Almost every time I mention the name of my business - Lemon and the Sea - the other person asks me what it means. This happened when I had my first freelance client start writing checks (yes, they still do that) to the business instead of to me, when I registered my LLC, when I opened my business bank account (and found out that the only other company with the name Lemon in the state of Virginia made cookies), and all the time at coffee chats and networking events.
I don't have a big story or grand meaning behind the name - no grandmother that it's named after or childhood business that I played make believe too - so usually I give a generic answer.
"It just came to me."
"I like the way the two words don't seem to make sense, but still fit together so well."
And those things aren't untrue, they just aren't the whole story.
My First Business Name
In 2013, after I graduated from Clemson and was still hoping to find an architecture internship, I decided to create my own portfolio website and name it [SAM]designs. I even still have the html files saved on my external hard drive. Sam is my nickname and my initials, so I thought it was the perfect name that would allow me to share all kinds of design - from my architecture work to the side projects I was doing since I graduated,
I was all set to launch that website, but when I went to buy the domain (my very first), [SAM]designs and all it's variations were taken. I knew enough then to know that I couldn't have the same name as someone else, so I made a simple website on Wix, launched it, and kept working as a administrative assistant.
How Lemon and the Sea Really Got It's Name
Then in 2014, because I was always reading blogs and doing DIY projects for our apartment, I decided to start a blog (my second - the first had one post about my review of Romeo and Juliet). I loved the idea of creating a little extra income by sharing my projects online and hoped that I could share our journey through unemployment (I clearly had no idea how making money from blogging worked).
As I was laying in bed thinking about all the projects I could share, the name Lemon and the Sea popped into my head. I honestly have no idea why those words or that timing, but as I kept thinking about creating that blog, I couldn't get the name out of my head.
God had given me this name and I knew that I had to use it. I started with a logo - I sketched out the lemon and wave design, chose colors I loved, and kept playing with it until I loved it. It was the most difficult thing I had ever designed in Adobe Illustrator up to that point, but I created a logo I loved and that fit me.
From DIY Blog to Business
Once I had a logo design, I decided to jump in with both feet and actually purchase a domain and start posting through Wordpress. My first blog post was about some how I had painted candle holders as Christmas gifts.
At the time, I didn't have much to post because I was living in Pennsylvania working and searching for a job so that I could join my husband in Richmond.
Eventually, after six months of living apart, I decided that it was time to join Jay even though I didn't have a job yet. Instead, I started freelancing for the company I had just left and starting researching how to make money online. In a small apartment with no room for a workshop, I knew I couldn't keep up a DIY blog, but I started sharing all kinds of posts - recipes, design, home decor.
Over time, I learned - from webinars, reading other blogs, and trying things out - how I could turn my little blog into a real business by offering graphic design services. In the summer of 2015 (right before I left for a week long vacation with my family), I got my first inquiry from someone who was interested in a logo design.
That one didn't work out, but I was hooked. I knew that I could turn my skills and passion for helping other people build businesses that supported them into something that could support my family and that I would be excited to spend time on every day.
And the rest, as they say, is history
Just kidding. Running my own business is a constant experiment. I'm learning how to market my services, how I can best serve the people I want to work with, and refining my skills in design and administration.
But the name Lemon and the Sea has kept my going through it all because I know that God gave me the name for a reason and that He's still at work in my business and my life. That's why I haven't considered changing the name or giving up when things get tough - I know Lemon and the Sea has great things to accomplish.
How did you name your business?
Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do. From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into their what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.