Starting a lifestyle brand from scratch is a challenging project. It requires having a very clear vision from the outset about what you stand for and what makes you different from the rest. This is where cohesive and memorable branding comes into the picture! We speak to noissue customers Joel Sadler and Allyson Sutton, the minds behind the coffee bar and retail brand Sightsee, about how their custom tissue paper helps them to better represent their brand ethos.

For Joel and Allyson, Sightsee was borne from the desire to support unique brick-and-mortar retail in their native Charleston (and of course, their love for great coffee!) Before long, the idea had taken hold as a part-retail venture, part-community space which challenged traditional ideas of retail:

“From a basic bio standpoint, Sightsee is Joel Sadler and Allyson Sutton. Joel is an entrepreneur and designer. Allyson is a writer and PR professional. We’re engaged and live in Charleston, South Carolina with our two pups. We have a mutual love of travel, craft coffee, SoCal vibes, telling great stories, being a part of our community, and trying new things. Sightsee is a retail store and coffee bar concept that grew out of those combined interests.”

Close-up of Sightsee branded mug

As a pair of avid travelers, adventure is at the core of what Joel and Allyson wanted Sightsee to represent. By using their personal experiences to inform the Sightsee brand, this helped to create a much more authentic and interesting narrative:

As cheesy and cliché as it probably sounds, we want Sightsee to stand for discovery and positivity. We want that spirit to manifest itself in the unique products we carry, and the way we incorporate a coffee program into the experience. Our tagline for Sightsee is a business/life mantra of sorts: “The coast is clear.” The mantra is part mischief, part chill -- you might say it to an accomplice as you’re about to pull off some sort of hijinks (like starting a business!), or you might use it to suggest great weather at the beach. Sightsee is kind of the intersection of the two. For us, this is a playful reminder to go for it, whatever ‘it’ is.”

With such a strong narrative underpinning their brand, the next step was finding the best way to articulate it through their branding materials. They settled on ‘Coco the donkey’ as their key logo and brand mascot, who they met in the backyard of an Airbnb during their travels in Utah (you can read the full story here!)

Photo grid of Instagram feed

Photo grid of Instagram feed

For any business without a physical location, online marketing channels are absolutely critical to spreading your brand story. Instagram in particular became a thematic mood board of sorts for Joel and Allyson to explore the essence of Sightsee. Integrating their signature mint green color palette, Coco, and other fun motifs into their feed have allowed Sightsee to develop a really unique and cohesive brand image. But not without a lot of time and effort:

“Starting a small business — no matter how much you love the idea — is mostly work. Unglamorous, grind-it-out work! For every hour spent designing a cool brand pattern for custom tissue paper, there are ten hours spent troubleshooting emails not being received, cataloguing inventory, or connecting QuickBooks to your checking account! We’ve met with (and continue to meet with) experts and fellow entrepreneurs to ask for advice and feel supported in the journey.”

Set-up of Sightsee product range

Joel and Allyson applied the same approach to the design of their noissue custom tissue paper. Its funky, hand-drawn design is the exact same pattern as on their tote bags and notebooks, which further reinforces their brand image and helps to build a thematic story across their product range:

“We firmly believe that consistency is the most important quality in any brand. We spent a lot of time narrowing down exactly what we want Sightsee to represent, and we try to hold every branding decision up to that definition. The selection of noissue custom tissue paper and the particular design we used is a perfect example. We want Sightsee to be full of pleasant surprises, to be fun, light-hearted, and most importantly “SoCal.”

Sightsee mug on top of custom tissue paper

Their custom tissue paper also acts as a gift with purchase for customers of their eCommerce store. As a quirky and fun addition to online orders, it helps to boost the perceived value of their products and create a more memorable brand experience:

“With every order, our customers get to experience the pleasant surprise of totally unique custom tissue paper with a carefree, hand-drawn pattern that represents what we’re all about. It helps us get the energy and mission across in a really fun and subtle way. Not to mention, people really respond to it - we even had someone put it on the wall as art!”

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sightsee now has its very own brick and mortar location in Charleston as well as pop-up stores in the wider South Carolina area. But Joel and Allyson are only just getting started!

“We would love for Sightsee to grow into an empire of discovery and positivity, including not just a shop with coffee but travel services, a publication, a product line, and - who knows - maybe even a boutique hotel one day!