Friday, June 7, 2013

this 'human being as brand' thing we have going on is exhausting, relentless and impossible .... short rant

adored vintage
There is a reason my studio is not called Cat Bites.

(other than the fact that I used to have a biting cat and that cat, who I loved dearly but who nonetheless bit the hell out of me every chance she got - was probably my last cat. I am just not a cat person. And, yes, I see the irony in this. And despite the fact that I do, yes, sometimes bite, but only small pieces and I chew 20 times now, so I'm a lot less dangerous than I used to be - yes, I've mellowed)

It may have been smarter to call it Catherine Ivins Studio ... and if the me of today had been around in 2007 it probably would be. Probably.

Dragging poor Olive into it has had some disadvantages for me certainly (not to mention Olive getting this huge head from being recognized everywhere she goes now) in terms of brand recognition and relevancy.

But, the one major advantage I might have inadvertently created is a little separation between me and my business.

This 'human being as brand' thing we have going on is exhausting, relentless and impossible.

It might have worked before the world became a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week place of activity. But maybe it's never worked. Maybe this is the real reason (and not the lead paint) the old masters all went mad.

And while I'm ranting let's stop saying "a business is only in business to make money" - that's another pile of crap that isn't true anymore.

Businesses are created for all kinds of reasons - often because we are endlessly creative people that just need to be creating something. Now someone will say, but Cat, successful businesses have to make money. Even this isn't true anymore. Businesses create value first. Businesses are sold for billions of dollars that have never made a penny.

We need a new definition of success - something about value, something within our power. We need to untie "success" from everything that is out of our hands. End of rant.

(sorry just listened to the wrong interview about branding and money that just gave me a headache and made my heart hurt)


Isette said...

I chose not to use my name when building my business - I wanted to have something that was bigger then I am. Some day I might want to sell it, pass it to children, anything. And I didn't necessarily want it tied up with my personal identity - what if I decided to close the studio? Would I then personally have lost part of myself?

That being said, I did choose an name that didn't tie me down (ie, "Jen's bead shop") so I had fluidity to my offerings. I also chose a name that is actually a name, so sometimes I get called by it - I don't mind, and am flattered :)

Catherine Ivins said...

"lost part of yourself if closed or sold"- yes, I can see that feeling and I have closed businesses before and not felt that way, but it was always over time and always as I moved into something else- your thinking with this is smart and names that don't tie us down, yes Jen! and your shop name literally looks like your work - totally well-branded but not "human being as brand"!

KJ said...

I thought a lot about the name for my business, and therefore, my blog before committing. I made up my business name: Beadacious. As in Be Audacious. Lots of people read it as Beadelicious- as in Be Delicious. Turns out I am not so creative with names. Beadacious is not unique. So, now I am KJsBeadaciousBeads. I don't mind the Beads part because I have LOVED beads for decades.

Having said all that, if I had it all to do over again I would do something a bit more whimsical. Of course whimsical would not fit high end jewelry.

Ack... life is hard, I mean life is sweet. Choices can be hard.

Catherine Ivins said...

I always read your name as Be Audacious (but then I know you are- ha!) - there is a shop called TinkanDesigns and I always thought her last name was Tinkan and just found out today that it is Tin Kan (like " tin can". Even though I knew she made things from cans I didn't get it - but I'm a little slow. I also think it is Etsy squishing all our letters together the way it does that messes with our eyes and brains ... yeah let's blame them! life=sweet, choices=hard and every choice really 2 choices

DancingMooney ♥ said...

This reminds me of what one of your readers Lynn said the other day "We are in this world to help others and to be helped by others."

My business is equally as much about having purpose as much as it is about making a living, and bringing joy to people's lives...

And, I kind of chose my name on a whim, but I still love it and haven't gotten tired of it yet... and I'm so glad that I found the logo I did too, because I think it removes me from the business in a way, and I like that.

We can't be all things, all the time. so true.

Catherine Ivins said...

I love the name DancingMooney and it stuck in my head when I first saw it (which is remarkable because almost nothing sticks in my head now) and yes we are as much about having a purpose - the doing for others and others doing for us - that circle thing, as the rest of it for certain. xo