Branding

Two Aussie entrepreneurs reflect on what it means when your company’s name is the same as your own

Emma Koehn /

Megan Hess Samantha Wills Aimee Marks

Megan Hess (right), with Samantha Wills (left) and TOM Organics founder Aimee Marks. Source: Supplied

Naming a business after yourself might seem like a good idea at the time, but there is plenty of responsibility that comes with being the face of a brand for the long run.

At Business Chicks’ 9 to Thrive event in Melbourne last month, entrepreneurs Megan Hess and Samantha Wills reflected on life when your business’ name is the same as your own name.

Here are two things they say to consider when using your name as part of your brand.

The brand will always be more than you

Samantha Wills says when she named her business after herself while still in her early 20s, she didn’t think through the potential implications for an exit strategy.

However, she says having her identity associated so closely with the brand helped in the early days.

“When you so modestly name a brand after yourself, you become this gauge of what is in and what is out for your brand. So it’s like, ‘do I like that colour?’ ‘Would I wear that?’,” she said.

But even when a business carries your name, the process of building a business is still about much more than yourself, she said.

“When you get to a point, you start to hire experts of industry. We’re very lucky — everyone in our managerial team is an expert in industry.”

Once your business grows to a point of being able to hire experts, you’re able to reinvent the brand even if it still bears your name, Wills said.

“I think your brand is always evolving,” she says.

Consider the decades to come

Fashion illustrator Megan Hess says she isn’t too worried about her business carrying her name, because she’s always known she will never retire from the core element of her business.

“I honestly think I will still be drawing when I have a little blue [hair] rinse. I will always draw, and I think because I can’t remember not drawing, it’s the one thing I love,” she says.

Hess says she figures her illustrations will eventually pass onto her children, and “god knows what they will do with them”.

However, the prospect of having her company named after herself is not really a concern, because she says it feeds into her overall goal as an artist.

“The dream for an artist is that when you’re gone, the work you did before you went is something someone still appreciates,” she said.

In the meantime, “all I know is that I will keep drawing,” Hess said.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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