Continued from What’s In a Name and What’s This Site All About? Part One
It was shocking and disturbing to see all of this in the beginning. It made me feel that, for reasons beyond my control, I couldn’t use my name for any future business ventures if I wanted to. Although I’d already moved forward with a new and entirely different business identity, the situation really pissed me off. I had new design work, new business cards, new stationery, a new website, and all of the accompanying accoutrements, but this forced me backward, or so I thought.
Me being me, I decided I couldn’t let the cybersquatting go unaddressed. So I exhaled and took a step back, did some research, and figured out how I wanted to proceed.
Part of “figuring out how I wanted to proceed” included remaining open to the opportunity to learn from anything—my approach to this situation was no different than the way I usually approach things. Sure, it sucked that it happened to me, but in a way I’m glad it did because I learned quite a bit. At a minimum it forced me to re-evaluate who I was at the time and who I really wanted to become as a designer-maker.
Though frustrating at times, the situation was also one of a couple of catalysts that launched my deep dive into the world of fine silk micro textiles that I make to this day—and for that, I am incredibly grateful. I can’t imagine this would have happened had Tamra Gentry Design Studio not been cybersquatted upon. Side-note: Can you tell that I have a whole-arsed-thing for color? Fordite? Minerals? Silk thread? —It’s kind of a theme throughout my work at this point.
[Image: Fine silk necklace with ties–all textiles handmade. Argentium sterling silver, 18K gold, Japanese fine silk thread. Image credit: Cole Rodger. You can see more of my textile work at TamraGentryDesignStudio.net.]
Another thing that came out of this is that I decided to resurrect Tamra Gentry Design Studio as my business identity. I already had a plan in the works for what I hoped would be a final-ish business name change, and it did not include going back to Tamra Gentry Design Studio. However, the timing of this happening was such that it felt right to change course and snatch it the hell back. I decided to reclaim old references to my work as well, hence REDUX, which means “to bring back.” Fordite is quite a niche-y thing and is not a part of my new design direction, but I do love the work that I did with it in the past and I choose to highlight it on this archive website.
WHAT ARE MY INTENTIONS WITH THIS WEBSITE ?
Since “I’m baa-aaack,” this site will serve as a visual representation of the fun work I used to do with Fordite. I had so many old photos that it felt negligent to let them stay hidden away in some obscure cyber storage bin on my external hard drive, never seeing the light of day. In going through my photos, I was reminded of how much fun it was to work with Fordite. In the years since, I acquired several pieces I kept for myself that I’m willing to make available for new designs and/or custom orders on a limited basis. –Because, free the magpie. If I make anything out of them, I will announce it via my social media channels and on this site’s blog.
A FEW IMPORTANT (AND HOPEFULLY HELPFUL) TIPS FOR FELLOW SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
First, if you’re even thinking about using a particular business name, buy the domain. And if it is your given name or your name is incorporated into it somehow, hold on to the domain. Forever.
Second (my “I am not an IP attorney” disclaimer applies here), apply for a trademark for your business name especially if it contains your given name. It doesn’t matter what it is. Too many bad actors out there don’t care how right you try to keep your karma. Weird ish happens. A trademarked name gives you much more leverage should you ever decide to sue for infringement. I know for a fact this name theft and resulting confusion has poisoned the search for both me and my business.
The funny thing is that it crossed my mind years ago to apply for a trademark for Tamra Gentry Design Studio–long before The Googles grew and revealed that I wasn’t a unicorn after all. I made the horrible mistake of thinking, “I don’t need to trademark THAT—who else would want to use THAT? —It’s *my* name.” At the time, I was the only Tamra Gentry showing up in search results for jewelry. [Long before this situation, I hired an IP attorney to trademark a business name and logo for me, and I wish I hadn’t because it’s a name that, looking back, was kind of stupid to try to trademark even though it was ultimately awarded to me. From that experience I learned that you don’t have to register everything–just register the right thing(s).]
Third, if you are a business owner, GOOGLE YOURSELF. Do it regularly. Use all of the tools available to you to help maintain an accurate, up-to-date online presence.
So, yeah, that happened.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about me or my work, don’t hesitate to get in touch.