Husband And Wife Partnership Thrives And Survives Copyright Battle
LANGFORD – Good fences make good neighbors, and in a business, partnerships work best when roles are clearly established and understood.
Joe and Renee Eastman are the owners of Talon Signs Ltd., and the husband and wife team has been successfully operating the firm harmoniously since founding the company 10 years ago.
“We had a lot of challenges in the beginning, figuring out what’s his department, what’s my department, and then where we had crossovers,” recalls Renee. “I let him run his department the way that he sees fit and I try not to interfere as much as possible. And it’s the same for mine.”
“I work on the business end of things, a little bit of project management, and on-site stuff on construction sites,” she adds. “Joe does the manufacturing and a lot more customer service work than I do. And it’s kind of funny how little we can communicate sometimes about certain things. Sometimes I still have no idea what he’s working on.”
Talon Signs designs, manufactures, and installs signage across Vancouver Island and throughout the province. That includes custom signs and vehicle wraps – “basically any visual advertising or branding that a company would need,” says Renee.
With a background in construction management, Renee convinced her husband Joe to quit his manufacturing job of 26 years a decade ago to start Talon Signs. Renee has vivid memories of their first major project: two large LED screens at City Center Park.
“We were pretty green, fresh into it,” she remembers. “We knew the industry, but when you’re standing on your own two feet, not relying on a large company behind you, it’s a little different.
We had installed this type of sign before, but we had never done it at this magnitude.
“The signs were so large and of such a high value that we couldn’t have a freight company bring them up to us. We had ordered them directly from a company out of China and brought them through another company out of California. I had to fly our guys down to California, rent a U-Haul van, stuff the components in the van and drive it up over the border.”
Talon Signs recently endured a legal battle with a large multi-national corporation out of the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia that was wanting to enter the Canadian market and had a similar name.
“They are definitely much bigger than we are, but we were here with a Trademarked name first,” she notes. “We managed to negotiate a get along agreement where they know their area, they understand that we have senior usage of this trademark in Canada, and we’ve established what each person’s primary business is and different ideas for how we can differentiate ourselves in the market.”
From this experience, she warns others to keep social media and websites updated with the latest company news, which establishes the length of time in business and services provided.
“If we had done that more, we wouldn’t have had to maybe defend ourselves as much to prove that we’ve been doing this for a long time.”
Renee’s background in team sports has helped her develop and maintain a positive attitude that has served her well in the business world.
“Having a positive attitude is so critical because there’s going to be so many challenges, and if your base or default is positivity, it can help people out, whether it’s your own staff, business partner or customers,” she states.