I’m feeling a little like a Kardashian this week! No, I’m not wearing a skin-tight bodysuit or flying my private plane anywhere (I’ll do that next week), but I am the proud owner of my own trademark! At last count, Kim Kardashian had 72 registered trademarks and a ton more pending, including applications to trademark her kids’ names. So it must be so easy to get one, right!? Nope, she just has truckloads of money and a whole team of lawyers, while someone like me — a solopreneur with limited resources — does not.
After nearly a year since filing, I now officially own the trademark for WingTips, the name of the art print gift sets I launched in early 2022 (pssst! they’re on sale for the first time ever). I have a very nice and expensive trademark lawyer who has navigated it all for me over the last year (so many steps!) and on the night before Thanksgiving, he emailed me to say we did it! I own the WingTips trademark outright! Now I just pray people keep buying them, lol!
This is the reality of owning a super-small business. Every little thing — the paper I buy, the consultants I hire, the cost of postage — matters to the bottom line. So deciding to do something like file for a trademark? It’s a BIG DEAL for a little biz. It’s the kind of thing I wish people understood on a day like Small Business Saturday, when consumers are encouraged to support small businesses vs the big box retailers and name brands.
The honest truth is that the smallest of the small businesses don’t often benefit much from these promotions; it’s wonderful that people remember to eat at a locally-owned restaurant or shop at a local boutique, but it’s very hard for one-person businesses to break through the clutter of ads, promotions and social media. And this year, it seems harder than ever; supply chain issues, material costs, and customers’ expectations for frequent promotions and sales are making it hard for independent makers to stay afloat.
There are millions of people out there who are following their passions and using their gifts to create the coolest stuff, but who also have to do allll the things that go into running a business. So, as you “shop local” and “buy small,” I just want to humbly request that you remember the magic makers. So many good people making good things! Find a local craft fair. Buy merch from local musicians. Check out the websites of creatives you follow online. Need a jumpstart? I’ve got you! Here are 5 amazing magic makers you can support today…
5 MAGIC MAKERS I THINK YOU’LL LOVE!
ART BY LORI PORTKA
My dear friend, artist LORI PORTKA, has gorgeous new chiffon scarves and the sweetest new holiday cards in her shop this holiday season. Plus, everything in her shop — from calendars to cards to wood prints — is 20% off during Thanksgiving weekend! And if you happen to be in Asheville, North Carolina, be sure to check out her studio! Visit Lori’s website here.
FEELCLINGS BY JILL KRAUSE
Jill Krause, founder of Bufahlow, has been beautifully and bravely honest about her path through mental health challenges. Her journey inspired her to create FeelClings, which are like stickers — but not! They’re adhesive affirmations that can be applied to mirrors, windows, and other surfaces and peeled off to reposition! She also has created wooden air fresheners and ornaments with similar sentiments. Such great stocking stuffers! Jill’s shop is 30% off everything through Sunday 11/27. Visit Jill’s website here.
ART BY SUSIE LUBELL
I have long loved Susie Lubell’s work, but her latest abstract paintings are so rich and layered and vibrant! Years ago, she packed up her family and her art career and moved to Israel, but she ships lots of her art to customers in the U.S. — from huge originals to custom ketubahs. She’s doing a Black Sabbath sale for 30% off through November 29; input the code BLACKISBACK. Visit Susie’s website here.
FAMILY MOVIE JOURNALS BY JENNIFER BORGET
Mom of three Jennifer Borget turned her family’s love of movies into the coolest product — the Family Movie Night Journal! It’s a hardcover, interactive journal with stickers, categories, rules for sharing and more. So fun to capture everyone’s reactions and reflections on the movie they just watched, and then look back on them later. Great gift idea for any family of movie lovers! Visit Jennifer’s website.
JEWELRY BY KATIE WHITE DESIGNS
Katie White learned how to make clay polymer earrings while she was hospitalized, waiting for a heart transplant. Amazing right? She then turned her new passion into a business and has so many cool designs, ranging from cute fox earrings to cool modern designs like the photo here shows. Visit Katie’s website here.
THANKS in advance to all of you who remember to support these and other magic makers out there. May your holiday shopping be fun and inspired!