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Cool Is A Strategy (And Why I Was Banned From Disco Dancing)

Did you know that to succeed in business you don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything?

You don’t have to appease your industry? (You might even piss them off!)

And you can go against the grain when it comes to choosing your target market?

And that being ‘cool’ is a business strategy?

Don’t worry, this kind of being ‘cool’ isn’t about hangin’ out on the street with a cigarette dangling out of your glossy lips, flippin’ your middle finger to cars as they drive by.

This is about a very smart, very cool, very successful brand: The Wild Unknown.

Their premier offering? The Wild Unknown Tarot. But first, a quick side story about why I was banned from disco dancing & Tarot cards …

My parents didn’t allow me to take dance lessons. They were concerned it would lead to disco dancing. A definite ‘no no’ at my church.

Of course I still disco danced – EVERYONE did in the 1970s – just not in front of my parents.

I always find it hilarious that they were trying to protect me from the dangers of disco, when years later their daughter would make a career dancing around a STRIPPER pole. Hey! I was still doing the ‘hustle.’ Ha!

Along with no disco dancing, I was also told that Tarot was one step away from witchcraft, so I of course was immediately curious about it.

And while I may have asked one or two ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ questions when I finally had my first Tarot reading decades later, I came to realize that the Tarot is an INCREDIBLE tool for self development, one I can use to design my offerings, and jump start my creativity.

I even have my very own Steampunk Tarot – a gift from the ultra hip, ultra cool Tarot Lady herself, Theresa Reed.

Back to the Wild Unknown…

ENTIRELY hand drawn by the creator, Kim Krans, she self-published the deck in 2008, and, as many Tarot pros will tell you, the pictures on the cards are evocative, unique, and perhaps not good for the beginning reader.

Plus, there are a few purists who really dislike the deck.

And yet this is one of the most successful self published Tarot decks – EVER.

There are thousands of Tarot decks for sale – with newer versions & styles coming out EVERY year.

So how does one hand drawn, untraditional Tarot deck maintain continued popularity for 8 years?

Smart marketing, that’s how. Check out what Krans did.

: She never marketed to the metaphysical crowd or Tarot deck collectors.

Krans doesn’t present herself as a Tarot expert. Instead, she’s an artist with a spiritual practice who just happened to create a Tarot deck.

And here’s the thing to wrap your head around: Even though Krans is selling a Tarot deck, the Tarot community isn’t her real market.

Instead, it’s people who like cool artwork. Who may or may not be interested in Tarot.

And that gives her a much bigger audience, and WAAYYY more latitude as an entrepreneur.

: She started up a tumblr account, showing pictures of very cool people interacting with the cards, complete with little bios, their discovery and connection with their favorite cards, and their Wild Unknown tattoos.

: She cultivated popular blogs – like Design Sponge – to show off not just her work, but her lifestyle as well.

: She defined her target market – the neo-boho spiritual crowd – and carefully crafted posts that would appeal to them.

: When the deck was complete, instead of approaching Tarot forums, or the major Tarot publishers, Krans instead created relationships with small boutiques (with online shopping!), and basically went on tour.

She co-hosted a party at each boutique, complete with a band, took photo-booth pictures, and posted them to her tumblr account, and her new set of Pinterest boards.

She spent real time and effort to create a following that intensely embodied the spirit of her brand.

Did she alienate the Tarot community by choosing this route? 

Maybe a few, but the 8 years in print proves that the deck speaks for itself. And remember her audience wasn’t Tarot people, but people into cool art – like me!

So was Krans pretty cool to start with? I’m going to say ‘yes.’ But she could just as easily be skippin’ on a rainbow as I write this…

Krans followed the
3 GOLDEN RULES OF APPEARING COOL.

COOL RULE 1

Be fiercely proud of your creative work. Don’t care what the professional or traditional community has to say about it. No explanations. No apologies.

COOL RULE 2

Don’t flood the market. Nothing disrupts your mystique faster than trying to be everywhere and catering to everyone. Be strategic about who you hang out with and where you place your products.

COOL RULE 3

Don’t talk too much. Give very few interviews. Be selective.

So you see, whether you dig rainbows & sunshine, or slick leather & heavy chains – cool is a strategy.

You don’t have to KISS ass. Ever.

But you do have to KICK ass. Always.

XXXO

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