Setting Up Shop Step Two: Naming the Business

June 27, 2014 § 1 Comment

After you’ve invested the time and done the soul work to discover what your calling is, it’s time to get to work. This next part could either be really tedious to you, or really fun depending on your personality. But no matter your perspective, this step is critical to your success. It’s time to determine your name.

To me, the naming process has three steps:

  1. Decide your name
  2. Register a domain name
  3. Begin the trademarking process

 

Decide Your Name

Coming up with a name sounds so easy when you are just starting to think about building a business. But most often, it’s much harder than expected. When you begin actually thinking about what the name of “it” will be, you realize that it’s a lot like naming a child. The responsibility of giving something a name that it will be called for the remainder of its life is overwhelming and scary. You don’t want choose the wrong one. After all, a name is a massive part of a brand, whether its a person or a business. Would we find Anthropologie as cool if they had named it Jenny’s Closet? I really don’t think so.

A name should evoke feelings that you want others to have when first coming into contact with your business. I recommend thinking about the purpose of your business, the adjectives that describe your product and the type of individual you hope to be your customer one day. Spend some time mapping this out on paper and then think of names that reflect your answers.
For me, I knew I wanted my business to be a place that encouraged others through uplifting words set to beautiful type. I wanted the items I created to bring beauty to ordinary days, and hopefully to help others cultivate a spirit of wonder towards life. I imagined a guest of a wedding opening an envelope to a gorgeous invitation and being so excited to post it to their refrigerator. Or a girl going through a tough season putting a scripture print into a frame and looking at it every night as she passed by it in the hall. Then I thought about the adjectives that I wanted to describe my products: bright, clean, colorful, whimsical, and inviting. Finally, I hoped that my target customer would be a female 18-50 years old, a bride, hostess, mom-to-be, or grandmom-to-be, who appreciates beautiful things and probably shops often at Target, but loves to buy the occasional lovely in Anthro or J Crew.

When I added all of this together, giving my purpose statement the most weight, I realized that I wanted to really hone in on living life with a whimsical spirit. My blog name, With Whimsy, had really resonated with me, even after almost a full year of writing. I loved that it encouraged living life looking for not only the beauty in creation around us, but also the specifically whimsical things that God placed in this world. Like crazy awesome fish in the ocean, birds of practically every color, trees that blow in the wind, stars that twinkle at night and sunrises and sunsets that daily look like works of art created just for our enjoyment.

As I thought about that name for a paper business though, I had to be realistic. If people saw With Whimsy Paper in a Google search, my concern was that they would start to think of Curlz font (oh you remember it!), bad clip art, and girly colors… at best. But I still loved the true meaning behind With Whimsy. So I searched for synonyms that might still evoke the same feelings but with a more conducive title for a paper design business. With Wonder quickly came to mind. And after several weeks of really chewing it over, I realized that it was really a perfect fit. Wonder seemed more mature, while still referencing living this life that searches for beauty and is in awe of creation. After asking friends that I trusted what they thought and receiving their blessing, I took the leap and officially decided it would be the name of my sweet little business!

With Wonder Stamp

Register A Domain Name

So now that you’ve done the difficult, but ultimately fun part of naming, it’s time for the boring, but critical, part. Once you’ve decided on your perfect name, you’re going to immediately want to register the domain name. What’s that? A domain name is the website URL that you type into your internet browser. You can register your domain name at GoDaddy.com, SquareSpace.com, and other sites.

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 1.20.42 PM

You will need to perform a quick search to see if the domain is available before you can acquire it (on GoDaddy.com, it’s just at the top of the page as seen in the image above). Don’t be discouraged if your exact title has already been taken though! Much of the reading I’ve been doing has reiterated that as long as the product you’re looking to make is in a totally different industry, you’re probably ok. For example, if WithWonder.com had been taken, but it was a site that was used for making children’s clothes, then I would probably have felt ok registering WithWonderPaper.com. Our clientele might have overlapped here and there, but for the most part, we wouldn’t be competing for business.

Thankfully, WithWonderPaper.com was free! So I scooped it up, along with the .net, .org, and .info sites, just to be safe, for a very minimal yearly fee. Even though I’m not ready to create a full-blown website, reserving the name for when I am ready to grow my business in that way is a good idea. Now, if and when the business grows, I won’t have to fight a custody battle almost over getting it. (Be sure to check out Lara Casey’s story about that here!)

If, for whatever reason, your exact name is taken and the company who occupies the site is in your industry, then perhaps consider choosing a different name that still achieves your criteria in step one. If that does happen though, I give you full permission to mourn the loss of your original business name. It would be a super big bummer!

Finally, Begin the Trademarking Process

So confession: I have not actually attempted this step yet. However! I fully believe in its importance and I plan to start ASAP.

Trademarking is your way of protecting your now and future business. Similar to a domain name, registering a trademark is another protection that gives you ownership of your business name.

Since I am not an expert on trademarking, I’m going to redirect you to this awesome blog post written by Emily Ley on Oh My! Handmade. It is SUPER helpful in helping you navigate!

One thing to note is you do not have to trademark your business if you decide to use your name as your business name. This is also a great idea as you probably won’t waver over your love for your name for the rest of your business’ life. It’s yours and it’s not going anywhere – so why not have it be the name of your business? The only downside I see to this system is that if you’re not married yet, you’ll have to deal with what you’ll call it after you’re married if you take your significant others’ name. Or potentially it won’t be descriptive about the business you’re creating, so the immediate association won’t be there as it would with a title that includes your industry in it.

So those are my thoughts on developing a name! I think this naming step is crucial to take on first as the process of determining it will help guide all of your future decisions as a business owner. Your business name is the lens that people will see your brand through. So take the time to do it right and make sure that you love it!

If you’ve created your own business name, let us know what you decided on and how you came to that decision!

Happy naming!!

Advertisements

Setting Up Shop: Step One

April 16, 2014 § 1 Comment

I am really excited for all of you to go on this Etsy journey with me! If you are interested in setting up your own shop, already have one and just like to stay connected with other Etsy sellers, or are just intrigued by what all goes into starting a new business, I hope that the things I share here will be fun for you to read about!

For me, long before there was an Etsy shop, there was dreaming. I knew I loved creating things and I so envied those lucky ladies and gents who were able to work from home being makers. I’d salivate over posts of others going to the Indie Craft Parade, to South by Southwest, or the National Stationery Show. Yet, I felt in no way capable of making anything that people would pay me to work on from my home.

If you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning, you were actually witness to this struggle of wanting more, but not feeling talented enough to make this “life of the creative” happen. Despite my lack of belief in my abilities, little by little, I latched onto my desire to make. In my spare time, I wrote posts on here, worked on DIY crafts, and observed others in the creative world. As I mentioned in my post the other day, it wasn’t until several months after my dreaming began that I really identified what it is I wanted to do and gained the confidence that I could train myself to become good at.

But that dreaming period was critical. If I hadn’t really wanted a change and identified what I wanted to be doing with my life, however vague it was, I don’t know that I would have just stumbled into the opportunity I find myself in now. That active dreaming, seeking out my heart and the Lord’s heart, and taking risks was so crucial to getting to where I am today.

So practically speaking, how can you go through this process as well?

1. Identify other dreamers in your life and surround yourself with them. Several of my friends were also on journeys to discover what they wanted to do with their life, right at the same time I was. Realizing that our dreams didn’t look the same, but that we were all reaching for that next thing, I started planning dream sessions for us. In my head, I had these grandiose plans to organize monthly nights for all of us to meet, brainstorm about our dreams and network {with wine and cheese, of course!}, but those never really panned out. But I did have regular breakfasts and dinners with friends where we dug deep into what we were passionate about. We shared our hopes with each other, bounced ideas back and forth, and created some serious accountability.

One of my favorite dreamers is Sallie. Sallie and I have been best friends since we met and lived together in college. Both of us have been DIYers our whole lives and we share the same hopes of being moms who own creative businesses one day. We started meeting for breakfasts last year and would use this time to daydream together about the future.

The thing I love about our time together is that it’s action-oriented. After talking through her dreams to open a jewelry shop, Sallie literally left breakfast one morning, went to the Mart, bought a ton of supplies, went home that night, created four or five items, opened her Etsy shop Sally & Bea, listed the items, and started that business. Talk about lighting a fire under me! Watching her take the ideas in her head from dream to reality that quickly was such motivation for me. It was through that experience that I actually took the first step to move towards quitting my job. And since then, she continually pushes me to actually just start working – to tangibly put something on paper, start the Etsy shop, list an item. This kind of orientation towards action is so valuable in a dream friend!

We had breakfast this morning and here are some shots from our dream session.

 

 

And here are a few pictures of the gorgeous jewelry she makes!!

I am blessed enough to have an entire coalition of dreaming friends in my life. What a blessing it is to think big about the future with others that you care about!

2. Utilize resources available to you to unearth your strengths and passions. I’ve mentioned before, but Storyline by Donald Miller was an incredible experience for me. It helped me look at all of my life events up until this point to see what God has been doing throughout my story. It then had me categorize the different roles I play and how God is using each of them to help tell his overall story of saving many lives. It was through this experience that I realized a corporate role was never going to be the best use of my strengths or the gifts I’d been given.

Additionally, Lara Casey has an AMAZING series on goal setting and making things happen. This process helps you find who you are at your core and what you’re all about. It will dig deep and reveal things in your heart you didn’t even realize about yourself.

Consume Ted Talks, Fast Company articles, and books/blog posts from people who inspire you constantly. You’ll start to notice patterns about who you’re gravitating towards and what rabbit trails keep you up all hours of the night because you just can’t stop reading about them.

Take strengths and/or personality testing. I am a junkie of this stuff, but truly believe that assessments like Myers Briggs, StrengthsFinder, StandOut, and DISC are incredible tools to help you understand yourself, what motivates you and what types of careers fit you best.

Finally, I’ve heard Jennie Allen writes amazing books that help you uncover what God’s created you uniquely to do. I want to read Restless immediately. And checking out her blog, she looks my age, which makes me super inspired to read her stuff because how cool that someone my age could be a published author?!?! So cool.

3. Find a mentor. Once you’re nearing the culmination of your dreaming and you have an idea which direction you’re going in, seek out a mentor. Cason and I struck up a fast and easy friendship at my corporate job. Sharing a love for all things colorful and sparkly, we knew we were destined to be friends. Cason began an Etsy shop {When It Rains} three years ago with her sister selling bright and fun paper products. Watching her artfully juggle a booming small business at home, while kicking ace at her 9-5 was inspirational, to say the least. So when I started thinking about a paper business as well, Cason became a go-to mentor of mine. We had regular dinners, along with two of our other favorite dreamers, Lauren and Emily, where we’d dream and I’d learn from her. Cason, her sister, and two of their insanely creative friends recently started an awesome blog called You Can Sit With Us – you should definitely check it out for some creative inspiration!

It’s always such a blessing to have others that have gone before you who are willing to share. In addition to Cason, Mattie at Puddleduck Paper Co. was an amazing encouragement and help to me. Her stuff is gorgeous as well! Be sure to check her out on Etsy or on her website.

4. Talk to someone. Last but not least, counseling. Y’all. I know that working on our mental health can have a really negative stigma even now in our anything goes society. People don’t want to be seen as crazy or unstable. But I truly believe everyone should meet with a counselor. It is so good for your well-being. My particular counselor helped me cut through the clutter of the “shoulds” and the shame I felt over wanting something different and helped me to realize that God might be calling me in this new direction. If you’re interested in meeting with an incredible counselor in the Atlanta area, I can’t recommend Mazi Robinson enough. Breakthroughs happened y’all. So good. Also, she is certified to teach Brene Brown’s The Daring Way Workshop and has one coming up in May. If you want to really get vulnerable and dig deep to find out what you’re made for, you should so attend!

There are so many other dreaming resources available, but this is a good list to get you started. This dreaming is so critical to finding what unique thing you feel made to pursue. Doing this heart research also prepares you to put forth the time and effort it’s going to take to get a business off the ground and to keep it running for years to come with joy and excitement each day.

Dream away with me and share your journey, please! It would make my life!

Etsy Love

June 12, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’ve come across some lovely little etsy shops lately that I just have to share!

Stephanie Creekmur: Stephanie makes the cutest Southern prints. I’m especially in love with these lovelies:

Consider the Lilies: Abby is actually the sister-in-law of one of my dear friends, Jamie. And while I did find out about Abby’s store through Jamie (you can see the stunning invitations Abby made for her here), I was blown away by her gorgeous paintings turned print and stationary! If you are in the market for custom-made wedding invitations, I highly recommending reaching out to Abby to see if she can create a custom suite for you.  I, personally, can’t wait to purchase one of her items… like any of the following!

Do you have any etsy recommendations? That site is ah-mazing. But it’s also a beast. I’d love to hear about the awesomeness you’ve discovered!

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Etsy category at with whimsy.