How to pick the perfect name for your handmade craft business
Posted on August 2, 2019
I don’t know if you’re struggling as much with this as I did, or if you already have the most perfect name to reflect everything you and your business is all about, but picking a name for your craft business can be daunting! It defines you, and while it’s not necessarily permanent, you definitely don’t want to be changing it all the time and confusing your audience, not to mention having to re-brand everything associated with it such as a website, logos and business cards. But how do you choose the perfect one for you? With a quick google search for “how to pick a craft business name” you will find there are many resources out there, like using a business name generator, or even out sourcing it for someone else to do the creative thinking! But if you’re willing to do a little thoughtful brainstorming, here are a few bits of advice I took into consideration when choosing my own business name you might find helpful when picking yours!
Obviously, I settled on Bella’s Custom Crochets, but there were a lot of other contenders along the way! But it reflects who I am and what I do. I’m Bella. What do I do as a business? I make crocheted items. I’m really good at making them custom-to-order. I also design crochet patterns that you can make custom yourself. Simple. To the point. Let me talk you through some of the reasoning for picking my own name and hopefully help you narrow down a business name of your own that will clearly define your brand and make you stand out!
Starting off, have a little brainstorm sesh and jot down anything decent that comes to mind. Use puns. Use lingo that fits in your niche. Use rhythms. Use your name. Use your craft. Think about visuals/logo possibilities. Once you have a few options, maybe run that list by a few friends. Then you have to get to the nitty gritty of narrowing it down!
First and foremost, whatever list you have going, make sure your top picks aren’t already in use. That means registered businesses, domain names, social media, Etsy, etc. You can check for registered business names here, and some quick searches on other platforms will tell you if your desired name is already taken. Ideally you want to be able to use the same name for all of your internet presence so it is clear to everyone how to find you. With the exception of Ravelry which has a limit on user name length (there I am BellasCustomCro), you can find me as “Bella’s Custom Crochets” just about everywhere on the internet. High on my list early on was “Crafty Like a Fox.” But someone already has an Etsy shop by that name. That made it easy to cross it off my list. I didn’t want to be confused with any other businesses!
And on the topic, don’t rip off a name that is already out there by just changing a few things. If your name is Belle, I am gonna be a little upset if you launch Belle’s Custom Crochets. And Sewrella would have not loved it if I was running a crafty business called Sewbella. If your name is Tamara Lester, Toni probably doesn’t want you to be TLyarncraftz. Ya know? Get creative and make sure whatever you are going to be known as is unique!
Another thing to think about is how it is going to appear as a domain name. If all the words are running together into one word, are people going to make sense of it, or that its not something that actually looks offensive/stupid as one word. I can’t think of a good crafty example, but think along the lines of “americanscrapmetal.com”- do they sell crappy metal from america? Or, oh wait, is it american scrap metal that is being sold? Or the travel site “choosespain.com”- choosing pain doesn’t sound fun, but traveling to Spain does!
It’s also a good idea to google your potential names and see if anything weird comes up associated with it. My name is actually Bella, but there are no shortage of other Bella businesses out there (“bella” means beautiful in Italian, fyi). from restaurants and tanning salons all the way to the wildly inappropriate. So I made sure no combination of my name would accidentally pull up something else and cause any confusion!
Relating to appearing as a domain name and weirdness associated with it, I had to cross one of my top choices off my list because it just wasn’t going to work for that reason. It’s a long story, but in summary, my last name begins with T and I’ve learned that I have to use the NATO phonetic alphabet to spell it over the phone (thanks, Air Force!) otherwise T can sound like P, B, D… so I always say “T as in Tango.” One time the pharmacist on the other end of the line paused and repeated “t…as in…mango…” I’ve joked that if ever I write a biography it will be called “T as in Mango” and I thought it would be a really cutesy and unique business name. However, when written out it looked like “Tasin Mango . com” which just #1 made no sense to anyone by me and #2 Tasin is apparently a meat grinder company, and as a vegetarian of 18+ years, I didn’t want that popping up every time someone tried to remember my business name in google searches.
Another thing to avoid: don’t make your business name (or your business Instagram) look like an IM screen name. For example, there is not much professional about a business showing up as “Bellascrochetz2020” (unless you are going for some seriously 90’s vibes).
An additional piece of advice I have heard is don’t use your name and don’t use your craft in your business title. Obviously I chose to disregard that advice, but I can see the value in it. Using your name does sort of limit your business to just you (unless your name ends up legend like “Disney”). If ever I had the chance to expand, take on additional employees or franchise my business having my name at the front wouldn’t exactly be the best choice. However, I know that those are not my business goals. Something I am proud of is that I am a one woman show. So I like having my name on it. In the same vein, having “crochet” in the title limits me to only crocheted goods. A lot of fiber artists end up starting as one thing and then maybe branching into dyeing or spinning or knitting, etc. But for me I knew if I gave myself the freedom to do all the things, I would, and in doing so I would lose focus on really building a cohesive brand. For me, having crochet in my name keeps me under control. I also like having it because (still) at every event I do a large number of people exclaim “YOU KNIT ALL THIS YOURSELF?!”…no ma’am. I crocheted it. Additionally, I have “custom” in my name because I really take a lot of joy in being able to customize pieces for my CUSTOMers, and not just offering 5 items in 6 colors. While that might be not for everyone, I really like flaunting that in my title. But some people hate custom orders and have a hard time making it cost effective (which, I admit, is a challenge!) But the thing about advice is you get to pick and choose! Definitely take these things into consideration for your own choice and decide which advice is right for you and your business identity/goals.
One more thing to consider: pronunciation. I do think it’s worth mentioning that you want to use a name that will be easily memorable to your customers, both for search and word of mouth purposes. If no one is sure how to say it aloud or you will always be needing to correct people, how will your customers spread the word about how awesome you are? If they don’t know what to call you or can’t remember the name of your business you could be losing repeat clientele! Obviously, if you want to use a name or phrase in another language, or something meaningful to you even if it’s not the easiest for everyone to say, that is totally your right as the business owner! Do so without apology! Just something to think about! I would definitely advise against anything made up though, unless it’s something pretty obviously pronounceable like “Moogly” (a word Tamara’s toddler made up!).
Once you settle on the perfect name, I suggest you immediately obtain it on all platforms. Even if you aren’t currently using them all, it’s a good idea to make sure no one else takes them! Get the domain. Get the email. Get the Insta and Facebook. Get Pinterest. I even have a twitter account I’ve never (and probably will never) use. You’ll also want to check with your state on how to register your business name. I registered at my town hall as a sole proprietor under that business name for something like $100.
So, in summary
- brain storm a bunch
- make sure your name is available on all platforms
- don’t be a copy cat
- think about how the name will appear as a domain (aka as one word)
- think about what will come up if people google it
- avoid “screen name” type business names
- consider pronunciation
- pick one that reflects you and your brand
- obtain the name on all platforms and register your business!
Hopefully some of these tips help you narrow down your list and get you closer to choosing the perfect name to define you and your crafty business! Though you might be a small business, there is nothing “small” about the awesome creative work that you do- make sure your name reflects it! If you already have an awesome name, I’d love to hear more about how you chose it- leave me a comment!