Wednesday, April 29, 2009

its finally here!

I've got to finish packing and prepping for my trip to Phoenix tomorrow, but its really hard to stay focused because I just picked up this from the bike shop:

I'll be counting the days until I come home and can go for a nice long ride.  Between now and then, I'll have to come up with a name.  Any suggestions?

Monday, April 27, 2009 is live

For the last week, I've been working hard on a new website -!  I decided since I'm focusing on really promoting the cozy/cuff, it deserved its own website.  When I went to register the domain name, was already taken.  I debated about using, but I'm not a fan of using the dash in a website.  I think its easy to forget to put it in, and then someone looking for my cozy/cuff ends up at a different website.

But is just the start - I'm hoping to do a major redesign of my main website, in the next few weeks.

Next up for the four week marketing plan, its time to compile that list of retailers and start sending out information!

because i like bikes and free stuff

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

I've been wanting a cargo bike for a while now, but sadly its not in the budget.  So, when I learned that MADSEN Cargo Bikes was giving away two bikes, I couldn't resist entering.  

If you want to enter, all you have to do is provide a link to Madsen's site somewhere on your site.  (Or you could help me win by clicking on the link to Madsen's site.)

Now come on, how cute would I look taking packages to the post office with one of these?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

and the winner is...

Well, it looks like I'll be hand delivering the cozy/cuff because the randomly chosen winner of my contest is Lynette!  Lynette, let me know what color you'd like, and I'll bring it with me on Thursday.

Why am I hand delivering the cozy/cuff, you may ask.  Well, on Thursday, I head to Phoenix and Tempe - first up a visiting artist gig at ASU, then the Museum Store Association Expo.

Thanks to everyone who suggested a retailer!  So many of those are places I would have never discovered on my own.  I'm still cranking away on my four weeks of marketing - this week I'll be working on compiling a list of stores and press to send info to.  Plus, I'm working on a major website re-design.  (Not to mention prepping for my trip!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

turquoise blue + over the rainbow

I've listed the new turquoise blue cozy/cuff in my shop, where you can now find all six of the colors:

Wow, so much color.  I'm getting so adventurous!

And speaking of color, my brother is producing a short film titled Over the Rainbow.  (I know, that was a lame transition).  You can view the trailer here, and the film should debut in May.

what I'm reading

Normally I like to put the title of the book I'm reading in the title of the post, but The Entrepreneur's Guide to Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, Trade Secrets, & Licensing seemed a little wordy. Long title aside, this is an excellent book that really highlighted the differences between copyright, trademarks, and patents. If you run any kind of creative business, I highly recommend that you read this book. As I read, I was able to clearly apply the discussions to my own work.
Here's a little summary, and how it applies to my work:


Trademarks cover the source of the product, not the product itself (even though we might call a product by its trademark name). One example is that Twinkie is the source of a snack cake (ie. Twinkie brand snack cake). Coca-Cola is the brand of soda, etc.
It is difficult to trademark a "weak" mark - meaning a trademark that is purely descriptive of a product. The "strongest" marks are those that have no relation to the products being sold. (Such as Apple computers.) Which means I would have a difficult time trademarking cozy/cuff - its really just a descriptive name. If I wanted to trademark cozy/cuff, I'd have to prove secondary meaning - basically, that I've used the name so much that it is now synonymous with only my brand. That takes time to establish, so for now, no trademarking of cozy/cuff.

This is the area where I though I understood the most, but it turns out I still have so much to learn. Did you know that you can't copyright useful things? Copyrights are meant to protect expressive works. However, there is a blurry boundary between creative and useful objects and copyright can cover certain aspects of a useful object.
According to the book, "Copyright is best suited for art that appears on functional objects such as a design or ornamentation that is not part of the physical, functional structure of the object." This really struck me, because one of the ideas I work with is that surface is structure, that the pattern designs become the objects themselves.
I've already filed for a copyright for the cozy/cuff, and ultimately, this should give me some level of protection if someone were to copy my idea directly. But if copyrights don't cover it, then what's left?

Design Patents
The other option is to file for a design patent. "Design patents are best suited for protecting the shape and appearance of useful objects such as perfume bottles bottles, furniture, cars, and appliances, which have designs that have commercial and economic value." This does seem much more applicable to my work. However, while easier to apply for than a traditional patent, design patents are still difficult to obtain and expensive. Based on the costs on the PTO website, it would cost over $600 dollars to apply for a design patent, plus over $3,000 in maintenance fees over the next 12 years. And those are the reduced rates for small businesses!  And you must apply for a design patent within one year of an object being sold or used.

Unfair Competition
After reading most of the book, it did seem like there were still a lot of opportunities to have others steal your ideas or designs. Fortunately, there is one more method of legal recourse - which is unfair competition. This affords some protection for someone who is copying aspects of your design in such a way that (while not covered under copyright, trademark, or patent) that seeks to confuse the public on the identity and source of the product. This should offer some means of protection over someone trying to co-opt your entire brand identity as their own. (At least I hope this is the case).

One last thing I learned from the book is no matter what form of intellectual property law you are covered under, you must constantly police for infringers of your work.

This is just a small snippet of the information covered in this book, and some of the ways I've applied it to my situation. This book is a worthwhile (and easy) read - its not too legal-jargon-y, and really helped me understand the differences between copyright, trademark, and patents.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

happy earth day + green cozy/cuffs

Happy Earth Day!  Tree Hugger has a list of things not to do today, and one is don't spend all day on your computer.  Get outside!

But before your do, just in time for Earth Day, the cozy/cuffs are now available in two shades of  green. (Plus a new light grey).  You can pick them up right here.

I've still got one more new cozy/cuff color to list in the shop, but I'll save that for later today.  Now go spend some time outside!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I sort of fell behind on the four week marketing project in all the preparations for our San Francisco trip, but I'm quickly getting back on track.  This morning I photographed all the new cozy/cuff colors and re-photographed the grey and black so that all the images were consistent.

After a lengthy photo-editing session, I started working on my mini-catalog.  Its in the form of a little accordion fold-out booklet.  I decided to keep the catalog simple and graphic, with the focus on the images.  When I send them to retailers, I'll include a cover letter and info sheet.  I've still got a few minor changes to make, but I need to order them from the printer in the next day or two.  What do you think?

Working on the mini-catalog also gave me an idea for the layout of the website.  I did this quick little mock-up in Illustrator, but I've still got to build the whole website.  So more to come on that later...

tina frey

Tina Frey makes gorgeous resin jewelry and home goods.  At the SFMOMA trunk show, I was lucky enough to trade with her for this necklace.  Thanks Tina!

Be sure to check out Tina's website - I love the way she makes a variety of products, but her line is so clearly hers.

more San Francisco pics

I've uploaded the rest of my images from our San Francisco trip to flickr. You can view the full set here.

A few of my faves:

Hiking in Land's End

and on Mt. Tam.

Monday, April 20, 2009

another use for the cozy/cuff

If the idea of using a cozy/cuff around your disposable cup doesn't work for you, you can always take this example from the lovely Tara of Ink + Wit and use your cozy/cuff on your SIGG bottle to carry hot beverages.  

Thanks to Tara for sharing this on her blog!

And don't forget, you still have a few more days to suggest a retailer and be entered to win a cozy/cuff of your own.

home at last

We're finally home from a lovely few days in San Francisco.  (Although a less than lovely set of flights home.)  The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  I didn't want to leave, especially to arrive home to rain and 40 degree temps.

I've got a lot more pics to upload from my DSLR, but unfortunately, one of the down sides to running your own business is that when you take a vacation, there is no one to help pick up the slack.  So now I've got to spend the rest of the day catching up on emails/phone calls/etc.  (And perhaps taking a nap - I hate taking an overnight flight!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

hi from San Francisco

Joe and I are in San Francisco this week, leading up to the SFMOMA Jewelry Trunk Show on Saturday.  I just wanted to pop in and say hi, and share the view from the restaurant we ate lunch at yesterday.  It was a typical little diner, but you can't beat the view.  I took this from our table - and we even saw whales while we ate!

I hope everyone's weekend is shaping up to be as nice as mine.  And if you're in the bay area, be sure to stop by the trunk show on Saturday and say hi!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Just got these in the mail - lovely COLOR in time for spring (but not available for sale yet)...

And don't forget to suggest a retailer and be entered for a chance to win a cozy/cuff of your very own.  (Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions so far!)

Have a lovely spring weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

suggest a retailer for the cozy/cuff

Is there a retailer in your area that would be a good fit for the cozy/cuff?  I'm looking for coffee shops, design stores, indie boutiques, or any other store that might carry the cozy/cuff.

If you've got a suggestion, please leave a comment with:
-the name of the store
-store address (at least city and state)
-web site (if they've got one)
-any other info about the store

If you don't want to leave the info in the comments, you can always email me at meauman(at)yahoo(dot)com.

And in case you really need a reason to suggest a retailer, I'll choose one lucky commenter (or emailer) on April 24 to receive a cozy/cuff of their very own!

back from Ohio

I had a nice time on my trip to Kent this week (despite the fact that it snowed on the way there!)  On Tuesday, I got to spend a little time with the current Kent State metals grads before giving my talk (which I think went pretty well).

On Wednesday, I had a nice little lunch with Corey before stopping by the Downtown Gallery to check out Miles Rountree's thesis show.

It was a nice little break, but now I'm full force into work mode.  I'm trying to keep going with the four week marketing plan, but I've got a lot of work to make for the SFMOMA trunk show.  I can't believe we leave for San Francisco in less than a week!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

from one of a kind to micro-production

I'm heading to cold and snowy Ohio today to give a talk about my work at Kent State University (where I went to grad school). 

I've been a little busy preparing (who knew it took so long to write a talk), so I'm a bit behind on the four weeks of marketing, but I'll pick it up when I get back.

If your in NE Ohio, you should stop by - I'll be speaking at 7 in the School of Art Building.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

what's in a name?


A few comments on my last post prompted me to really think about the name cozy/cuff.  After all, for $300, I better be damn sure.

Here are the reasons I like cozy/cuff:

-I've always been a big sucker for alliteration, I think it makes something fun and memorable.

-I'm a big fan of the backslash.  I think it communicates that the object can actually be two objects - a cozy or a cuff.  (Yes, I technically realize that its not really a cuff, in the traditional open cuff format, but like I said, I like alliteration.)

-The no caps thing is something I do with my business name, so I'd like to continue it with the cozy/cuff (as well the font I typically use - century gothic) to have some continuity.  

So what does everyone think - go with cozy/cuff, tweak it a little bit, or come up with something new altogether?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

copyrights and trademarks

Note:  This post is part of my four weeks of marketing project.  I am not an expert on copyright law or trademarks, and I am definitely not a lawyer. 

I just filed for my first copyright with the US Government!  

Although copyrights and trademarks aren't technically part of marketing the cozy/cuff, I wanted to make sure my design was protected, in case my four weeks of marketing pay off so well that suddenly everyone wants to copy the cozy/cuff.  (Dare to dream!)  So I started by researching both copyrights and trademarks, to see which was applicable to me.

Here's a little summary of what I learned: copyright covers "original works of authorship" like books, screenplays, music, and visual arts.  Technically, your work is copyrighted the moment it is created - however, you can protect that copyright by registering with the United States Copyright Office.  If you have a case that would go to court, they will want to see proof of copyright through the US Copyright Office.

It turns out that filing for a copyright is pretty easy.  You fill out a form online, pay your $35 fee, and upload some images of your work.  Then you wait (apparently up to six months).

Now you may be wondering what exactly copyright covers - it basically covers the actual cozy/cuff - its design, materials, and derivations of those.  It does not cover the idea of the cozy/cuff (meaning I couldn't sue every person who made a coffee cup cozy that doubles as a bracelet), just its design.  Copyright also doesn't cover the name cozy/cuff.

That's where trademark comes in.  In order to protect the name cozy/cuff, I have to file for a trademark.  The process is a little more complicated and a lot more expensive (to the tune of $300).  Basically, a trademark protects a name or logo as it pertains to a good or service.  That means if I were to file a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the name cozy/cuff, then no one else could use it for goods in related categories.  (Or something like that, I'm still figuring it out.)

I think I am going to apply for a trademark, but I want to do a little more research first.  $300 is a lot to spend until I know what I'm getting into.

Does anyone out there have any experience with copyrights or trademarks they're willing to share?

another shade of grey

It was so dark here today, that taking pictures wasn't really happening.  But I wanted to give you a sneak peek of today's arrival - the cozy/cuff in a lighter, natural shade of grey.  Not in the shop yet, but soon.  Now I'm off to work on some of my cozy/cuff marketing stuff...

fun with gocco at FIT

Back at the New York Gift Fair, I spoke with some students from the Fashion Institute of Technology's Home Products Development Program.  One of them, Melissa, invited me to speak at one of their home product club meetings - so yesterday I head to Manhattan to give a little presentation.

I wasn't quite sure what I should talk about, but Melissa told me the group responded well to demos.  Hands on is always better, but I knew we'd be in a classroom, not a studio with tools or equipment.  I also wanted to show them something that would be relevant to what they do.  And, the meeting was only an hour long!

In the end, I settled on a gocco demo - and it was a big hit!  I talked about gocco's applications for prototyping and promotional materials and we printed the image below on a bunch of bags.  The students were already talking about buying one for the club (though they are sad that gocco stuff is getting harder to find) and using it for a packaging project they are working on.

Plus, being there inspired my new "promote the cozy/cuff" mission - so all in all, a great day.  (Except for the fact that after the demo, I tried to go to MAD.  Turns out the galleries aren't open on Tuesdays - such a let down.)