UrbanXChange -----> UXC
The idea of re-branding has been floating in our "idea box" since day one. When we took over the business in 2013, we were contemplating changing the name entirely. Start from scratch with a new, more current name. Mind you, we had just become business owners for the first time in our lives. At the time, I was more qualified to take care of school aged children (not to sound creepy, I managed before/after school programs for the YMCA) and Brooke's professional experience was within the realm of styling the latest fashion trends (working for Amazon & Nordstrom's studios). So, coming into this new business we thought it might be best to change EVERYTHING. I remember sitting down with my buddies, Adam and Luke, sippin' on some Rainiers and brainstorming new names for the shop; Brooke and I wanted something super simple but catchy. We were convinced this was the "right" thing to do.
Sometime in late 2013, a buddy of mine invited me to join him on the porch with a bunch of seasoned entrepreneurs/successful business dudes. We drank whiskey all night and talked sports, whiskey, and business: my sort of night. These guys were all well above my experience level when it came to managing a business, talking business, or owning a business. I was just a baby in their eyes and I saw an opportunity to soak up some knowledge. Long story short, Jason Gordon (whiskey lover/people person/very insightful dude with a killer resume) gave me his two cents on our potential change of name and location. You have to really understand that Brooke and I were BUSINESS OWNERS. We have a UBI NUMBER, EMPLOYEES, BIG TIME TAXES...all for the first time. The real deal. Not to say we weren't capable but it was like throwing 2 mice in a maze with the cheese at the end; might take us a while to find that cheese, probably get lost a few times, get into some fights, but YOU KNOW we'll find it. Even now, we're still looking for it.
Back to the porch. Jason asked these questions to the group of guys:
1. Have you ever heard of UrbanXChange? YES.
2. Do you know where UrbanXChange is? YES.
3. Have you been to UrbanXChange? No.
Maybe after a few glasses of whiskey I might have glamorized this moment but for whatever it was, it stuck with me. At that point I realized that the shop had two things going for it:
1. "URBANXCHANGE" (the name)
2. the location.
I took all this back to Brooke and we discussed the idea of whether to change the name or not: it just went back and forth. However, after our first holiday season down on Pac Ave in Tacoma, WA., we realized that we had a GREAT location and that we weren't going any where. Now, do we change our name or don't we? Those of you reading- if anyone is reading- if you know me you know that I'm a very careful/strategic type of person when it comes to decision making. I'm a "To-Do List" type of person and Brooke is a ....well...she's great I love her, she's the best. I naturally start researching "changing names for your business", "benefits of re-branding" just everything that has to do with this type of transition. Honestly, depending on who's writing the article or producing the percentages, it's kind of just a judgement call. I mean, we definitely knew the store needed to be updated, it needed to adapt to adhere to the current trends (not just the clothing but the all around experience). As I was researching other companies and their re-branding I saw something interesting. You see, in my head, I had this dramatic re-branding idea. If we were going to do this we had to go BIG. We had to change everything, right? And then I saw companies do simple additions not necessarily changing, but adapting. I saw "URBAN OUTFITTERS" go to "UO", or "Abercrombie & Fitch" go to "A&F" (and introduced the color black into their releases), or from the local bros, Imperial Motion, go to the famous Cursor "IM". It's this concept that these brands aren't changing entirely, but they are growing. The "IM" for Imperial Motion represents GROWTH. I worked for those dudes back when the cursor "IM" came out and I can tell you that the cursive logo "IM" changed that company for the better. All of a sudden, people wanted the Cursor hat but didn't even know who or what the company was but it just looked sick! With that came change from a skate/snow board brand to a lifestyle brand and the Cursor was vital. We found ourselves in a position that we knew needed change and we needed to grow the business to continue. This is where "UXC" was born.
Don't get me wrong, "UXC" isn't this genius idea or the next NIKE swoosh, we know that. But it's pretty cool. I dig it. The best part of it is, it's catchy. It looks better on our tags, business cards, Instagram, shopping bags, basically everything. It looks like a legit brand. It's just more appealing to the eye than "UrbanXChange" was. Now that we have had "UXC" as a concept, we had to bring it to life and give it some character. That's where Chris Ballasiotes came in. This dude is a buddy of mine from high school who's turned out to be kinda awesome. He's super talented and creative and has made a living at painting with watercolors and re-branding for some top-notch companies/individuals (Maxim, New York Magazine, Radical Kids ;)
Cool thing was, Chris created a font called "The Estadio" that I could purchase and use however I wanted. It came with shapes and numbers and just... everything. I was able to play around with it and make my own sort of branding come to life. After a few different logos or ideas, we found that the "UXC" can be used however we wanted as long as the "UXC" was there. It's kind of like the "iPhone" idea (iPhone, iTouch, iPad, iWatch), with "UXC" we can do "UXC Home", "UXC Vintage", "UXC Locals". It gives us an opportunity to do a variety of different things that we haven't had the freedom to do in the past.
So why re-brand? One word: GROWTH. Brooke and I are trying to grow this business for a few different reasons:
1. We do this full-time. It is our sole income for Brooke, Rio (our pup), and me. Obviously we are trying to expand the business so that we can pay bills and eat.
2. So many people ask Brooke and me, "Why don't you move your shop up to Seattle? It's a better market!", and honestly sometimes I think "what if?". But we LOVE Tacoma so much and we want to build this business to be an attraction for Tacoma. We invest so much blood, sweat, tears, and well, money, to keep our business authentic and unique. Not just for us, but for our customer! I can't tell you enough how rewarding it is when a customer comes in and walks out saying "Wow, you have a great shop!". Being small business owners, those words are pure gold.
At the end of the day, if Brooke and I can do what we love, work side by side in the city we adore, and meet new people every day, what else can we ask for? We are going to keep working our asses off to provide our customers with the best experience we can possibly give them. As we grow, all we ask is for you to come and say hi every now then :)
That is all for today. Thanks guys.
Edited by: Anna Mischke