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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

hi, my name is...

No, I'm not taking you to a 12 step group. But I will tell you... I'm disturbed. Before you leap to your feet in agreement, I'll explain that there's something quite specific that disturbs me this morning. It's the rampant use of Catchy Business Names, Secret Identities, and Anonymous Signatures.

I'm making an effort to spend time wandering around the Etsy Community. I live there now, and want to know my neighbors. But as I look around, I notice that many people feel the need to hide behind an alias of some sort. I find this curious. Of course it isn't specific to Etsy. Everywhere you look you'll find quirky names disguising the identity of an actual human. Of course I can see a use for this in places like MySpace and FaceBook, and I'd want my kids to be a secretive about their personal information as an undercover agent. But what about the rest of us grown-ups? Am I the only one who thinks that if a person has something to say, they should say it in their own voice and claim their words? Or that an artist should use their own name instead of a witty business name? To fit in with this new trend, Vincent Van Gogh might have been Acid Trip Art. Leonardo Da Vinci could be Secret Smile Portraits. And Claude Monet might call his Etsy Shop Luminous Liquid Landscapes...... are you following me?

I just want to suggest that if you make art, be brave and put your name on it. Those who are just starting hopeful art/craft businesses are often caught up in the clever possibilities of self-naming. But I feel strongly about this. If you care enough to make it, say it, write it, think it, you ought to be willing to stand up and own it. Sure, clever names are fun, but at least add your own real name in there somewhere.

And when it comes to internet identity, what is so wrong with communicating and shopping under our own names? What are we hiding? What are we protecting? And what the heck is a Secret Admirer on Etsy anyway?

So there you are. Free advice for the budding new business person, and a bit of a rant for everyone out there hiding behind an adorable alias. And in case there's still any question, I'll start the introductions... Hi! My name is Kim Miles, and who might you be?


Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, my name is Diana and I agree. I always use my given name. I, too, have set up a shop at Etsy, although I have not yet fill it with my handmade items, and I want everyone to know that it's mine, that I made them and I am damn proud of my work.
What puzzles me is when I find an artist that I like I always look at their "Favorites" [the artist that they like]in hopes of finding someone/something new and wonderful, but most of them hide their Favorites. Why? Why? Why? I don't think of it has being nosy, I think it's more networking; if your work speaks to me, whos work speaks to you?
Your work speaks to Kim, and you are in my 'Favorites' for all to see.

Kim Miles - Beadist said...

hey Diana! Send me a link to your Etsy Shop. I love seeing what's out there. I hope it goes well for you!

Anita said...

Hi Kim: It's Anita again. I can't agree with you more. That "Secret Admirer" thing, scares me. I was going to post my pic on Etsy and saw that...boy was I turned off. Everyone is so afraid of the truth these days. I grew up in the 40's and 50's when people were open with each other. My friends tell me to "go with the flow", but the heck with that. I am an individual and will stay that way. I certainly know that you will too.

Jodie said...

Hi, Kim! I do use my name on everything I put out here in the cyber world, but it doesn't bother me that other people don't. Whatever floats your boat, right? I agree with you in the business perspective--use your own name--makes it easier in the long run.

Jackie Mixon said...

Hi Kim, it's your Secret Admirer - just kidding, it's Jackie Mixon. I think people who are just starting their crafty business whatever it might be feel the need to be clever and creative in naming their business. And, I'm here to tell you it will bite you in the behind because eventually you evolve and the name may not work. But your name always works. I used jmdesign for a long time because in the graphic business I had to put my "jm" as approval for alot of work. Now I am subtly changing to Jackie Mixon. I'm still growing and developing and that's a good thing at my age.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim Diana again..
My Etsy shop is dianabags. I hope to have it filled with goodies by the end of the month.


Bosphorus Glass said...

Hiii Kim,
This is Ilknur Akbay from Istanbul. I just started to read your blog a couple of days ago and I am loving it. I am a lampworker too (just a newbee) and a big admirer of your work. I am totaly agree with you about not hiding our real names. I use my own picture as an avatar on LE and Etsy. I love to see who she/he is I am communicating with. I just wish I was a bit braver and would have choosen my own name when I first started to write my blog and when I set up my shop on Etsy (nothing in the shop yet) but I am trying to show my name as much as possible. And I really don't like those "secret admirers" either. Why are you hiding if you are an admirer? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Kim Miles - Beadist said...

Thanks for your comments everyone! And a special hello to Istanbul! Please send me a link to your Etsy Shop when you get it going! Keep in touch, y'all!

Patty said...

Hi Kim!

My name is Patty Lakinsmith, and I hear you - I am also perplexed. I think this practice stems from an irrational fear pounded into us as kids by our parents - "don't talk to strangers", "don't give out personal information", etc. I suspect artists are torn between wanting to leverage the internet to get "their name" out there, and fearing being too personally exposed (e.g. to spammers or other shadier types).

My approach is to do both - I've got the "catchy name", but am also starting to use my own name more and more as it's completely "mine" and not something someone else might like to use as their own. I think there's also the perspective that it's probably easier for a new customer to feel comfortable buying your work if you're not hiding behind some kind of facade.

Take care!