what’s in a name?

To us, quite a bit.

I can hardly believe the journey that we’ve been on over the last couple years. In fact, I find it difficult to even begin to share, but I will. Big changes are coming around here. I’ve been saying it for months (and some of you are wondering if it is really even true!) but we are getting so close. These changes are more than I expected, and also something I didn’t think would be so difficult to complete. We made the leap into the world of “re-branding” and along the way, I feel I found myself. Not sure if Brett would say the same thing, but me, most definitely. I figured out my part. I figured out I can be a good mom AND also run a business. And let me tell you, it is such a wonderful feeling when you figure out the how’s and why’s of your place in this world, and for us the world of the photography industry.

Two years ago we hired a designer. You heard that right, two years ago. (Bless you Ryan.) We’ve only been in business for a little under 5 years, but we never had a brand, look, or logo. Being “un-branded” became our brand.  In a way I feel we never really owned up to who we were because we just weren’t sure, and that’s normal. We were searching. We were gaining experience, building, shooting and growing. We didn’t throw down roots and call any “look” home….we just purchased the latest $50 website every 6 months or so, and hid there for a while. You know, “until we figured out what we REALLY wanted.” Right.

In the spring of 2009 I went to cheer my good friend Bobbi on as she spoke at a convention in Indy. It was there that I met Ryan Hunley and heard him speak. It was that day that I KNEW he would do our company’s branding. I had been holding off on getting a new site/blog because I wasn’t sure what we wanted it to look like, but hearing Bobbi and Ryan speak about the importance of your brand, I knew we needed to get going. Ryan was different……he didn’t speak business-y. Ryan spoke from his heart. He spoke with passion. He was honest. He wasn’t about to let a client walk away without feeling 150% satisfied with his work. He had energy and confidence, but was still incredibly humble. And, I was sold. I don’t think poor Ryan knew what he was getting in to. But then again, he’s a designer, and they tend to deal with indecisive people. But Brett and I…well….we’re of a different breed. ;)  Sometimes Brett has trouble with decisions and over analyzing things (as in sitting at a restaurant for an hr. before deciding what to order), and I am admittedly picky as all get out. (Again, bless you Ryan.)

It was about a year and a half ago that it happened. Ryan sent over a round of studio3z logos, and they were rocking, but I just didn’t feel connected. I then realized it was the name. I knew RIGHT THEN AND THERE that we just couldn’t go on as “studio3z.” I needed a name that meant something more to me. Something that was a driving passion for us and what we do. Something people would hear and understand who we are a bit. So, the next day I (*gasp*) told Ryan I was ditching the name, and he was completely a gem about it. Then Brett and I began some serious soul searching. SERIOUS. Like praying, writing down words that we were drawn to, ideas of who we were and what we stood for, and things that were important to us. We had nights of sipping wine, mapping out our life on the chalkboard wall, and nearly coming to tears out of frustration. Imagine finally coming up with something awesome, taking it to Google just to find it belongs to someone else??! Ahhh! I just wanted the right name. Our name. Talk about putting the pressure on……

Last August we were having dinner with some good friends. They are the kind of friends who are completely honest-not afraid to lay things out there. They offered up a couple critiques about us. Ouch. But you know, the good kind of ouch you need to hear. The kind you grow from. I’m so thankful for friends like that. They listened to our dreams, where we were headed, and they were digging it. The next day Brett and I were reflecting on the previous night and we kept coming back to the same place. An idea that has consumed us and drives us. Something that sums up our mission. And then we knew…..we had found our name. And of all things, it was Brett, standing over a pot of food he was stirring at the stovetop, “So what about ________??!” Of course I was hesitant. But then about an hour later, I was sold. “It just makes perfect sense,” he said. “You’re absolutely right,” I concluded, with the biggest sigh of relief and smile across my face. We had it.

Then the journey began. That was August of 2010. This year we have dug so much deeper, and we can’t wait to share what we’ve come up with our friend Ryan, who I still can’t believe actually wants to be our friend. ;)

We can’t wait to “own up” to who we are.

I plan to post quite a bit over the next week and then guess what…….


Thank you for sharing in this with us. We are giddy with excitement!!

(Photo props to Sarah Rhoads)