When it's Time to Rebrand: The Rubies Home Furnishings Story

 
Kim Smith and Karlyn Pugh

A sweet friend from church approached me a few months ago about designing a new logo for part of one of Laurel’s most beloved stores on 16th Avenue, City Home Center. She knew I did graphic design work, and she allowed me to take part in a dream-turned-reality in the rebranding of the beautiful store that she and her sister own.

This is a conversation I’ve had so many times with friends who own their own business or work for a business in need of a new logo. Sometimes, businesses never liked theirs from the start and just settled on something to meet a deadline. Others need a rebrand but are now too scared to make a change. For some, the nature of their business has changed entirely, and the logo is no longer relevant to what they do.

Name changes and rebrands can be scary, especially when a business has had the same logo for decades. And it’s typical for business owners to question the risk that comes with changing the name, but there’s also a point when the risk of not changing the name becomes greater.

City Home Center

City Home Center

Karlyn Pugh and her sister Kim Smith own, manage, live and breathe City Home Center and the newly-branded store known as Rubies Home Furnishings. Their dad, Larry Loftin, started City Home Center in 2009 as a spinoff of an existing building supply store, City Building Supply, because he realized the demand for flooring options was high in Laurel and the surrounding areas. 

During the first few years in business, City Home Center had an employee with expertise in furniture, so they started selling scratch and dent furniture. This resulted in the expansion into kitchen and bath product lines, then ultimately other furniture and accessories. The increased product lines required more space, which also allowed a natural division in products – flooring, tile and home building supplies would be housed in the existing space, and furniture and home décor would move next door to a space left unoccupied in 2013.

Why Rebrand?

With more space came more opportunity to grow. City Home Center increased products even more to offer bedding, mattresses and custom floral design, meeting a need that many small towns have – a one-stop shop for all things home. At this point, the addition of products also seemed to cause a division of sorts. The clientele for the home décor portion of the business was much different than that of the building supply store. And the two were already separated geographically within the shopping center, so it almost seemed natural to consider changing the name of the home store to something more fitting.

As with any rebrand, the decision wasn’t an easy one. Kim and Karlyn feared changing a brand that they had worked hard to establish, but at the same time, all things pointed to a new name for the home store. A tipping point came when a customer mentioned to Kim that she had to convince her friends to come in the store because they thought it was a store for builders and contractors.  

The Rebrand Process

When Kim and Karlyn contacted me about their idea, I was so thrilled to be a part of such an important project. The name had been decided – Rubies Home Furnishings. Selecting a name is usually the biggest hurdle, so having that out of the way was amazing. With the name, they would pay tribute to their father’s mother, Rubie Sherman, a Proverbs 31 woman. Proverbs 31:10 states, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”

To start, I asked them to go on Pinterest and find a few logos, fonts and colors they liked. They had already decided on a color scheme, and they also gave me two fonts they loved from the beginning, which this made my job much easier. 

They sent me a few ideas, gave me a color scheme, and I came back with several options. They picked the fonts they wanted, the styles they liked and we journeyed through another few versions before finding the perfect logo.

Obstacles

As with any rebrand, there were a few obstacles after the logo design part is over. Essentially, one business was becoming two, so they had to predict and identify what challenges they may experience. Since the clientele was so different for each store, there was a need for two accounts for social media. Since most of their followers were home store shoppers, they were wise to transition the existing City Home Center social media pages to become Rubies Home Furnishings. They created new pages for City Home Center and are now building that following.

Store hours were also challenging to determine. The City Home Center customers are shopping early to prepare for their work days on construction sites. Whereas, most shoppers for Rubies Home Furnishings wouldn’t be getting out until later in the day. And don’t forget the separating of finances, which I imagine was the most challenging part of the process. And, of course, a new phone number for Rubies. Of course, there will probably be months (or even years) of confusion for some, but overall the challenges were minimal.

See, a rebrand isn’t so bad. :)

Today

Today, Rubies now has signage on exterior of the store, by the busy highway, on the doors, bags and product labels. Karlyn says that people constantly mention how much they love the new name, although it’s still taking some getting used to for her. Overall, there are no regrets.

Rubies Home Furnishings

Kim says that the best thing since the rebrand is the reactions of those who knew their grandmother, Mrs. Rubie. The community has affirmed that she would be proud, and that’s the most rewarding part of the whole process.