light would be soft and diffused. The wayfinding and signage would be tactile and communicate through textures and contrasting colors. Moments within the space would come to life through audio triggers, taste and scent pairings and interactive touch experiences. This was just the seed being planted, but I could so easily visualize a space that fostered community through thoughtful design and experience decisions.
I also considered programming that would bring the space to life and create a stronger relationship between consumers and the Billie brand. I began brainstorming partners that could amplify Billie’s values and align with their audience. There are so many female driven programs that would be a perfect fit for workshops, panels, etc. within the space. I was especially excited by the idea of Billie being a resource for young girls and boys coming of age (pre-teens).
Of course I couldn’t help but put together a moodboard, visualizing spatial elements that could bring the brand to life. As a kid, you’d find me in my room cutting up magazines and creating collages that would cover my walls; aspirational or inspiring compositions that allowed me to dream. Now, as a professional who’s tasked daily with communicating creative concepts, I find moodboards to be an instinctual tool to express more than just materiality and color, but feeling and sentiment as well.
Needless to say, this assignment truly sparked my creativity and challenged me to be less precious about my ideas. We created a printed book from my initial thoughts and hand delivered it to Billie in New York.
Even if nothing comes from this passion project, I think it was worth the effort; a win-win so to speak.
As a young designer I was given freedom to pursue something I could identify with on a personal level, which at the end of the day is exactly what everyone wants. The best work comes from people who are passionate and feel a personal attachment to the project/brief.
(I believe at least)
As a brand, even if Billie isn’t in need of experience design guidance at the moment, hopefully they feel flattered that someone took time to think about their needs. It’s nice to feel noticed, appreciated and validated, especially from a complete stranger.
So if you have something nice to say, say it!