If you would have asked me last week if I’d ever change the name of my beloved little corner of the internet, I would have probably laughed at you and said, “only if there were lawyers involved!” Well, baby, those lawyers got involved. And they’re the reason for the teardrops on my keyboard (well not my lawyer, she’s awesome and has never made me cry).
I’ll get into the what-happeneds and oh-my-goshes in a few minutes, but I don’t want to bury the lead, so here it is. Back to Her Roots is now Wholefully. And my annoyingly verbose writing about food now lives at wholefully.com.
For at least the time being (and hopefully indefinitely) all the hundreds of thousands of links out there will automagically redirect to wholefully.com. It is not guaranteed that this will stay this way long-term, so pretty please, update any links or bookmarks (do people still use bookmarks?) you have to wholefully.com. You’re swell.
And, now onto the full scoop: I’m not looking to name names or play the blame game here, because, honestly, it’s all been a bit traumatic, and I’m trying to move on, but I do think I owe you lovely, wonderful people an explanation of why this change is happening so abruptly.
Early this year, I started working to get my blog name trademarked. It was something I should have done ages ago, but never felt “big” enough to warrant that kind of legal protection. But at the urging of some of my blogger friends, I went ahead and started the process. Both my attorney and I felt like the trademark was in the bag based on what was already out there.
And then, in late August, we got word that my trademark application had been refused because of likely confusion with an already registered trademark in the health website space (don’t try to figure it out—you probably won’t). Both my attorney and I disagreed with the ruling, and we immediately went to trying to figure out next steps (you have six months to decide if you want to appeal). I personally don’t feel like it was a conflict—and not a single person I’ve talked to felt like it was either—but, alas, no one’s opinion matters in this except for the examining attorney at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The beautiful and crazy thing about the federal government is that pretty much every thing that happens is public record. And when my trademark application was denied, it became public record. Basically, a big ole notice to anyone looking saying, “Hey, the government thinks this random food blogger is infringing on someone’s trademark! Go get her!” And, unfortunately, someone was looking.
We didn’t even get a chance to decide on the appeal or not, because within a few weeks, my Facebook page (with 30,000 of you amazing people) was shut down for trademark infringement, and there were lawyers on the phone threatening legal action if I didn’t immediately cease using my blog name.
I can’t blame the other company. It’s their right to protect their trademark (even though I still don’t agree that I’m infringing—we have since appealed the original decision), but the truth is, I’m just one girl trying to feed her family, and so it’s hard to not feel personally attacked (hence all the tears) when my livelihood is up on the chopping block. But it’s business, and I’m trying to keep that in mind. I wish only the best for the company that is on the other side of this battle. They’re trying to feed their families, too.
We had a whole bunch of options for where to go from there. But only one was realistic. I don’t have a whole legal team. I don’t have thousands of dollars to throw at this. I’m not in the financial situation to just go dark for a few months while I fight this. This is how I pay my mortgage, and I have to try to protect it, and sometimes, the best way to protect something is to walk away from it. Within a few hours, I had decided to walk away from the name Back to Her Roots.
After breaking down to my husband (so many tears), he suggested we clear off a wall and start brainstorming new names. A few hundred sticky notes later, it started to feel like more of an opportunity than a mandate. I loved the old name, but I was given (well, given in the loosest sense of the word) the opportunity to create a name that I felt like fully encompassed what my mission had become.
I started this blog six years ago when I was living in an apartment in the city with my husband. I was training for half marathons and wasn’t sure I’d ever have kids. I was posting about what I ate for breakfast and sharing how much weight I lost over the week. Back then, this website was about me. Hence the “her” part of the name (which, ironically, is the word that is most contested in this whole battle).
As I have grown up (and has my website), it has felt increasingly less about me, and more about you guys. How I can help you. What goodness I can put out into the world for you to use. What questions of yours I can answer. And the more my husband and I brainstormed, the more it became clear that this was a chance to reflect that in a new brand.
I wish I could say that there was some stroke of genius or in-depth strategy behind the name Wholefully, but I can’t give you much more than just to say, it feels right. Like your favorite pair of jeans kind of right. Like the way I feel when I take my first sip of coffee in the morning. Or how the first warm day feels after a cold winter. It feels like home. And when you’re leaving behind a brand you’ve babied for over six years, finding a new home is really, incredibly important.
Within a few hours, I had registered the domain. I snagged the social media usernames. I designed a new logo. And I started the process to make the switch on the backend. And now, here we are. It’s both exciting and terrifying to be here.
I’m gonna go ahead and apologize for the bumpy road we’re on right now (or as my kid says, “rumble bumps”). In an ideal world, I would have had weeks (or even months) to orchestrate a change this massive, but in reality, it had to happen in just a few days. There will be broken links—but hopefully not too many. References to the old name will be slow to fade. You’ll probably be confused for at least the next month when “wholefullyblog” shows up on your Instagram feed, and we’re still having issues with the Facebook page. Bear with me.
The helpers who have come out in support of me during this ordeal have just warmed my heart. Friends, strangers, colleagues, and my family have been bending over backwards to help me through this, and I just can’t even tell you how wonderful it has been to be uplifted and supported. My phone has been lighting up constantly with sweet, kind, and supportive Snapchats (even though I’ve been incredibly cryptic). Seriously, you guys are the best.
I’m not naive. I know there are much worse things in the world than having to change the name of some food blog, but, in my world, this is enormous, and having a support system has been key to getting through it. Thank you to each and every one of you guys. I literally have my dream job, and it’s entirely because of you. Entirely. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars that you all read, comment, and share my content. I owe everything to you. And I’m really excited to go into this next chapter together. Big, tear-filled group hug. Onward and upward!
One last time before I go: update all of your links to wholefully.com. If you already follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, you’ll be automagically following my new accounts. Snapchat does not allow you to change usernames, so you can find me at wholefully. If you weren’t following me already, you can find me on Instagram at wholefullyblog, on Pinterest as wholefully, on Snapchat as wholefully, and on Facebook as Wholefully.