I have had several businesses over my career as an artist. Each business name seemed to fit the business at the time, but now looking back some of the names seem lame. For example: I live in an old fashioned red schoolhouse—complete with a belfry. When we moved here I named my studio…. “The Schoolhouse Studio”. Yup. Wow eh? Okay it fit the location. When I started a magazine for Metal Clay artists it needed a name. I agonized over that name. Then I realized “Metal Clay Artist Magazine” fit…most of the time. Some newsstands insisted on putting the magazine in with Ceramics for the first few years and not in jewellery making section. Clearly there was room for improvement on the magazine name. When I had a brick and mortar bead store…the name was simple and clear. Guess what I named it…. wait for it… “The Bead Store”! Despite this clever name I still had people come in and ask what we sold. Ugh. Can’t win maybe?
In researching names of other online shops and how to name a business…I came to the conclusion that some experts are of the opinion that the name doesn’t really matter. Once you are found people will know what you are or do. But in this crazy, huge techno world of online sales how are you to be found?
Then there are those who put a lot of time and thought into their business name. I remember when Sara Blakely, the inventor and company owner of “Spanx” was on the Oprah Winfrey show and talked about choosing her company name. She said that she looked at companies that were successful and noticed the repetition of a hard “K” sound in names such as Coca Cola and Kodak.
“Requiring a brand name for her product, Blakely was frustrated after not being able to settle on a title she was satisfied with after about a year-and-a-half of ideation. At the time of finalizing a brand name, Blakely knew that Coca-Cola and Kodak were the two most recognized brand names in the world, with both containing a strong “k” sound. Blakely read that the founder of Kodak liked the sound so much that he used it as the beginning and end of his brand name and then proceeded to create a functioning word based upon this foundation. Blakely had also been informed by comedienne friends that the “k” sound is a trade secret to ensure laughter from an audience. Then, while sitting in traffic, the name “Spanks” came to Blakely and she decided shortly afterwards that she would replace the “ks” with an “x”, as her research had shown that constructed names were more successful and were also easier to register as a trademark. Blakely then used her credit card to purchase the “Spanx” trademark on the USPTO website for US$350″.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Blakely)
Choosing a name for my business started to give me a headache. And my friends started to have headaches as I queried everyone I knew for feedback or suggestions. Finally one day my mom said, “Why not use *YOUR* name?” Novel idea. But if only I had a cool name like “Coco Channel” or “Pablo Picasso”. “Jeannette Froese LeBlanc”…very long. Maybe just “Jeannette”. Taken. “Just Jeannette” also taken. Whatever brilliant idea I had for a business name..taken, taken, all taken.
Ugh!!! Having my own .com and matching shop name on Etsy was not to be. I was visiting a friend and had nearly worn out my welcome with the stress and agony I was going through to find a business name. It had to be catchy, clever, memorable and short….I was ready to give up. I looked towards her dog and said, (Yes I talk to dogs.) “So Sassy what do you think I should name my online shop?” Her tail wagged. “Brilliant” I said to the dog. “Sassy”…Ugh taken. Then I put in “Sassy and Stella”…fortunately my friend has two dogs! Bing, bing, bing! It was as if a slot machine had lined up 3 cherries and I won the jackpot. “Sassy and Stella”….I could have the .com, the etsy username AND a shop name. Whoo hoo! Is it a good name? Only time will tell. Will I like being at a show with a banner above my head “Sassy and Stella”? Honestly, I’m more comfortable with a made up business name for my art than my own name for some reason. I tried selling my art under my personal name. I felt awkward. But selling my art makes me feel awkward anyways. Anything to do with self promotion makes me feel uncomfortable. When selling at a show I used to feel as if I was standing there naked with my art on display for people to look at, comment on and take away. But…that’s a topic for another day! Right now I’m focusing on learning how to set up an online business and I have a name!
Will this name look silly to me years later? Unknown. But now that I have a name I like I feel I can finally move forward with marketing my jewellery. If you are wondering what my mother thought of this name…she was okay with it…after all I named my business after two dogs. But it is a rather vague name. I will need a tag line. Oy! Here we go again!
How did you pick your business name, are you happy with it, would you change it?
In researching names for businesses I found out that there are resources online such as name generators, stories about business names, even columns where people discuss their online shop names, here are just a few!
Jeannette Froese LeBlanc is the editor at Cre8tiveFire.com and a jewellery artist whose new online shop will be “SassyandStella.com”. When she is not heralding the wonders of jewellery making or chasing her kids, she rearranges her tools and materials in her studio…hoping someday to slow down long enough to get back to her own jewellery line. (And P.S. Jeannette’s dog’s name is “Maisie”. Hopefully she likes naming the new business after two dogs!)