Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Happiest Girl in the World

Posted by iamglamourpuss at 2:14 PM
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It's about damn time!

I've had a really rough year and I'm working on making this one a better one. I'm finding things are going well so far, even though we're less than 2 weeks into 2010.

I received the BEST news today. The Glamour Puss Boutique in Charlotte closed it's doors around 6 months ago or so.

Why is this good news, you may ask? Well, one day in September 2006, I got an email from a photographer friend of mine congratulating me on my new shop. My new shop? This was news to me since my business, Glamourpuss Make-Up & Hair is a mobile service consisting of one employee...me. It didn't take a lot of time to investigate and discover that the proprietor of this shop was a local make-up artist who works with a photographer I have collaborated in the past. This photographer kept my business cards in her reception area, so it doesn't take much of a leap to figure out how all of this came together.

This was particularly frustrating for me because people were already confusing the businesses and the store wasn't even open yet. I decided to take the next logical step and get a trademark lawyer. I own the rights to the name "Glamourpuss" in NC. This has been my business name since 1999, it's the business name that is use when I file my taxes. Even if I didn't have the formal documents, I still had common law rights to the name because I had used it so long, just like a common law marriage. The trademark lawyer was insanely expensive. The retainer was the most money I've ever invested in my business.

Through the lawyer, multiple letters of cease and desist were sent. The owner of the boutique pulled the old ostrich manoeuvre for a while and did nothing. Then, one day we got a letter stating that she had plans to build a brand and expand into a line of accessories and clothing, which really wasn't the best idea anyway, since the owner of the federal trademark of the name has a clothing store and I'm sure she would've had no problems getting this little boutique closed. Long story short, she didn't want to have to re-brand and get new business cards and store signage and all that jazz. Which of course was a load of bull.

And what was most frustrating is that even though I was completely doing all of the things necessary to protect my business, it wasn't enough. Even though I had legally staked my claim on that name, it didn't matter. She could sit there with her head in the sand as long as she wanted and I couldn't do a thing about it. And if she lawyered up with a lawyer who was not completely familiar with trademark law, it could get drawn out for a very long time. My lawyer explained that if we took the next steps necessary and started actually going to court, the expenses could grow to $250, 000 at the very least.

I am only one woman, with a very small business. But I have spent a decade building my name and making sure that it is equated with nothing but the best. It is my baby, it is a part of who I am. I really hated the idea of giving up on my baby. Dominic and I discussed proceeding and looking back now, I really am amazed that he was ready to fight if I wanted to take it there. The risks were high. We could've lost way more than my business...could've lost the house, the cars...everything. But because he believed in me, he was ready to go. At the time, I was a few months pregnant with Jack and I just knew that I would not be able to go through a lengthy legal battle and stay healthy and keep Jack safe. The stress up to that point was so high already.

The only way I could rationalize it was by saying that it would be a flash in the pan business and probably wouldn't last more than 3 years...5 years, tops! Although I did find it insanely aggravating every time I heard about someone going there to look for me or someone calling to get in touch with me...and it happened more than you'd think. Then the shop started placing ads in local publications and airing TV ads and that made things even more annoying because it churned up all this stuff again and every time someone would ask me about it, it was like nails on a chalk board. And this added an extra element because I could not do any real promoting for my business because there was NO WAY I was going to accidentally send customers their way! They offered make-up artistry services...I'm sure they would've been happy to snatch up anyone looking for my services!

So, imagine my surprise when the wardrobe stylist, who was at the shoot I did make-up/hair for today, told me the shop had closed!! It was like the heaven's opened up and great rays of light shone down on me, I could even hear the angels singing! I know...melodramatic, but I cannot remember the last time I received news that pleased me so much! It's funny because I'm not really getting anything out of it, apart from my business name, but that is a really HUGE thing for me. I'm not sure what the circumstances of the store's closing were, but at this point I don't care. Glamourpuss Make-Up & Hair has endured a few years of madness but is still left standing. My name is my own again and it feels great! I love watching karma in action.

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