A Fabled Face
When was the last time you heard a fable? Childhood? Not even? However, the idea that a story is the best way to share a message is pervasive, even without a fable.
“If you could be any animal you wanted, what would you be and why?” started off a workshop I recently held. My desire to be a house cat living only for the next ray of sunshine fell pretty flat. My colleague, however, launched into a story his father had told him when he was a child, about a rich man with a lazy son who he tries to teach the value of hard work. I’ll skip the middle, but at the end of the story, the lazy son concludes, “If I can’t be the lion, I can at least try to be the wolf.” My colleague laughed as he delivered the final line to the story, saying that if he were an animal he’d be happy to be the wolf also. We all laughed. His story was better.
Swapping stories is how you really begin to get to know people, what they value. I can tell you ten facts about myself or I can tell you one story. Aesop – a skin, hair, and body product company out of Melbourne, Australia, with its name derived from the famous Greek fabulist – succeeds in telling a beautiful story about not just its products, but about the ethos of the company. If you haven’t heard of Aesop’s line before, the content on the site will be enough to convince you that Aesop truly values “all human endeavours undertaken with intellectual rigour, vision, and a nod to the whimsical.”
Where you would expect to find a list of new lotions, the site’s link, a nonchalant “Latest,” is instead laden with creative and beautifully written articles. Turns out, Aesop supports art and architecture, even sponsoring a film entitled Morphe by Lucy McRae. In addition, the company recently launched a monthly literary magazine called The Fabulist, currently in its fourth issue: “In keeping with the Greek fabulist whose name our products bear, a mainstay for each edition is Fable – an original prickly parable, pseudoscience fairytale, or memoir of a formative moment.”
Along with this, the magazine features: “Shelf Life – an annotated snapshot of a notable bookshelf, intended as a counterpoint to increasingly ubiquitous screen-based text, Essentials – in which we invite esteemed cultural figures to disclose a deeply held interest or obsession, Free Radicals – interviews with iconoclasts, free-thinkers, and rebels-with-cause, and On Beauty – a forum for wide-ranging thoughts on this consistently provocative topic.” The content is good, excellent even, and this from the creator of a line of beauty products! The Fabulist is featured right along with the luminous anti-oxidant face creams, giving equal weight to the product as it does to the values that surround it, the story.