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13 Entrepreneurs Share How They Came up with Their Business Name

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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) Sometimes Simple Works

We started the old fashion way, brain-storming…everything…anything went up on the board to try and come up with a catchy name. It’s the start point of any company, so we needed it capture the essence of what we are and what we do. We spent days hammering out different twists on words. Cutting the list down- adding to it, stepping away, coming back. On the second day- the most obvious name just came to me- it never even made it on the list. So I just said it- a moment of silence and it was unanimous! NO discussion was needed- Design a Tea was born! Sometimes we try so hard to get fancy and gimmicky with names/logos etc. and it’s right in front of you the simple way is sometimes the best!

Thanks to Brian Pfeiffer, Design a Tea!

2) A Family Name

Our company name is JAM Paper. Everyone thinks our name is a play on the term “paper jam”. However, home printers did not exist in 1983 when the company was founded, and the term “paper jam” was not yet a common phrase. Our company name originated from family initials. My father, Michael, started this company in 1983, 2 years after I was born. My name is Andrew. My mother’s name is Janet. We sold mostly paper and envelops at the time. And thus, “JAM Paper & Envelope” was born. A few years later my sister Morgan was born, and family legend has it that she shares the “M” in JAM (although I’m not sure I believe it).

Thanks to Andrew Jacobs, JAM Paper!

3) Doing Something About It

At the time, it seemed like everyone around me was complaining about everything they disliked in life, but they didn’t want to do anything about. I remember being so frustrated with the lack of desire all of my peers had to actually inact on their problems and take a step toward solving them. So I was in the shower recapping all of this, and I literally said, “Everyone needs to stop complain about their problems, get up off of the couch and do something about it! We need to Lettuce Evolve!” And it rolled off my tongue. It’s stuck ever since. I created this company to develop radically simple solutions to the world’s problems. One of the foremost problems we have in access to clean food, especially in the urban environment. So I went to work to solve that problem. Now we have one of the most innovative products in the garden & food industry.

Thanks to John Murphy, Lettuce Evolve!

4) Stories That Stick

Many PR firms names are based on their founder¹s first name, last name, initials, or some combination of the aforementioned. However, personal name-based business names are limiting in that the business identity is tied to an individual, which can become problematic as the business grows and/or evolves. It¹s also very personal, and can be perceived as egocentric or a little boring. I wanted a name that was clever, interesting and inspiring. I chose flypaper PR because as communications firm, I tell stories that stick. My logo is a paper airplane, to represent sending out messages on my clients behalf. I liked the imagery and play on words that flypaper PR represents. I’ve had prospective clients tell me that they were initially drawn to my business based purely on the name.

Thanks to Shelley Senai, flypaper PR!

5) Memorable and Fun

We wanted a brand name that was one syllable, memorable and fun! We came up with name “Bop” because it means “to move” like the fast tempo style of jazz called bebop. Marketing is all about moving your business forward and upward. The name “Bop” also has a fun connotation—marketing is typically the most fun discussion in any business endeavor. People have fun when they’re discussing ways to grow their business and generate revenue.. The end result is a name that emotionally engages our target market and gets them excited to work with us!

Thanks to Jeremy Durant, Bop Design!

6) Different Combinations

I have always loved beads and crafts, and did quite a lot of that when I was a young girl. Then when the internet was fairly new to everyone, I discovered eBay and started buying and selling things around the house. Not sure if it was chance or fate, but I was reintroduced to the beading craft and started buying wholesale beads and findings and then selling what I didn’t use on eBay. The little beads and clasps sold rapidly so I decided to open a store. I needed to come up with a name for the eBay store, and after brainstorming for a while I tried using the first letter of the different last names I have ever had (been married a few times over the years). It worked out perfectly and that is how I came up with Bead Lovers Korner!

Thanks to Gari Anne Kosanke, Bead Lovers Korner!

7) A Loose Translation

In order for our naming process to begin, we needed to solidify our business concept. We were entering the mobile accessories market, and in particular launching with cellphone cases. Needless to say, this is an extremely saturated market. We knew it was critical to ensure that both our strategy and branding reflected the unique approach we wanted to take. Our business plan was to center mobile accessories around the active, fashion conscious consumer (not necessarily new), while selecting and designing our products seasonally in limited quantities (this part was unique). At the same time, I personally always loved the overall style and execution of Japanese consumer goods. With that, I decided that a) I wanted our name to be Japanese, and b) the meaning should connect back to the lifestyle concept we’re trying to convey- fun, playful, seasonal. Trying to find a fitting name in a foreign language I was not fluent in was obviously a fun task. Lots of Google translate and digging later, we arrived at Pichi Pichi- which loosely translates to fresh and lively. There was obviously a need to also due diligence on ensuring the name didn’t mean anything else in a different language (it did, but we were ok with the translation), and of course ensuring we weren’t missing anything obvious by having a native Japanese speaker double check our work. Otherwise, we were pleased that we were able to check off all our internal requirements while ensuring Pichi Pichi authentically reflected our brand message.

Thanks to Alice Pai, Pichi Pichi!

8) Conveying Confidence

I own an HR and career management company and my business name is BoldlyGO Career and HR Management. To me, the name makes perfect sense, but most people think I’m just a big Star Trek geek. I do like the show, but it’s not the reason behind my name. I wanted to convey encouragement, confidence and capability, not just for myself as a start up, but for the people I work with. On the career management side, our clients are in career transition. They are usually struggling because they have likely been downsized, their positions eliminated, or something else. I wanted to convey that when they work with us, they’ll feel confident when we’re finished working together. They’ll have a solid transition plan, or a great resume that represents them well. From the small business side, I work directly with the business owners. They are at the stage in their businesses where they are moving from being the employer friend to the friendly employer. This is a challenge for many small businesses who worked very closely through good and bad times with their early hires and now they must put process and policy in place to grow, and the employer and employees who were friends first now find themselves in the employer-employee relationship. I want my employers to have confidence to take the necessary steps to move in this direction. I help them not only with their HR in this transition, but I draw heavily on my coaching background to help my business owners and employers make this leap, as well.

Thanks to Sharon DeLay, BoldlyGO Career and HR Management!

9) A Professional Name

When coming up with our name we wanted one which conveyed professionalism and luxury This is why we chose Crown & Caliber. The crown on a watch is the mechanism typically on the side of the case used to wind the watch and/or set the time. Caliber is the inner engine of a watch which make it run are collectively referred to as a “movement” or “caliber”. What’s great about our name is to the layman it seems professional and maybe even royal. But to the true watch fanatic, the name personifies our exclusive brand.

Thanks to Hamilton Powell, Crown & Caliber!

10) Standing Out From the Crowd

Atomic House of Hair was a name that was born out of a feeling and would stand out as a brand. My business partner and I were opening a mid century modern themed salon out of an old gas station. We had just returned from Las Vegas and were inspired by the Atomic Era and were using that inspiration throughout the business. I loved the idea of using “House of Hair” instead of the word “Salon”. I felt like “House of Hair” not only made us stand out from all the other “Salons” but would also make our clients feel like they were part of a club- like they were muses in our art house.

Thanks to Melissa Chandler, Atomic House of Hair!

11) A Deeper Meaning

As a cognitive scientist and a professor of semantics, Sebastien Christian, places significant emphasis on language and the meanings of words. In choosing the name OtoSense, for his company, which is a developer of a sound recognition software, he drew inspiration from the Greeks. The word “Oto” in Greek means ear or relationship to the ear. Also, interestingly, it is a root word in understanding what type of physician is an otolaryngologist. The first application of OtoSense is as a mobile app that shares the same name as the company, and enables deaf and hard of hearing people to see audio alerts and other sounds on their smartphones and tablets. It also means sound in Japanese, which is significant because we’re launching the app in Japanese next week.

Thanks to Kathryn M. Quirk, OtoSense, Inc.!

12) How We Work

My company is Think Studio, a graphic design firm in NYC. The name is based on how we work: we think first, then we design. Many designers jump right into the visuals, but that’s not my style. Before studying design, I worked in marketing in the music business, and that experience continues to inform my work. It helps me take all projects beyond the purely visual with an eye on marketing: How will this increase awareness? How will this lead to more sales? How will this take our client to the next level? I display a favorite object that also played a part in our name: the IBM “THINK” sign, an artifact of my mother’s brief stint there a long time ago. I always loved it as a child, which should have made me realize then that I was a type geek. Now it’s a smart reminder for the studio.

Thanks to John Clifford, Think Studio!

13) Getting Rooted

My business is called REUTS Publications, and at first glance seems as if it’s a typo or a really odd German word. Well it’s neither, and I’d like to explain a little bit of the origins behind why a publishing company would be called “REUTS.” Nowadays, and much like with naming your child, you need a moniker that stands out–something people might do a double-take on, or even linger just a second longer trying to figure out how it’s pronounced. REUTS began as wanting to have a unique spelling on a common word, something people are familiar with, but with a twist. Once the slogan to “get ROOTED in a good book” came to exist, a commentary on the books we were hoping to publish, the odd spelling of R-E-U-T-S (pronounced like “roots”) just made sense. It stands out, and it has meaning. With the tagline, you need no further explanation.

Thanks to Ashley Ruggirello, REUTS Publications!

 

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2 comments

  1. Great stories about how different entrepreneurs named their businesses! Thanks for including Bead Lovers Korner!

  2. As a service creating access for persons who have hearing loss, POW Hearing Solutions needed to focus on access, and de-emphasize disability. Disability as a market is a niche, which impeeds our ability to create one universal support that works for everyone. Focusing on the Person Of Worth (POW), allows us to move forward, be client-centered, and validate the experiences of those who live, strategize, and thrive, while working within an audio-restricted environment. Our tag line “Making Life Hearing Friendly” demonstrates how easy it can be to share access for audio events, and how unthreatening our solution approach will be for our clients – both the person who needs to hear, and those who need to be heard. Cheers!

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