How to Choose the Perfect Name for Your Business
First comes the idea, then comes the name, then comes the Boss Babe living out her dream. Choosing a name is one of the first things an entrepreneur does when she’s looking to start her own venture.
The process of finalizing a name is a right of passage and it’s such a nice feeling when you know you’re ready for the next steps. We asked boss babes we know personally as well as ladies in The Rising Tide Society, Creative Lady Collective, and our local chapter RTS (Tuesdays Together Tampa Bay) for their stories on how they chose their business name. We got hundreds of amazing responses and it was fantastic to get to read through them and see both the patterns we all go through as well as some of the really unique & personal ways that people have found their perfect name.
Special thanks to each of the women who submitted their story & those who let us share theirs below. Stay boss. xx
Jen Jacobs | Wandering Whisk Bakeshop
"I love to travel & bake. Many of my sweets are inspired by desserts & flavors I've had while traveling. So I combined the two things I love most and Wandering Whisk Bakeshop was born."
St. Petersburg, FL
Gabrielle Rivera | Gabrielle Elyse Photography
"I started with my first name, and then at the time I started the business we only had our daughter (now we have a son, too), so I took her middle name."
Anna Morawski | White Street Events
"I had the HARDEST time choosing my business name. One day, I was heading home, and I noticed the name of the street that I live off (White Street). I thought it sounded so pretty, yet simple, and it just clicked."
Rana Mohammadian Tierney | Roohi Photography
"The name Roohi is my mom's maiden name. It's Persian and I was born in Iran, so I wanted to incorporate my culture in my name. “Roo” means soul.. so it was fitting since I what I do is from the soul."
St. Petersburg, FL
Ellie Bagels | Ellie Makes Things
"I wanted it to be simple, to the point, and explain my business while also avoiding that pesky 'so what do you do?' question that we all loathe!"
Becca Mathews | Naturally Vivid Photography
"I made LOTS of lists. Lists of words that described my style of photography, lists of words that described the way I shoot, the way I design my sessions, the way I edit, and lists of words that describe how I wanted my clients to describe my images and session experience. After mulling over all these words and descriptions, I landed on Naturally Vivid Photography."
Union Bridge, MD
Brittany Norman | Ellison Made
"I'd love to say I had an epiphany, but my business is named after a combination of my middle and maiden name put together, but I loved the mash-up so much it is actually our oldest child's middle name as well. And the latter portion, well I make things; thus Ellison (Elise + Peterson) Made."
Ashley Johns | Made by Grace and Co.
"I chose it after sitting with my husband for 3 hours trying to come up with something witty and cute that reflected me as an individual and also wanting to incorporate my faith and or kids. After getting a tad discouraged, I was sitting on my bed and heard it clear as day… Made by Grace and Co. My relationship with Christ is important to me so once I heard that, I knew my business was my purpose when the name was given. Long story, but that's how it came about."
Melanie Goodchild Barker | Chantilly Chic Celebrations
"We started off by picking adjectives that described us personally and then came up with our name (Classy, friendly and fun = Chantilly Chic Celebrations). Some other entrepreneurs suggested getting a group of friends together to have a few drinks and start thinking…. I will not confirm or deny… however, it’s a fun process to come up with a name."
Christine Meyer | Wind and Gold Photography
"My photography business is called Wind and Gold Photography, which is based off of the quote from Henry David Thoreau's Walden, "Autumn came with wind and gold”. Walden is all about appreciating the simplicities and natural beauty of our world. I wanted to reflect this same thinking into the photos I produce. I want clients to feel beautiful, independent, strong, and connected to the world while looking at their photos. My goal is for them to see their identity and purpose through the stories that my photos convey, similarly to the journey told in Walden."
Kasey Kyprianou | revelry + heart
"Oh my god, this took me years. Literally. I thought I finally had it when I chose "Yours Truly" as I design stationery and it is a heart-filled way to sign off a letter. I brought it to my lawyer and he told me The Knot had it trademarked up and down every which way. I was deflated. I chose revelry + heart because my business is rooted in celebrations (especially fun, loud ones with alcohol!) and yet, I wanted to keep the intimacy that comes from designing custom products for weddings. My brand archetype is lover, so it suited me well."
Melissa Mudd | makeme
"Here's the story of how the name makeme stuck. 1) I've always been a fan of alliteration. My name is mELISSA mUDD for pete's sake! Besides, repeated first letters are memorable, they feel playful, and are frankly fun to say. 2) We paid particular attention to word choice and connotations when making our final decisions for the brand. We steered clear of the word "art" (especially with a CAPITAL A) to signal an approachability to our studio. I've always had a very egalitarian, ”anyone can do this" philosophy of art education and it was imperative for our studio (and therefore its name) to reflect that. 3) Additionally, we fell in love with the name "makeme" for its flirtatious sass and active word choice & implication. We kept thinking, don't some projects just scream "make me!?” 5) The designer in me loved the idea of the logo being lower case (again, approachability) and all sandwiched together in one word. It's chunky, humble, and unassuming (kind of like myself, haha) and I still love it almost 4 years later."
St. Petersburg, FL
Amy Brown | sea sage
"I decided on sea sage by happenstance. When creating my business, I knew I always wanted a name to reflect on where I most commonly drew my influences and inspirations from. After many names and hours wracking my brain about which monikers could symbolize my aesthetic and vision, I discovered it was right there all along — the name of the street I grew up on! Perfectly fitting for an tropical island inspired brand, sea sage was established and celebrates what makes the Turks and Caicos so unique."
Darla Carrera | Doe & Deer Photography
"I wanted something other than my name. My name means “dear”, and I’m a mom, as well as a child photographer. I simply changed the spelling and that is how Doe & Deer Photography was born!"
Gold Coast, Australia
Jeanette Meneses | Emma J Photography
"Choosing my business name may sound simple, but in reality it was actually pretty challenging. I really wanted to use my full name but it’s so long that my full name plus ‘photography’ at the end would have been too many letters. Then I thought, maybe I should do ‘Jeanette M Photography, but honestly that didn't seem like it fit my brand enough. Sounds weird because it's my name, but I thought “what if I do my initials?”, but JM also didn't seem to fit my brand. I ended up flipped my initials backwards and doing a spin off of the ‘M’ with ‘Emma’ and that's how Emma J Photography came about!"
Caitlin Brown | Moveable Mess
"I started my site as a blog when my boyfriend and I moved across the pond. I was inspired by Hemingway's expatriate memoir “A Moveable Feast” about his time living in Paris. But I'm also very messy: as an artist, I don't mind getting covered in paint. I also buck against the "perfect life" portrayed by many bloggers and embrace a more "life is messy" attitude. Moveable Mess was perfect and the name moved with me as I transitioned the blog to my illustration and wedding stationery business."
Brianna McKinley | Three Gingers Baking Co.
"Our business is Three Gingers Baking Co. because myself and my two children are all gingers. My son is the darkest redhead, then me, then my daughter. We all work in our home bakery and everyone loves our name and our branding which is three various shades of watercolor ginger fox heads over a pie. Our branding is all forest, forest creatures, and natural themes as we try to bake with organic ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavors. Now our tag line is Nevada County's Foxiest Bakery and our hashtag is #findthefoxes since we do popups. :) We’re having a lot of fun incorporating our brand into every aspect of our business."
Penn Valley, California
Danelle Smart Schaefer | Sword & Sparrow Design Co.
"Brainstorm. Brainstorm. Brainstorm. Search for trademarks, search for use by competitors, go back to brainstorming. When you can't think anymore, just pick something that sounds good, lol."
Briana Wengert | Brighten Made
"Hi! I wanted a business name that was more than just my name — mostly because I'll change my last name someday and people mispronounce my first name all of the time! I still wanted my business to feel personal, so I tried to come up with words that played off of my name and nickname (Bri). I landed on Brighten Made, which was the perfect fit for me because it describes my bright design style, too."
Des Moines, IA
Lesley Pocklington | Swell Made Co.
"When coming up with a name for my small business, I just couldn’t let go of the word “swell” for two reasons. First, it’s an old-timey way (that’s making a comeback) of saying that something is "very good or well". Second, it’s used to describe a happy heart “swelling” with emotion. Both were so positive and beautiful, it just had to be. The word “swell”, to me, is exactly what my products are meant to embody. Particularly stationery and gifts. It’s swell to give and receive gifts. It’s swell to take time to write thoughtful notes and to read them, too. It’s a classic word in a modern world, and why all of my packages are sealed with a “you’re swell” sticker just to let people know someone is thinking of them. Adding “made” and “co.” was the icing on the cake; they let my customers know that all products are made and delivered with love and pride."
Rosie Davies | The London Fashion Agency
"Four years ago I launched The London Fashion Agency to offer independent brands affordable PR. I didn’t think too long about a name. I Googled “London Fashion Agencies” whilst thinking of a name and nothing came up related to ’The London Fashion Agency’. I then checked if the URL was available and the social handles and luckily they were. I knew it felt right. The name has definitely had its pros and cons. Firstly, people always think we are bigger than we are and our SEO is fantastic. The cons are that we actually work a lot with homeware and lifestyle brands and sometimes they are a little put off by the ‘fashion’ in our name."