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Monday, June 6, 2011

Change My Name?

[caption id="attachment_899" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Stay in my cocoon?"][/caption]

The other night someone asked me a question that rocked my world.

A very successful men's shoe designer and his artist/businesswoman wife are new friends of my husband and mine. Before going to dinner at the wonderful Parioli in Solana Beach, they came by the house because they were interested in seeing my work and I wanted to get their feedback.

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignright" width="135" caption="........or should I brand 'Suzanne Balestri Designs'?"][/caption]

We had a great discussion on my art and my inspirations and where I wanted to go with it. They loved my work and felt that there was no reason that a Nordstroms (through which he has sold his shoes) or similar wouldn't carry it.  There was one caveat for him though and it came in the form of this question:

"Why aren't you using your real name as your brand?"

"Really?  But I love the idea behind COCOON and what it signifies for me! Not to mention that I just finally got my website up and am seriously getting active on my Twitter and Facebook accounts, all of which are under my COCOON business name!"

"But you're the artist! People want to know that there is a real person behind what they're buying. People who appreciate art, design and hand craftsmanship feel a stronger connection to the art when they can associate it with a person, not a company."

"But I don't have a name that rolls off the tongue!  'Suzanne Balestri' is boring!"

"I totally disagree - your name has a great ring to it!  You need to get behind your name and yourself as an artist.  When you present your art and your work to a Nordstroms or a Neiman Marcus, or a local boutique, it should be YOU presenting YOU and YOUR ART!"

"But I liked being able to hide inside my cocoon!  I'm not a showy person! It seems so overly confident and assumptive to start branding my name, branding me!

"In the fashion world, designers use their name as their brand.  It's crucial. It will open doors for you. Everything will change!"

You see what I mean?  What do I do with that?  The good news is I'm still unknown and new to social media so making the change wouldn't be too difficult.  BUT, I love my COCOON on so many levels.  It's safe, right?  It's my haven, right? And yet...a cocoon is also the place where transformation happens so you can emerge to be who you really are and who you were meant to be.

I guess I can't hide in there forever.  Even if I am scared.  But can't I keep the name and still be me?




  1. I say use your gut and go with your instinct. If you think your name will signify all you want your brand to be, go for it. If you like Cocoon, keep it. Go with your inner desire ;)

  2. I understand and like the significance of Cocoon, but I love the idea of using your name!

    I understand and like the significance of cocoon, but remember even in nature, yes, it is a safe haven, but not forever. It's the place where a butterfly is forming...that's YOU! Once you've broken through, don't be afraid, let nature take it's course...take off and fly with the talent you've been blessed with! :)

    I actually like your full name Suzanne Reeve Balestri, but I'm no marketing person, for sure!

    Good luck with everything, you'll make the right decision.



  3. maria m mikuszewskiJune 7, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    I say it's time to leave the cocoon and FLY!

  4. Such a hard decision! Thank you for your feedback and support Maria!

  5. I know you are right. Sometimes though my gut is confused!!

  6. Ciao Gra! I like that analogy. You are right, nothing is forever and nature will take it's course. If only I had a crystal ball... :-)

  7. Hi Suzanne, if I were to place myself in your shoes and purely from a marketing point of view I would keep with Cocoon for the following reasons:
    1) You are starting out (very successfully, great!) and may still want to experiment a little. Not having your name linked to these "sojourns" is safer
    2) When you want to add a more exclusive/special line perhaps at higher price points, you can introduce that line with your own name and once that one is established you can even start linking the Cocoon products with "by Suzanne Balestri". Also be cognizant of the fact that once you start selling your pieces via e.g. Nordstrom - your pricing at Street Fairs/Artisan Fairs need to be synchronised
    3) There are so many jewelry/accessory artists selling under their name that it gets confusing
    4) Remembering 2 names vs 1 COCOON is more challenging for many. Did you register the name?

    BTW your name Suzanne Balestri is a nice strong/creative name !

    My two-cents worth of input. Success with whatever you decide.

  8. Thank you Gabriella for your thoughtful comments! I thought the same thing about the more exclusive line being under my name, and actually have some ideas for what that exclusive line would be like. I am going to talk with some people in the fashion and branding industry and see what their take is on it as well. We'll see!