Getting Started - The Call that Started it all...February 28, 2020
How former co-workers became Own Your Vintage business partners.
I (LynnAnn) had retired from 18 years at MGM Resorts. So the Vintage Pizazz idea resurfaced and began to morph. What if you were a vintage jock… and still a proud athlete, a vintage gamer… a skilled 20 year old who’d been gaming for 10 years, a vintage dancer who would always move to music.
I had some idea what those shirts would look like but knew in a nano-second that I wasn’t the one to design them. And I knew who was.
That's when I called Victoria. I gave her the gist of the idea.
“Um, you won’t believe what I’m wearing today.” she said. “It’s a Vintage 1977 shirt.”
“No shirt,” I said. Ha-ha, such bad humor.
It describes you.
It connects you.
It’s what you stand for.
It’s what you love.
And we loved it.
We were off and running. The brainstorming began. What should the business structure be? What should we call it? Heck, how are we going to do this? Lots of texts, lots of calls. The seed was planted.
And then 2 weeks later, the lockdown. Whoa… but we decided to use this time to dig in.
Getting Started - What should we call it?
Here’s why we chose Own Your Vintage for our business name.
Own Your Vintage didn’t arise from an AHA moment. It came after research, brainstorming, deliberation and discussion. Trust us, we could have picked something a lot easier to explain. But we’re really proud of this. It’s a concept with a conscience.
Who knew our years of goal setting at MGM Resorts would be so valuable? Actually, we did. It helped us drill down to our primary goal, to provide product that allowed our customers – YOU – to:
- OWN your experience by expressing who you are and what you stand for.
- Claim your identity via YOUR take on yourself, what you love.
- Wear your VINTAGE as a badge of honor, be proud of your age, your history and celebrate your experiences.
We weighed terms that could play into our name like Time or Lifestyle or Celebrate but they didn’t express our essence. Then we focused on Self because this brand was about identity and individuality. How about Self-Centered Productions? Nah. Thankfully, it was taken.
We talked about celebrating your vintage and almost landed on that. But it seemed like a party idea and didn’t make a strong enough statement.
It was during our call on a rainy day, with Victoria at a red light and LynnAnn in her kitchen (not cooking, she can’t) when we hit on Own Your Vintage. We liked it. Each word carried weight and captured our intention.
Yes, we tried to simplify it to Own It! Also taken. And it didn’t say what Own Your Vintage did. OWN who you are. Uphold YOUR identity. And value your experience, your VINTAGE.
Done and done! We started the paperwork to become a real business and proceeded with great enthusiasm. Now if we’d only had a crystal ball...
The Business Plan... Guess we need one!
We used our state Small Business Develop Center, the perfect resource to get started.
Here’s a concept, use your resources. Um, I (LynnAnn) graduated from UNLV in Business so who better to help me than my alma mater?
UNLV houses the Nevada Small Business Development Center and quickly connected me with an advisor. Before our first consultation we did our best to put together a plan for. If you can call it that. We kinda left out all the financial stuff, well, on purpose. (It was like throwing darts.) And we were pretty pie-in-the-sky in our approach. But, we were ready, via Zoom of course.
They liked the concept, YAY! Now for the fun part. Our advisor walked me through every step of the legal requirements and state and local business licenses. For the record, the government doesn’t exactly make it fun.
Now to work on a real plan. Easily the best tool they gave us was access to LivePlan. It’s a flexible tool that makes you think through every step of the process. You get to zero-in on your target market, your competition, your operations, metrics, milestones and even an exit strategy. Oh, and you don’t get to overlook the financials. Start-up costs, break-even point, cash flow, lots more. All the real fun stuff.
The beauty of LivePlan is that it’s easy to make changes, to allow for things like a pandemic that completely mess with your revenue forecast. That would be zero for a while. But it still gives you a path, and it’s good to have that when you are faltering. It’s a vital tool to help you refocus.
Getting Started - Who the heck are we, anyway?
Here’s why the Brand Identity Prism became the backbone of our brand.
We worked on our brand identity before Victoria designed a thing. We’re the kind of people who wanted a clear plan to be the kind of company we wanted to be.
We didn’t just want to put ink on products or slap words on a shirt or use cheezy graphics. We wanted to design with thought and care. Our messages should inspire pride and connect people. We wanted our designs to reflect style and personality. We wanted to build a company for the long run.
That was a lot of wants.
Great ideas take great resources, so we turned to the tried-and-true Brand Identity Prism, created in 1986 (a lifetime ago) by Jean-Noël Kapferer. In a nutshell, there are six elements of a brand that shape its overall perception—just like the sides of a prism. The idea is that the elements are intertwined, and they lay the groundwork for your brand.
It was a workout but it was worth it. So many words, so many tangents, so many directions. We just needed to nail it down and finally we did. We knew who we were and what we were doing.
And then came our Brand Style Guide. Our logo, typography, color palette, messaging and mood to complement and reinforce our brand. It became our backbone.
We’ve been back to our Brand Identity and Brand Style Guide countless times. They keep us focused and on track. They are priceless, especially if you’re starting a business. And you can get these tools on the internet. Which they didn’t have in 1986.
At this point, we decided that even if the pandemic changed our plans, the experience so far has been amazing. It’s part of our Vintage now. And we own it!
Next comes the first steps of launching our business, from our plans to our setbacks. Read on!
Thanks for joining us!
LynnAnn & Victoria