9 Entrepreneurs Share How They Came up with Their Business Name

The idea of exactly what your business is going to be usually comes first. Secondly, most often, is giving a title to your idea. What exactly is going to be the name of your business? Some people turn to their childhood for inspiration or a beloved family pet. It could be a made up word you dream of one night and feel it has the right ring to it. Even still there are some people who study foreign words for the perfect meaning behind their chosen business. Whatever the inspiration or relation may be, the naming of your business is one of the most important parts of becoming a CEO. Having a brand behind a strong title can make all the difference in the world.

1) Thanks to Calvin & Hobbes

Fuzz Therapy began with an idea inspired by a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon in which Calvin's rotten day is improved by a little “Fuzz Therapy” from his stuffed tiger. I liked that cartoon so much that I cut it out of the paper and have kept it since its original publication over 20 years ago. When my sister-in-law Carolyn was suffering with metastatic breast cancer we sent her a teddy bear with a homemade card featuring that cartoon. At the time I didn't think too much about it, I just wanted to send something that might make her smile and feel a little better. My brother told me that bear was “a big hit,” but I really had no idea the impact this small bear would have on her life until I saw it placed prominently on a remembrance table at her memorial service among the treasured mementoes of her life. Only then did I realize how much comfort and happiness this little bear delivered during a very difficult time. That little bear was our very first “fuzz therapist.” When I decided to start this business, I knew Fuzz Therapy was the perfect name.

Thanks to Julee Shepard, Fuzz Therapy, Inc.!

2) Signifying Great Finds

We're an online e-commerce destination where customers can shop a curated selection of great emerging fashion designers from the US and all over the world. We picked out the business / brand name “TROVEA”. We knew first and foremost we wanted something short as a URL (hard these days) and knew it couldn't be a generic one, so we decided to create something that was relevant and intriguing yet short and with a good ring to it. We picked TROVEA because it's a take on the word “trove” which signifies great finds. It is also thought to relate by many to “trouver”(french) and “trovare” (italian) both of which mean to find!

Thanks to Dana Almatrook, Trovea!

3) Leaving It to a Vote

We changed our business name this year. It was a collaborative process, involving all of our employees, and even of those of the company we share space with. They brainstormed over 200 name candidates – individually and together, using research sources and playing with words. We whittled that list down to a top 50, and had team members rate them head-to-head using allourideas.org. The site takes a list of items and asks users to vote on one match-up at a time: do you prefer name 23 or name 41? Voters considered things like how representative the name was of our business, how easy it was to spell and say, and of course, personal preference. To get lots of votes, we gave out gift cards to people who came across particular head-to-head pairs. After thousands of votes, we narrowed the list down to a top 10 and presented it to our company board. They picked Everlaw! Best yet, the employee who submitted the winning name altruistically decided to use the $500 prize to buy an arcade game cabinet for the office.

Thanks to AJ Shankar, Everlaw!

4) Being on a Journey

I am the founder and owner of The Road Gallery, a contemporary, curated online gallery representing some of America’s finest emerging artists. The gallery business represents a big departure for me. For almost 20 years I worked as a business psychologist, coaching CEOs and other senior executives. At the time I launched the gallery, I was still working for a consulting firm. I had always been passionate about art and design and was feeling less and less satisfied in my job. Six months later, I made the decision to leave the firm and focus on the gallery. The name ‘Road’ symbolizes being on a journey; both a new path for me but also for the emerging artists I represent who are on their own journey as they build their names in the art world. I also wanted something that was simple and had an urban feel, tying into the contemporary nature of the gallery.

Thanks to Neil Jacobs, The Road Gallery!

5) A Long Road

We started the business two years ago with three partners. The names began with J, N and K. We couldn't come up with anything creative and needed to incorporate so we called the company JNK Solutions Inc. About two months into the company, one of the partners left (the K) and we felt we should change what the letters stood for so we decided instead of our names the company was now JNK Solutions Inc., but stood for Jane and Nicole's Kickass Solutions. We then had to name the first product. As a prototype it had been called the Layna Visor because Layna was the first baby it was used with. It was a cute name, but it was almost too cutesy so we started thinking and I came up with the idea of Shaidee. It was spelled differently which would make it noticeable and it actually represented what our product would do – shade babies. We all agreed. Then we developed the second product and we were going to call it the Nettee – get it, Shaidee and Nettee and we were going to start calling ourselves Janee and Nicolee. We decided we weren't building our brand so we changed the Nettee name (after printing labels for it) to the Shaidee Bug – because what this product does is shade from the sun and protect from insects. We started to think that our corporate name JNK Solutions Inc. was taking away from our brand as well – my husband kept saying it looks like JUNK Solutions – so now I only use our corporate name for legal documents and with everything else we refer to the company as Shaidee Sun Gear. I must admit, there was some wine involved with the naming of both the business and the products.

Thanks to Jane W. (Jantzi) Klugman, Shaidee Sun Gear!

6) For Peter Harley

To understand our company you have to understand our name. Harley is the last name of founders Sarah and Alexandra Hall's grandfather, Peter. He was an adventurer and internationalist — a collector of ideas, languages and funny wine openers. Recipient of the Order of the British Empire Peter believed in respecting all people, laughing often and never giving up on things that seemed too difficult. He loved simplicity and always spoke directly and honestly. He appreciated beautiful and useful things. He told wonderful stories. At Harley & Co, a creative agency, we believe in the things that Peter Harley believed in — simplicity, utility, adventure, beauty, and quality.

Thanks to Alexandra Hall, Harley & Co!

7) All In the Name

Pursenalist is my first venture and I was quite specific about my requirements from the name of my company: 1. It had to instantly say what the business did and 2. It had to be quirky. I used the Igor Naming guide to understand a possible naming methodology and how different aspects of a business's name resonate with people. I used their guide to get some structure into the naming process. I also went through good ‘ol internet looking for business name generator websites as well as purse/bag forums for inspiration. Moreover, I also pestered my better half – my husband, for weeks and finally one evening, he came up with Pursenalist. It was perfect. Pursenalist satisfied both my requirements – it says that the company is about Purses and has something to do with personalisation and its a quirky play on the word personalisation.I quickly checked if the domain was available and Pursenalist was born. In case you are wondering, Pursenalist offers purses that can be transformed or as we call it pursenalized using detachable accessories.

Thanks to Nirali Surati, Pursenalist!

8) Struck with a Great Idea

My husband and I are the founders of Galactic Sneeze, a Brooklyn-based fun stuff think tank. We invent toys, games, and intellectual properties, and are the creators of the hilarious tabletop party game, Schmovie. When we launched our company we wanted to come up with a name that felt big, playful, and fitting for the type of work we do. It would need to feel at home on a game box, and stand out in a pile of business cards. We made lists of words that sounded big, exciting, and most importantly… fun. We landed on “Galactic” to start. Then came “Sneeze”. Together, it captures the moment you're first struck with a great idea, as well as the energy of it growing and spreading. We complemented our name with the tagline “Contagious Concepts”.

Thanks to Sara Farber & Bryan Wilson, Galactic Sneeze!

9) A Leader in Media

In the marketing field, often times the names of companies are either confusing or dull. When we brainstormed for our brand name, we wanted something that would stick with people after they met our agency for the first time. Since we handle all things media related and the online landscape is constantly changing, we didn't want to get married to something related just to social media or SEO. A captain is viewed as a leader and we pride ourselves on being a trendsetter when it comes to everything related to online marketing. We obviously had to make sure that the domain name was available and no other businesses were using the name The Media Captain. After we were able to snag the domain name, it was a no brainer that The Media Captain was going to be the name of our agency moving forward.

Thanks to Jason Parks, The Media Captain!

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One Comment

  1. When I was starting my Image Consulting business, I heard all sorts of excuses why men and women didn’t want to upgrade or update their appearance and work on their body language and verbal communication. A long time ago I learned that people want to know what’s in it for them. So when I was explaining to my husband that people shouldn’t wait for the exact right conditions to work on their personal brand, I said in frustration, “What are they waiting for? Don’t wait; look good now!” It was like a lightening bolt struck. So that’s what I named my business: Look Good Now. It’s my promise of value to every client. When it came time to title my first book, I used it again; Look Good Now and Always. (It’s a best seller and 2 time award winner!)

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