Oh the pitfalls of domain names. It is a tricky business, thinking up a clever name, getting all excited about it, then plugging it into Go Daddy and BLAM! It's not available. It happened over and over again with fabulous names like:
- Red Truck Round-Up
- Milwaukee Pickers
- Turnkey Charm
- Bricolage Collage
- Brave with a Little 'b'
- The Commoner and Her Things
- Sweaty Betty's Man Things
- Mit Kit
- My Sister the Shopper
- Those Wanton Ways
- Frogtown, Ltd.
- Group Therapy
- Vagabond, Ltd.
- The Foundry
- Me, My Shelf, and I
I finally settled on The Imperfectionist for my business name. Bad news: not available. Good news: not an active website either. Someone owned the name and was sitting on it. Maybe I could still buy it. However, after a "WHOIS Look-up" to find the name of the owner, a query to purchase the name went nowhere.
I could go back to the drawing board or I could tweak the exact domain name a little bit by adding a word like 'shop' or 'collection' or 'store'. I settled on ShopTheImperfectionist.com, which was available. Thank you Danica Patrick!
Onto identity design!
I hired a very talented local graphic designer and provided him with photos of my collections and a description of what I envisioned for a business. Everything I told him was vague and free form. Lordy, he should have run for the hills. I have since learned how helpful it is to be prepared with a graphic design brief. More on that later.
For $500, he returned to me a beautiful book full of possible marks, and each one had an explanation of his process, the characteristics relayed by the mark, and the advantages to each particular mark.
I loved them all. But one of them more than the others made me smile from ear to ear, and warmed my heart. That was the mark. That would be my shop's signature. Literally, a signature.
Then the unthinkable happened. The inactive domain theimperfectionist.com became active. Arghh! I knew I was in trouble and would be fighting an uphill battle for SEO from the start. I had to pivot. I needed a clean domain, a dotcom that was free and clear and straightforward.
Back to the drawing board and five hundred Ben Franklins down the drain. Painful.
But the silver lining is that in the process, I learned a lot about identity marks and why you cannot design them until you truly understand your brand. They should be the last step, not the first. More on that next.