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Shop Owner’s Guide to Business Naming

by Jessica Molnar

September 27, 2023
Gladfolk - storefront design for a modern lifestyle goods brand.
Storefront design.

Choosing the right name for your business is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact its success. It’s a choice that often involves a fair amount of consideration and can even lead to changes down the road. In this guide to business naming, we’ll explore the nuances of naming your business after yourself, when it might be time for a change, and how to overcome the fears associated with rebranding.

When is it a good idea to name a business after yourself?

If you’re a creative visionary, and especially if you’re a one-person operation, it might be tempting to name your business after yourself. Emily McDowell summed it up nicely:

After all, it worked for Jonathan Adler and Diane von Furstenburg, right?!

Before you commit to naming your business after yourself, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

Fine Artists and others in creative fields may find that using their own name as their brand works, as it directly ties the creator to their work. It establishes a personal connection with your customers which can be a great way to build trust and rapport. Using your name as your business name can also make it easier for people to remember and find your business. 

Emily McDowell Studio - Shopify website for established stationery business.

However, if your business involves manufacturing products or you plan to expand beyond a one-person operation, naming your business after yourself can pose challenges. Naming your business after yourself may restrict future possibilities, especially if you plan to bring in other artists or employees. This is because the business will always be associated with you, and it may be difficult to separate your personal brand from the business brand. For example: when we redesigned Emily McDowell’s website her business was called “Emily McDowell”, but now her business has expanded into “Em & Friends”.

If you ever intend to sell your business, naming it after yourself means selling your own name along with it, limiting your control over the business. This is because the new owner of the business will have the right to use your name in connection with the business, even if you are no longer involved in it. This could potentially damage your reputation if the new owner runs the business poorly or engages in unethical practices. To address these concerns, transitioning from a personal name to a brand name may be necessary.

Changing your business name

Paper Mundi - just one of our business naming projects at Aeolidia.

Changing your business name is a decision that requires thought and preparation. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Decide to do it – This is the most challenging step, as it involves letting go of the familiar. However, once you commit to the change, you’re on the path to a new identity. Changing a business name can feel like abandoning years of hard work. The key is to align the new name with your business’s evolving identity and goals.

Choose a new name – Brainstorm new names, research available domains, and gather feedback. Consider seeking professional assistance for this crucial decision. If you find you need help coming up with something awesome and don’t have the bandwidth for all that research, you’re in luck! We do business name brainstorming here at Aeolidia, including all the legwork to help you find something that will fit the present and future of your business much better.

Update your branding and online presence – Your printed materials, social media profiles, and website will all need to be updated to reflect your new business name. 

Register your new business name – Make the name change official by trademarking your business name and buying a domain name.

Redirect your old website – Ensure that your old website directs visitors to your new one. This smooth transition is essential for retaining customers.

Communicate the change – Notify your audience about the upcoming name change through your blog, mailing list, and social media. Keep them informed throughout the process and be sure to celebrate your launch. Don’t worry, you can totally rebrand your business without losing customers!

Embrace your new identity – With your new name, you can confidently redefine your brand and its direction. Let the enthusiasm for your new identity drive your business forward. Changing your business name is not just about rebranding; it’s about growth and evolution.

How a well-established business overcame the fear of re-branding

How a well-established business overcame the fear of re-branding

Making the decision to change your business name can be an emotional journey. Here’s how Tonia and Dennis, owners of the shop formerly known as Fashionable Fabrics, arrived at the decision to pursue a new name.

When Tonia and Dennis contacted us to help them sell fabric by quarter-yard, they had no plans to change their 11-year-old business name and logo. They wanted a redesigned website that would help them stand out from the rest; to achieve this, we knew they would need a strong brand identity. Arianne proposed making a new name priority number one because a strong brand identity is the foundation for any great marketing tool, including web design. 

Tonia and Dennis were not initially convinced a new name was the way to go. They liked the name, the fact that it had the word “fabric” in it and that it had helped them get a strong SEO ranking. Our main concern was that the current name was actually a bit misleading; the store sold novelty fabric, not necessarily fabric for fashion. Someone searching for fashion fabric might indeed land on their page, but would they find what they were looking for? A high SEO ranking is not of much use if it’s not resulting in conversions.

After much deliberation, brainstorming, and inspiration, Tonia and Dennis were reminded of a character from an Oscar Wilde play. Over time, this character’s name came to represent a secret excuse for sneaking off to spend some time doing something you love. This direction got us all excited—it was exactly what we’d been discussing: abstract, yet fully capturing the brand’s true spirit. The winning name was an uncontested favorite: Bunbury. It’s memorable, fun to say, and has a special meaning behind it. Most importantly, it tells a story about what sewing means to Tonia and Dennis, and its playful, whimsical personality says, “Come visit our shop and stay a while!”

Naming – or renaming – your business name can be daunting, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and alignment with your evolving business goals. Whether you’re considering naming your business after yourself, contemplating a change, or facing the fear of rebranding, remember that your business name is a reflection of your identity and vision. Embrace the change as a step towards a more successful future.

If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed with business naming, we can help! We’re adept at creating meaningful and memorable business names. Take a peek at our business naming projects and then get in touch. We’ll create something special together.

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