Building a Community Around Your Brand – Alexa Cawley

In today’s episode, we are joined by Alexa Cowley. Alexa is the president and CEO of Forever Friday Consulting. She is also the host of The Friday Society Podcast. She enjoys working with small health and wellness brands to find the system that best works for them. She spent 4.5 years with Lululemon, first as a sales educator working with local businesses. She loved this and found joy in connecting with small businesses. She then became a community manager for the Flatiron Flagship Store managing fitness studios across New York.

If you’re in the health and wellness realm, this is the episode for you!! If not, you can still get lots of strategies that you can customize for your business, as well as, mindset tips and tricks to get you ahead of the game.

Alexa’s website:



Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hi friends, I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode.

Welcome back to Rocky Mountain Marketing. Today I am joined by Alexa Kali. Alexa is a marketing consultant and for health and wellness brands, and started forever Friday consulting, where she helps wellness brands grow and learn how to effectively grow their brand and market. She’s on a mission to help smaller businesses learn the same tactics that she’s learned over many years in the marketing world. And she does this through one on one Consulting Group courses. She has a podcast of her own. And she’s like I said, She’s on a mission to help you feel like a business should be easy, and most importantly, fun. So Alexa, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Alexa Cawley 1:05

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so so excited to be here.

Katie Brinkley 1:09

Well, the thing is, I love getting connected with other marketing peeps and being able to just do a deep dive on all things marketing. So I’m really looking forward to our conversation today. But before we get into the marketing tips, and the marketing basics and the marketing tactics, tell us a little bit more about yourself. Tell us about life growing up and where you grew up, and how life was growing up.

Alexa Cawley 1:30

Totally. Okay, so I grew up in New York, I am from Long Island and just you know, really suburban town but was very close to New York City. So always was able to have that like relaxing component of things. But also be close to the hustle and bustle and be inspired by you know, all the amazing things that people were doing. So I grew up in New York, and I went to Florida for college and then came back right back to New York pretty much the day after I graduated and settled down there. So I’ve been in New York for about held my now that was about 10 years ago. So yeah, I live in New York most of the time. I’m actually right now in sunny Santa Barbara taken, you know, just a few weeks to be here. But it’s the joy of the work from laptop life.

Katie Brinkley 2:19

You know, I think that that is one of the things too, I said goodbye to the corporate world because I wanted to be able to work from anywhere. And I definitely feel like it’s a two edged sword. Because sometimes you can work from anywhere but you can work from anywhere. Well tell us a little bit about starting for Friday consulting and what you do for small businesses and brands.

Alexa Cawley 2:44

Yeah, absolutely. So I started my career like I said about 10 years ago, I was working for Lululemon The day after I moved home from college and I learned a lot from being there about the way that they dealt with local local relationships and local community building and it inspired me so much and I got to meet some really amazing local business owners like local yoga studio owners and spin studios popping up and juice shops and it really opened my eyes to everything that went into building a small business and something just changed me forever like I was just like oh my god there’s so much that goes into this and it’s so like these small health and wellness businesses were so integral for the community you know, and for everybody as well being and giving a sense of belonging to people like I myself just had some really amazing transformative experiences at my local yoga studio and at these local places. So something really turned on for me there where I was like, Okay, these are really amazing, amazing companies. And after I was at Lululemon, I spent about four and a half to five years at Lulu lemon and then after that I went to work for soulcycle for about a year and a half and I was in their corporate department and it was phenomenal so you know i was i was overseeing 26 Studios I had five direct reports like it was it was a big sort of undertaking and it was an amazing experience but something just still in me was I was like okay, like there’s so many resources that this company has available to make it this amazing thing which is great but I was just I had this little like working thing where I was like, you know, these smaller companies they don’t have the money and they don’t have the resources and they don’t have the expertise available to them and what a gap in the market that is you know that there’s all these millions of small companies but they’re also bogged down with the day to day and with their reporting and with their the five minutes a day they have to dedicate to marketing so I was like, you know, this is a gap in the market and this is something that I can change. So I about a year and a half ago now opened up my own consulting agency where I act as an advisor or I’ll take on some marketing, you know, things For someone’s play, but I work with health and wellness businesses, and we really just progress their marketing strategy, we define it and go from there.

Katie Brinkley 5:09

I know that you have the background with another lemon and soulcycle. But why did you decide to stick with what that industry? i?

Alexa Cawley 5:17

That’s a great question. I mean, I just love it. I am the annoying person at the party who’s going to be like, what’s your smoothie, like, oh, did you know that you could add to cow for some superfood benefits, I am really an annoying person with that, and I think it just comes from, I want everyone to be the healthiest that they can be. And just from like a pure longevity standpoint, like I want everyone to live the longest and healthiest lives that they possibly can. And I really love doing that, you know, through health and wellness businesses. So something is it’s really joyful for me to see somebody go to a yoga studio for the first time maybe and feel you’ve had like yoga high afterwards that they didn’t know was possible or to go and get some, you know, maybe some really healthy food and just feel really nourished afterwards. And then to see them learn about why that food is healthy. So I really am the annoying person that wants to make everyone healthier.

Katie Brinkley 6:16

Well, you know, let’s dive into some of the marketing talk now. And one of the things that I, I know that I work with, with my clients is the branding. And how do you build that brand when someone is just starting out as a business? I know so many I work with a lot of people in the home industry and like, Ah, you know, I have a logo. But I mean, how do you help your clients build a brand awareness around their company around their business?

Alexa Cawley 6:44

Mm hmm. Well, I think the first thing that’s missing or the first thing that I would take a look at is figuring out exactly what this person’s Why is behind their business and funding many times we get really caught up in you know, we’re in our business 24 hours a day. And so there’s a lot going on. And we want to explain to everybody all the things that are going on, and a big issue that I see and I’m sure you might see the same thing is that people are not incredibly clear and focused in their why and that’s going to define everything. So first things first is that you really do need to create this really effective mission statement of what you do, why you do it, and what people can expect once they’ve worked with you. So that’s just something that I find incredibly important that then will define who your ideal customer is, like if you’re just a if you just want to say you’re a yoga studio, that’s totally fine. But are you a yoga studio that maybe specializes in injuries or mobility issues and you serve people who primarily maybe were once athletes before something like you don’t have to Nisha down quite that much. But once you sort of take a look at exactly what your why is and who you want to serve, then the clients will follow.

Katie Brinkley 7:55

And I think that that is one of the things that a lot of people don’t really consider too much whether they’re in the health industry, the home industry or the automotive industry is who your ideal client customer is because as entrepreneurs as well, you know I’ll serve anyone I’ll take care of anyone that wants to give me their money but yeah, really narrowing down who you serve makes such a difference in your branding and in your marketing.

Alexa Cawley 8:23

Totally it changes everything and I think you’re so right there’s so many people that are like, well I’ll take your money you know, and if you’re trying to create a product for everybody, you end up having a product for nobody so I think it’s really important for people to totally define exactly who they think they can serve best.

Katie Brinkley 8:42

That’s exactly it I’m 100% with you I mean even with my own business I had to take a deep dive and really take a look at my my business and just hide who I was serving who I was happy as to working with and once I did that everything changed so I’m so glad that you brought that up and but one of the things that I have noticed is okay, how do I how do I build my awareness without a budget? And with branding? It absolutely can be hard to do it with with zero to or little budget How do you help your clients with that?

Alexa Cawley 9:17

Totally. And that’s a great question and most of my clients have little to no budget but they do have time or they have a front desk associate that has some time so first things first what I always like to say is connect with your other local small businesses like that is just such an untapped market like that, to me is the holy grail of marketing. So if you are a bank could be anything if you’re a local, you know let’s say you’re a local running studio and you have a coffee shop right next door that’s another local coffee shop that you maybe you guys go in there sometimes to get some coffee but beyond that there’s really no no firm partnership. I would say go into that coffee shop, ask them if they can donate $5 gift card to you, you know, like a handful of $5 gift cards and give those to your clients once they’ve hit their 10th class, maybe that’s like a little reward. So it’s the coffee shop gets brand exposure, they’re happy to do it, I’ve seen this many, many times, they’re happy to donate you this product, and then your clients get to feel appreciated. So you have this really, you have like a very symbiotic and close loop of local relationships that are getting to know each other, and you’re supporting one another. So local partnerships, I think are the number one thing that you can invest in if you don’t have much budget, and I would just definitely definitely say start there.

Katie Brinkley 10:33

That leads me right into my next question, because I know that small businesses, one of the greatest tools for them is, is building their own community, around their business around their brand. What are some tips that you have for these businesses to just start building a community around their brand?

Alexa Cawley 10:53

Totally, I think most important a number one is always to get into conversation with your clients. So again, this could be absolutely anything. And it’s it’s like sales one on one, but it’s also just the joy of being a human being. You know, it’s like bonding with other people and having connections. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a real estate company, or if you are, you know, like a car salesman, you can do whatever you want. But you need to first get into conversation with your clients, you need to understand why they’re coming to you and why why they’re coming back, like, what’s the issue that you were able to fix for them that made them feel like they weren’t connected to you in some way. So I would say really figure out the connection and get into that conversation, and then the community will follow because from that point on and soulcycle did a really good job of this where, you know, they would figure out, you know, maybe there’s a studio next to a private school, you know, soulcycle demographic is obviously a wealthier person, it’s a very expensive class. So it was like a wealthier woman who was like coming from dropping their kids off. So we would find out, you know, all of the local schools in the area, we would facilitate a PTA group for them, like we knew that it was, and we knew it was like in their, in their journey of the day, like drop kids off, go to soulcycle and figure things out. So I think, you know, just getting into conversation with your clients and figuring out what their day looks like, is incredibly important. And just like I know, like rambling, but just a lot. Another tip that I like to give to clients and anybody is envision your client’s life the hour before they come to you and the hour that they leave you. So you want to figure out like for us at soulcycle. That was somebody was dropping their kids off at school. Okay, so we knew that the school was something that maybe we needed to partner with. And then after they left soulcycle, maybe they were going to the dry bar next door, and they were getting their hair blown out. So we were like, Okay, great. Now we’ve got two companies we can potentially partner with, to really tap into their client base, but to also position ourselves as a lifestyle brand for these people, right? So like now the people that were coming to us were like, Okay, great, that’s my day, my day is drop my kids off, go to business one, go get my exercise, go to business to go get my hair done, go to business three, like that was a very, it was an easy journey for our clients too. And it was easy for us to sort of just position ourselves right in the middle of that.

Katie Brinkley 13:17

Absolutely love that. And you know, I think that to the customer journey is different for everybody, and how you build a community around your brand, you know, somebody might not be ready to buy right now. But if you’re consistently showing up and putting yourself out there in the community, showing up with these different partners, eventually they will be ready to buy. So I absolutely loved everything that you just shared. You know, I do have a question for you. How have you found being a business owner yourself? I mean, I never expected to be an entrepreneur. I thought I was going to be in radio forever. But you know, now I can’t imagine doing anything else. How has your journey as an entrepreneur bed and branding for your own business?

Alexa Cawley 14:03

Yeah, it’s so funny. I think just in terms of just the journey of being an entrepreneur, both of my parents had jobs that were my mom was a real estate agent. And my dad was a financial planner. And so neither of them I guess my dad would go into the office nine to five, but the business that he that he worked on he was responsible for and my mom was exactly the same way. So just in terms of like getting clients and figuring out your own schedule. That was always what I saw growing up. So when I went to work for these bigger corporations, like when I was working at soulcycle, and I was there you know, eight to 10 hours a day and I saw some people like most people work very, very hard but at a you know, at an office job, sometimes there’s some slacking off and stuff. And I was like, This feels unnatural to me to just like be here for this many hours, but maybe my workload is not necessarily corresponding so yes, it’s unnatural for me, I think to be at the mercy of someone else. It’s time, like when I grew up seeing my parents manage their own time, and therefore their income followed. And that that felt more natural to me. So the progression of just getting clients and working on their stuff and figuring out my own schedule, and my own life was pretty easy, I would say. And in terms of like the branding question, I think I’ve always loved design and graphic design. So it’s been really, really fun to work on my own things. And I’m like, the nerd that will edit my website. If I have time at night, like, I’ll just hop in there and like, change some things around, I find it really I feel it really rejuvenating to be in the creative flow. So I’m always happy to be able to work on that for myself.

Katie Brinkley 15:46

Yeah, I absolutely agree with you know, having a corporate job. Like when I started as an entrepreneur, I was getting my work done. And half of the time that I was at the office, like, I had no idea the amount of time that I spent, like, going to get water and walking back, you know, like, yeah, holy cow. It’s incredible. And I feel like to win us as entrepreneurs definitely are. We try to figure out ways to maximize our time, how can we cut back on things that one witness might not be as good at, but two, how can we maximize our time at work? So delegation of contracting stuff out, like what you and I do with social media and branding, and you know, the marketing aspect, paying somebody else to do that, as opposed to just trying to figure out a way to do it on your own, can give you so many of your hours back?

Alexa Cawley 16:38

Absolutely. And I think, you know, I heard a really good piece of advice one time, that was notice where you stop. And I took so much from that, because I think every single time, like you know, you know, you know, when you sit down to write an email, and you’re like, Oh, I can try this one, I just can’t do it, you know, and then you leave, and then you go to make lunch, and then you come back, and then you go to sit down again. And you’re just like, oh my god. So anything, you know, whatever it is, if that’s me, for some people, that’s their website. For some people, that’s their referral program. For some people that is following up with cold leads, like notice where you stop and see if there’s something that you can do to mitigate that

Katie Brinkley 17:17

1,000% 1,000%. Now, I can’t believe at this time is going by so fast. I could talk for hours, I know. Well, so Okay, we’ve talked about the importance of building awareness around your brand delegation of tasks, you know, building a community around your brand. What would you say, for somebody that’s listening today? What would you say that step one is for them? What is the very first step that they need to do? If they’re like, Alright, you’ve convinced me that I need to take a little bit of a deeper dive into my overall marketing strategy, my overall branding, what do you think is the number one tip for them to start with? Hmm,

Alexa Cawley 17:57

it’s a toss up, I have two. But first one is you need to create your mission statement. And a lot of people think they have one. So I know a lot of people are going to be listening to that being like, oh, but I have one. But I want you to get so Uber specific with this mission statement that there is absolutely no confusion in what you do. Like the amount of mission statements that I see on people’s websites and their Instagram BIOS, and whatever that are so vague, you know, of like, we value innovation, and through movement, like you’ll find joy in it like that is not a mission statement. mission statement is, what you do, why you do it, and what people can expect once they work with you. So I think, you know, there’s a lot of really good resources for that. There’s some on my website, there’s just resources, there’s a few really good podcasts that I recommend to clear that up for people, that that would be absolute number one.

Katie Brinkley 18:52

I love that, oh, to make to bring kindness into the world, you know, a mission statement is huge. And you’re that’s the firt You’re the first person I’ve heard say that. And, you know, I’d love it if you just dove into mission statements a little bit more about how that really can impact your entire overall branding and messaging and marketing with a mission statement, because I don’t know if everyone really heard exactly what you said and how important it is because that that can help you identify your your ideal client customer very easily. And once you have a clear mission statement.

Alexa Cawley 19:26

Totally. Yeah. And I mean, for anybody who’s a little bit confused still there. Like what I don’t understand, like mission statement. What exactly does that mean? Think of it as your first two sentences you would write when you’re writing out your business plan. So let’s say you have this great idea, or you have this amazing business that you’re a part of, and you’re going to sell and look i’m not i’m all for bootstrapping. I’m not really a big fan of fundraising. But if you were going to go to someone and say, Hey, I need $50,000 for my brand today, this is exactly who I am. This is my business. What would those two sentences look like because if that were the case, it surely would not be the mission statement that’s like, we want to bring joy into the world. You know, it would be like we’re a Pilates studio that uses a megaformer to get our clients the absolute best results so that when they come to us, they feel stronger, they feel leaner, and they’re working, they’re using less time to work out. Like we provide amazing results for our clients. Something that was like totally, you know, just an example. But something like that, or we are an organic cafe that serves only organic ingredients, we have a gluten free menu, vegetarian vegan menu so that everybody in our community can feel at ease when they’re eating at a restaurant. That’s our mission. So that’s different than we’re a restaurant that wants people to come in and be happy and connect with each other. Like it is the real specific and nitty gritty of exactly what your business is that you really need to focus on.

Katie Brinkley 20:50

Absolutely love that. Well, before we wrap up, I have one more question for you. So we’re actually two. But there’s one more one more question. What is the best piece of business advice that you have received? And how has that impacted your business? Or even your life?

Alexa Cawley 21:10

Yeah, oh, man, I say I have, let’s go with one, don’t take advice or criticism from people that you wouldn’t want to be where they are, I’ve found that to be the most important thing, because that also bleeds into my other favorite one, which is done is better than perfect. And I think you know, just the one about taking judgment and taking criticism from people that are not in the place where you are, it is so easy. We’re humans, we want to be loved and accepted by everybody. But it’s so easy to just not do anything, because you’re crippled by judgment. And I would say something that, you know, I’ve actually found to work really well. And I don’t know how, I don’t know, I don’t know how sustainable of a solution This is. But you can mute people from seeing your stories from seeing your stuff. And you can take them off your email list. If you’re not sending out an email newsletter, because you’re worried that Sally from high school is going to see it and be like, Who does that girl thinks she is. You can unsubscribe her, you know, like, you have the power to do that. And if someone’s judgment is holding you back from putting yourself out there, you need to seriously reconsider who you’re allowing into your environment.

Katie Brinkley 22:20

Love, love, love that. And there’s going to be people that are going to want to bring you down because the faster that you go up there, then there’s going to be more judgment on you of people that wish that they were where you are. So I absolutely love that. And you have to focus in on your own journey, you have to focus in on your own path. So great piece of advice. This is actually the last question. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you about during today’s discussion that you think is important for the listeners to hear?

Alexa Cawley 22:48

Oh, that’s such a good question. I think Not really. I mean, this is this, I love this episode so much. I think just the ultimate thing I just want to leave people with is like you’re doing what you’re doing for a reason. I think a lot of people sometimes can get caught up in, it’s really hard to have a small business. And it’s really hard to be a business owner. And that’s totally true. But your desires and the things that you want and the things that you want to bring to people are on your heart for a reason. So just follow that and just have fun with it.

Katie Brinkley 23:18

Well, Alexa, this has been an incredible conversation. where can our listeners learn more about you and connect with you online?

Alexa Cawley 23:28

Yeah, you can find me on Instagram at forever There’s a bunch of like freebies and marketing resources and just advice. They’re specifically really for the health and wellness industry, but I think it applies to all small businesses as well. website is the same just forever if you want to learn more about working together, and then the podcast is the Friday society podcast where I talk to health and wellness industry leaders, and they give all their advice and maybe what they wouldn’t do again.

Katie Brinkley 23:56

Awesome. Oh, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Alexa Cawley 23:59

Thank you so much. This was so much fun.

Katie Brinkley 24:03

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.