This week, I wanted to tell you a story about trademarking and why I’ve trademarked my business which all started when I had my twin daughters, Milena and Phoebe.
I started a new business and had recently joined a UK Subscription Box Facebook Group, I think I was the third member to have joined and was super excited because subscription boxes were relatively new, at least to me, and were quite new in the UK too (despite being very popular in the USA).
I started chatting with members of the group and loved it as I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about business. I didn’t have any friends or family that had their own businesses, so at least I was starting to network and connect with other people who at least understood where I was coming from.
So I struck up a conversation with this lady, and she was talking about the fact she had a cat subscription box, offering treats and other gifts for cat owners, that kind of thing. We soon got onto the topic of my subscription box and I began telling her that I offered a stationary and craft box for children. We chatted about suppliers, where I got my boxes from, and exchanged all sorts of business information (looking back, I definitely shared with her more than I got back).
A couple of weeks later, we were sharing pictures of our boxes in the group and messaging each other before she suddenly went quiet, which I thought was a little odd. She made an appearance a few weeks later explaining how she’d decided to cancel her cat subscription boxes and instead opted to sell stationery and craft boxes for kids.
I’m sure you can guess what my reaction was to this – truly mortified!
Her new “BAE Box” as it was known, included products such as; face masks and smelly erasers. Of which, I had no idea if she was using the same suppliers as me, from the past information I shared with her.
Anyway, she began marketing her new subscription box on Facebook creating sales posts and sharing her page with friends and family. From the outside, it looked like her business was doing really well until she posted a very ranty message into our Facebook Group claiming that someone else had started a Facebook page called “BAE Box”.
Now on Facebook at the time, I believe, you could have multiple pages with the same name which caused a very big problem from the woman I had connected with. This fake “BAE Box” page was taking sales from paying customers but was not fulfilling orders and redirecting all complaints back to the original “BAE Box” page.
I’m sure you can understand the frustration in this situation, and as sorry as I felt for her there was a small part of me thinking “karma, and all that!”
Instead of getting caught up in the drama, I started to think about how could stop this from ever happening with my subscription business at the time. I wanted to ensure I was safeguarding myself as much as possible, which soon led me down the route of looking at copyright and trademarking.
I had no clue about any of this stuff, because why would I? My background was in corporate finance, so why would I need to even look at trademarking?
If you’re feeling the same way right now, here’s a little insight into what I did.
First of all, I didn’t know anything about trademarking, so went off and did a lot of reading on the topic before looking for inspiration from people that I liked online that had businesses I aspired to. I researched their business to find out if they had a trademark, which is all publically available information. You can find out what trademarks they have and what class they’ve trademarked for.
There are lots of different categories and things that you can trademark your brand against, such as trademarking your logo or your name, but you have to ensure you’re being specific. It’s not as easy as just “oh, there’s my fee” – done!
I remember, at the point of having Mila and Pheebs, trademarking just the logo (what a rookie move) but I soon learnt from it when launching my current business “Right Click”.
I have trademarked “Right Click”; not “Right Click Accounting”, not “Right Click Bookkeeping” but “Right Click” as a whole! It was a process I went through with the support of a trademark attorney, and I couldn’t imagine doing it without her – she was amazing!
Given the size of my business, I’m incredibly happy with the level of protection and safeguarding that my business has and will of course continue to be mindful of copyright and trademark as I grow – but hopefully you’ve enjoyed this insight into my business journey and my experience with trademarking.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, but if you need any support with trademarking your business feel free to get in touch as I will happily share with you my knowledge and prompt you in the right direction for professional support.