It's our business name and a little play on words that we worked up to incorporate our family and a little description of our style. After people meet us and discover that Melissa is not, in fact, named Melissa J. Koko, we get asked questions about the name's origin, or what the "J" stands for. Things like that. So we'll fill you in.
When we were changing over from "The Sweet Spot Photography," we wanted to make sure we had a name that was unique, that stood out, and could not be closely duplicated. My name, "Koko" has always been unique and catches people's ears. So we teetered on names like "Melissa and Koko Photography" and things kind of right on the nose like that. It didn't quite fit and seemed a little too bland when the goal was to stand out a bit. Plus, in the course of our business, our business logo has always alluded to our kids in some way, as they are a major part in our inspiration. With the old sweet spot logo, we had a winged crest that had 4 symbols in it which each one of us selected. Melissa's was a key, to match a key tattoo she has which has some personal symbolism. I had the Old English "i" for my tattoo of my favorite band who've given me inspiration throughout different points in my life. Mason selected a pirate ship, since pirates were his thing at that stage in his life. And Mia had a princess crown, because, well, princesses! Micah wasn't born yet when that was designed, so the addition of him in the family kind of brought on the idea of re-making the logo and then ultimately rebranding. So we talked about how we might work them in. We came up with the idea of using the letter "J" as the middle initial in the new name since all 3 of our kids have a "J" middle name. That seemed to be the right fit. It still set the name apart and included the family how we had hoped.
We weren't quite finished there, though. At the time, we found ourselves explaining regularly that we were a studio that operated using natural light alone. So we added "Natural Light Photography" to the end of the name for a bit of added understanding of what people were to expect with us. We rolled with that name for a while and we felt like we were reaching people appropriately. People would ask us about our natural light work and it attracted people who liked that style. But then came a little shift in direction.
Melissa kind of stumbled on the idea of at home "Lifestyle Movies" for families and started investigating and studying how to accomplish that here. We really loved the idea of adding them into what we do every day and having something new, different, and meaningful to offer families in and around Las Cruces. That was just the beginning of the changes we started incorporating into our work. Our education is always ongoing, through online classes, workshops, photography books, etc. Our style began to change, and we were no longer simply a natural light studio. The name was becoming less and less appropriate. A new shift was needed.
Of course, we wanted to keep "Melissa J. Koko" and there was no real point in changing that part. But "Natural Light Photography" had to go. We were doing so much more. We worked out an addition that we figured finally worked in exactly what we do. We called our movies "Films" and we've always enjoyed shooting portraits of all kinds. Melissa J. Koko Film + Portrait was it. It worked in, not only our home movies, but also was a sneaky allusion to the kind of photographic style you'd expect to see in our portrait work. We like the old school, film look and have moved that direction in our editing style. Perhaps you've noticed? We love where we've arrived and we feel like we've reached a point in our business that we are putting out work authentic to our style, as well as having found ourselves more as individuals. We emerged with our name and work, and decided that we had to revamp everything like our website, facebook, search engine listing, blog, instagram, etc... to match our unique style, and personalities. We have finally learned the lesson that it wasn't about being who we thought we were expected to be, but instead to be true to ourselves and put that out into the world. At long last, I think we're there. Looking back now, it seems so obvious. But it took getting the name right first to push us in the right direction.
So there is the REALLY long version of how we got our name, what it means and represents. It seems crazy that something as simple as our business name has so much behind it, but I guess that's part of who we are. It's our job to pay attention to detail anyway, right? Right.