What's in a Name
And now we get to the place where you pick your name. It's interesting that we did all of that before choosing the name of your business. So that is, you're getting to a place now where, in the roadmap, we wouldn't solidify that name until five weeks in. You're already doing test shoots, you've already chosen your focus, you've already done all that. You don't need to lock anything in until four to five weeks in. So what's in a name? You're using your name or a pen name for a business. What that means is, I'm going to give you an example of another friend, Jasmine Star, okay? Jasmine Star's name is not Jasmine Star. That's her pen name, but it's used the same because online she is Jasmine Star. That is her, that is her persona, that is who she's adopted in that pen name. So whether you use your name or a pen name, the simplicity is in the message, the who and the what, right? If I go, I'm starting a new studio, what's the name of that studio? Oh, it's Pye Jirsa Photography. There's a s...
implicity in that where if they know your name they know your business. That's a nice thing to have, where it's like, okay, it becomes very easy to find. It's also a very common practice for boutique businesses of all sorts. J.G Wentworth, I just saw that ad this morning. You guys sleeping? What's going on here? Most photographers will pick their names, right? Okay. It does make growth and expansion tricky. Now we go back to our vision; what was your vision? Did we think of having a multi-shooter studio in five years? Because if you did, I would recommend not using your name or a pen name. Why do you think that might be? Why do you think it's difficult to run a multi-shooter studio with the name Pye Jirsa Photography? There you go, Shannon.
Because everyone's expecting to hire Pye Jirsa.
Yeah. And what'd you say back there?
Exact same thing.
Exact same thing. They're gonna expect me, right? And guess what, if they don't get Pye Jirsa what is the expectation of the price? It better be less. Oh man, that's a sucky perception to try and get out of, one that you started at the very beginning of your business. Yes, Don?
Wouldn't there be another issue, such as the folks working for you, if they get better and better
I love that. they want their name not just your name on there.
I love that, that's the exact second point of the growth and expansion is tricky. Because your employees are gonna have a harder time rallying around your name versus a fictitious business name. From a mindset and a perception that your employees are gonna have, it's easier working for one of my favorite fictitious studio names and companies is Still Motion. You guys know Still Motion? They primarily focus in cinema. They got their start in weddings and now they do major commercial stuff. They're amazing people, really great educators. They're awesome; but they have a big team. They do stuff for Superbowls and all this kind of-- they do big projects now. Now, what is your perception as a person, saying, "I work with Still Motion," a fictitious business name, versus, "I'm a shooter for Pye Jirsa." It's a very different employee perception. You can make the ranks in Still Motion or in a fictitious business name, you can go up to master, senior, partner, whatever you wanna call them, and have kind of this equity hold in the name of the business because it's something you stand for as opposed to somebody else's brand. So that all kind of coming in play? So Lin & Jirsa, we opted for this because it was an in-between. Nobody knows who Lin & Jirsa is, but we thought about this when we were creating our name 10 years ago. What are people gonna think? Well, we do wanna have associates in the future, we do wanna be able to have a whole division of people that can offer this product. And if it's this Lin plus Jirsa, clients are always gonna have this perception, of like, "Well, who is that?" That's like J.G Wentworth. You don't necessarily expect J.G Wentworth cause you're like, "Oh, I don't even know who that is. "J.G Wentworth? Is that a guy? "No, that's the name of two different partners." Ernst and Young. Where do you think we got the idea from? Ernst and Young, nobody expects Ernst or Young to be there. Nobody even knows who that is. So it's kind of this in-between, where somebody that knows Pye Jirsa knows that this is his company. Somebody that knows Chris and Justin Lin know that it's their company. But it's fictitious enough that we can expand and still have room. If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have went with something 100% fictitious. It'd have been easier, even, for an employee to rally behind. Not from a customer standpoint. It's more from an employee standpoint. The down side of that was "Lin and who?" Damn it! You have no idea how many-- You did that to me! "Wait, Lin and?" Hey, how do you say it? Jee-irsa? Kind of used to say my name--
I was saying it Jeersa, and then I was like, "Wait is it Jeersa? Jersa? Jaeersa?" (laughs)
I don't even know myself anymore, it's honestly-- But we would get that all the time, where like, I want you guys to think of that. When you tell a client, or when you tell anybody, are they gonna go, "What what? What'd you just say?" Is it easy to remember or is it a little bit difficult? That's one of the annoyance parts of Lin & Jirsa, is it's not the easiest to remember. It's not a make-or-break thing, it's just, think about it ahead of time. So using a fictitious business name, there's some complexity in your messaging. At the beginning stages, let's say you name, I don't know, Verita Studios. Yeah, that was actually one of the names that we were thinking about; it's terrible, I know. But there's complexity in the message. Because now it's, "Hey, I'm Lee, this is my studio Verita." And then people are like, "Wait what? "Verita, how do you spell that? "But then who owns it?" "Oh, I'm Lee, that's my company." So there's this disconnect between the owner and the brand, which is a great thing down the road, it's just a little more difficult in early marketing messages now. There's no right or wrong, it's really about where you wanna be and where you wanna position yourself. It's better for growth and expansion. It's better for culture and common purpose. That's what we're talking about, that you mentioned about employees. Culture and common purpose come with a fictitious business name. It can be difficult to find good fictitious names that fit a .com at this point. Everything is taken, unless you want verita321. I'm verita321! But most of these have become kind of taken, so it's tough to find that, where usually your name-- and that's why a lot of people opt for just their names, is because it's easy to find. Usually your name with photography or your name with studios is available. But yeah, this was our original. Ha, look at that! This is back from 2008. Let me know if you want any adjustments. What are the next steps, what should we do? Oh yeah, the last line, "Let's take over the world!" with Verita photography. Terrible design, terrible everything, yeah. The things that we're gonna recommend in terms of designs, again, did not exist back then. So if I had a do-over, that's where I would say, I would have picked the fictitious name and just ran with that, based on what I want to do. If you wanna run a family boutique studio, pick your names.
Do you need to consider trademark issues at all? The question from Sarah Beth was, "Can you run into a trademark issue "if you use your first name?"
You absolutely can. Trademark issues are gonna happen. We're gonna talk about it in the admin process. Once you settle on a name, you need to do a little bit of trademark research just to see if there's anybody else. What you're worried about is do you cross off a certain number of those things that show that you're competing directly with that other company. If you do, you're in trademark infringement. If you don't, you're okay. Like if there was another Verita Studios that was a commercial entity out in New Zealand, we're good. Even if they own a trademark, we're good, we're fine. Because we are a wedding studio that competes out of California. But when you start crossing over and there's another Lee Photography Studios that offers this and you're competitors down the street with Lee this studio and, yeah, there can be an infringement issue.