I've had time to think about my whole experience at BCTF and have had time to think about the things that worked and the things that didn't. Trade fairs aren't right for everyone but if you have been thinking that maybe they might be right for you, I've decided to write a few blog posts about the things that I found worked really well for me in the hope that my little nuggets of new-found knowledge might be of help to others starting out with their creative business. Once again though I will say, I'm not claiming to be an expert, after all I have only done ONE trade fair, I'm just passing along things I've picked up on the way.
Developing a brand
When I first decided that I wanted to take my business a step further and venture into the trade fair territory it was about this time last year. I had just made the decision, after taking part in a brilliant Creative Business Course run by Nottinghamshire County Council, to start to concentrate more on my business and I knew I wanted to pursue a creative career, albeit in my spare time, as I work three days a week in a completely different sector.
One of the issues that had arisen during my time on the Nottinghamshire Creative Course was my branding. I had previously been making work under 'sooziebee', a name which had come about as a combination of a nickname from years ago and a company name my sister and I were thinking about, way back when we wanted to make hand-bags! 'sooziebee' meant something to me but feedback from colleagues and mentors on the course led me to think that it might not be as clear to others coming across my brand for the first time. A few people commented on the 'sooziebee' name, saying they didn't really know what it meant, and that it didn't really sound as professional as it should. One person even said it sounded like branding for a range of childrens hair accessories!
I thought a lot about a new name or brand and decided on something really original and really 'me', something which couldn't be misunderstood, something which was clear and 'did what it said on the tin'.... Ha, lightbulb moment.... my own name. It's me, it's mine and it couldn't be anything else. So that is what I decided on. With the help of a graphic designer, I developed the look I wanted, something hand drawn, with a strong line. And I'm happy with the outcome.
One thing I will say, using your own name for your company has both pros and cons and it is something you need to put a lot of thought into and make your own decision. In my humble opinion, your name doesn't really tell the public what you do/make/sell, but once your name has become more well-known I think people will remember the name and remember the person.