LESSON LEARNED – FINALLY WISED UP … By Maribeth Shanley

IC Brand Logo w_A few months ago, a friend encouraged me to do an Internet search.  The results of that search saddened me for a spell.  After thinking about what I found, however, I determined that, as Jimmy Buffet wrote and sings, “It’s my own damned fault.”

Back in 2003 I founded a clothing brand for women who ride motorcycles called Iron Cowgirls.  (Been riding my own motorcycle for over 30 years.)  I was smart enough to trademark the name and its brand symbol; but, wasn’t smart enough to copy write the lifestyle poem that went with it. Later, I also failed to copy write the ‘Lil Iron Cowgirls lifestyle poem that went with the ‘Lil Iron Cowgirls brand I was creating when the market crashed in 2008.  I had to sell the brand. Everything went with it.

Looking back, I realize I never thought it necessary to copy write them because I believed I would always own Iron Cowgirls and all the elements that went with it, including the lifestyle poems. But, life doesn’t always turn out the way you envision it. So, when I made the decision to sell, I also made the decision to simply close that chapter on my life. I needed to write a new one. Now that I’ve published my first book, I guess that new chapter is beginning to take form.

Prior to selling Iron Cowgirls I managed to place the brand in over 50 Harley Davidson stores across the country as well as in an additional 20 independent motorcycle stores.  I also managed to build a significant Internet business and presence with customers in the U.S. as well as other countries such as Ireland, Japan, Germany and Australia.  In 2008 a young woman, who began working with me, and I were about to take the brand to the Atlanta Merchandise Mart for a show in hopes of attracting the boutique industry.  We had already placed the brand in a few Nashville boutique type stores.  But, none of it was meant to be. The profit that was made in 2007 and the 200% increase in sales began to wither away as the crisis took its toll on the consumer.

During that phase of my life, I think one of the biggest thrills I had was the evening my husband called me from a restaurant in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area where he was having dinner with several colleagues and their client.  When Bob called, he had just come from the cocktail lounge where the group was waiting for a table.  He was facing the entrance when a woman walked in wearing one of my newest tops.  Of course, when he rejoined his group, he took the opportunity to brag to all present while pointing to the woman and her top.

After having to sell the brand, I aimlessly wandered for a long time before stumbling on my ability to write entire stories, culminating with one that is now a 342 page publication.   Sidebar: I was wise enough to copy write the book story with legalzoom.com before looking for a publisher. Chalk one up for growing wiser!

Sadly, the company that bought all the rights to Iron Cowgirls has either disbanded completely or at least walked away from the brand because I haven’t been able to find the clothing line anywhere for several years. Nor can I find evidence that Iron Cowgirls® is still a live and registered trademark.

When I moved from Tennessee to South Carolina I threw out most of my files that contained the paper trail history. I also dumped computer files. I kept only those things that reminded me to be proud of what I created during what seemed like eons ago. I kept T-shirts with the poem printed on the back side, a few jackets, a key chain and ten copies of the poster with the poem printed on them.  I kept nothing, however, to prove I was the creator and author.

In the written world of the Internet, what is left of the Iron Cowgirls are the two lifestyle poems I authored. They’re all over the Internet having been adopted by a ton of people including a young female country singer, not as her own but as her inspiration. Guess I can be proud of inspiring so many people even though they have no idea it was me who did the inspiring.

I recently went on Legal Zoom to see if I could copy write the two poems, but ran into a huge road block. I’d have to hire a lawyer to try and do anything more. Yet, how can I do that because, in a fit of feeling sorry for my loss, I ditched the trail?

I guess the silver lining in this lesson learned is that I now understand why my best girlfriend encouraged me to write my novel, CRACK IN THE WORLD. She was right. I do have a way with words. So, I’m going to leave you and my blog with both poems and hope you enjoy them and find them to be true lifestyle works of art.

Think it’s time to wipe my eyes, blow my nose, pick up this iron cowgirl, guns blazing, and head off into the sunset. And, you know what? It looks like this new sunset is just as dazzling and full of hope and adventure just like the Iron Cowgirls phase of my never-ending journey! Enjoy!

WHO IS THE IRON COWGIRL?
She’s strong willed and Independent.
She’s as beautiful Inside as she is outside.
She’ll Never take no for an answer; and,
When she’s told she can’t do it
Because she’s a girl, she’ll prove
You wrong every time.
She loves the thrill of the ride,
And the Romance of adventure.
She’s you And she’s me; but, most of all,
She Just is!
LONG LIVE THE IRON COWGIRL!

***

‘LIL IRON COWGIRL STORY!
The ‘Lil Iron Cowgirl looks innocent and sweet.
To her parents and those she knows, she’s such a treat.
But don’t be fooled,
She knows who she is and where she’s going.
She’s sharp as a hawk,
From all she’s been taught.
In the presence of a stranger,
She knows when to sense danger.
She dreams of her future and all she can be;
But, most of all, she just wants to be who she knows as ME.
Stand tall ‘Lil Iron Cowgirl… Stand tall!

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Maribeth is the author of CRACK IN THE WORLD published by Second Wind Publishing.  Please visit her website, http://www.maribethshanley.com, where you can read the first chapter of her book.  Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00030]

6 Comments

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6 responses to “LESSON LEARNED – FINALLY WISED UP … By Maribeth Shanley

  1. I’ve seen that second poem! I think it was when we were in Texas. How cool to find out you’re the author.

  2. I learned something new today. When I first wrote this blog I used the word copyright. After a quick search I changed the spelling to copy write. I now find that I’m not the only person confused by the spellings.
    Thanks to Johnathan Crossfield, Storyteller at http://www.jonathancrossfield.com/blog/2008/03/copy-write-versus-copyright.html where Johnathan discusses the confusion.
    I should have left the copyright spelling as it was originally. Copyright means that you are claiming the rights to something you wrote where copy write means you are writing the copy. Oh, well…another lesson learned and now I’m smiling at my new knowledge.

  3. Cynthia

    I had just washed one of my tank tops that I got from you some years ago. I had hung it to dry as I take really good care of it. It looks like new still. I was just thinking I need to look Iron Cowgirl up online and see what new things you have but couldn’t find it as I searched. I did come across the name and poem but they weren’t from you. Sadly to say I did find this page and I’m sorry for all the stuff that has happened. I wish you the best of luck with your book and anything else that you may do. I ride my own Harley and will wear my top even more proudly. God Bless

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