Busking For Jeans!

Ryan Corn stopped in the Imogene + Willie store in Portland, Oregon this week to sing about “Wonderful Things!” Some of their wonderful clothing was used in a recent photo shoot for Ryan’s upcoming Curb Records release. While in the Northwest, Ryan also made stops at Amazon, Google, Breedlove Guitars and Apple to play a few tunes and make new friends.

Using Story To Build A Brand



Each morning I awake in search of that ingenious music marketing plan that will significantly change and impact the way music is sold. One that turns an ordinary musician into a house hold name overnight. While chasing that elusive groundbreaking overnight plan, I like to study other marketing and branding stories in hopes of gleaning nuggets that will lead me to the Holy Grail. Along the way, I stumbled across a branding story that captured my heart in a way no other brand has done. It’s the story of a Nashville based company, Imogene + Willie.

I first heard about Imogene + Willie a few years back from photographer, Joshua Black Wilkins. We were at a photo shoot for an artist that we manage and somehow got on the subject of Joshua’s jeans and how he hadn’t washed them in a year. What! Why? Surely those had to be some nasty jeans? Photographer, Thomas Petillo, was driving the shoot and he was also wearing a pair of Imogene & Willies. Both had done photography for the new jean brand and knew the owners and their story well. Thomas and Joshua shared enough of the Imogene + Willie story to spark my curiousity. After the photo shoot, I began to research the story and their well crafted marketing.

Being an avid blogger, I was instantly impressed to find that the Imogene + Willie website was built on a blog platform. I clicked the tab labeled Our Story and dove in for a read. Learning a bit of the story of the owners, Carrie and Matt, and the inspiration for the Imogene + Willie name began to draw me in for more. Reading the story and watching the video about their desire to make things in the USA and their excitement about building a small business that provided jobs for others was heart warming. Even though we had never met, I instantly felt as if I knew Carrie and Matt well. Even so, I still couldn’t get past the fact that it would cost me $250 for a pair of those special jeans that you aren’t supposed to wash. As I began to read more about selvedge denim, I learned from Carrie & Matt about the superior denim that was used to make the early Levi’s that built America. For some reason, I felt drawn back to the Imogene + Willie website on a regular basis to read more. Carrie and Matt had used story to pull me deep into their brand. I actually shared their story with others for a year before purchasing my first pair of Imogene + Willie jeans. My first purchase was fueled with a desire to support a local Nashville business with heart and soul and to become part of their story. After joining the mailing list, I noticed something even more brilliant. They tell a story behind every product they sell, offering the consumer more than just a piece of clothing. It’s pretty incredible how story makes it possible for them to sell a $68 t-shirt or a $62 bandana. At times, they send emails that tell the story of other local businesses. Through their story telling, I  discovered Otis James bow ties, Emil Erwin leather goods and the wonderful food of  Mas Tacos. How amazing that a company would go to such effort to build community by giving props to other local businesses. 

The catalyst that finally got me to purchase a pair of jeans was seeing the brand incorporate music into their story. Carrie and Matt began hosting Supper & Song nights in the backyard of their store. The Supper & Song nights were complete with live music, community and food trucks. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the Supper & Song until after they were forced to cease hosting them due to local sound ordinance codes, but I somehow felt like I had attended as I read through their blog. Recently, they announced that they will be starting them up again and I absolutely can’t wait to attend. Another way they incorporate music in their story is by creating and sharing Spotify playlists. Music appears to be a big part of the culture they are creating so naturally, customers would want to know what Matt, Carrie and the other employees are listening to. Wouldn’t it be great if all businesses incorporated music in their culture and branding?

Imogene + Willie has created quite the brand and finding themselves featured in the New York Times, Vogue Magazine and they were even invited to do a TED talk on their business strategy. Last week, I attended their five-year anniversary party to celebrate the remarkable Imogene + Willie branding story. Story was a huge part of the celebration as they asked customers to drop off some of their worn jeans ahead of time. They lined the walls of the party with customer’s jeans along with a short story card below each pair with the customers name, the age of the jeans and how many washes each jean had seen.

Congratulations Carrie & Matt on your 5 year anniversary of Imogene + Willie! You have successfully marketed your way into the hearts of many through your story.


Remembering Kathryn Kimble


Last night a great friend, Kathryn Kimble, left this world to join Jesus in Heaven. She was the first person to befriend my wife, Diana, upon her move to Nashville eighteen years ago and remained a great friend to Diana for those 18 years. Kathryn was a wonderful woman, friend, wife and mother of three with her youngest son just 13 years old. Unfortunately, the evil disease we know as cancer took her life much earlier than any of us could ever have imagined.

Kathryn was an extremely kind and giving woman. Recognized as one of the top make-up artists in the Nashville entertainment & fashion industry, her work with top country music artists including Trace Atkins & Toby Keith has been enjoyed by millions. Kathryn’s beautiful work was also seen weekly during football season as she served as make-up artist to the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders. Even though Kathryn was at the top in her field, I will always remember how quickly she would offer her services for gratis or discounted rates to help new unsigned artists.

While we are left with extreme sadness, our hearts are filled with great memories of a beautiful, kind and loving friend!

We love you & will miss you dearly Kathryn Kimble!



Marketing Music On Pinterest

As a music marketing professional, I like to explore all things new on the horizon and especially when it comes to social network marketing. When I first heard of Pinterest, I avoided joining due to the reports I was hearing that its primary users are women trading recipes and craft ideas. Afraid of losing my manliness, i decided to hold off joining. To my surprise, news recently broke that Pinterest is now ranked the #3 social network behind Facebook & Twitter. That definitely got my attention! After attending Podcamp Nashville and listening to a panel on Pinterest, I knew it was time to join. One of the panelist, Daniel Bear Hunley, talked about the explosion of Pinterest and how he had picked up 2 million followers in just a few months. That excited me and made me realize its okay for men to join. I am now the proud owner of a brand new Pinterest Account.

Up till now, the music industry hasn’t found a way to maximize Pinterest as a platform to drive sales. I am sure we are minutes away from some new artist exploding due to a clever way of using Pinterest. I of course would like to be the person to figure it out, so I am madly attempting to master the technique of being a great “Pinner”. This past weekend, I uploaded and pinned a photo I took of a beautiful door in Nappa. Within five minutes, I proudly had 20 re-pins from total strangers and my door photo appeared on the main page of Pinterest! Wow! The adrenaline was pumping. Through my experimenting, I discovered that food, gardening, architecture and fashion are huge items of interest. We just have to figure out how to sneak music into those buckets.

I would encourage all artist to join Pinterest and start building your platform. That brilliant idea of promoting music on Pinterest is just around the corner. I look forward to hearing any ideas you may be trying?

Follow Me On Pinterest http://pinterest.com/keithstancil/




The Photo Shoot

Photo Shoot

Photo Shoot

As an artist manger, I am realizing how important a great photo shoot is to the overall marketing plan for a music artist. While I have been involved in music marketing for years, my job in the past normally began after the product managers had the music packaged and ready to go. Now I find myself involved with every step in the marketing process and that being especially true with independent artists. Thankfully, my wife and business partner, Diana Stancil, has expertise in styling and photo shoots. Diana has been involved with many Jaci Velasquez photo shoots ranging from People Magazine shoots to movie shoots. I always wondered why some photo shoots were more expensive than others and why it is necessary to have so many people involved. This became very clear at a recent photo shoot for our artist Holly Starr.

Kristin Barlowe was the photographer chosen for Holly’s shoot. Kristin is revered as one of Nashville’s top photographers. She does an incredible job not only with photography but with the overall imaging. Kristin is especially great with females so she was a natural choice for Holly. Some of her past work includes photo shoots for Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, Wynonna, Jaci Velasquez, Kellie Pickler, and Amy Grant.

The first thing I noticed was how important the lighting and digital image team are to a shoot. The “Hood Brothers” (Derrick  Hood & Joel Hood – no relation) were Kristin’s team for the shoot and what an amazing team they are! Similar to a professional golf caddie, these guys were one step ahead of Kristin on every move. Not only did they take care of setting up the lighting and capturing the digital data, but they also suggested settings for Kristin’s camera keeping her abreast of how the pictures were looking on the computer screen. Extremely talented guys!

Libby Callaway was the stylist for the shoot and she did a fantastic job. Many of clothes and jewelry pieces will become part of Holly’s stage wardrobe so it was important that Libby capture and enhance Holly’s vision. Styling is the foundation and probably the most important part of every shot.

Megan Thompson- Fitchuck was the make-up/hair artist for the shoot. I was blown away by how quickly Megan’s artistry transformed Holly’s look for each individual setting. It was interesting watching how quickly Megan would change Holly’s hair style. She gave incredible attention to detail with Holly’s make-up and hair throughout the shoot. A great hair/make-up artist can prevent the necessity for a lot of costly touch-up work to the final photos.

My main take away from Holly’s photo shoot was how important every person on the team is to the final product. I now have a much better understanding of those budgets that I always thought were a bit crazy. A great photo shoot takes more than one person with a camera. It takes a team!

What photo shoot tips do you have to share?


Jewelry & Music

2dangle-web-logo I never really thought I would be talking about jewelry and music in the same sentence until this week. This past week was the marketing launch of my wife’s jewelry line 2dangle. We have had a lot of fun creating the launch plan. Of course, I was given the task of creating the website and doing the marketing for 2dangle. My first task was the website. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know how adamant I am about using a blogsite instead of a static website and that is exactly what I did for 2dangle using WordPress as the engine.  The first day of the website launch we saw 4 times the views of the biggest day on any of my other blogs. Day two brought almost 1,000 views! That told me something immediately. More people are interested in jewelry than music. We happened to run into fashion designer Jeff Garner who was putting the final touches on his Prophetik fall fashion show. Jeff asked to use 2dangle jewelry in his fashion show. What an amazing opportunity! As we watched the fashion show, something inside me began to stir as music played such a huge role in the Prophetik fashion show. Why not create musical earrings? Only joking… but it did make me start wondering why jewelry creates so much more blog traffic and interest than music. One conclusion that I came to is that jewelry is considered a daily necessity in people’s identity. The watch, the earrings or the necklace one wears projects a personal image/identity.  I can remember back in my high school days when the music one listened to played such an important role in their identity. Music appears to have lost it’s significance as a necessity in people’s daily lives. Can the music industry change that? Figuring that one simple thing out could possibly be the key to reversing the sales decline in music.


The Music Gardener’s Wife

Diana Stancil

Diana Stancil

A few weeks ago, my husband asked me to do a guest blog for him.  It took me a while to decide what to blog about as I have never blogged before. After much thought, I decided to pass along some advice to creative people.  As an artist manager and with my personal experience in the fashion industry, I have been around artistic people most of my life. I have observed that actors, painters, make -up artists, stylists, models, photographers, hair stylists, and singers get a LOT of attention! I’ve also observed what these people do with all of this attention. While some seem unmoved (very few), others bask in it. Yes, artists are a different breed, however, they also need people with different gifts to surround them in order to help them organize and make sense of their careers.  People who will hopefully be honest with them. It’s kind of funny how God designed us to need each other.  So I would say to artists today, “just as it takes a village to raise a child”, “it takes a group of people to help get you to the stage”. Be kind to those people who are helping you, you see, they are just as important as you are.

Diana Stancil – The Music Gardener’s Wife

#7 Twitterer in Brentwood, TN!

This morning I randomly plugged my Twitter user name into Twittergrader.com and it appears I am ranked #7 for the Elite Twitterers in Brentwood, TN  It was initially exciting but then the horrible sin of envy kicked in as I peered at the number 1 Twitterer. I asked myself why are they better than me? What are they doing that I don’t do? How can I overtake them?  But then I remembered all of the great things about #7. First of all that puts me in the Top 10! The number 7 is associated with perfection as God created the earth in 7 days. The number 7 plays an incredibly significant role throughout the Bible as a holy number. 7-Eleven has the ultimate Slurpies! 7-up is the Uncola and my favorite all time best fitting jeans were made by 7 For All MankindRob Thomas is #7 on the Billboard Rock Album Chart this week. Hannah Montanna is #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart this week and Garth Brooks Double Live is the #7 all time best selling album in history.

I am feeling kind of special now and thinking maybe I should throw a #7 party! Come on and follow me at




New Blog Design Unveiled!

The new Music Gardener blog has arrived! I recently made the transition from a WordPress.com blog to a WordPress.org blog. My good friends Spence Smith and Randy Elrod have given me much encouragement  and help in making the transition. So many new great bells and whistles that I can’t wait to use as we explore the world of artist management and music marketing. Hopefully you enjoy the new design as much as I do.


Visage Bella

We sure had a fun this past week working with some amazing folks to help launch a new makeup artist and imagery company Visage Bella http://visagebella.com . First of all, Orta Universal http://ortauniversal.com did an incredible job designing and building the amazing website! I have never worked with such a fast and incredibly creative person as what we experienced with Pete Orta at Orta Universal. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND ORTA UNIVERSAL FOR YOUR BRANDING NEEDS! Pete’s design work made building the blogsite http://visagebella.wordpress.com a piece of cake. Visage Bella is the company launched by make-up artist, Kathryn Kimble. Kathryn has worked with Taylor Swift, Lorrie Morgan and Jaci Velasquez in the past and her work has been featured in Mademoiselle Magazine. She is the official makeup artist for the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders for 2009.  Looking forward to seeing the impact Visage Bella has in the fashion and entertanment world! www.artistgardenenterainment.com

Visage Belleza