To get a deeper insight into the story behind Hipster Investments brand we talked with Ali Boone. She is the founder of Hipster Investments, a real estate investment company that opens the door for anyone to invest in real estate. Ali revealed some interesting stories about the origin of the company name, her choice of the domain name, how the pandemic affected her business, and much more.
What is the story behind Hipster Investments?
Hipster got started really organically and unexpectedly. I had started investing in turnkey real estate for myself while I was still working my corporate job, and I was so excited about what I was investing in that I was telling anyone who would listen about it. One thing led to another and a lot of people I had told about it started investing in turnkeys themselves. I then started writing about it all online and a big real estate investing website picked me up and asked me to write for them, so suddenly not only was I referring people I knew personally to the types of deals I was working with, but now I was also referring strangers who found me through the blogs I was writing. Hipster is essentially a referral company, but we grew into also offering on-going support for people’s investment journeys to make it a thorough offer as well as more general mentoring, etc.
When did you start thinking about your company name and how did you settle on Hipster Investments?
In the beginning, I thought all of the referrals I was doing was just a casual thing, eventually becoming a nice side hustle. But at the same time, it was all developing, I had also been trying to figure out how to get out of my corporate job and be my own boss. Suddenly it hit me that essentially I was not much different than a normal real estate agent, and normal real estate agents can make full careers out of the work, so it seemed like maybe this could be my ticket out. Once I organized that thought more and tried to figure out how I could make this a full-time thing, I realized I’d of course need a name for the company.
I kept trying to think of more professional-sounding names, but for some reason, “Hipster” popped in my head, and no matter how hard I tried to shake it, it wouldn’t get out of my thoughts. I’m not even a hipster, so I couldn’t figure out why it was in my head. I then ran the idea by a few people and, as expected, everything thought I had lost my mind. Can’t say I disagreed with them – it seemed crazy to name a company something like that. But no matter how hard I kept trying, Hipster wouldn’t get out of my head. So, I decided to just go with it.
“I then ran the idea by a few people and, as expected, everything thought I had lost my mind. Can’t say I disagreed with them – it seemed crazy to name a company something like that. But no matter how hard I kept trying, Hipster wouldn’t get out of my head. So, I decided to just go with it.”
How did you get the domain name HipsterInvestments.com for your brand? Why did you select that one exactly?
I just tried to match the exact name of the company, and since it’s a pretty off-the-wall company name, the domain was easily available. I’m pretty sure I went through GoDaddy at the time to buy the domain and secure it. I’ve since moved my domains off of GoDaddy, but that seemed to be the most obvious place to start at the time.
How has owning HipsterInvestments.com affected your business? Do you own any other domain names?
The link is a major hub for my business because it showcases exactly what we work with and what resources we offer. In the industry I’m in, as is probably the case with most industries I would imagine, people want to be able to see what you offer before they reach out. Having a primary website for the company, using the company name, is that required piece for us.
“In the industry I’m in, as is probably the case with most industries I would imagine, people want to be able to see what you offer before they reach out. Having a primary website for the company, using the company name, is that required piece for us.”
Also with having a name like Hipster Investments, there needs to be proof that we are a solid, high-quality company. As you can imagine, a company named Hipster Investments could easily go the other direction and be terrible. The website has been crucial in conveying the quality of the company to prospective investors.
Who is your target customer and how is your company name helping in reaching them?
This has actually been the coolest thing out of that intuitive hit to name the company Hipster Investments. The reality is that no business owner can work with everyone, so I figure -why not work with the types of clients that I enjoy working with? The name Hipster Investments has, more than anything else, acted as a client filter… if you will. If someone is so prudish or [snobby] that they frown on the name, they probably aren’t going to be that enjoyable to work with either. The people who reach out to us tend to be positive people, excited about investing, like at least a little bit of adventure, and are most often very enjoyable to work with as our personalities are more similar. Of course, some miserable clients have made it past our “filter”, but I think it’s been so important for me to allow my personality to shine, versus having a professional, stoic business name, so that it attracts the people I may best match with. I feel like I would’ve potentially lost out on a lot of the great clients I’ve met had my company name looked like everyone else’s.
The other way the company’s name has helped in reaching our target clients is that it triggers people to click on it, if for no other reason than total curiosity of “what in the world does Hipster Investments mean?” Because the name looks so out of place in the real estate investing industry, it triggers people to click, and then when they get to the website they can see the quality of the company and gauge whether or not they want to work with us.
How do you keep your brand consistent across different channels online and offline?
I’m actually not very good at this at all! I’m more known for my personal name, as it’s my name attached to things I write, the YouTube videos I create, etc. There’s always been a confusion as to which people connect to more – my name or the company name -and how to best balance that when we’re branding things. I believe at this point my name is more predominant over Hipster’s name, with Hipster really being now more of the support brand while my personal brand tends to run the show. I’m still trying to get clarity on the best brand balance, if I’m being honest!
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
Yes! It’s made business go through the roof! I haven’t been this busy with real estate in… ~4 years or so? Business had slowed some when real estate prices had been going up for a while, so suddenly properties were more expensive. So I’d been dealing with that challenge for a few years when, all of a sudden, a global pandemic triggers people to start investing in properties like crazy. A lot because of how low-interest rates are right now, but then also because of the demand for single-family homes now by people who are stuck working from home and trying to avoid the germs in crowded apartment buildings. Single-family homes are mostly what I work with, in the suburbs, which is where the demand is. For me personally a motivation to invest now too is with the uncertainty of the dollar, there is a lot of added security in owning real estate.
On the contrary of insane investor demand, however, the supply is mega short because of the pandemic. The companies I work with who provide the turnkey properties are very reliant on foreclosures as their primary source of supply. With all the foreclosure moratoriums right now, the foreclosure inventory is extremely low, causing a lot of the providers I work with to either be completely out of inventory or very low on inventory.
Before the pandemic, we had the available inventory but not necessarily all the buyers, and now because of the pandemic, we have all the buyers but we’re low on inventory. Hopefully, once the foreclosures are released, we’ll have a lot of both to balance it back out.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
Admittedly marketing isn’t my strong suit. The best thing I can do, that I know I have to do, is to stay continuous and consistent. If I stop talking, people will stop listening. So I have to keep talking, and I have to keep saying things that are actually helpful for people trying to learn more about the industry I work with.
The most important thing for me that I believe helps with the efficacy of our marketing is my language. I always try to be real, relatable, and transparent. I believe those traits in communication go a long way because people crave those things amidst a world of too much information and not knowing who to trust.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general and when it comes to branding and naming?
Go with your gut. I’m still self-conscious about a name like Hipster Investments, but the idea wouldn’t get out of my head and it’s turned out to be, what I believe, the sole thing that has made the company so successful.
My biggest advice for branding and naming is to be CLEAR. It needs to be blatantly obvious what your company offers with just one click onto the website. People move fast these days, and if they can’t quickly clearly see what it is you offer, they’ll move on to your competitor.
“My biggest advice for branding and naming is to be CLEAR. It needs to be blatantly obvious what your company offers with just one click onto the website. People move fast these days, and if they can’t quickly clearly see what it is you offer, they’ll move on to your competitor.”
Where do you see your business in the future and how does your company name fit into that vision?
I actually see my business growing more around my personal brand than through Hipster’s brand, based on the different things that are currently taking off. For example I just released my first book on Amazon, and while it is a real estate investing book, it’s branded under my personal name and not Hipster’s. I think Hipster will be the sister brand to my personal brand, but it will stay specific to turnkey rental properties whereas a lot of the work I’m doing now in real estate and in business isn’t necessarily specific to turnkeys.
We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. If you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.