Help name my mom's antique business!
October 19, 2010 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Need help with a creative, un-cheesy name for my mom's antique business.

She has been in the antique business for about 10 years but recently sold her shop (and its name) to pursue more independent work, including regularly showcasing her wares at a variety of venues. She wants to print business cards and hopes to put a name to her business. She thinks just using her name X's Antiques is boring. She hopes to come up with something clever and interesting but not over-thought or cheesy/too cutesy.

She does not specialize in any one type of antiques. She has everything from furniture to glassware to linens.

Ideas to date include:
<> Personalities of the Past
<> Generation Restoration
<> Collectibles & Curiosities (though we all agree that curiosities may be too "fetus in a jar" sounding)
<> Memories Remembered

Help us smart, creative people!
posted by click to Work & Money (27 answers total)
Anecdote time!
There's an antique store just north of the place I call home, kind of in the middle of the wilderness. It's called "Needful Things."
Let that be an inspiration to you. ;)
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:51 AM on October 19, 2010

"Good Goods"

"Vintage Vogue"
posted by Think_Long at 10:55 AM on October 19, 2010

Mom's atinques.
posted by TLCplz at 11:00 AM on October 19, 2010

One naming idea I've always kicked around is using your mother's mother's maiden name and the maiden name of your father's mother. Then follow it up with something like Antiques & Curiosities.

For example, my store would be "Smith & Ruefley, Antiques & Collectibles." I like the way it gives a nod to history (even personal history) by paying homage to our grandmothers, as individuals and strong women. It has a bit of steel to it. In other words, it ain't "AUNT SCHMOOPIE'S ANTIQUE CUTIES."
posted by functionequalsform at 11:01 AM on October 19, 2010 [5 favorites]

Functionequalsform - I really like that idea. With a Russian, German and Polish heritage though all our previous names are quite a mouthful/unpronounceable.
posted by click at 11:07 AM on October 19, 2010

You can have a couple of my ancestors. Whittington & Richmond, Antiques & Collectibles.
posted by cyndigo at 11:10 AM on October 19, 2010

Actually I'd just rip off the first word of Stagger Lee's comment:

posted by hermitosis at 11:23 AM on October 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

My dad (let's say his name is Alan Chambers) named his consulting firm Allen, Chambers and Purnell, where "Purnie" was the name of my cousin's imaginary friend.

Something with treasures? The Treasure Trove? (I think my grandma's antiques business, which sounds similar to what your mom has, was named that.) Timeless Treasures?

I was thinking of "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" but wondering what could replace the broomstick part. I kind of like those things that sound like they could be people OR things. So Bedknob and Banister? Bedknob and Bell? Bell and Banister?
posted by Madamina at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2010

Hmm... perhaps they could be easily shortened/"Americanized?"

If not, maybe an ancestor's nickname? For example, I had a great aunt named Bertha. She went by "Boots." You can pair it with other words to get a more fleshed out name.

From "Boots" I can get:

Little Boots Antiques
Boots & Ramble Antiques
Boots & Bees Antiques

Or perhaps it's based out of an early memory with a family member. For example, my great-grandmother in Connecticut taught me to play cards on a yellow formica table when I was 5. I was too little for a chair, so I sat on a stepladder.

From that memory I can pull out:

Connecticut Rummy Antiques
Steps & Spades Antiques
Little Gin Antiques
Formica & Fold Antiques

One more thought starter:

Maybe it's the occupation of one of your ancestors. My grandfather was a journalist for a small newspaper.

From that, I can get:

The New Register Antiques
Herald-Beacon Antiques
Star & Chronicle, Antiques & Collectibles
posted by functionequalsform at 11:31 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bell & Banister sounds awesome. Words that are actual OBJECTS than can also pass for last names are pretty cool in this situation.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:32 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Shuffle of Things
posted by ouke at 11:45 AM on October 19, 2010

Presents of the Past


Things Past

Past Repast

posted by jamjam at 11:49 AM on October 19, 2010

Mrs. X's Living Almanac
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:52 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

If she really sells actual antiques, then I think adding a word like "collectibles" or "curiosities" undercuts her credibility. A clever name would make me less inclined to take her business seriously. To me, antiques and collectibles are two very different things. When I see a shop that sells "collectibles" I envision cutesy candles and little figurines. Sort of like the Hallmark store.

I'd go for a solid, short name. It can be descriptive of an area (Hunting Valley Antiques) or as a previous poster suggested, a family name or nickname (Parker Antiques) or she could take an imposing-sounding name or word (Revere Antiques, Worth Antiques) or the name of her favorite President (Jefferson Antiques) or she could steal the name of a favorite literary character (Sawyer Antiques). I'd be looking to convey knowledge, sophistication trustworthiness and a touch of exclusivity.
posted by Kangaroo at 12:00 PM on October 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Shared Memories

Re-Use Central

Another's Treasures

An old comic shop around here used to be called "Tales Resold," which might work.

My mom used to call her decoration style "early relative and late junk," though 'junk' wouldn't be a great business name in this case.

Landfill Prevention Center? (just kidding)
posted by ES Mom at 12:17 PM on October 19, 2010

Remains to be Seen...

Remains a favourite of mine...
posted by sagwalla at 12:37 PM on October 19, 2010

She thinks just using her name X's Antiques is boring.

I would suggest that a card with her name and the word Antiquarian would give her more cachet than a cutesy name. It gives the impression that she's a professional who specializes in antiques.


Jane Smith, Antiquarian
posted by anastasiav at 12:40 PM on October 19, 2010

Is there a particular piece that is always with her, never to be sold? Or a certain something that she likes because it maybe represents what she loves about what she does? Or depicts what's most salient or meaningful? For example, if I had to name the room I'm in right now, I'd probably call it The Little White Teapot. This is a fun game that you can play with just about anything and it usually works out...because the thing you choose carries just the right sentiment...that's why you chose it.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:49 PM on October 19, 2010

Old Gold
Closet Deposites
posted by WeekendJen at 12:49 PM on October 19, 2010

A thing of beauty

A joy for ever

World enough, and time
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 1:55 PM on October 19, 2010

What about using the word "antiquities" in the name along with a personal name (ie address or last name). For example Click Street Antiquities.
posted by Busmick at 1:56 PM on October 19, 2010

The shores of centuries



Remember this

You must remember

Must remember this

These precious things

Precious things

A long time gone

Been a long time gone

Ottoman Empire

Istanbul, not Constantinople

Old New York was once New Amsterdam


posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 2:08 PM on October 19, 2010

I'd pick a great sounding name and base it on that. My grandmother was an antiques dealer, and she'd sell some of her stuff under a different name. If she didn't want to bargain on something, she'd tell a customer who was trying to dicker "I'm sorry, Mr. X doesn't lower his prices. No, I can't call him. I'm afraid he can't be reached."
posted by Adridne at 4:20 PM on October 19, 2010

I saw an van for an antique shop driving past several years ago. The shop's name was "The Den of Antiquity". I still think that it's honest to God the best name for anything I have ever heard ever.
posted by dudekiller at 4:55 PM on October 19, 2010

These are all fabulous, thank you!

Kangaroo, yes, they are actual, true antiques. I agree with you about "collectibles" and that is one of the reasons we vetoed the "collectibles and curiosities" suggestion that came from a family member. I was just making a list of what names were suggested to date. I like your focus on the single, short name.

Functionequalsform, I really love the direction you are taking this.

Thanks, all!
posted by click at 8:32 PM on October 19, 2010

I like really evocative names. Round my neck of the woods when I was growing up, there used to be (is) a café called "The Horse With the Red Umbrella," a toy shop called "The Cheshire Cat" and an antique shop called "Toad Hall."

If your mum wants the store to be a destination, it might help to pick a destination-type name. This requires some balls because it's not going to be immediately obvious what those businesses do. However, it does add something to the shop. Go wild: "Miss Havisham's Attic," "The Porcelain Teapot, "Rosewood & Brass" etc etc

If your customers are like most antique shop customers they are browsing for fun, reasonably well read and looking for an excuse to come in - give them something in the name of the store to get them to ask the question "why are you called x?" or to give them an aha moment when they recognise the reference.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:38 AM on October 20, 2010

Late to the discussion, but I think the more specific you can be, the better (ie. the example above "The Little White Teapot" rather than a more generic "Collectibles" type name). Perhaps a beloved family pet had a great name?
posted by judith at 5:12 PM on October 23, 2010

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