So you’ve decided to turn your creative hobby into a business, and share your personal flair for design with the world. Great for you! You probably have a selling forum in mind like Etsy, BigCartel, DaWanda or eBay . You’ve snapped a few photos of your gorgeous handiwork and are poised at your computer ready to list, giddy with the anticipation of selling your first item.
But wait. Take a moment to put the brakes on, stop to breathe and come back down to earth. You’ve got some serious work to do before you even list a single thing online, the most important being your choice of a business name.
Nothing is more important in the beginning stages of your indiepreneurship than choosing your name. Contrary to Shakespearean legend, a rose by any other name, in this case, will not smell as sweet.
The name you choose is the most important link to the impression your business gives to the world, your brand. Not only make it great, but make it work for you. Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a name:
- You may have been shopping on any one of these forums for some times now, absorbing a little info as you go. Have you ever seen a seller with a name like “boopykins1977”? Not the most brandable or memorable name right? Choose wisely; don’t simply use your buyer name.
- Start by making a list of names you like that fit with your product. Survey your friends and family on the name. Does it read well? Is it memorable?
- Make sure your name fits well with your future plans. Do you sell jewelry and plan to offer your brand of funky tote bags one day? Don’t choose a name like “Pretty Posies Jewelry”. Think “Pretty Posies Designs” or “Pretty Posies Accessories” instead. Make sure you give yourself room to grow, if you plan to branch out one day.
- Will the name still sound great to you in five years? Ten years? You might like the sound of an edgy name now, but will it translate well as you mature and your business grows?
- Does the name convey something important about your business? Are you funny, quirky, serious, moody, clever? Choose a name that fits you as well as your brand.
- What is your story? For Indie designers in particular, one large advantage we hold is the human connection we have with other designers, customers and press. Making your name fit with your personal story is a wonderful tool to use in setting yourself apart. For example, I chose the name Liebling for my line of jewelry for very specific reasons. I come from a German background, getting my craftiness from my mom’s German side of the family so naturally I wanted a German word to represent me. After thinking about it and sleeping on it for days, I realized what I really want is for someone to find their next favorite thing in my shop, something they find darling and will cherish. Liebling, the German word for “darling” or “favorite” was the perfect choice. Think about your story, and how your name ties in with your history and what has brought you to be the creative person you are.
- Most importantly, you’ll have to do a national search for other companies using the same name. You can do this by checking internet domain names (you may also want to set up your own site one day, so make sure the name is available and possibly even reserve it now). You’ll also want to check with your state to see if another company has trademarked your name of choice. You’ll have to register the name with your state, obtain any applicable licenses and permits, and advertise your assumed name in a local paper. You don’t want to pay a small fortune for new cards, letterhead, checks and promotional items only to discover you can’t legally use your name of choice. Check first.
Now, you’re ready to open up your shop and start listing your fabulous items. Get ready, hold on and don’t let go of your dream! You’ve got a long road ahead of you but we’re here to help. Check back weekly for tips and tricks on marketing, taking great photos, finding your niche and more tips for crafting your life.