Lisa guests on a podcast, plus the logo and name question
A little glimpse of that other life... and an excuse to check in on our branding.
At the risk of crossing the streams and causing a total protonic reversal, I thought I’d share a recent podcast interview I did in my other life at Brunette Games, the game storytelling studio I’ve owned and operated for the past seven years. We actually talk about Brunette Gardens for the first five minutes of this podcast, which some of you might find fun to hear. Of course, you gamers out there might like the whole thing!
You can listen to the full, 40-minute podcast here (audio only).
There’s also a short video clip of the segment for those of you with a LinkedIn account, though that’s covering game storytelling, not gardening.
While I have your attention, what do you think of our Substack name and logo, anyway? In a recent thread between me and fellow Substack writer, she suggested we get the word “homesteading” into our name. I’m not so sure, as I think that implies we should have a herd of cows, a pole barn, and acreage instead of eking out a life on a suburban 1/4-acre the way we do. As I mentioned to Emily, our point is that anyone can engage in homestead-ish activities, even if all you have is an apartment balcony or a sunny window. I wouldn’t want to put apartment dwellers off by the idea that we’re just like the rural homesteading community out there… I often feel as if their models are waaaay out of my own reach, so I wouldn’t want to give that impression here.
What’s in a name? You don’t even have to give us yours to subscribe.
Note Emily’s own Substack is called. I have to confess that I subscribed to it for a while but then stopped because as much as I love salad, I didn’t want to read about it several times a week. (So, so sorry, Emily!) Emily’s bias is obviously toward niche topics, and mine is definitely toward broader subject matter. Anthony and I are not solely focused on homesteading; a lot of our plant talk involves natives and wildlife gardening, and our philosophical writing comes out of the urban-influenced lives we’ve always led. Would “homesteading” get you that?
I’m sure Emily would say her niche salad approach works, since her Substack is wildly successful, though like a lot of Substacks with high subscriber counts, she arrived here with an elite media pedigree (she’s a former food editor for the New Yorker Magazine) and a huge following, and then Substack massively, like seriously massively, promoted her as well. So not exactly apples to apples here. You can read about us by way of comparison, if you haven’t already. Would The Dept. of Salad be so popular if someone without Emily’s following and stature launched it? We’d have to run an A/B test to know for sure.
By contrast, we’ve received zilch from Substack, and we’re active, (sometimes paying) readers as well as writers. We’re also investors in the company, not that we expect attention as a return for that… we’d frankly rather just get a return!
So on the subject of our branding, what do you think? Should we put “homesteading” in our Substack name? Or should we stick with Brunette Gardens? As you can see, and as I mentioned in the podcast, I used my surname for both my companies, and while this might make it look as if I lack imagination, these are homages to a long line of family-owned small businesses, as well as the Scottish house of Brunette/Brunett/Burnet (yeah, there’s even a castle). Not that that’s needed to get the biz names, since in both cases it’s also a tight little sentence with an old-school feminist flair. “Brunette games.” “Brunette gardens.” Blondes dream on… Just kidding.
Should this be www.homesteadhabitat.com? Or www.habitathomesteading.com?
Or maybe there’s a totally different idea you have for what this Substack should be called. Alas,was already taken by my pal Erin. There's also the possibility that we do move out to where we have more land, so we didn't want to get locked into the "suburb" theme anyway.
Thoughts? Or am I overthinking this enough for you already?
While I’ve been obsessing over our name here, which we’re actually less likely to change, we are in the process of updating our logo. While the lotus flower is iconic, it’s probably not the best indicator of our theme… Thoughts?
Opening up comments on this one to free subscribers, too.
Hey, everyone: We've been mulling over the issues here, and is often the case with feedback, while Emily Nunn's advice didn't work for us, her criticism was valid, as the tagline, "Tips and tales from our homestead habitat" probably just confuses people. I thought I was being clever in proposing a new label in 'homestead habitat,' but does anyone know what that means? I am no branding expert. I royally flubbed the title of my first novel, Cat in the Flock, which featured a main protagonist named "Cat" but was placed algorithmically into the pet noir category by Amazon's bots. Wah-wah...
So anyway, what we've come up with instead is, "Homesteading in the suburbs, the wildlife-friendly way." But we're not going to put that in the logo itself the way we have previously with the tips and tales tagline. Instead, it's part of the short description here on Substack, the rest of which is, "Seasonal giveaways for paid subscribers." The logo, which is undergoing a redesign as we speak, will have either just the BG in the short version or just Brunette Gardens in the long.
Anyway, thanks to Emily for rattling our cage with her criticism and suggestion. She did that publicly, on Notes, where it was a bit hard to receive, coming from someone with her stature and experience, especially since the domain name change would have garnered both cost and hassle. We're frankly surprised she felt no qualms about dishing criticism and advice to us freely but apparently found it rude when we in turn analyzed her own Substack here. But like I said, we're peons, mere plebs, and Emily is the former food editor for New Yorker Magazine, among other distinctions. We don't know how to move in her world, as we've never been part of it. We probably stepped in it with this post.
This is so rude.