Friday, November 19, 2010

What is in a Name

I am sure I am not the only crafter who has found themself facing this question. Does my name still accurately describe my business?

This summer I had an idea to make pants into messenger bags. I was just starting to learn about upcycling and freecycling and I totally loved the concept. I wanted to get my business started online which meant I needed to decide on a name. I love Upcycled by Ash and all the graphics I have created to go along with it.

Almost everything I sew still has at least some upcycled and/or freecycled materials. I quickly learned that making appealing items out of completely upcycled materials wasn't so easy. New fabrics have so much more color and they make it much easier to pick out a color pallet with patterns that complement each other.

Freecycling helps for sure. Between my friend Ginger, Mom, Grandma, and the project that my sister and I started a few years back that never got off the ground, I have a pretty good supply of fun fabrics and other materials. It has never been enough though.

Now I've also discovered jewelry making and I love it. A lot of what I am making still has freecycled components, but it is getting less and less as I use up the supplies. The thing I am liking the most about the jewelry is that it doesn't consume as much time.

Items I sew take up a lot of time. I honestly don't make enough from the sales to really say it worth the effort. Jewelry on the other hand is worth the effort. Don't misunderstand, I don't intend to stop sewing but it would be nice to make enough money to cover the cost of the project and have a little left over to help with the bills.

So back to the title of this post. I would say that about 60% of the items I currently have for sale are made of at least some upcycled or freecycled parts. The rest are made from new materials that I bought specifically for the project. Six month ago when I chose the name for my blog and business, I had no intentions of starting to make jewelry or of buying fabric specifically for projects.

I have evolved. Have I evolved away from my original roots too far? Is calling myself Upcycled by Ash misleading? Am I now just Ash who does some upcycling as well? Do I need to separate the sewing and the jewelry since it is the jewelry that is really pulling me away from the upcycled theme? At the same time though, I have made some purely upcycled jewelry too.

I have all these questions now because I am about to open an Etsy store. I only want to open one but I have two completely different crafts. Neither is completely upcycled, but neither is completely new material based either.

Is it a realistic compromise to create an upcycled/frecycled icon to denote which items are in fact made with upcycled/freecycled components?


  1. I hear you girlie! Choosing a name isn't so easy. I still think you embrace the Upcycle by Ash roots, doing what you can with what you have. Perhaps if/when you decide on a new name, you can incorporate the old one as a "tag line" instead of the name of your business. You are a craftivist at heart you know, making things to make a positive change...maybe include that feeling in your new brand. =)

  2. How about "Ash evolved"? That way any future additions and your company name still encompasses everything. Because you yourself are ever changing thoughts, ideas, crafts, inventions, etc...As you said you have evolved. And on your product descriptions on the items that are upcycled you can add the tag and logo "Upcycled by Ash"

  3. Lisa's Idea is pretty good. For you it's important to have a name that can encompas many different types of products. Because you've done such great work with Upcycled by Ash it would be a shame to totally eliminate that brand. What if it was Ash and then you could add freecycled, recycled, upcycled, etc. onto individual item tags. The again that sounds like a lot of work. You could also just include an explaination in your bio stating what percentage is upcycled etc. and then in your etsy postings say which items are reincarnated. Oooh Reincarnated would be a good name. Anyway, I know you'll figure it out.

  4. Thanks Ladies!

    A friend on facebook wrote to me about this with a very good point. I should see the upcycled personally too. Where I came from and where I am going in my design. I also think this could apply to life and my journey through Lyme. I definitely am not the same person now that I was when I started this journey. I too have been upcycled from my old self to my new self who is an improvement for sure.


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