Naming a product line pt.69
And no, there aren’t 68 entries preceding this, only one. More evidence of my silliness when I’ve decided to elevate a perseveration into a sometime series. From the brevity of this entry, you won’t believe I spent most of the morning writing this piece. Well, this and a few other rants forever relegated to the dustbin of my personal archives.
From here in the forum:
I am planning on doing something a little different than I’ve done in the past with my next line. I figured I should make this transition now while I still can. I’m going to go under my name instead of a label. I found while I was at the show in NY this past weekend that my label that I’ve had for 6 years now doesn’t correctly represent my new lines. If I go under my name I don’t feel backed into a corner to always have to use vintage fabrics. I still plan on using all eco friendly fabrics though.
To which I responded,
Oh, I think that is an excellent idea. You’ve grown, time to move on. Besides, “recycle xxx designs” doesn’t say “vintage” to me anyway. I think it’s a good idea in another way too. Right now, eco stuff is all the rage. Everybody’s putting eco this and green that in their label names. I know that ten years from now, those label names will be very dated. Not that the impetus toward sustainability will be less (who knows) but it’ll just look dumb. Look at it this way, assuming everyone’s on the bandwagon then and sustainability is de rigeur, it’ll be too obvious. Like saying you have a food restaurant. What other kind of restaurant would you have? Better to impart your sustainability values to a name that isn’t trendy, one with longevity.
I should have used some examples. Patagonia isn’t an eco name; but they’ve created a solid eco identity. Linda Loudermilk is simply that but few have any doubts what her brand stands for either.
Another list I’m on, had a related topic on how green businesses struggle to get financing. In a rant I similarly did not submit, I said that acquiring funding -in my opinion- has nothing to do with the viability of a “green” business focus. Rather, it has much more to do with the viability of their operations and eco businesses are no more likely to prioritize well than any other young business. The difference being, it’s a cop out to complain financing isn’t forthcoming because you’re too progressive. As it happens, I’ve been thinking about it because Eric and I have been talking about starting a micro-lending program. The problem is, there are so few manufacturers doing things right, we wouldn’t -couldn’t- cherry pick between green or brown ventures. What’s worse, I realized that the few businesses I would fund, were operationally prioritized such that they most likely wouldn’t be willing to assume debt. Not without planning. I know, we tried to lend somebody $7,500 (based on prime, so it’s not as though we’d make money on it) and she turned it down! And not that she doesn’t need the money. Far from it. Her priorities are such that she won’t commit to the assumption of debt until she feels poised to handle it (why she’s attractive to loan to). The take home lesson being, your name, priorities and operations can’t be trendy. Your core values should be imbued into everything you do for all time. You shouldn’t have to bang on about it if it’s genuine. Investors won’t care if you’re green, only that your operations and priorities are sound.
If you’re curious what I deleted from this entry, it had a lot to do with this [the comments are quite good; regarding eco production, Alison's are particularly pithy.] and the parameters of identity strangled together with an umbilical cord. Specifically, the whole faddish mompreneur or WAHM-preneur thing. A whole other “movement”, it feels disingenuous coupled with narcissistic overtones. Apparently, I’m not the only woman to feel this way:
…women are constantly complaining that they’re not treated equally when it comes to the business world, but they feel compelled to alienate a whole gender by making it seem like their accomplishments are that much more important because they experienced motherhood while crafting a business concept.
Women have been working from home for hundreds of years. Will you still be a WAHM when you’re fifty or sixty? No, you’ll have to switch identities to be a GRAMpreneur. These are gimmicky self-applied self-adhesive labels. Your choices are to either mature and evolve, or you’ll flail and fall into the next gimmick that comes along. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself covered in discarded identities represented by sticky tape residue and remnants of water soluble tattoos. The transience of fads isn’t attractive to long term investors either. The only people who can make a permanent gig of mompreneuring are authors and owners of subscription networks and thus, are financially motivated to propagate the meme. Perhaps it’s best to pick a name, identity and business model that isn’t so temporal.