You really don’t OWN your brand (or your business for that matter) if you have not invested in the legal formalities required to SECURE your brand and business. Bosses, I’m going to keep it really short and sweet about why it’s so important to trademark your brand as soon as you possibly can with a quick story.
Moral of the story: if you don’t bother to trademark your brand, you might as well throw the whole business away.
I was chatting with an amazing stylist while she was shaping up my curls one cold winter day. We started talking about her business, and my business, well . . . because business is life! We got on the topic of business partners and this is what she shared: she told me that she initially started her business with one official business partner, but there was a third stylist with whom they agreed to share salon space. This third stylist had her very own brand and had no interest in sharing anything with my stylist (let’s call her Vee) or her partner, besides salon space. I asked Vee if she had an operating or partnership agreement in place when she started out. When she told me she didn’t, I had an idea of where this story was headed. I’d read this book before.
She then went on to tell me that at some point, the relationship between herself, her partner and the third stylist began to sour. Things eventually got so bad that the third stylist (the one who was not a partner and had no interest in being apart of Vee’s brand identity) decided it was time to part ways. However, her name was on the lease, along with Vee’s, so a dispute ensued regarding who would be entitled to the space. (This issue could have been avoided if Vee had the right contracts in place, but I’m supposed to be talking about trademarks, so I’ll stay focused.)
Well, all three ladies ended up in court fighting about the space AND the brand. Vee hadn’t trademarked her brand, so she ended up having to abandon that brand and start over with a new brand, which required her to build it up just as she had already built her previous brand.
Vee had done such a good job building her brand that she already had a strong following. When she lost her brand, she lost her entire business. Vee started over and is thriving now, but I can’t help but wonder where she’d be if she’d never had to throw the whole business away.
Get your paperwork in order today, Bosses!