12308794_10153819449244885_9157031618141620448_nA few months ago, I had the honor of being one of 130 women photographed in a little black dress for an exhibit coming to the Missouri History Museum.

This honor had another layer of significance for me because of my company’s name: Black Dress Partners, a name that has always been a conversation starter. Clients (especially male clients, who, by the way, make up a third of our client list) have questions about how I arrived at my business moniker; after all, it does resonate most soundly with women. And that is on purpose.

I’ve always enjoyed working with women business owners…and when it came time to narrow my consultancy focus that was the segment I chose. As a female business owner, I intimately know the challenges my clients face—and can attack them from a unique perspective. I also know that the women who own businesses in St. Louis are severely underserved. So, as I set about naming my consulting company, I knew I wanted something strong, but not pedestrian.  Does the market really need another Excel Coaching? Please. I tried naming the company myself with dismal results (Key Women Consulting…c’mon Erin, really?) Then, I hired a naming consultant and the fun really began.

We made lists and lists of words and terms that inspired me, and that spoke to my market. The term “black dress” made the list…soon, it was the only term left on the list. I loved the nod to profitability—i.e., being “in the black”. I loved the idea that the black dress is such a versatile and foundational piece. It’s a go-to piece.  And that’s who we are for our clients—a strong, foundational, versatile, go-to company that helps clients build profitable organizations. I added “Partners” because that is what I wanted to become for my clients—a partner on their growth journey.

And, if you’re wondering, yes, I had on a black dress the day that I named my company. A black dress with a pink flower, in fact. I remember because I had just come from a big meeting at Washington University and I was one of five women in a room of 300 people. A few of those 295 men ended up becoming clients—and they don’t seem to mind that the word dress is in the company name. They are focused on what we can do, have done, and will do for them. They just want to grow their businesses. Want to talk about how we can work together to grow yours?