What's In A Name?

Well friends, all good things come to an end at one point or another, and the time has come to say good-bye to Girl in the Yellow Hat Photography

Before you fall to your knees and start crying and pounding the floor with your fists in anguish, let me explain: only the name is going bye-bye, not me or my business. 

Naming things is hard, be it a person (my list of baby names that I started in junior high is like...thirty names long for each gender) or a company. I didn't want to name my photography business after myself, partially because Rachel Jackson Photography sounds boh-rinnnggg, and partially because I have no idea which direction I'm heading with this whole endeavor, and naming it after myself is a little too narrow for my liking. 

I ended up going with the name Girl in the Yellow Hat because of an experience I had while visiting Caine's Arcade here in LA a couple of months ago (if this next part sounds familiar, it's because I am lifting it straight from my Facebook page). I was walking around taking photos and generally trying to stay out of the way when it was announced that a group shot was going to be taken. The journalists and professional photographs ran out into the middle of the street to capture the giant group of people, and after a brief moment of hesitation, I threw caution to the wind and ran out to join them. (Important side note: I was wearing a yellow knit hat at the time, which I often find myself doing.) Once the whole group got organized, the leader of the event called out, "Okay, one photographer at a time! First up, you! Girl in the yellow hat!" And with that, a star was born. Kidding. Really, it was the first time I can remember being acknowledged as a photographer by someone who didn't know me. It felt pretty good. And I realized it would make a pretty good name for my then-hypothetical photography business. 

Pretty snazzy story, eh? Unfortunately, I wasn't the first person to think of that name. There is another Girl in the Yellow Hat, and she has had dibs on the name for much, much longer than myself. I recently contacted her to get her thoughts on having such similar names, and regardless of the fact that our industries are different (she is a musician), we came to a mutual decision that it'd probably be best for both of us if our trademarks varied a little bit more. Thus, I am passing my short-but-sweet-lived hat and name officially off to her, and am continuing on my journey temporarily nameless.

Here's a little secret, though: I think I wanted this to happen. I chose to reach out to her, and as I pressed the button to send the initial email, a little part of me trilled with excitement that I might get to think of another, better name. Because the name itself is great, but like Rachel Jackson Photography, it's still a tad too narrow for me, and I didn't let it sit for long enough on my brain-tongue to get a taste of how I really felt about it. And how I really feel about it right now is "meh, kinda bored". 

I leave you with my Small Business Lessons of the day:

1. While figuring out what to call your business, be sure to do lots of research and find out if there is another person/place/thing out there who has the same name, or even a close variation. Google = your best friend. 

2. If you do find someone with a similar name, get in touch with them. See what they're all about, what they're comfortable with, and where they're at in their business. Communication is just as key in this process as it is in any other part of life. You don't want to start off on the wrong foot!

3. Make sure you actually like the name you choose, and that you will continue to like it forever. My name lasted a whole three months before I started to get tired of it, so I'm going to wait a bit before choosing my next (and hopefully final) one. Also, I just found out that you can only change the name of your Facebook page ONCE, so I have to make it count next time! I'm just glad I didn't already go so far as to pursue getting the license, DBA, domain name, etc. 

Moral of the story: keep on keepin' on. I still have a baby photography business, and I plan on doing great things with it. A little sidetrackin' here and there isn't such a bad thing; at least I still get to be taking pictures!

And fear not: I will still be wearing my yellow hat. =]

Happy Tuesday!