Hello and welcome to a series of posts I plan to share to document my journey as a food entrepreneur! I’m going to be taking you back through time and rehash some of the fun, difficulties and learnings I’ve experienced since starting my granola business a few years ago. Below is week 1 of when I got started, and it all starts with a name!
I had the entrepreneurial itch for some months before launching my business, but I remember very vividly the day I “officially" decided to go for it. It was March 2013, and I was chatting online with my designer friend Monica (she did my logo, btw :) about my idea of selling my homemade granola at a farmers market. I tend to overthink things and get stuck in decision making, but she really pushed me with a “why not?” attitude.
Mid chat, I went on LegalZoom to file my LLC and trademark, and this moment officially marked when I became truly committed to launching my granola business. (Also because I had just shelled a few hundred bucks to do so, too). It was kind of like signing up for a marathon: You paid and registered so you know you HAVE to do it, but you may not have started training for it yet. For me, it was like committing to a marathon without ever having run before. But I had to figure it out, and I gave myself three months to launch.
Okay, so onto the name...
I’ll tell you a secret: The name I initially filed my trademark for was not gr8nola, it was “Gr8 Granola”.
I know, so boring, right? I’m Chinese, and the number 8 is very auspicious, so the “8” had personal and cultural significance to me. But beyond using the “8” in “great”, I clearly wasn’t really flexing my creative muscles, haha.
Anyway, filing for the LLC was easy and straight forward, but the trademarking process proved to be the contrary. When you file for your trademark on LegalZoom, they do an initial search of the USPTO database to find similar marks that could be a conflict. Lo and behold, there was some other company who already had the trademark registered for “Great Granola”.
"Shoot! Do I still go for it? I have the ‘8” in my name and they don't, so that's different, right? How will this impact the approval process?” I worried. I hopped on a call with my friend Leigh (who has a background in law) to discuss the dilemma, and she cleverly suggested, “Why not call it gr8nola?"
GENIUS. And that’s how I came up with my name.
BTW: It wasn't all peaches and roses after that. There was SO much more drama that came afterwards with officially registering my trademark, so stay tuned for future posts!