Starting The Daily Artisan as a small business has been quite a learning process! Creating a business is about as creative as you can get, I suppose, and if you haven’t done it before, I hope this information is interesting as the nuts and bolts for how The Daily Artisan was created.
In addition to an iPad full of notes, I’ve set up two large binders full of information under subject tabs. One binder is entitled “The Creative Side,” and the other is “The Business Side.” There are a lot of great guides and support available for starting a small business, but here’s a quick look at how I approached it for The Daily Artisan (including selecting that name)!
- Concept: Taking my ideas and turning them into a comprehensive concept for a business required a lot of reflection and drafting, and then revisiting and revising the ideas. I knew what I wanted the business to be about, but what it would look like and do took some time to work out in my mind. I found it was helpful to sketch out this part on paper – and then let it sit for a while before coming back to it and seeing where it could be refined and focused. This process was repeated a handful of times before I had a concrete plan in mind.
- Naming: Deciding on a business name was both fun and confounding all at once as there are so many options! The first step was determining I wanted some form of the word “artisan” in the name, and thus began a process of making a list of every possible/logical name I could think of for this kind of initiative. I came up with 184! For these 184 possibilities, I checked them for website and email domain availability, knowing I wanted to secure .com, .net, and .org extensions for the chosen business name. This narrowed my choices to 112 possibilities.
Next, I ran website inquiries for available social media handles for a shortened list of approximately 15 of my preferred names; some were available for some names and others for other names, with a big mix in between. Finally, I was down to a set of six finalist names! I shared them with a couple of people who have a good eye and feel for this kind of thing, and they both included my (unshared) personal favorite in their top choices. And so, “The Daily Artisan” was chosen! I like it most for its dual meanings – a blog with daily postings, and an emphasis on doing more creative and artisan things on a daily basis.
- Website: Recognizing that my primary activity would be online and e-commerce, I knew a professionally developed website was key. So, I reached out to longtime friend Harry Casimir and his company, Atilus, and after some consultations, engaged them to create the website for The Daily Artisan. This included building an e-commerce function for the online store, as well as support services for web hosting; SEO (Search Engine Optimization); and social media. The Atilus team and I have worked closely together for the past few months on all aspects of making the website a reality, and Atilus’ support services for web hosting, SEO and social media will continue.
- Logo, Font, and Colors: Things were really starting to come together, and I was excited to select colors and create a logo after choosing a font for the name and tagline! My inspiration for the colors and design was found in three things: (1) the pleasing colors of a “how to” watercolor painting book from my bookshelves; (2) a certain photograph of flowers I took a couple of years ago; and (3) a plate design in my favorite dinnerware.
My first job after college was as an associate with a public relations and advertising firm, where I learned a lot about graphic/logo design, and (literally, old school in the darkroom) photography. It was fun to brush off the cobwebs to design a logo as I hadn’t done that in a long time! I always start this process scribbling in pencil, and then slowly refining the hand drawing until I have on paper what’s in my mind’s eye. Next comes inking, and color mapping – this stuff is fun! After looking at many font options, I selected “Monesta” for its clean, yet artistically interesting, lines. I drew, inked and color mapped my final logo design, which then was scanned and vectorized as a graphic for scaling purposes. Photos included in this post show the progression. The Daily Artisan was starting to feel real at this point!
- Product Development for Store: I’ll go into more detail in an upcoming post on the items I chose to initially sell in the online store for The Daily Artisan, but suffice it to say, this took a lot of time! It was fun, though, and certainly fit the bill for the creative side of the equation.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about the business side of establishing The Daily Artisan!