With so much excitement and more emotions that I have words, I am overjoyed to share some big news with y'all today. Let me start by apologizing for the memory lane stroll and the very long post. I pinky promise it'll be worth it in the end.
Whenever "big" things happen for The Redheaded Camel, my mind always goes back to seventeen year old me, at a craft fair/yard sale in an elementary school parking lot. It was a windy day, I had a newly broken back, and every time the wind blew, the room divider my mom had helped me turn into a display for my art fell forward... meaning that my art hit the asphalt over and over again... all day long. I made $14 that day.
My friend Allison has art in her home that I painted when I was a junior in high school. Every time I see it, I laugh a little bit, because it's super terrible looking, and because she still has it in her house and somehow, she still loves it. Over the past four years (and a couple of months) as The Redheaded Camel, I have found so many more friends like Allison - who somehow see the bright colors and happy words in my art as special enough to hang in their homes - and I am so grateful.
Last August, I had several "scares" about the business. First, there was a very clear copy of one of my paintings that used our business hashtag on the post. Then, there was an even more clear (and harder hitting, personally) copy of our mosaic camel logo for sale somewhere else. Both instances made it crystal clear that my love for this business needed to be protected, and that the business itself needed to be protected for the future, too.
This realization began the long and winding road to trademark application. The scariest part of the process was that after all the time, money, and prayers invested in the application, it could be denied if it was too similar to something that already existed. I searched every way I could figure out how to make sure I wouldn't be disappointed in the end (i.e. if there was some other "confusingly similar" mark that was already protected). My attorney gave me an 85% chance of success and I went for it... and then we waited!
The official filing was made in October 2017, and we heard crickets until February 2018. The day of our engagement photos, I got an email from my attorney asking me to give her a call. We'd heard something from the USPTO. In the car, with my fiance who had been in Raleigh for about two hours, I called Betsy in a panic. Apparently, they needed clarity on what specific products and services The Redheaded Camel offered, in order to determine whether it would be accepted or not. I was so freaked out by the whole thing and scared that this little hiccup would cause a rejected application in the end.
Fast forward to March 2018 - another email from Betsy! This time, with good news. My application for trademark had received preliminary approval and the mark would now sit in "contest" for a month in case someone wanted to claim that it was too similar to something they had already registered. April 2018 went by so slowly. I looked up the Trademark and Patent Gazette multiple times just to see my own business in it... and to make sure it was still there. On May 2, 2018, the contest period ended, and we didn't get word that any claims had been made.
Leave it to me to think that I'd get my paper in the mail a week later. Apparently, turnaround times at the Trademark Office are not comparable to those I offer for The Redheaded Camel (ha!). I checked the mailbox anxiously every day to crickets. So many times, in fact, that I decided to just give up and not check anymore. If it was going to come, it would come... and it wasn't up to me to decide when.
Finally, on Monday, August 27, a manila envelope arrived from the attorney's office. I sincerely expected it to be a letter about change in hourly rates or something random. When I opened it, I immediately started crying... who knew a piece of government printer paper could make my heart so happy! Even typing those words on this post make me a little (lot) emotional. It has been a long journey!
To celebrate this happiest occasion, I am sharing the joy with y'all! Use the code OFFICIAL at checkout through Friday, August 31 to get 20% off all kinds of hand-painted happiness. I couldn't let this celebration pass without doing something to thank YOU for making it all possible. It isn't lost on me that not a single drop of paint would be possible without you. Your choice to shop small, to like our photos, to share The Redheaded Camel with the people you love... it makes a difference in my life every day, and for that, I am forever grateful!
If you're a business owner and wondering about the trademark process, I am happy to share more about my experience and the lessons I learned along the way. Betsy has been a trusted advisor and patient soul as I have walked through this adventure! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving The Redheaded Camel and being a part of my story. Wishing you the happiest hump day EVER!
PS: Don't forget to go shopping with code OFFICIAL for 20% off!