The easiest thing for you to brand is your name.
Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions, where we're talking about hot topics for the season, that'll make a difference to your art. I'm your host, Marijanel, joined by my co-host, Charla Maarschalk. Let's get to it. Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. We're here with hot topics of the season.
I thought you were gonna say hot Charla.
Hot Charla of the season. We love you, Charla.
I thought you were gonna say my name, and you're like hot. I'm like she gonna, what is she gonna say?
Okay, well, we're here with hot Charla of the season, and we're talking about names and, um, Charla, you have a very distinct recognizable name, Charla Maarschalk,
which I'm sure everyone mispronounces as do they my name, Marijanel -- which is all one word. I have a whole, um, story about my name of, you know, how I got it and how it's been an interesting name to live with my whole life. Um, but we're talking about artist names and the, um, process of an artist choosing their name. Now, if you're new to art, this might be something that's actually on your mind. If you've been in art for many years, you still might have it on your mind because a lot of artists will change, shift, or edit their names as they grow, or as they buy other, market other websites, or expand into new mediums. This is a really a topic for everyone. Even if you've gone by the same art name for years, this is a topic for you. So Charla, what are some of your thoughts about an artist choosing the name which people will recognize them for?
I have a lot of thoughts I think on this topic. I think that it's, it's a big topic. It's important when everyone is starting out, they put a lot of effort into their name. Um, it's, 'cuz it's important to us, what we're gonna be remembered as, or what people are gonna search up for when they're looking for us. But I actually am of the thought process that you need to just use your name. An artist, um, as an artist, we are us. We're not, I mean, we are a brand, you have to create yourself around a brand. You have to brand yourself, but people will remember you. They'll remember your art and your name. And I think I go with that for almost any business that is going to be you. You know, if you're not planning on creating a, a, a large company, then yeah, you name it something different.
But as a photographer, I kind of went by the same philosophy. I, I've, I think like you I've had other names, I've thought it would be cute to come up with a really unique, cute name, but nobody ever remembers it. They remember meeting you. They remember meeting you at your shows. They remember meeting you at, if you're a photographer at the wedding or, and they want, they, they call you by name and they remember your name. And when they refer you, they refer you by name. And then they don't remember what your company is called. As well as if they remember your company, they may not remember you. And it's more important that they remember you, and who you are, and that your name is searchable. But I do believe, and this is probably where we can start speaking to you more, uh, choosing a more unique name is that if you have a more common name, there might be like 10 of you out there, even in the same profession. Like, if there's 10 artists by your name or 10, um, photographers by your name, or what have you, then you need to kind of get a little more creative as to how to use your name. And I think Marijanel, you've got, I've always been Charla Maarschalk so I'm kind of easy to find. I actually think I'm the only one who exists in the world. Like, I don't think there's another one.
And you were really, you were really smart. You, you bought charla.ca, so you're super easy to find.
I did. Yeah.
And you gave me that advice early on in, in my art career, you said buy Marijanel.com right away.
And so I did, so I'm Marijanel.com and I just have to educate people how to spell it. So that's something I've just embraced.
I've just decided I have to, to, to educate them. But once they get it, they usually get it.
Um, but we were talking about a time when I was, um, back in the day when I was in pottery, I had really, you know, dreamed up this idea to have Shaping Earth pottery. And I had made even gone as far as making little business cards and everything. But no matter where I went, people still said, Marijanel. They, they were like, it's Marijanel's pottery.
This is Marijanel's piece. And I was signing Marijanel on the bottom of the piece. In last week's Summer Session, we talked about signatures and signing our work. So, I was signing Marijanel. And I just realized that no one was going to remember Shaping Earth pottery because they were remembering me exactly what you just said. And that I just needed to go by my name. And so that is what I have done in all of my art mediums. I'm multi-form artist. And I've just, every, every time I adapt to a new form, or I'm doing a new kind of show, it's just Marijanel.
And, and I just have to teach people how to spell it. And, um, now I do name other things. Like if I, if I have a book or I have a me, like I have a memoir cast, it has a name, but it is still Marijanel's project.
And people know that they can search my name and find that.
So, um, but what you said about people having common names, like you and I have very different names, but when someone has a common name, I've noticed friends who they've just shortened or jazzed it up somehow with a little twist. You know, like their name might be very simple and basic and like lots of them out there, but they might just, um, initial something, um, or shorten something else, and just kind of make, give it a differentiator. And, and still what will happen is that they'll, they'll use that for like, let's say their website, and their branding, and their cards. Um, people will still refer to them as their, in their full name, um, as so and so the artist, um, but on their cards and their branding, it will look a little jazzed up a little bit, uh, set apart and, and different. Um, sp they don't blend in.
And that's mostly because they need a domain name. Right? And it's hard to get. You can't, if your name is like Kim Smith, then you can't get that domain name. I actually couldn't get charla.com. Yeah, charla.com because it was already taken. There's like a, a famous, uh, person by the name of Charla. So, it was gone already. I think that was who had it. I'm not totally sure. Um, even though it's a unique name. So, you do, domain name is like the hardest thing to choose. So, if you just have Charla Art or Charla Studios, and I, I kind of played around with some of those in my early days,, um, as a differentiator, but you gotta remember that you're not a celebrity, and you're like, like a Hollywood celebrity.
So, you don't have, have to worry about that kind of fame.
You're gonna be famous in your local circles and in the places that you hang out on the internet, and your name will most likely be fairly unique when mixed with your last name. I've also seen, um, first and second names. I have several people that I know that have used, taken their last name out and used their first and second name. And they sound really nice together.
And they've, they've, uh, branded that as their name, but they're still known as their first and last name to their local community. So, it kind of just depends on your name, and how you need to differentiate it for the people that are really gonna be looking for you.
Yeah. And doing the Bold Artist Podcast, I've gotten the chance to go to all of our guest's websites and see how they choose their domains. And a lot of, uh, our guests that I've noticed have, will have the word art or artist connected to their name and then the end of it. So, it'll be so and so art, or so and so artist. And, um, I think that that's probably coming down to them needing to buy a domain name that represents their name.
But, um, I also think like that might be something that's searchable in keywords. I'm not sure about all of that SEO. I was told on Instagram that it helps to have, um, the term art in there when people are looking through, um...
Look, looking through to find someone to follow. And you have something that, that says what you do right in your name. Um, it helps.
That's what I have. My Instagram is charla.maarschalk.art, and now I've got it everywhere, so I can't even change it. But I did that originally so is that the algorithm would, would find me. 'Cuz that would know that I was an artist.
Yeah. So, there's a lot of tricks and tips, um, to adding that what you do onto your name, but I've also heard the advice to not actually have your name be with that definition because as artists, we change a lot.
So like, to go register your business name or to actually make people like to call it Marijanel Painting, um, unless I bought that domain name, you know, for that purpose of just showing my paintings to be branded and known as that you don't wanna pigeonhole yourself, either. You wanna keep it open to like a broader scope of being able to change and flex with the, the tides and seasons.
New Speaker (09:30):
Um, so with someone who's just, just starting out beginning to choose their name, um, it might be a no brainer to do a Google search, but it is really important, if you don't already know this, to do the Google search and see who out there is sharing your name, what they're doing, and when people are entering your name into Google, what are they gonna be finding? Um, and then if you need to tweak the spelling or shorten or jazz it up somehow to set yourself apart, just for Google searches, that's really an, an important tip to bear in mind.
Yeah. I had to do that with Charla.ca as a photographer. So my maiden name was Moss M O S S, which was Charla Moss, which was a really nice name. If I could go back, I would've kept that as a business name, but I got married and chose to go as Maarschalk. And I didn't even need to, I still could have chosen that legally and used my maiden name in my branding, 'cuz I was already kind of branded as Charla Moss. And it was easy. And it's so easy to remember, and easy to spell, and still unique. So, I wish that I had kept it, but when I went to Charla Maarschalk, my first thought was that noone's gonna be able to remember how to spell it, and no one will be able to find me. So, that was why I chose to go with Charla.ca.
Because Charla is still unique enough. And when you see that it's spelled with a C and not a S visually, you will know to go, go to that. But I recognize right away that people will want the.com. They'll wanna put in.com. As a photographer, I thought I'm gonna be photographing of my, my referrals are all gonna be local. And so as a Canadian, it was okay to use ca because it was a local work that I, a local business that I was branding. And so what I did was I put the.ca on everything. I, I branded my domain name and not my business name. So, I branded charla.ca. And I put this .ca everywhere on my business cards, on my blog. I, I, in my signature on everything that I could do. And so I, I built my photography business and what was really funny,.
I didn't know if it worked or not, but I was doing well, and my cousin was also a photographer and sometimes we would second shoot for each other. So, I went to her wedding, a wedding with her to second shoot for her. And when we opened up the hotel room door, the bride answers, and she, she actually looked past my cousin who was her hired photographer. And she knows she's like, Charla.ca is here. And I, I laughed so hard. We both laughed, but what I really laughed is that she called me charla.ca. I'm like, yes, my brand new worked.
Yeah. It was a lot of fun.
Yeah. That's uh, that is a funny story.
Yeah. So, you just need to push it, right. If you're, if you gotta put a flare to your name so that you can have the domain you want or, or whatever, you need people to remember it. And it means pushing it everywhere you go and repeating, repeating, repeating to your friends and your family so that they know what to say to people. If they're referring me, they'll like, yeah, go to charla.ca it's actually what we all call ourselves, or not we all call ourselves. But my family all call me, call me charla.ca because I push it so much. And it's just repeat, repeat, and put it everywhere and you'll be remembered.
Such good advice. And also, one of the other real important reasons to choose your own name or a spin of your own name is for longevity. Um, because you want to like this in 10 years, 20 years.
You don't wanna grow old of something or wish you had stuck with something. And so it is important to put that thought into it now of, you know, will I like this? Now, if you don't like the name that your mama gave you, then that might be a whole other story
That's a different story .
That might be a whole other podcast.
But it's what people will remember you as. People who love you, what they call you is what you will be remembered as. So, you want that to be your authentic signature, you know, for your, your work.
Yeah. So in closing from marijanel.com and charla.ca, we just wanna encourage you to make your name memorable when you're choosing your artist's name, but to use yours in whatever memorable way that you can to own it, be proud of it. And, um, also think about the longevity and the searchability of your name. So,
Yeah and just one last, I have one last thought I really wanna put in here.
Because marketing is, I've done marketing my whole life, and I love it. Is the, the thought of having a unique name, like if you're like, I don't care, I'm gonna be, um, Bold Flower, that's gonna be the name of my company... To brand a name that is not easy to remember, easy to associate with you is very difficult. And some of the biggest, um, most successful companies have failed at, at creating a brand that every, that becomes, you know, a household name. It's difficult to brand your, your company. And it's difficult to make people remember. It. There's a lot of, of wisdom that goes into being able to brand a unique name. The easiest thing for you to brand is your name. It comes with you. And it's, it's just the easiest thing for the person that meets you to remember.
And even the person that meets you online will remember your name. So, branding something that's not your, your actual given name is just gonna be a huge challenge that you have to be ready for. And, and you have to go in and, and learn and, um, study marketing. If you wanna do that, I just wanna really bring that home. That the cutesy the more cutesy you go, or the, or the cool, or the trendier you go, the harder it's going to be the brand that, and you really wanna work on your, your art and the things, the projects, and the passions that you have. You really don't wanna have to build your brand. That's leave that to like a big company. If you're gonna have a big company, then fine. Hire a marketing team. But for just you and your art, you know, you don't wanna go there. That's I know that's controversial advice, but I just wanna stick that in there. Just think about it. Put more thought into it if that's your plan.
Definitely good food for thought. And, um, no, I think that there's a lot of artists out there that are gonna appreciate that advice. So, thank you for joining us on the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. Until next time, keep creating.