Anna Hayward Cantelmo discovered her passion for cheese 15 years ago as an assistant to a cheesemonger in Boston. Her love of cheese led her down a path that included marrying a vegetable farmer, having two children while also raising a herd of dairy goats, working in a cheese kitchen in Ipswich, MA, and eventually focusing on making her own small batch farmhouse cheese.
That’s how Bell & Goose Cheese Company was born.
Cantelmo’s love of artisanal cheese is apparent in the quality of the product but it is her love for her children that has been the largest source of inspiration for this New Hampshire-based brand. She describes her daughter Belle as observant, studious, serious, introspective, maternal, a natural leader. Her son Gus (nicknamed Goose) is wild, happy, and delighted by almost everything; his default nature is to get a kick out of things.
Cantelmo says, “I like that these two together hold the combination of what I want in a brand identity; observant and joyful. Cheese beautifully combines both of their natures, the methodical, critically observant, hard work of making the cheese, with the fun and delight of eating the cheese.”
Having a clear vision of her brand story was helpful for Kelsy Stromski, Owner & Designer of Refinery 43, the creative firm Cantelmo partnered with to create the brand’s identity. “Having a clear understanding of what was most important to the brand story, and why, was key. It helped us create a mood board that would set the stage for not just the identity but for the packaging and brand expansion as well,” said Stromski.
When designing the packaging for the exquisitely crafted cheese, Stromski said the goal was to visually represent the brand as professional, artisan, and flavorful. Going back to the mood board, they focused on the three main brand characteristics: handcrafted, nurturing, and authentic.
The idea of handcrafted represents a time-honored level of professional artistry; a mindset that the things in life worth enjoying are the things that take the most amount of time and energy to create. Following this idea, Stromski focused on the touch points of the brand, designing the packaging to evoke that same handcrafted essence of the product itself.
This brand’s story is about nurturing, it’s in both the name and its finely crafted product. It has a feminine touch and a sense of creating something and caring for it throughout its growth. Stromski envisioned a package that used warm tones and textures along with dainty details and elements of the brand’s namesakes to depict the caring that goes into the creation of the cheese. It has an element of nostalgia, but something that will also be fitting 10+ years from now.
Stromski says she designed the identity to include time-honored printing methods and uncoated environmentally papers to support the brand’s message. “Letterpress was the perfect way to add a touch of character and texture. The copper foil added just the right level of sophistication. It helped elevate the brand just the right amount because it is a cheese that’s worthy of fine dining, while also being savored at the kitchen table with friends and family.”
The sticker for the package was produced by Mama’s Sauce, and Neenah ENVIRONMENT® Desert Storm was specified because the paper aligned with the brand’s values and contributed a perfect blend of a warm kraft-like aesthetic. “The paper’s interesting subtle texture gives the package that handmade look and feel that is important to Belle & Goose — simple, raw and each piece unique,” said Stromski.
As an advocate for female entrepreneurship, Stromski says her favorite part of working on this project was collaborating with a local woman-owned and operated business, “Belle & Goose is about as authentic as any brand can be. The founder is a mother, cheese maker, and a farmer’s wife. She sources award-winning cows milk for her cheese from a farm 10 minutes down the road. The realness of this brand is presented in every aspect of its identity from its custom hand lettering to its lifestyle photography.”