Thursday, January 15, 2015

A New Business Name to Start 2015

I've been making and selling things my whole life and I've given myself lots of business names over the years. In 2006 I took out a yellow sheet of paper and wrote down every idea I could think of to explain the essence of what my business was about. I ended up calling my business Made. I printed some cards on my HP and sold earrings in a friend's retail space in downtown Lowell.

I discovered Etsy in December of that year. I excitedly went to claim Made as a shop name and of course, it was already taken. So on the spur of the moment I went with Made in Lowell. I was excited to be in the historical mill town where so many women made so many textiles in the 1900s before the industry moved overseas. I wanted to highlight that, indeed, things were still being Made in Lowell.

At that time there were plenty of artists in town, but Western Avenue Studios was just a floor or two and I wasn't even sure where it was. I hadn't yet connected to the brilliant, burgeoning, maker scene that was starting to happen.

Over the years I settled into the name Made in Lowell, I started to feel that it WAS me. That impression was helped along by my using it in every social media outlet available as they appeared over the ensuing 8 years. When people address you by your business name daily online, when it's your handle, it becomes personal. But I'll be honest, I never felt like the meaning of Made in Lowell really belonged to me entirely. And as the community of artists grew in the city, as this newest wave of handmade swept though, I felt less and less like I should be the only one using the descriptor.

I like using the new year as a chance to make a fresh start. I had already hoped to start sewing things to sell. I cleared out some items from my existing product line to streamline it. I plan to make a renewed effort to destash my studio and sell off the vintage goods I'd bought years ago with the intention of selling them "someday". I started to think of other business names. I wasted tens of dollars registering domains that I soon felt were not quite right. I'd love to use my own name but at least two other famous people have secured that territory so it's off the the table.

And then I got a phone call out of the blue. A non-profit in Lowell had the idea to make an effort to promote locally made goods. They want to make a sticker, or some sort of universal tag that denotes items made right here in the city. They looked up Made in Lowell dot com and there I was, sitting on the name all by myself.

Because that idea is excellent and I like what I've seen of what this group has already done in the city, and because I no longer want to shoulder the responsibility of representing all that is Made in Lowell, I told them the timing was good, that I would be rebranding in the new year, and I would give up the exclusive rights to be labeled Made in Lowell so we can collectively celebrate ALL the incredible local makers and their incredible work.

And pretty much as fast as I had originally chosen Made in Lowell, I claimed Smith Dry Goods and started to make the switch. It's only been a few days and it's been disorienting so far but I know I'll grow into it. I was Made in Lowell for 8 years, I need to give the new name some time to settle in.

But I love my new name. Because to me it evokes an old fashioned shop with linens and housewares and people shopping for necessities but back when even necessities were beautiful and beautifully made. It will also allow me to sell more than just my handmade items all in one shop.

I'm working on a new website for and I'll be moving my blog over there eventually too. (For now that URL goes to my renamed Etsy shop.) Right now I need to go rename myself all over the world wide web, start using a new email, and remake all my product tags, my business cards, my show banner, stickers, OMG EVERYTHING.

In the mean time, my things are still proudly Made in Lowell. Now I am excited to share that distinction with all the makers in town.


  1. WOW!!...rebranding is quite an undertaking! O_O But if anybody can do it, it's YOU!! :-) I only wish you did have a dry goods that I could be one of your suppliers!! LOL Okay...get to work. You've got lots of work to do!! ^_^

  2. Congratulations, Liz! I think it's very exciting.

  3. watching with interest. i am keeping my name, but i dropped my entire product line, and have no idea what will replace it. this seems to be a time of great change. very exciting!

  4. What a wonderful story. The name change was meant to be.

  5. Love the new name and look forward to checking out your new website. Good luck!

  6. I think this is an exciting move for you, Liz!