A Canadian, in Finland, using British leather. Following so far? Good. Meet torture-leather clothing specialist Haley Deanna Johnstone, Founder of Demon & Diocese.
Newly based in Europe and keen as mustard to further build her brand, read more about the former cowgirl’s journey so far and her leather licence to thrill.
BRIAN GRAY: So let’s get started. Who’s running the show at Demon & Diocese? Who are you and what was your inspiration and motivation to start the brand?
HALEY DEANNA JOHNSTONE: My name is Haley Deanna, I started Demon & Diocese because I loved working with leather. I grew up on a ranch as a little girl, and I loved the feeling of a saddle, riding boots on your feet, and reins in your hands. I wanted to make wearable leather designs that are unique and handmade.
Talk us through the brand identity process. What steps did you take? How did you come up with the Demon & Diocese moniker and why did you choose this over the other names you may have considered?
I went through a long process to get to where I am now. I started by making leather designs that were a lot more sculptural and avant-garde in nature, before honing my craft to where it is now. I came up with Demon & Diocese while researching Italian artists. I knew I wanted to use the word demon, but I also wanted a reflective contrast name to go with it. I then started thinking of figureheads and titles within the Catholic Church, and then I recalled the archdiocese. I paired the two words to creating a contrasting, bold name.
You’re based in Finland but thanks to the joys of the internet your customers can be from almost anywhere. What countries are your most lucrative so far? How much of your sales comes from domestic customers? And are there any particular overseas countries you’re looking to increase awareness and subsequent sales in?
Currently, I am most lucrative in the US & Canada. Because I only recently moved to Finland the beginning of September, I am still trying to build my customer base. As of current, my domestic sales in Finland are about 20% of my total sales. I would like to increase awareness in the UK & Australia.
What defines your typical Demon & Diocese customer, and what three adjectives would you want your customers to associate with your brand?
A typical customer is a woman who is expressive and edgy, and isn’t afraid to wear some heavy hardware. Three adjectives I would want to be associated with my brand are: powerful, relentless, bold.
A well-positioned company seeks to ‘own’ one word in the minds of consumers (i.e. Volvo and ‘safety’). What would be yours?
In a nutshell; relentless.
Good marketing is important for any company, not only to thrive but just to survive. What have been your key marketing learning points and observations so far?
Some key marketing points I have learned is using an e-commerce platform versus building your own website. E-commerce provides a larger audience and more traffic to your store.
You popped over this year to exhibit at London’s Le Boutique Bazaar. What are your own thoughts and recollection of the event and how beneficial do you think it is for small erotic retailing businesses like yourself?
I have never vented before, it was a great experience to meet people in the UK with an interest in erotic wear/fetish fashion. I think it’s important to tap into the communities you want to raise awareness about your brand in. I would definitely go to another event.
If you could choose another erotic or adult brand to collaborate with you in any project, who would it be and why?
I really like the designs of E.L.F Zhou London. Their leatherwear and lingerie complement some of my designs well, and I would love to work with them one day.
What has been your most enjoyable moment or experience with Demon & Diocese that has made the blood, sweat and tears all worthwhile?
The most enjoyable part is seeing models wearing your designs in photo shoots. Everyone looks so great and my designs are made to fit all body types, and made to measure.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given, and from who?
The best piece advice I’ve been given was from a fellow designer who told me to do what you love and to not let anyone tell you your brand isn’t good enough. You are good at what you do and it shows in your designs.
Time is our most precious commodity, especially for entrepreneurs. How do you maximise yours, and what tips have you picked up along the way?
I maximize my time by waking up early, staying organized with my time, and using a day-timer. Using a calendar or agenda will help you organize events and deadlines.
And what does the next twelve months hold in store for Demon & Diocese?
I am hoping to continue to send designs to models and photographers throughout the US and Canada. I also hope to do another Le Boutique Bazaar event, as well as other local vending opportunities.
Thanks Haley Deanna, and the best of leather luck to you!
ARE YOU AN AMBITIOUS, MARKETING-LED, COMPANY IN THE SEX TOY, LINGERIE, FETISHWEAR AND EQUIPMENT OR DATING / EVENTS SECTORS?
If you’d like to be interviewed about your entrepreneurial journey and associated marketing issues that will be interesting to the Lascivious Marketing web fraternity, then get in touch!
Until next time!