Neon Bubble Letters: A Love Story | TONIC SITE SHOP

For today’s story, which is actually about stories, we have three bonus surprises to help you tell yours better:

I grew up on a 242-acre ostrich ranch (more on that next time, I swear), in a dusty Central Texas horse town filled with cowboys wearing skinny jeans LONG before the world was ready… where the best example of great branding was a tie between the drive-through beer barn (not making that up), and the local mattress store, which advertised its MIND-BLOWING SALE on Serta Sleep Numbers in gigantic, neon bubble letters.

Since at that time, I was often found writing my name in gigantic bubble letters across every piece of paper, important contract, and irreplaceable antique surface in our house, my sweet, encouraging mom was like, “Jen. You know, if you work really hard… one day, maybe YOU could be the one writing those mattress sale ads on the store windows.”

Carden family motto? Dream Big.

Thankfully, “branding” isn’t about neon bubble letters or how cool the town was where you grew up, or I’d be screwed. It’s about storytelling. And fortunately for my career outside of mattress sales, in the South, a good story is nearly mythological. 

Around the Carden family dinner table, you didn’t say much unless you had a story to tell, and if no one laughed by the time you were done, you didn’t say much again for a long, long time.

So, in the interminable silences after my jokes didn’t land (good thing I got used to THAT young), I started listening to the elements that made a great story; the parts that made people laugh, that kept them interested and involved — the turn of a phrase, a slight pause before the next line, the short descriptions that stuck with you four hours later. And around that dinner table, as my food got cold, I fell in love with stories. I began to understand the power of a great story told well.

When it comes to business and branding, storytelling is infinitely more effective than selling.

(I could write 4000000000 words about this topic, so let’s say for now that I’m the biggest fan of the book Building a Storybrand for more on this topic, and this is a great article, too.)

When it’s done right, a good brand (and website) tells your story for you in a way that other people can repeat.

(Read that one more time because it’s Monday.)

But if you’re like me, you find your own story the hardest to tell. Which means that unlike the mattress store, you don’t have any gigantic neon bubble letters selling your best qualities for you.

You sit down to write your website content or find some images that represent your brand and end up weeping into your wine, having realized THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT ME THAT IS UNIQUE OR INTERESTING, ONLY THE OSTRICH FARM THING, AND THAT’S MOSTLY JUST WEIRD.



*cough*

That got a little personal.

In short (or more accurately, “in long,” at this point): I get it, and I want to help. No, I cannot write your website content for you, even though I’d love to. But I DO know some very talented copywriters to answer our “OMG, AM I BORING?!” bat signal, our good friend (and TONIC site user herself!) Kaitlyn Parker of Copy Uncorked has put together a SPECIAL bonus just for you:

When you snag a new TONIC site, you’ll get 20% off of several of the TONIC-approved Copy Uncorked website copy resources, PLUS, a whole *free* catalog of tips and resources to help you write your website content (and avoid the whole crying under your desk situation). Kaitlyn also has a done-with-you group copywriting situation called The Copy House coming VERY soon, and damn if I don’t want to be part of that myself.



Other copywriting suggestions: I don’t think they know I exist (I literally just commented “I love you.” on one of their Instagram posts this morning, so that’s my current level of creep), but the girls behind OBEDIENT marketing agency may be my copywriting soulmates, and their Instagram is a treasure trove of tips and examples. There’s also my short thesis, “How to Write Copy People Actually Want to Read,” which we turned into a blog post right HERE. Annnnd my insanely good + strategic-copywriter-to-the-pro’s friend Ashlyn Carter has a KILLER youtube channel for all you visual learners.

“Jen, I’m good with copy — but I’m NOT a photographer and I’m worried my TONIC site won’t look great without great images!”

Good news. We thought of that, too, and we’ve got three options for you:

01. ANNOUNCING: TONIC x Social Squares Free Trial

My friend Shay Cochrane has an incredible company called Social Squares, offering incredibly high-quality stock imagery for creative brands and businesses. I actually did their logo design, and we’ve used Social Squares images in our designs multiple times (you can see them in Margarita and Vieux Carré). Which is why I’m SO happy to announce that Shay’s graciously agreed to give EVERYONE who buys a TONIC site a 14-day free trial of Social Squares.

That means even during your trial period, you can create an account, log in, download as many images for your site as you want, and enjoy their HUGE catalog of marketing resources….  and finally, finally feel like your visuals match your brand (And speaking from experience, going beyond the trial is worth it — we have a Social Squares subscription ourselves and it’s worth every penny.)

This offer is ONLY available when you purchase a TONIC design, so you’ll get an email with your template purchase that has all the details!



02. TONIC x TIDE & TREE Free Photo Collection

Charlie from Tide & Tree allowed us to curate a collection of incredibly gorgeous stock images for use on your site + wherever you want them, and you can download that image set for FREE. Charlie’s images are so great, with a minimal look and a cool edit. She says they’re “Cozy and Hygge-inspired,” but I’d just say “They don’t look like stock images.” You’ll also get 20% off a Tide & Tree membership with the code TONICSITESHOP.



3. TONIC x Moyo Studios Discount

If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly seen us use images and mock-ups from Moyo Studio…. which is basically the creative world’s secret weapon for looking cohesive online. We love their scene creators and their always-expanding catalog of minimal, modern designs that instantly make your Instagram and website look 💯. (All the images used in the infamous GREYHOUND site are from Moyo!) Molly and Mark are offering you guys a special code, so take 15% off of your membership or download with the code TONIC. (Again, we’ve got one, and it’s worth every penny.)



In case it’s not clear yet, Jeff and I are in this business because we want you to have a website that helps you be seen for who you are at your best and known for what you do best.

We’ve tried to do as much of the work for you as we can, building template designs that stand out in a sea of 47 other tabs, grow with you and your brand, and feel like a custom website built for you (because it was!), but we know the content part can be tricky. I really hope these resources help! If there’s something else we can do, please let me know. We now have a growing RESOURCE LIBRARY of content like this, including all of our podcasts, tutorial videos, tools, and other educational content, so head there if you need some more help!

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FEATURED POST

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Social (Media) Distancing

three ways Not to go Crazy Right now

FEATURED POST

Everyone's favorite macaroni and cheese lover on the biggest light bulb moments in her brand, the essentials in her carry-on, and her best advice for a designing website that's unmistakably "you."

Jenna Kutcher is Not Going with The Flow

BEHIND THE BAR:

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FEATURED POST

Creating connection points, narrowing your scope, and all the inspiration you need to make it your own.

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FIVE STEPS TO A 

buy now, pay later: on 6 month payment plans, your first payment is now *free*   |

all other sites:  TAKE 20% OFF with code: LETSDOTHISTOGETHER

The website of your dreams? It's already mixed to perfection and waiting for you at the bar.

Completely Customizable Websites

FOR THE MODERN, STYLISH CREATIVE

not your average templates

So, you need a website. Your current choices are: a ) a boring, big box template that does nothing to showcase your particular brand of awesome, and that you’d need to be some sort of code wizard to change, or b ) plunking down your life savings and your firstborn to hire a designer and a cranky developer, who will spend months and months of precious time cranking out something arguably “custom” you may or may not love in the end.

We’ve redefined the website template. And not only what it can be, but how it can look, what it can do, and what it can do for your brand.

THE MANIFESTO

Right? Nope. Enter option c ) Tonic Site Shop. Throw out everything you know about templates: these are cocktail-inspired, completely customizable websites designed for the kind of people that give a damn. Simply select your “cocktail,” download, customize anything −ANYTHING− you want, go live, grab the champagne and wait for the compliments ( and clients ) to roll in. They’re designer-made, and tailored just for you. Your old website is already jealous. 

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Has being a total boss ever looked THIS fun? We submit that it has not.

Margarita

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The cure for the common wedding photography website — fine art, high-impact, built to wow.

Clover Club

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It's the tonic for tired, too-complicated design, and it goes down real smooth.

Gin & Tonic

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For those who like their website warm, stylish, and modern, but finished with a little zest. 

Limoncello

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Clean and classic, tailored to perfection, and served with signature style. 

Martini

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Oui oui, très chic! Our sweet Vieux is fresh from fashion week in Paris.

Vieux Carré

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Built for the creative who craves simplicity - a stunning environment for beauty to thrive.

Bellini

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 Sleek, efficient, strategic, and ready to send all the dream clients straight through your door.

Greyhound

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A classic take on modern design, with personality peeking through the clouds of pretty.

London Fog

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A well-balanced cocktail of feminine and modern + dynamic and clean. 

Rosé Royale

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Stylish, sexy, bold and bright … undoubtedly the fashionista of the collection.

Cosmopolitan

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A minimalist’s heaven designed to make maximum impact.

Moscow Mule

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Your monthly Vogue was lost in the mail? Fortunately, we have its replacement.

Amaretto Sour

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So spacious, fresh and clean, it can’t go down without an “ahhh.”

Gin Fizz

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For the minimalists, the artists, the romantics, and really, everyone in between. 

Adriatique

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So smooth and seamless that if you get lost in all the pretty, it must be by choice.

Smokescreen

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Two parts classic, one part charm, with the kind of elegance that never goes out of style.

Charleston

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Your images can almost taste the Campari, and it goes down even smoother than it looks. 

Negroni

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Fashionable free spirits, stand (or twirl) at the ready: Lillet Blanc is your website home of dreams. 

Lillet Blanc

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Good news: Summer is never over when you've got a cool, refreshing Lemon Drop in your hand!

Lemon Drop

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If you're looking for simple and honest, with style in spades and space to breathe ...

Vodka Soda

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Long summer days at the lake and those cozy winter nights at the cabin in the mountains ...

Hemingway

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Find out the secret ingredients in your shaker, and what sets you apart from everyone else on the (top) shelf... Plus, get our specific strategies to ensure your ideal clients pick you off the menu every time.

what's your brand cocktail?

“If I could go back in time, I would purchase a Tonic site much earlier in my career. The high end feel of the template site combined with Jen and Jeff's creative direction and advice, instantly brought my work and brand to the next level. It allowed me to increase my prices and reach my dream client!”

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“If you know your website isn't as good as it SHOULD be and you're riding the struggle bus trying to figure out how everyone else seems to have gorgeous websites, buy a TONIC site. It's time you look just as good (if not better) than others in your industry and stand out in a way that's unique to you.”

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“If there is ONE thing in your business worth investing in (even more than your camera and lenses) it is your brand. TONIC is the only resource I recommend if you want to get it done right.” 

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“Tonic is the PERFECT resource for anyone needing a quick and simple way to get an incredible, flawlessly designed website.”

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“Being able to create a creative, editorial, and professional website with TONIC has taken our brand to higher levels - more inquiries and bookings with our ideal clients! Cheers, indeed!”

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“TONIC revolutionized my business, I never wanted to send people to my site before, then Jeff & Jen re-mixed my online presence, and wow, THEY ARE GOOD. They got to the core of my brand and built a hand-crafted site around it. Wouldn't want to work with anyone else."

PRAISE FOR TONIC

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“The idea that someone could take a gallery of their 50 best images, pair it with one of these incredible designs and have a brand and virtual storefront that will start going to WORK for them and allow them to hit the ground running by the weekend is mind-blowing. It’s game-changing.”

PRAISE FOR TONIC

- Mary Marantz

“TONIC not only gave me a gorgeous, sleek (easy to use!) design that elevates my brand, but also regularly introduces me to new cocktails I've yet to try. Win, win!”

PRAISE FOR TONIC

 - Abby Grace

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Elanaloo

“I can now say from experience, it feels phenomenal to have your corner of the internet feel like HOME. If you're tired of being embarrassed by your outdated website or  craving something that can really feel like YOURS – TONIC is your people. This is the BEST solution to web design I've ever come across.”— Elana, @elanaloo

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Caroline Logan

"If you're thinking about getting a TONIC site, is it too cheesy to say 'DO IT, You won't regret it?' Because it’s true. Your business will grow. Your bookings will increase. You'll be able to raise your prices. You'll attract and book your dream clients. You’ll be more confident than ever before in your brand. It's a no brainer!"  — Caroline

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Valorie Darling

“Not only are their designs gorgeous, intuitive and perfectly built for photographers, but their team really couldn't be more loving and supportive in the journey of bringing it all together.”  — Valorie

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The White Hearth

 "I always sought to make a fine product, but now I have a fine website to showcase it. If you’re putting off getting a Tonic site, learn from my experience and don’t wait any longer. It will be the site you’ll wish you always had!“ — Talia

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Amelia Brown

"With our Tonic template, we’ve been able to create a lush, magazine-style layout that showcases our process, inspirations, and story. It's been a pleasure to work with Tonic in creating our new website." — Amelia

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