Tuesday, 24 April 2012

BCTF - What worked for me - Part 1

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.


  1. Hi Sue,

    I think that's good advice. Coming from the gallery perspective, I tend to advise people to use their own name. The main reason for this simply being that as the public moves away from mass produced items to more individual items, they expect it to be one maker. A brand name tends to make you think of a bigger company and in my experience can put customers off as they don't think that you are so individual and handmade!

    I now trade as Jenny Creasey Ceramics for my business. It's clear, professional and people understand from that exactly what I do.

    Good Advice!

    1. thanks Jenny, great to have input from a galleries point of view too. Thanks for commenting

  2. Thanks Sue - and Jenny - again you're echoing what I'm thinking! I'd just reached the conclusion this week that my re-focusing and professional development will also include changing my business name to my own name, so it's good to hear such positive comments on doing that.

    1. Hi Ailsa, glad the post was helpful to you. Keep rreading this week, there's more to come

  3. I need to redefine my brand and one thing I'd like to change is my name and having spent about two months (yes really) trying to think of new names I'm coming round to the realisation that perhaps just my name is the way to go. So thank you this has added a positive thought to my process.

  4. Definitely the right decision in your case as it also gives you the option to expand and doesn't limit your designs to being ink on paper or cloth.
    I was lucky enough to develop my brand and website for my degree Final Major Project but I'm still learning and tweeking ;)
    Jax x


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