Two and a half years ago, I spent my life savings on printing the first issue of the magazine.  Just weeks after it was printed and ready to be sent to distribution, I got a cease and desist letter from a big publisher telling me that my title was too similar to theirs. This was like me —the tiny almost non-existent guppy— getting eaten by a giant whale.  I was, to say the least, devastated.  I had done my research.  I did a trademark search, applied for a trademark on my title before press, printed the magazine in April, started the SW blog in May, got this letter in June.  I didn’t even know what a cease and desist letter was! I’m a glass half full person, but that day, I thought that the world was ending.  How was I going to pay for a lawyer against these big guys?  How was I going to afford to change our title?  Pay to reprint the magazine?  Tell our distributors we needed to stop everything right when it was getting off the ground?   I remember hitting rock bottom with all these thoughts, crying my eyes out to my husband and family, and resolving to…  make it work.  WHAT!?  Make it work!?  Was I crazy!?  Yes.  And apparently dedicated.  I surprised myself.  That was a moment I’ll never forget.  That was the moment I knew I was supposed to be doing this. There’s a lot I can’t write in this blog post.  But, when people ask me what I’m most proud of in business, it’s getting through that mess.  Honestly, I feel that if I can get through that, I can get through anything. So, we changed our title, applied for a new trademark, and resolved to blow the premiere issue out of the water.  Having someone try to squash me just made me more motivated in the end.  But, the fun didn’t stop there.  Our new trademark - which my lawyer swore would get approved - was rejected the day we went to print for the January 2009 issue.  No, I’m not kidding.  My response to said expensive lawyer on the phone- We’re sitting in the printer’s office proofing final pages.  Appeal it.  We’re printing this thing!  You wonder why I’ve done so much in the last two short years or how I’ve had the energy?  This was a big factor.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could rise above all of this. Just a few months after our premiere issue launched, expensive lawyer sent me this email:  Dear Lara — After the particularly difficult journey we have traveled, I am very pleased to forward a copy of the trademark registration certificate for your SOUTHERN WEDDINGS trademark!  After over a year of battling, I finally won.  I cried happy tears as this whole ordeal flooded back into my memory.  Holding a piece of paper never felt so good.  In finishing V3, I got most excited to place that little r with the circle around it.  In my mind it stands for ROCK ON! I GOT THROUGH IT! And then, today, because of a single word, we’re having to reprint a portion of V3.  No, this is nothing I would have previously thought of and none of us would have even thought would be a problem, but things like this happen.  Unfortunately, they happen to self-published magazines like ours.  So, after excusing myself to have a good cry out of the office, we’re pushing forward with strength.  While this is a huge deal at the printer to pull pages, reprint, bind, etc., we will thankfully still be right on time with distribution and get our copies late next week.  You may think this would break me.  Not so.  Not even a question.  I’m writing this with a smile on my face.  I’d rather reap the rewards from what challenges can bring than wallowing in them.  Life is too short.  You have to be prepared for anything.  Thank you, friends, who prayed through this with me today.  I love you.  I know God designs these things in our lives for a reason and I know I am supposed to be sharing this issue with the world.  It’s not just a magazine about weddings.  It is about authentic love.  That, to me, is worth working very hard for.  Tonight I’ll be speaking to 50 young women, the Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors.  In spite of this -and because of it-  I’m feeling that renewed spark.  That “let’s blow this out of the water” spark.  I look forward to instilling the same in them this evening. photo above - my trademark registration certificate as shielded by a phrase I live by daily.

Two and a half years ago, I spent my life savings on printing the first issue of the magazine.  Just weeks after it was printed and ready to be sent to distribution, I got a cease and desist letter from a big publisher telling me that my title was too similar to theirs. This was like me —the tiny almost non-existent guppy— getting eaten by a giant whale.  I was, to say the least, devastated.  I had done my research.  I did a trademark search, applied for a trademark on my title before press, printed the magazine in April, started the SW blog in May, got this letter in June.  I didn’t even know what a cease and desist letter was!

I’m a glass half full person, but that day, I thought that the world was ending.  How was I going to pay for a lawyer against these big guys?  How was I going to afford to change our title?  Pay to reprint the magazine?  Tell our distributors we needed to stop everything right when it was getting off the ground?  

I remember hitting rock bottom with all these thoughts, crying my eyes out to my husband and family, and resolving to…  make it work.  WHAT!?  Make it work!?  Was I crazy!?  Yes.  And apparently dedicated.  I surprised myself.  That was a moment I’ll never forget.  That was the moment I knew I was supposed to be doing this.

There’s a lot I can’t write in this blog post.  But, when people ask me what I’m most proud of in business, it’s getting through that mess.  Honestly, I feel that if I can get through that, I can get through anything.

So, we changed our title, applied for a new trademark, and resolved to blow the premiere issue out of the water.  Having someone try to squash me just made me more motivated in the end.  But, the fun didn’t stop there.  Our new trademark - which my lawyer swore would get approved - was rejected the day we went to print for the January 2009 issue.  No, I’m not kidding.  My response to said expensive lawyer on the phone- We’re sitting in the printer’s office proofing final pages.  Appeal it.  We’re printing this thing!  You wonder why I’ve done so much in the last two short years or how I’ve had the energy?  This was a big factor.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could rise above all of this.

Just a few months after our premiere issue launched, expensive lawyer sent me this email:  Dear Lara — After the particularly difficult journey we have traveled, I am very pleased to forward a copy of the trademark registration certificate for your SOUTHERN WEDDINGS trademark!  After over a year of battling, I finally won.  I cried happy tears as this whole ordeal flooded back into my memory.  Holding a piece of paper never felt so good.  In finishing V3, I got most excited to place that little r with the circle around it.  In my mind it stands for ROCK ON! I GOT THROUGH IT!

And then, today, because of a single word, we’re having to reprint a portion of V3.  No, this is nothing I would have previously thought of and none of us would have even thought would be a problem, but things like this happen.  Unfortunately, they happen to self-published magazines like ours.  So, after excusing myself to have a good cry out of the office, we’re pushing forward with strength.  While this is a huge deal at the printer to pull pages, reprint, bind, etc., we will thankfully still be right on time with distribution and get our copies late next week.

You may think this would break me.  Not so.  Not even a question.  I’m writing this with a smile on my face.  I’d rather reap the rewards from what challenges can bring than wallowing in them.  Life is too short.  You have to be prepared for anything.  Thank you, friends, who prayed through this with me today.  I love you.  I know God designs these things in our lives for a reason and I know I am supposed to be sharing this issue with the world.  It’s not just a magazine about weddings.  It is about authentic love.  That, to me, is worth working very hard for. 

Tonight I’ll be speaking to 50 young women, the Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors.  In spite of this -and because of it-  I’m feeling that renewed spark.  That “let’s blow this out of the water” spark.  I look forward to instilling the same in them this evening.

photo above - my trademark registration certificate as shielded by a phrase I live by daily.

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