What’s In A Brand Name? Indie Beauty Entrepreneurs Discuss Changing Theirs

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 12 founders and executives: Why did you decide to change your brand name?

Chris Cabrera Founder, Naturally London

We decided to change our brand name due to trademarking issues. We ran into a serious issue to either throw more money towards it or turn lemons into lemonade. We are big fans of lemonade! It was a great opportunity to rebrand and revisit brand names that were not available in 2015. 

Everything happens for a reason, and we couldn't be happier with our new name. Our biggest issue is having to wait until our trademark finalizes before we can legally secure our official social media names.

Mandi Nyambi CEO, Baalm

We wanted a name that reflected the changes we’d made in our business. We also wanted to have a name that we felt we could grow into over the next 20 years. During the process, we shopped around a lot of potential names with our community, longtime supporters and our mentors. 

The hardest part was realizing that everyone was attached to our old name, but we looked forward to the challenge of branding a new identity. We also wanted a name that was unique enough that we could essentially own the search time. Optimizing for SEO meant we couldn't reach for easy skincare terms, but rather had to dig a bit deeper to create something of our own.

Heather Lux Founder, True North Beauty

Early on, when I first started my business, I left certain aspects of it up to professionals to help me out. One example was having a business advisor take on the role of submitting my company name trademark paperwork for me as she had done it before and offered to help. Turns out, that did not happen, and I found out that I was illegally using another company’s name to sell my products. I had to completely change my name, branding and messaging overnight. 

Because of this oversight, I learned the hard way about what happens when you have marketing collateral and thousands of boxes with a brand name you can no longer use. Your business gets put on hold until you can figure out a solution and you lose a lot of time, money and customers. 

Although I loved my original brand, I decided to use this pause to embrace the opportunity to re-brand my company and revamp my products. I reached out to current customers, and let them know I was changing things up and coming out with something new and exciting. I added a new product line, new company name, logo and brand message. But, most importantly, I hired a trademark attorney and made sure the name was available and legally mine.

In the end, rebranding was the best thing I ever did. This process forced me to really take a hard look at all aspects of my company from the logo, products and brand mission, and evaluate how it was currently running. It gave me a chance to learn from past mistakes, recalibrate and build off what I had already started. It cost me a lot emotionally and monetarily, but the outcome was so worth it. 

Drea Gunness Groeschel Founder and CEO, Beautiac

I haven’t ever changed the name of my brand, but I know someone that did. I received a call about someone infringing on our name, and they actually apologized! That doesn’t usually happen, but it was super nice that the owner did. She wanted to let us know that she found out she was infringing and was changing the name of the company, and that we had nothing to worry about.  

A few months later, I emailed her and asked how she was doing and thanked her again for her honesty.  She said the new name was actually more meaningful to her and, that she felt the infringement was actually a guiding mistake to make her company better. What a positive attitude and cool woman!

Julia Tosheva Co-Founder and R&D Manager, Phytocode

We did not change the brand name, but we had to change the name of the company. Several years after the start of our business, we started selling in Russia. It turned out that the name of our company is related to negativity in Russian. This was embarrassing because our products are made with a lot of love, and we wanted to pass it on to our clients as well. Therefore, the decision to change the name came very quickly.

Currently, the name of the company matches the name of the brand. A number of administrative actions accompanied the whole procedure. We replaced all official documents, changed existing packages and labels, and made new certifications and registrations. The whole process cost us a lot of money and time. 

We’ve also received several awards on which the old company name stands and, after changing the name, we must constantly explain that this is the same company. Therefore, when choosing a brand or company name, please look closely at what it means in different languages, especially for the markets you want to sell.

Aisha Shannon-Bates Founder, Coil Beauty

We never changed our company name, but we changed the logo to brand the business and give it an identity. When we initially launched, we had no understanding of what branding was and thought the logo was the brand. After doing research, we found out we were very wrong. So, we kept the name and some of the colors, but completely reestablished the brand to give it a voice and a personality.  

This required us to do a lot of research on other brands, the culture of our business and a plethora of other things to get our brand to what people know today. We even wiped our social media accounts and started over from scratch there as well. Despite this process taking several months, the good thing was we had not really launched yet, so we maybe had 10 followers on Instagram. The upshot being that most people will not even know of the first logo or remember anything different from what they know today.

Janet Schriever Founder, Code of Harmony

One of the many challenges of owning a CBD brand is that, until last December, anything that was run by the federal government was basically not allowed for a CBD brand to participate in. Trademarks were one of those things and the USPTO would not grant trademarks to CBD brands. 

That policy has changed now, but it did force a decision to rebrand from Crave Skincare to Code of Harmony over a year ago when we had another brand take our name, and there was nothing we could do about it because the government didn’t see us as a valid business. 

This prompted the name change, but it was something that I felt we needed to do anyway and had been planning. Turns out, it was actually the best thing for us, albeit difficult to navigate and a lot of work to change everything. Code of Harmony is now trademarked and makes so much more sense for us. It tells our story and resonates with our customer better. As much as I delayed the change because I was afraid that it was going to cause us all kinds of problems, the switch was really not that bad. 

As an indie company, we can make changes quickly. The only thing that I feel was unfortunate is that all the early press we had from 2017/2018 is attributed to Crave Skincare and not Code of Harmony. It doesn’t matter to our customers, but it does matter to investors and people who are watching upcoming brands.

Jane Goldrup Founder, Purana Skincare

A strong and authentic brand name can make or break a company, and it is especially true for startups. A name that is genuine and truly represents the values of the brand can take some time to be perfected. 

It is very common for startups to change their name after several months or several years working with the brand. When ideas turn into reality and visions turn into missions, foundational values and the true story of the brand come alive. The name I chose initially was very mainstream and bland. It took me close to a year of development to find the perfect brand name, and Purana truly represents who we are as a company. 

Purana means “of ancient times” and, as a company, we believe it is absolutely essential to go back to our roots, back to the simplicity of nature to find healing within ourselves, which in turn will reflect on the health of our skin. It is the radiance from within that compliments our skincare ritual. When you have a brand that embodies your passion, it can be contagious.

Other than the administrative minutiae dealing with registries offices and augmenting our digital media, changing the name was very straightforward. We were lucky enough that we changed our name before fully launching the brand. So, take your time. The perfect name will come to you and, when it does, work on getting it trademarked as soon as you can.

Jenny Stackle Founder, Kip’s

I used to run a permitted home kitchen under the name Kip’s Nut-Free Kitchen because all of my products were free from nuts and peanuts, which my son Kip is allergic to. But, after five years, I ended up transitioning to selling food free from the top eight allergens, and thought the "Nut-Free" in my name wasn’t totally accurate anymore.  

Soon thereafter, I hired a manufacturer to make my products for me, so it was a good time to relaunch my brand. Finally, I’d be able to ship my products and sell online, and I wanted to have a strong brand to do this with. I hired a marketing firm for rebranding, new packaging and a new website.

This was actually a fun process since I’d never worked with a marketing firm in a branding exercise.  It really helped me to redefine who I was as a brand and who my customers were. We decided to shorten the name to simply Kip’s since it maintained the consistency with my original name, and it’s the name of my son, who is the inspiration for my business.  But we totally changed the logo and the look of the brand.

Rebranding wasn’t too expensive since my business was so small. I was only selling locally in San Diego. But, aside from the packaging and website, I had to design and purchase new banners for events, new business cards, new hats and T-shirts. Overall, it was really worth it and was great timing as I was relaunching. It really reenergized me. 

There wasn’t much of an issue in reeducating my customers. I was selling on such a small scale as a home kitchen that simply announcing it on my social media pages several times over a few weeks seemed to do the trick. And still having the consistent Kip’s in my brand name was important, too.

Ashley Houdyschell Owner, Whiskers & Wax

When I first got into the candle business two years ago, I had a completely different business name and mission. I began as SALT + PINE CANDLE CO., a candle line inspired by nature. As I learned more about the business, the materials and, then, ultimately as I became a mom to the most lovable fur baby (my cat Stella), my passion shifted. 

I began to focus more on all-natural product materials such as 100% soy wax and phthalate-free fragrance oils. I researched foods, plants, scents and oils harmful or uncomfortable to cats, wanting only the best for Stella. I didn't want to subject her to any harmful products in my home, including candles. 

Whiskers & Wax was then born, a candle line I myself felt safe and comfortable burning in my own home. I now market my products as pet-friendly candles so other pet owners won't have to wonder about ingredients or safety. Once I had my new vision clear and thought-out, I promoted the transition on Instagram and Etsy with honest explanations, kept most of the same fragrances and rebranded with new labels, and launched a new website.

Tori Bodin Founder, Dazey CBD

As we were developing our brand identity, I read somewhere that daisies represented one third of all flowering plants on earth. I thought that was an inspirational comparison to draw to hemp and decided I wanted our brand name to be Daisy.  However, there was already a trademark in the cosmetics class for that spelling. We decided to change it to Dazey, and I’m so happy we did.

Hugh Huffaker Founder, Cause + Medic

We took away a product named Cannabliss because we are trying to avoid any connection to the marijuana industry. It was a very smart move for us.

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