Also, to be honest, a little bit embarrassed! For the next couple of weeks I am going to be talking about how we built our brand and some of the mistakes we made along the way!
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As we began to dabble in our photography branding, we had no clue what we were doing! I have shared many times that we have built our business on trial and error and just figuring things out. We started this adventure because we were in a desperate place and we needed income badly. We knew nothing about what it meant to build a brand and we were clueless on how to go about doing it!
These could have been detrimental to our business, and I do believe the first one slowed us down when it came to building our business. I am grateful that we were able to move from this, and if you are in the process of building your own small business, I hope you can take something away from this.
Did you know that when we first opened our little business, we were not Luke and Ashley Photography? Until recently, when we switched to an LLC, we were operating under a DBA. Do you want to know what our first business name was? J&L Studios. We were so proud of that name. The problem came as we began to do business- we quickly realized that the name we had chosen was actually hurting us. We are personable people, and yet no one understood what J&L represented. It was a confusing piece of the puzzle, and we always had to explain it. Everyone had guessed that L stood for Luke. However, no one knew what the J stood for. I even had one girl ask me if stood for Jesus & Luke! I cracked up! We love Jesus, but no, it stood for my first name, which is Julia. Why would we choose Julia though? Since I was little, I have always been called by my middle name. Growing up and moving around I always hated having to tell the new teachers not to call me Julia, but to call me Ashley. So why would I choose that as part of my business name?
I wish we had done this sooner, because for three years we began to build a name in the community. When we switched, it was like we had to start from scratch. However, choosing to go by our first names was one of the best decisions we made for our business. It fit who we are and the brand we wanted to represent to our clients. We are personable, and we wanted to make that known from the very beginning. I don’t say all this to shame you if you have chosen a name for your business other than your first name; any name can work for your business. It just has to make sense and reflect what your business stands for. J&L did not make sense for us. However, Luke and Ashley does.
This is even more embarrassing then the Jesus & Luke incident. I cannot even tell you how many logo designs we went through in those first few years. And let me tell you, they were awful! Each logo was designed either by Luke or myself. Neither of us had graphic design skills and these logos showed it! We did not understand what it meant to build a brand. We thought that if we could just have an awesome logo then all the clients would come! Boy, were we wrong!
We had so much to learn and we wasted so much time focusing on the wrong things. For fun, I am posting some of our very first logo designs below! They are definitely embarrassing but fun to laugh at! ( And our photography skills have definitely improved!) As you can see we were confused as to who we were and we had no skills in graphic design!
Love our new style, and love how it is both masculine and feminine, which we really wanted to emphasize.
My advice is that if you are just getting started, find someone to build a simple logo for you and go from there.
Your photography branding is going to constantly evolve.
We know that from here our brand is going to evolve as our business evolves. This is not the be all end all of logo design for us. However, now that we understand who we are and where we are going, we can build our brand on this.
I hope you enjoyed and had a good laugh at our expense. (It’s okay, because when I pulled these up I definitely had a good laugh)!
We would love to hear where you are when it comes to building your brand, so join the conversation in our Facebook Group! We would love to have you!