We are 15 months into a process that we had counted on taking six months. Maybe eight.
The story you’re about to read, written by my right hand man and SixLeaf’s secret weapon of a COO, Anthony Lee, takes us from ZonBlast 2.0 to where we are today: a new name, a new face, a new platform, and a bigger, more impactful direction.
As you’ll read, getting there was anything but easy. We’ve had our challenges on multiple levels. To paraphrase Murphy’s Law: everything that can go wrong will (and it did).
If I’m being honest, there were temptations on multiple occasions to throw in the towel.
Key team members and my mentors became my rocks on unsteady ground and allowed us to keep our eye on the prize.
Which leads us to today: the launch of SixLeaf.
I debated on whether to be this transparent. ZonBlast was, after all, the first, the best, the mainstay in a methodology that we created. We’re the recognized name in this space. We’ve helped build 7, 8 and even 9 figure brands. We’ve helped household names, Shark Tank contestants, and #1 BodyBuilding.com Brands establish, grow, and scale their presence on Amazon.com.
We couldn’t possibility convey this level of vulnerability, could we?
Anthony suggested, and I agreed, that being this open serves to not only give you an inside look as to the inner motivations and missions that drive us, but it could also help you in building your own Brand or, if necessary rebranding.
Here is our story…
I Am Becoming
The evolution of SixLeaf has been an interesting road, rife with challenges and even peril. I’d venture to say any SAAS startup can be that way, but SixLeaf wasn’t just any startup. We were a RE-startup, transitioning to a rebrand from what we thought was a firmly solid foundation.
I mean, how hard could that be, right?
The decision to rebrand ZonBlast came long before we implemented plans to do just that. Myself, as COO, and our CEO, Joe Junfola, both recognized that providing a single service for a single marketplace, while valuable to the end user, was not going to be scalable.
I mean, think about it. ZonBlast was kind of like a dating service. You use us to rank, then what? You’re ranking organically, making awesome money, so you start to expand, moving to other marketplaces and opportunities. At that point we lose you, right? Essentially we were working ourselves out of jobs.
But, it’s never been about the “jobs” or money. From day one it has been about delivering the best solutions for our clients. It’s been premised on a deep, unwavering desire to help you scale your Brand. We have SO many ideas. Ideas that would help change businesses and lives. Ideas that could, dare I say it, revolutionize our industry in much the same way that ZonBlast did in 2014. We just want to see those ideas come to life.
So that, essentially, lays the foundation for why we decided to rebrand. SixLeaf was to be more than ZonBlast ever was. SixLeaf’s all-encompassing mission would be to help your Brand grow. Not only would it provide more and better solutions for sellers, but it would also give us a “playground” of sorts to test all our ideas and truly refine that which would best serve our clients.
A Bumpy Road
At first we thought we’d leisurely stroll into a rebrand. We’d seen many Amazon-based Brands, clients of our own in many cases, engage in a rebrand effort. We’d seen SAAS platforms larger than us do it well.
ZonBlast was doing well, our clients were making money, we were scaling their Brands massively, we were doing well financially and everyone was happy.
We took our time, and thought we’d start with the most obvious thing; the name. I remember when I decided to really get this project moving forward I spent my entire flight to Hong Kong (16+ hours) brainstorming names. I did background research and laid out brand stories. It was a lot of work. And while it didn’t reveal the perfect name, it got the ball rolling.
We took the list, and eventually the revisions, and brought them to the rest of the team and to our masterminds and beta test groups to find the name that helped people resonate with our vision. The only problem was, we weren’t clear on exactly what that vision was yet either.
Our CEO really took that ball and ran with it. He hunkered down to outline what truly defined us as a company. He had built a successful business that served thousands, yet it grew so fast we never stopped to hammer out fine details like a mission statement or company vision. And what good is a name if it doesn’t MEAN anything? So this was moved to the top of the priority list.
Questions we asked ourselves during this process included:
- How do we ensure the name is unique to our industry and better than the current name?
- How do we preserve the brand equity we’ve built?
- Can we secure trademark, domains, social media, etc
- How can the name represent the major facets of technology and tools that we’d be developing?
- How can we ensure our new brand appropriately represents the channels we’d be expanding into?
From the beginning, we knew we were dropping the “Zon”. We were to be, after all, no longer existing solely for Amazon. And we knew “Blast” wouldn’t be appropriate since our promotional tools would be one of several major tools for the Brand owner.
The mere thought of embarking on this process instilled a bit of a panic.
Nevertheless, we had a list of potential names, and a vague idea of how our positioning might work into our identity. Things were looking up. If only things were so easy.
Trouble in Paradise
Due to inconsolable differences between ZonBlast and its development team which had already begun development on the SixLeaf platform, we had to discontinue working with them. Progress on expanding our existing platform under the new Brand SixLeaf had been incredibly slow and did not meet our expectations. This was possibly the worst time for such a big change, but it was unavoidable.
At this point we had to crank up our efforts to find a new team of developers, or we were going to be toast. You cannot have a SAAS without a development team. After many tense weeks and thousands of dollars spent, we landed on a small team of very capable developers who took on the enormous task of learning about a completely unique business concept and helping us evolve it into greatness. They’d be responsible not just for putting what we do now into a new, robust, scalable, and user-friendly platform, they’d also have to position the platform for the great things to come.
Through this distraction of having to rebuild the essence of our team, we still managed to pull together a cohesive idea of what it meant to serve our market, and come up with a meaningful name.
At the time, we had narrowed the names to InVaro, Clovero, Clover5, Clover6, and SixLeaf.
Varo means “launch” in Italian, allowing us to subtly step away from the narrow scope of ZonBlast. But people might have had problems spelling it (or saying it).
Clover and the variations had been proposed by Joe due to the meaning of rare clovers. Everyone knows a 4 leaf clover means luck. Most don’t know that a 5 leaf clover is said to convey success and fortune, and that a 6 leaf clover conveys fame and notoriety.
But “Clover” was too obvious. What about SixLeaf?
It checked all the boxes
- Easy to say, easy to spell
- Unique to the industry, and trademarkable
- We could easily keep ZonBlast brand equity by ensuring ZonBlast becomes a feature and tool within the SixLeaf suite
- And the name itself conveyed, albeit subtly, our mission: to drive your Brand to fame and fortune
Best of all, it coincided with the 6 major tools that SixLeaf will encompass to provide a high value, holistic platform from which a Brand owner could launch and scale their Brand.
And our mission? We turn Brands into household names.
Ok. That’s a wrap, right?
Not quite. We needed to unleash our designers.
But before our designers could develop proposals, they needed to truly understand our new Brand inside and out.
They needed to see the new Brand personified. And to that end, they asked “if SixLeaf was a person, how would you describe them?”
To which the answer was: innovative, creative, intuitive, expert, forward-thinking, seasoned
With these personified attributes, we now had a base to qualitatively evaluate logos and designs, removing any subjectivity that often exists during branding. At this point we turned to our designers to develop concepts for:
A Brand Board
A Color Scheme
And that was just for the front facing portion of this rebrand. Then there was the development side. See, we brought on new developers, and they learned our code, but they also concluded that there wasn’t anything we could do with it. ZonBlast 2.0 had been built on a foundation that simply didn’t support growth. It worked quite well for what it was intended to do, but there was no building onto it new services.
That meant, we’d have to start from scratch and rebuild the whole platform. So before we could even introduce new services, we’d have to first build the system that provided the services people had already been enjoying from ZonBlast for over a year. We didn’t just have a rebrand, but a true RE-startup on our hands now.
From Front to Back
While our new developers worked diligently on rebuilding our entire platform, using a more robust development environment and creating our tools with fore-knowledge to eliminate errors, the rest of the team was hard at work fleshing out what SixLeaf was to become.
The process was more or less as democratic as it could be. Everything was up for vote to the team and sometimes to our masterminds. Our team really came together to help choose everything from webpage layouts to colors, font types, spacing, logo placements and all the other little details involved with creating a brand with presence. Alongside our public face, we also fleshed out the user stories for the tools and software that we had conceived of almost a year prior. Diligently, every member of our team worked long, arduous hours to make this re-brand/re-startup launch a reality.
We Bring You…
Finally, after a year of careful planning, unforeseeable obstacles, significant challenges and endless diligence, we are prepared to bring you SixLeaf; software solutions for ecommerce sellers who aim to build their brands into household names. These are tools created by sellers for sellers.
We don’t hide under the guise of not being sellers ourselves. Instead, we embrace the fact that we have developed expertise in this industry and have intimate, personal knowledge, of the trials you face as a Brand owner both on Amazon and off. We apply that expertise to develop solutions for our own brands, which ultimately leads to the creation of awesome solutions for everyone else’s.
We’ve worked together to establish a mission of turning brands into household names. This stems from our vision to enhance the world by bolstering small business, the backbone of America, changing the lives of small brand owners, and creating true financial freedom for individuals and families around the world.
Our direction is clear and heading straight into the future with our innovative ideas for growth. With a clear mission, vision, and direction, we feel confident our rebrand is the answer to many common problems faced by ecommerce sellers.
Our company embraces our mission and culture like none other. Even though this was literally a rebrand, we feel at this point, after an arduous year plus, that the mission, our values, and where we are going and where we’re taking our clients with SixLeaf has always been who were were since day 1 of ZonBlast in the summer of 2014.