My company, AgileStyle, turned 10 years old on January 15, 2017. It is a strange feeling to have been part of a business for that long. AgileStyle has been a big part of the life I have built with Dana, (my husband and business partner). We have been through a lot of ups and downs over the years, but it has mostly been a pretty fun adventure. I know that we are very different people today than those 22-year-old little bunnies that started the business. I also know that I couldn’t be luckier to have had so many amazing experiences and met so many awesome people. Over the last few months, we have spent a lot of time looking back on the last decade. All in all, I think it has been a pretty successful run. That said, we decided it was time to shift a bit. It was time for a rebrand.
Why the name change?
We have been asked this a few times. We could have kept the name and colors, which would have been cheaper. We wouldn’t have had to redecorate the office and could have just updated the logo and website. We could have…but it just didn’t feel right.
To be totally honest, I never loved the name AgileStyle. It wasn’t terrible, but it never totally clicked for me. That said, when we were brainstorming names back in 2007, the .com was available. Also, naming things is hard, time-consuming, and often a distraction when you are first starting out and we had work to do.
The challenge that we have had with the name AgileStyle, especially in the last few years since I have been out in the community doing business development, is that there often seems to be confusion over what we do. In the web community, I get asked:
a) Are we designers? –> Nope, we are strictly a development shop and always have been.
b) Do we practice Agile development? –> Not really. We have lifted pieces from this methodology that we like, but there are no scrums happening over here.
In the rest of the business community, I get asked:
a) Are you in the fashion industry? –> No. I always feel really mixed about this one. On one hand, I would like to think I get asked this because I am well dressed and look nice… but it is also a pretty sexist to assume that because I am a woman I must be in fashion.
b) Are you a hairdresser? –>No… same explanation as above.
I know for a fact that my husband has never been asked either of those questions. There is nothing wrong or bad about being a part of either of those industries. They are both awesome with tons of neat products/services (like my friend Claire who owns Flatter:Me Belts. I have 5, you should buy some). But I dislike that it is the immediate assumption.
Why Code and Effect?
In March of 2017 AgileStyle rebranded to Code and Effect. It has been a long time coming for a variety of reasons, including those above. Finding a new name was, again, a tedious process. I ended up coming up with Code and Effect after many brainstorming sessions. We decided that it was kind of clever, with the connection to cause and effect. We also liked the concept that our code effects positive change for our customers. This felt right.
The last few months have been busy with redecorating the office and dealing with an epic TODO list. In the end, we rebranded with a new name because:
- We wanted a name that better reflected who we are as a team.
- We wanted a name that better reflected our products and services.
As I mentioned, AgileStyle started when Dana and I were 22, with 2 cats, in a series of small apartments/basement suites with poor lighting. Throughout the years our services have shifted many times and we have come a long way in the level of expertise that we provide our customers. Our name needed to speak to that, and I think Code and Effect does.
The Rebrand Process
Once we made the decision to start transitioning over, I took the lead on figuring out what needed to be done and in what order. We had actually already incorporated Code and Effect a few years ago but never operated under it. We also had the visual identity done by Paper Leaf Design at the same time, so we didn’t have to go through that as part of this process. That adds a whole other layer of complexity in making sure your new visual identity and collateral matches the direction your business is going. We were fortunate that the logo and identity that had been done for use was still a great fit.
There were still many administrative steps that had to be taken and details to work through. These were the steps I took to get it out of my head and into a format that I could easily manage:
- Create a spreadsheet (naturally) with the following headings: Task, Category, Person, Progress, Date, Notes
- Brainstorm tasks
- Categorize: Office, Administration, Web
- Identify who was responsible
- Set a due date for each task
- Get started!
- Track progress at weekly meetings: TODO, In Progress, Blocked or Done
This is a link to a sample spreadsheet with real tasks. It is by no means an extensive list, but it is a good start and an effective format for thinking through what needs to be done. It can be an overwhelming process when you first start out. Getting the list down, out of my head and splitting up responsibilities for the tasks really helped make it feel more manageable.
It’s an exciting time for us. Matt, Dana and I have been working hard and, as I have mentioned in previous posts, we are set up for a huge year. It has felt like a long time in the making but after about 5 months, we are nearing the end of the rebrand process. We have had lots of support from our friends, colleagues, and mentors. There is renewed enthusiasm every day as we walk into our shiny new (yellow!) office, ready to continue the great work we have always done, AND try some new ideas/approaches. We have a number of really neat client projects that we are working on, and some cool ideas for some potential products that we will be starting on soon. Subscribe to receive updates when we launch them! If you are interested in hearing more about our Code and Effect adventures, follow us on Twitter.