Since dad died last year, I’ve been thinking more and more about focusing my energy on projects in Innsbruck, and on projects where I can contribute to a resilient, sustainable Innsbruck in times of seemingly tumultuous change (all part of my transition thinking). In the summer of 2016, I started playing with the idea of creating a space where I could share my skills and knowledge about starting and running one-woman businesses with other women in Tirol. I called this Catalyst, and as part of my research and thinking process, I created a prototype brand and website and started to collect ideas and feedback.
Overall, the feedback was positive, but my group of women who gave me input all said that they’d like to see some sort of community element to the idea. Shortly thereafter, I went to SA to deal with life, the universe and everything, and over Christmas, I picked up the idea again to see where it might take me.
The result is a new name, a new look and a new focus.
The idea & focus
Thinking about the feedback that I’d received, I realised that an online community would be useful. That was an easy tweak, but the more I thought about it, and the more I researched to see what networking and community events were available to women entrepreneurs in Tirol, the more I realised that there is a great big gap. There seems to be some organisation for women in business, but not specifically for entrepreneurs. So I changed my original idea. Instead of the focus being on my 8-week business school, I made the focus the community. Instead of promoting a single course, I decided to promote the idea of building a community for women entrepreneurs in Tirol that provided learning opportunities (my 8-week course belongs here, as would web courses or short talks and seminars from other experts), and of providing a way of finding support from the community and through 1-to-1 advisory sessions with me.
The result is that the business and focus is about helping women entrepreneurs in Tirol make connections, learn skills, find support and develop the confidence they need to start or grow thriving, flexible businesses that they love.
I love the name Catalyst and I feel that Catalyst Academy has real momentum. The problem is that in my research, I discovered that not only do some native English speakers not know what the word Catalyst means, but it’s not easy to translate or explain in German. Of course, I could have held onto the name and simply educated people as necessary, but I know only too well the importance of keeping things clear and simple.
Additionally, the focus was no longer simply on starting, but on connections, learning and support, with starting and growing a business being only part of the vision.
I needed something that was clearly appealing to women and that emphasised the strength that comes from being in a community. I also needed to steer clear of words that I love but that may be difficult to communicate in German.
After some brainstorming and playing around with English words (popular with a younger, trendier audience) and German words (more gravitas but often long and complicated!), I found myself returning time and again to the idea of women and strength. The end result was “Frauen Power”. The direct translation of this is “woman power”, which sounds rubbish in English, but “Frauen Power” not only slips off the tongue and encapsulates both English and German, but it also allows people to interpret the offering in different ways. For example:
- women are powerful
- a community of women gives power to all women in the community
- strength in numbers
- women have the power to make change happen
And so on.
The evolved idea needed a shiny new look and feel.
For a while, I considered having a simple typographical logo, perhaps with each word in a different colour, but I do like visuals. I considered keeping it simple with a monogram – “FP” – but M was aghast. The initials “FP” in Austria stand for Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, a right-wing party. Being a liberal kind of person, I took that on board and continued playing. After a number of designs and sketches, I tried combining a woman’s face in silhouette with a “P” to symbolise “Frauen Power” without resorting to initials.
I fell in love and this is what we now have:
And the graphic can stand alone within a circle or square, too.
Although I rather liked my Catalyst blue, I felt that Frauen Power needed something warmer, but definitely not pastel pink and lavender! I tried reds and oranges and greens and blues, but kept returning to a deep, warm colour that I shall call “pomegranate”. It’s a tough colour because it doesn’t play nicely with other colours apart from neutrals, so I decided to keep it simple, mixing pomegranate with black, grey and white.
Interestingly, my test group liked a hint of Catalyst blue in combination with the Frauen Power pomegranate and so I’ve introduced this in a few places on the website.
The proposition was quite different and the simple layout that I’d created for Catalyst wasn’t going to work. I took things back to basics and created a simpler site, with easy-to-read text. I’ve used strong images on the home page but again kept things simple on inner pages. The site has an in-built calendar to manage events, as well as a simple members’ area (with nothing in it just yet), a forum and of course, the site appears in German and English thanks to a helpful translator who helps me.
Now I need to pop along to the WKO to register the business. Austria has these strange business “groups” that you have to be part of when you register your business. At present, my business is registered as “Werbeagentur”, which translates to “Advertising Agency” and is so far away from what I do that it’s a joke, but for some reason that’s what website & graphic design falls into. I have absolutely no idea what Frauen Power might fall into, so we’ll see.