Hello and welcome to our first official blog. My name is Nick Whone and I am the founder of SOAKE.
Well, we went and created a whole pile of work for ourselves. After months of hard work, we have finally finished rebranding our umbrella company. Previously known as Blooming Brollies, we are now known as SOAKE, and you really could not imagine the amount of work and painstaking detail that this change has involved. But you know what? The result is a sexy, current, sharp and eye catching new brand, with a large selection of NEW umbrellas that I will tell you about later!
"So what made you embark on this mammoth task?" you may ask. Well here’s why. When we established Blooming Brollies way back in 2008 we only had a small collection of umbrellas that were aimed at the female market and featured lovely exotic and colourful floral designs.
So there you are ... a fitting name for a flowery umbrella company.
We kept growing and growing, adding new umbrellas every year until we reached a pivotal point late last year when we decided that we wanted to design and produce our very own men's collection. I wondered whether I, as a man, would confidently purchase an umbrella from a business so flowery, so lacking a mans “style” and “coolness” if you know what I mean. On top of this, our collections were becoming a little fragmented and losing direction.
We’d reached a critical point in our evolution.
Brainstorming can be fun but can get very monotonous to others and particularly family members as it is so consuming. I quickly turned into a walking, eating and sleeping "brainstormer" out of work. At work my team got completely involved and we had numerous frustrating dead-end meetings where the Thesaurus was our best friend yet failed to provide us with what we were looking for. Literally months had passed by the time we had hit on SOAKE. And no, it didn’t happen whilst imbibing my favourite Malt Whisky.
Why SOAKE? Well, let’s have a look at the word itself. It contains three letters in the middle of the word that spell out OAK. (Nice, solid, traditional, safe albeit subliminal). Now look at the word SOAK. There are clear rain connotations, however it is still just a little obvious and simple. By adding the “E” to the end of SOAKE, we created a name with intrigue, flavour and an international feel (we hope!). Of course there may be some who don’t “get it”, but it’s my business. I get it and my team get it. The stripes finished off the look, and we added some distressing to give it that established, confident yet contemporary look. The British Bull Terrier came later as an afterthought, but we love it as it really shows our pride in being a British brand.
I started telling you about the work aspect at the beginning of this blog. The first thing we did was apply for Trademarks, and I'm sure some of you will know what a lengthy and nervy process this can be. After applications are lodged there is a wait of 3 months where the trademarks are advertised on the Intellectual Property Office website and can receive objections from third parties who consider your logos and marks are too close to theirs. We were sailing through until the beginning of the 3rd month when we received two objections. Overcoming these, we progressed to the end of the line and now own trademarks for both the name and the device. (Whilst we waited for a successful outcome we couldn’t progress as there was always a danger that our applications would fail and that would mean back to square one).
Trademarks bagged; the work started in earnest. Our "to-do" lists seemed to double by the day, including everything from new company stationery to a new catalogue, new website, new artworks for swing tags, labelling, press releases and advertising. Oh, and let’s not forget the 28,000 umbrellas (yes, 28,000!!!) in our lovely Yorkshire warehouse that needed old swing tags removing and new ones attaching. Regrets? No. Sleepless nights? YES. Happy? Ecstatic!
Anyway, after months of hard work and dedication, we truly believe we have created our very own masterpiece of branding. We can’t wait to get down to the International Spring Fair at the NEC and show it off.
If you are wondering when I was going to get to our new umbrella collections, I can wholly assure you that you will NOT be disappointed! We have licenced incredibly successful designs from the inimitable Julie Dodsworth and we have also licenced with Rachael Taylor (some will be familiar with Rachel from her media coverage and attendances at Top Drawer). We chased and successfully obtained the exclusive distribution of the San Francisco Umbrella Company, offering whimsical yet classy pet designs. We added styles and colours to existing lines, added a budget line of clear POE automatic stick and manual folding umbrellas AND designed and produced our MENS COLLECTION.
Now we just need to launch ….