“Trick names are so ridiculous!” Shaun White – snowboarder
“Names have power.” Rick Riordan The Lightning Thief
“Every name is real. That’s the nature of names.” Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

Seems simple enough, naming your business, but it isn’t always. One of the main bits of wisdom I pass along to my clients and students is: Name your business after yourself! There are few exceptions. Anyone who has a small business, especially if it is a creative product or service which is directly built on you and what you do, should use your name.

Your business is about you. It is about what you create and your skills. It is about your vision, your insights, your knowledge, your brand, your customer service, your product. Take for example Kate Wolf and her products, Wolf Tools and Wolf Wax. She is the person behind the name. Her name means integrity of product and that she personally stands behind her work.

In case you doubt me, can you tell me the business names of these creative entrepreneurs/stores/artists?

Sears?

Calvin Klein?

Walt Disney?

Pablo Picasso?

Tiffany?

David Yurman?

Frank Lloyd Wright?

Nordstrom?

Do you get the idea? Make things easy for your customers, whether they are wholesale or retail, don’t ask them to remember two names. The ultimate customer as well as other suppliers, retailers, and vendors will find it easier to remember one name.

There are also numerous other reasons to name your business after yourself, even if your name is difficult to pronounce or you dislike it (in which case you can use your middle name, nickname, initials, or maiden name).

  1. Remember that you might use your name/initials on hallmarking, signing, and stamping your jewelry. Why not make it consistent with your company name?
  2. I have known artists who have named their company after their grandmother or someone who has been a great support and help to them. Now there are two names involved and no one quite knows who is who. It becomes confusing.
  3. Often when someone names their business something other than their own name, they end up going back later to change it to their name which is expensive, time consuming, and confusing.
  4. If you are going to name your business something other than your personal name, make sure it is a name that will not be dated in a few years. Try not to be too trendy. Because you will at some point end up being out-of-date.
  5. If, however, your ultimate goal is to brand yourself, use your name.

Now that I have told you why you should name your business after yourself, there is one reason NOT to do so. Ronna Lugosch started her career as a jewelry designer and, after a couple decades wholesaling and retailing jewelry, she decided to create a company that she specifically plans on selling at some point in her life. Ronna sought advice and listened to her customers and employees before making the decision about what to call her business. She wants Peapod Jewelry (her company) to be associated CURRENTLY with her name, therefore Ronna is now the “Chief Peasmaker.” LATER, when she’s ready to sell, she wants the business to stand alone and be independent of her. For Ronna this has been a well-thought-out and careful decision. Tamar, her trusted friend and employee, says, “She realizes some decisions are paramount and not to be taken lightly.”

Have I completely confused you now? I just want to make sure you have all the information you need to make a wise choice. In 90% of cases, I recommend using your own name but this is a choice you have to make for yourself. Consider all the implications and where you honestly want to go with your business. The decision will stick with you for a long time.