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How impactful storytelling builds brand loyalty, according to Yoyo The Ricecorpse

Yoyo The Ricecorpse, a creator who has spent the last years seamlessly blending art and fashion, has carved a unique niche in the creative world. From the early days of digital sketches to launching a thriving clothing line, Yoyo's evolution is a testament to authenticity and storytelling.

We spoke about their inspirations behind the brand, the power of content marketing, and the transformative impact of a studio at Hackney Downs Studios.

Tell us about the beginnings of Yoyo The Ricecorpse. What led you to creating artworks and how did this evolve into your fashion line?

It all started when I created a Tumblr blog in the second year of university. I needed an outlet for all the stress I was feeling at the time. I studied film and It was a pretty intense time, there was a lot of pressure on final projects and grades, and I experienced a lot of anxiety around what I was going to do for work after graduating.

Fast forward to graduation and started working in film and the pressure and anxiety only seemed to compound. It was a chaotic time… To cope, I continued drawing and posting without giving it much thought. Then, one day, my work was on Tumblr spotlight and online articles. This was the first time my work received any form of attention or reaction from audiences. Encouraged by the engagement, I kept my drawings going alongside the intense work schedules I had signed up for, which was a good thing because my art continued to pick up steam, until it was doing so well that I started to receive commissions from it.

Then one day in 2015, whilst I was planting real branches into fake bushes on a studio set, I made the big decision to quit my film job to start my own small business with the emerging following I was building. At this time, I launched my very first item of clothing — a single colour illustrated sweatshirt. It all started from there. The drawing/animation content and the clothing sort of grew hand in hand from that point forward.

Where do you get inspiration from?

For me, my inspirations mainly come from my life experiences. It’s not really any one source, it’s more dispersed. I could be inspired to draw from an interaction I’ve had, it could be the smell of fresh bread or spotting a parakeet in the woods here in central London. Of course I have my favourite clothing brands, and manga artists. But I’m not really focused on just one artist but a whole collective of things. Making new content, designing clothes etc, all of that comes from a host of different ingredients that come together.

Can you give us your insights into content marketing. How have you used storytelling to engage with your audience and build brand loyalty?

I am trying to focus on creating things that I love and that are interesting for me. These things are comics, animation and clothing.

What I create in terms of marketing, or storytelling, all kinda rests on being honest with the audience, being authentic, capturing a vibe that’s really ‘me’, and then I just have to trust that it finds its way to ‘my people’. This often means being different, doing things differently and not being scared to try something unconventional.

Storytelling has always been apart of what I do, from the comics and animations I started out with, to the character-based clothing and accessories I make today, to the use of narrative structures of our work on YouTube. In a way, stories have helped me connect with my audience from the very beginning, only now, with the help of social media, story and structure are more considered and strategic.

How can other creative brands effectively utilise content marketing to widen their reach? 

This really depends on the individuals, but in general, video content has become the mainstream for social media. It’s important to create video content for TikTok, Reels, and YouTube shorts if you want to grow an audience on social media. I know that a lot of us are not used this shift, but I always feel like rather resenting it, I prefer to find the good side of it and try adapt it.

Personality is also key, I think it’s the ‘thing’ people are following for… so don’t hold back.

How does HDS work for your business?

We moved in last year but we really started working year around January! The place is amazing well-managed, and the community is very chill and lovely to be around. We particularly love our studio windows. We get a lot of lighting from it, even on the bad weather days (which is like… most of the time), so we are very pleased. It’s helped us prove the potential our business has to grow, if given more space and capacity, so it’s all very exciting.

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