Being an entrepreneur and creating that unique company name is a challenge.
But that’s only the beginning.
Then you have to take time and apply an enormous amount of dedication to develop and create the brand or image that you want to be known for and that you dream will one day be recognized by everyone in the community where you laid your roots. And then you dream even bigger – that your brand will be widely recognized across the state, the nation and the entire world. Okay, maybe hoping for world-wide recognition is pushing it a little far … but an entrepreneur can dream, right?
Why am I talking about this, you may wonder.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Ashlie Miller and I’m the owner and creator of The Paint Cellar in Carmel, Indiana. I started this company back in 2011 with the dream of following in the footsteps of many of those famous well-known brands that came before me while making my company unique in its operations and offerings.
I wasn’t always a painter, I never inspired to be one, but I was always inspired by art and those who could create the beautiful masterpieces you would see hanging in museums, on walls of homes and offices, on the side of buildings, or even the actual building itself.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned to paint - in much of the same way as many of you are getting exposed to painting today - by attending the “paint and sip” classes or parties that seemed to spring up from nowhere.
After attending a few of these fun, lively and jam packed classes where we were definitely sitting up close and friendly with our neighbors at the table, I started painting at home in my spare time (and where I could spread out a bit more). To my surprise I was not too shabby at it.
So why am I telling you my story?
As a result of being exposed to painting, learning that I was pretty good at it, and knowing how much I enjoyed the social aspect of painting with others, I was inspired to open my own studio with classes. I wanted to bring my own version (my unique brand) of a “paint and sip” experience to my community.
And yet, after years of hard work building my brand I’ve experienced a lot of frustration.
Why the frustration? Because of association. Association with other “paint and sip” studios.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes association can be a positive thing, as we all know. That association can bring people your way that wouldn’t have found you otherwise. And that’s a good thing.
But then there is the other side of association. Before I reveal the cause of my dismay and frustration, let me ask you a couple of questions:
If you were going out to dinner, what would you be selecting? Let’s say your choices were Chili’s, Applebees, or Olive Garden. Would you categorize these establishments as “Chili’s” or restaurants? Restaurants, of course! You’d be choosing a restaurant to dine at, not a “Chili’s” to dine at. I know, silly me, who would call all restaurants “Chili’s”, right?
Okay, here’s another one. You’re getting ready to fly out for a vacation. If you’re purchasing airline tickets, what would you be selecting? Your choices are Southwest, Delta, and United. Would you categorize these companies as “Southwests” or airlines? Yes, there it is again. You’d be choosing an airline, not a “Southwest.”
I’ll stop with the examples, as I’m sure you get my point.
If you simply refer to all of these different companies by a single brand name then you are doing the other companies a disservice and stripping them of their unique identity.
This brings me to my point and why I’m a frustrated entrepreneur.
Not all creative establishments should be referred to as “Wine and Canvas”. All art studios are not a “Wine and Canvas.” That brand is simply one choice among the art studios offering painting classes.
The Paint Cellar is its own unique brand.
I’ve worked hard to create that brand.
I don’t want my establishment, my business that I built from the ground up, to be referred to by another brand’s name.
Simply stated, The Paint Cellar is a “paint and sip” art studio.
We are our own unique brand.
Artist | Owner | Entrepreneur
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