In conversation with

Loïs Mills

Brand & Community Manager at Homethings

loïs mills

Introduction

Introduction

Creating a tone of voice from scratch can be challenging. But a blank slate to work from also mean there’s room for something a bit different – and in Homethings’ case, a bit bonkers. We started working with eco cleaning brand Homethings before they launched. We knew they needed to stand out in a sea of mission-leg brands, so built a tone that’schallenging, current, activating and dry.

Loïs came on as Brand and Community Manager not long after we worked on their tone. To say she’s run with it is an understatement. She’s bounced from platform to platform, curating the most bonkers content she could find and consistently use Homethings‘ tone of voice, striking the balance between making people smile and talking to them about why sustainability matters.

“I often find that when we are trying to say impactful things it can get over-complicated and words-for-the-sake-of-words. Keeping it simple compliments a dry tone, so for us it’s the perfect mix.”

We spoke to Loïs about taking on Homethings’ tone, where she actually finds content inspiration (“If you see me scrolling through a toad’s instagram, it really is all in a day’s work”), and which brands she looks to for inspiration.

Question and Answer

You came on board at Homethings after S&T crafted the brand’s bonkers tone of voice. How did you find stepping into that voice?

Credit where credit is due – S&T created something that was structured enough to ensure consistency but fluid enough to be able to mould with the brand ‘in real life’ and live off a sheet of paper. Stepping into the voice was a great challenge; I’ve always loved copy and creative writing and so to be able to apply this and become the voice of the brand was something new. Having strong pillars to refer back to has been incredibly helpful and acts as a nice nudge when crafting new pieces of copy. As with anything new, there is always a little bit of trial and error that goes into things; there are definitely things about our brand tone of voice that I assumed would be easier to transcend than the reality but ultimately that’s what makes it fun and that’s what makes it “human”. There isn’t a one-size fits all approach and so it’s been really fun to take the building blocks of the TOV and run with it.

Where are you finding all the bonkers content you share on your platforms?

The internet is a weird and wonderful place – I’m constantly ending up down internet rabbit holes and wondering how I got there. I try to make life a little easier for myself by subscribing to a million-and-one different newsletters and emails for inspiration and content that lives outside of my usual echo chamber, but inspiration really does come from the most unusual places at times, so I try to make life easier and throw everything and anything that I find into a Slack channel (that’s literally called Bonkers+Sense) to refer back to at a later date – I can’t tell if someone would be confused or cracking-up if they stumbled across that thread. The challenge is not to get comfortable with what you already know. It’s easy to go back time and time again to the same sources of (good) information but half of what makes it such a diverse collection of content is because it usually comes from a real mix of places. If you see me scrolling through a toad’s Instagram, it really is all in a day’s work.

homethings

We love The Tap – can you tell us more about the newsletter?

The Tap is a great place for us as a brand to be able to share more than just cleaning news. Our community really is at the heart of everything we do and this newsletter is a way for us to be able to tap into the other areas of what makes us tick as a brand. So many brands use newsletters as a way to just sell, sell, sell but I see our newsletter as an opportunity to breathe more life and depth into our brand and to give Homethings the ‘human’ quality of being multidimensional. We use The Tap as another way that we can talk about all that’s bonkers and all that makes sense in the world – I’m biased, but creating them brings a smile to my face every month.

How do you strike the balance between that dry, challenger tone while also educating your audience on sustainability?

Balance is the perfect word. We’ve got some important things to say and some interesting things that we want to discuss, so finding that balance between engaging and challenging often requires a lot more thought than meets the eye. Homethings is a purpose driven brand and so it’s crucial that we balance our maverick personality with our mission and that’s not always easy. What I find most helpful is to break it down; I often find that when we are trying to say impactful things it can get over-complicated and words-for-the-sake-of-words. One of our core values as a brand is to do ‘less with more’ and that motto can go right the way though the business – from the supply chain that we work with to the words we use in a blog about carbon emissions. Keeping it simple compliments a dry tone, so for us it’s the perfect mix.

“We've got some important things to say and some interesting things that we want to discuss, so finding that balance between engaging and challenging often requires a lot more thought than meets the eye. Homethings is a purpose driven brand and so it's crucial that we balance our maverick personality with our mission and that's not always easy.”

Homethings is throwing a party. What’s happening, who’s coming and how would you invite us?

Want to come hang out at the latest London pop-up with us? Probably. We’ve booked a couple of tables and we’ve text you all the details – we’re not one for overcomplicating things and we could do without the faff of getting invites printed (plus, you know, the waste etc). As long as there are some great tunes playing and a decent vegan burger option available, we’re more than happy to just enjoy some good times with some good pals.

Tell us about the Dragon’s Den process – how did you get there and what did you have to do?

We were actually contacted about the opportunity to be featured on the show before any of us had ever heard of Coronavirus (if you can remember such a time). There is a lot of due diligence, compliance and research that goes on in the background as well as filming an audition-tape style submission. I truly felt like a Momager at this point, making sure the lighting and props were *chefs kiss* for Matt and Tim, which we filmed in a meeting room/spare bedroom. There’s so much that goes on “behind the scenes” but what an amazing experience and all very, very worth it. Tune in for tonight’s episode – it’s going to be a good one!

Which other brands do you look to for inspiration – or who do you think is really getting it right, especially in the eco space?

As a team, we love what the people at THIS are doing. Their tone of voice and brand personality comes through at every touchpoint, no matter if it’s the T&C’s at the bottom of the website or a huge campaign for socials; I truly feel that if you took away the logo, you’d still be able to identify the brand through words alone, which is great achievement. There are so many other great brands doing fantastic things in the eco space too, from Minor Figures striking the perfect balance between challenging and consistency in the plant milk space to newcomers Soap Studio and Nuud who both do fantastic jobs at marrying together personality with purpose. In a world where there’s an increasing number of blands vs brands, finding your niche without blurring into the background is no easy task.

Loïs's Storylist

Books

  1. The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Grey
  2. The Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay
  3. Toksvig's Almanac by Sandi Toksvig
  4. Natives by Akala
  5. How To Break Up With Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo

Podcasts

  1. Courier Weekly/Workshop
  2. Young People Doing Things
  3. This Way Up
  4. Table Manners
  5. Daily Doctor's Kitchen

Newsletters

  1. The Know
  2. Since No One Asked
  3. CPGD
  4. Thingtesting
  5. Adultish

Digital Platforms

  1. Little Places London
  2. Olio
  3. Inhabit
  4. Medium
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