The very first thing to do is to give your business a name. Even if you don’t have your store set up yet or are still thinking through the whys and wherefores of starting your own business, it’s good to have a name for the business. Just the process of choosing a name will help to focus your mind and distill some ideas. Giving your business a name will help to make it feel more real and, of course, it’s fun!
“Screw it, Let’s do it!” Richard Branson
How to Choose Your Business Name
Choosing the name of your business is one of the fun parts of starting out selling your handmade products, however it is also one of the most difficult! Your business name needs to be easy to remember, stand out in a crowd, sum up what you do and be unique to you –wow!
You will be using this name as the keystone of your branding; in your store, your blog, social media and beyond, therefore it is important that you get it right. While, of course, you can change your name after you have got going, you will have the inconvenience of having to change all your graphics and other information etc. as well as inform your customers and followers throughout cyberspace of your new name.
One Name – One Identity
It is a good idea for you to use the same name for all aspects of your business life. As selling handmade products today is so heavily dependent on the Internet and being online in different venues, you need to consider using your business name for your blog and your social media presence, as well as your online stores. You want people to find you, remember you and identify with you, therefore having the same name throughout the various online venues will help to brand your business and give you a single identity.
This is why choosing the right name from the outset is so important and why you should research your name both on the handmade marketplace platforms AND the blogosphere and popular social media sites before you start. Plus check out whether the domain is available so you can have the option of building your own website.
Tip: Even if you are not ready to build a website or self hosted blog now, it is worth buying the domain name so you have it ready for when you want to build your own site in the future.
Domain Name Help
Here’s a fun way to come up with ideas for your business name AND make sure that the domain name is available (there’s nothing more frustrating than coming up with the best name ever and then finding that the website url or domain isn’t available). These sites will make suggestions and check the domain availability:
The Legalities of Choosing a Name
There are some legal aspects to consider when choosing a company name. Not least the fact you need to make sure you don’t infringe any trademarks. You also need to be sure that your name cannot cause any confusion or suggest to people that you are connected to another business. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a useful trademark search facility which you can find at http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp.
But My Chosen Name Isn’t Available 🙁
There are some names which are popular and you will find that what ever combination you look for, there’s just nothing available. You might find this on Etsy, other stores and also when you look for a domain url. You might be tempted to differentiate your name by adding ‘the’ or ‘store’ to the main body of the name. This might work if your business and the business which is using the name are in two completely different product areas, but if you both sell the same product you will confuse the potential customer as well as leave yourself open to a trademark infringement claim. Here’s an example, if your chosen name is Pink Bunny Slippers, and you make baby slippers and another company is using the name and makes slippers, you’d be asking for trouble if you started using the name Pink Bunny Slippers Store. The original company would have a claim against you, and rightly so. In this instances, you are better off to take a deep breath and try something else.
Tips for Choosing Your Business Name
Here are some points to consider when you are deciding on your business name:
- Your own name – using your own name has several advantages, and disadvantages. If you have a ‘name’ in your field or want to build your brand around your name then obviously using your name is going to be key. One reason why you may not want to use your own name is for privacy reasons.
- Easy to remember – there are hundreds of thousands of sellers selling handmade items. You want your name not only to stand out but to be easily remembered. Think of a name that is snappy and short – these are easier for customers to remember.
- Easy to spell – this is so important! Make sure that your business name isn’t easy to misspell. Also make sure that when a multi-word name is written down without spaces (as it will be in a URL), the letters do not combine to make any inappropriate, funny or rude word. You may have heard of the website for the pen company, Pen Island (put the two words together and you get a very different meaning) which may have created a highly memorable name – but not for the right reason!
- Sums up what you do – this is tricky. You want your name to sum up what you do now, but you don’t want to be limiting any future growth or development. Therefore a name such as Great Crochet Slippers may be a fab name for now, but what happens if you develop your range of crochet items? Tip: If you want to leave the door open for future development into new and different areas, why not add something like ‘and more’ to your name.
- Looks good – try typing your short list of names in different fonts and in different styles and see what it looks like. Imagine it on a store banner – does it look good? Can you create a logo from it (for example by using the initials)? This isn’t necessary, but it’s sure going to be useful when trying to pull all of the different strands of your marketing initiatives together and build your brand identity.
- Unique – try and find a name that is unique to you. You will find there are some names that are all variations on a theme and, while they are great names, if you have to explain to people which version you are, it’s not going to stand out.