Reflecting on former business name – the once and for all answer!

I know this is going to read a little strange, but I have decided to explain once and for all why my business was formally called Massages For Pirates. I guess I could have explained the reasons of it; but I felt at the time that it would have revealed some very personal information which might have changed the way I was perceived. I was waiting until I reached that point of hindsight when I would be able to explain it properly; which happened from the moment of deciding to change my business name. So here are the top 5 reasons why:

Life Before Self Employment:

Before I had even started writing my business plan, I was in a place in my life where I had failed my 5th probation. I was absolutely devastated. I had really pulled out all the stops that to make sure that I would pass. Sadly, all my efforts ended up blowing up in my face. The evening that I found out that I had been let go, mum had suggested that I go to London to see my cousin. So straight after that phone call, I took the train to London and I crashed at a B&B; as there was no transport to get to my cousins house because it was so late at night. The weird thing was, as sad as I was, my mood had lifted instantly all due to the change of environment. The following day, I took the train back home to Scotland to lick my wounds. When I got back to Cardiff, that is when I decided to reach out to the Prince’s Trust so they could help me write my business plan. Losing another job was not the only thing that was going on; my physical health took a bit of a nasty turn where a chest infection became bronchitis and then led to asthma. It was bad enough being depressed; it was even worse when I could not laugh properly because it was too physically painful. I couldn’t even have a sense of humour about my despair. However, I am going to shorten this story by saying that I spent that year writing my business plan, getting my health back on track and then going to launch group at the Prince’s Trust and they said yes to my business plan.

What has massages got to do with pirates?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Massages For Pirates was the only name I could come up with at the time until further notice. If I had called my business say Sarah McHarg Therapies, I would have been asked, why would I come to you? What makes you so special? (and yeah, most people say you with that sneer sour faced tone)  One of the criteria for writing my business plan was to create a USP (unique selling point). They asked for it to be unique, they never said for it to be understood. If being understood was so important, they should make it Understood Selling Point. But then they would say, oh, that part is implied. And I say, well, just exactly where did implied information get anyone? That’s right, nowhere.

Unique Environment:

I felt that by changing the name, it would change the environment of how I interacted with customers. When I look at most holistic therapy companies, they all kind of look the same. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but I just didn’t like the idea of having to fit my personality around the occupation. I wanted to create something where the occupation fits my personality.

Social Navigation Strategy:

From a person who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, it gave me the opportunity to create social navigation strategy. What I mean by that if my business name was under something that sounded like every other holistic therapy company, I would have to mould my personality to what the customer would expect from that kind of environment. I didn’t want to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t and then after work I would have to go home, take a 4 hour nap which would then mess up my body clock and then I would be in a bad mood. When it came to Massages For Pirates I could be banterous and quirky and fun and I would be perceived correctly. When I first put this plan together, all my treatments had pirate names which represented the type of pressure that a customer would want. I did this because I found in my previous experience that customers would not tell me if the pressure was too little or too much during a treatment; so this was a formula for me to know what they wanted without me having to ask them.

Defensive Trading:

At the time, I didn’t realise how abrasive this name came across. I just saw that Massages For Pirates had reflected where my heart was at the time. I was in a fighting back, stick-it-to-the-man mode because I had been so hurt about being unemployable. Where it became more defensive was that I got sick of people asking me why Massages For Pirates? (but they wouldn’t ask in the genuine curious way, it was the sneer sour faced way) By this point, I was already an award-winning business, I had had my interview with ITV News Wales and Virgin Media Business, 5 star reviews on the Treatwell website and had been shortlisted for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Great Britain. So despite the proven track record, why do people still need to know this? I had forgotten though that they wouldn’t know such information; so it got my back up and as a result, it took the joy away from me trading under this name to the point where I felt that I was being backed into a corner by pirates. I also forgot that the majority of people don’t live under the mentality of ‘well, if I don’t understand it, then it must be wrong’. By this point, I just felt that it was time to let the name go; I do not want to have to fight anymore just to be taken seriously. However, I would like to thank those who did because it shoved my into something that I love even more, which is Super Calming and Holistic. This is the happiest and most at peace that I have been in a very, very long time.


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