What's in a (handmade crafts shop) name?
July 17, 2008 12:05 PM   Subscribe

What's in a (handmade crafts shop) name? ...Connotations of Boutique, Creations, Studio, etc.

I'm in the process of opening a small shop online and need a name to use for that and as a presence at local craft fairs and festivals. I'm finding this difficult as any name I'm coming up with sounds pretentious, vague, or is already taken.

I would like to sell knitted items, some jewelry/magnets/accessories, and possibly a few small home-type goods (aprons, etc).

What is coming to mind are names like Noun StoreSynonym - for example, things like Mouse Designs or California Creations. Is there a better formula for coming up with a name for a shop?

The other issue I'm having with naming is that I'm questioning the connotations and impressions of specific StoreSynonyms. An example would be Originals, where my shop would be named Olivia's Originals - would customers then assume that each item in the shop is original and therefore I could only sell one of each item? Would they expect that I would have come up with the original idea for each and every item (there are only so many ways to make a scarf or ipod cozy, and I clearly didn't think of those first)?

Please help - Boutique sounds too snooty and upscale, Studio sounds like I'm selling pottery, Handmade may be too novice, Crafts is generic, and Productions sounds like I'm a theater company. Are my own associations with these terms widely held, or am I totally offbase? Do you even CARE what the name of a shop is, if you like their goods? Have you any other ideas, my beloved MeFites?
posted by alpha_betty to Work & Money (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those names all sound kind of dusty. How about "Olivian?"
posted by rhizome at 12:20 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Arts & Crafts of Olivia?
posted by HeyAllie at 12:30 PM on July 17, 2008

Riffing off Shakespeare, here, but if you're thinking of Olivia's Originals as a name, and you're selling knit goods (among other things), how about Twelfth Knit?
posted by LN at 12:35 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I don't think you need a noun at all. There are all sorts of other ways to name a shop. I just saw one in my town called "Shake the Tree", for instance, which I think is a lovely name.

Maybe look at the shops on etsy.com and see if any of the names speak to you (that don't follow the Noun StoreSynonym pattern or the Username's Nouns pattern) and analyze what you like about them. And then think about your own style--is it modern? quirky? elegant? nerdy? Try to find a name that conveys your sense of style, rather than the fact that you are selling things. Presumably the fact that you're selling handmade things is fairly evident in the fact that you're at a craft fair or the shop structure of your website, so use your shop name to convey extra information about what kind of items a customer can find and what kind of an experience shopping there will be.

If that fails, come up with a fun nonsense name that you like :)
posted by rivenwanderer at 12:38 PM on July 17, 2008

Needles & Clay
posted by unixrat at 12:39 PM on July 17, 2008

If that fails, come up with a fun nonsense name that you like :)

Great idea. Celtic music tunes are often named this way, as a data point. You can get crazy names like "Goldenrod Fields", "The Little Burnt Potato" and "Round the House and Mind the Dresser".

Look around your house; is there anything there you can use as inspiration?
posted by LN at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2008

The Hand of Olivia.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2008

[somethingortheother] Designs

Use your dog´s name, natural feature where you live, street name (of a business address), great-grandmother´s name, or some funky word you like the sound of.
posted by yohko at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2008

Response by poster: yohko: Wouldn't "Designs" make it sound like I designed whatever item someone is looking at? I guess design is in the eye of the beholder (I designed a pattern vs. I designed this item by choosing the yarn, color, and buttons/accessories) but I guess I'm looking for what the name SAYS about the business rather than a name, specifically.

I suppose I should have said this to begin with, but I want to name it something that a) does not include my given name (which is not Olivia) and b) preferably has something to do with Alaska, where I'm from and would like to reference if possible. It doesn't necessarily have to be Alaska-related, but that's what I've so far been looking at. Things like "Denali Designs" or "Fairbanks Handmade" and similar.

Further suggestions and discussion of what makes a name sound a certain way would be appreciated.
posted by alpha_betty at 2:18 PM on July 17, 2008

If you're planning to sell on Etsy, be forewarned that half the shops there are called "Darling Designs" or "Christie's Creations." I've even seen in the forums where people have run into trouble because one will be "La Papier Designs" and someone else will take the same name but switch Designs for Studio. You also want to be the first search in google so taking the name of something that is also a daycare in Ohio or the character from a novel is not really advised.

The names that stick out to me? The Black Apple. Wicked Pen. The Foundling. Salted Cherries. The plus side to nonsense names? If one part of your shop really takes off, say jewelry instead of the knits, you won't be stuck with a name like "Kara's Knits" that now doesn't apply and will confuse your customers.

Good luck!
posted by Ugh at 3:07 PM on July 17, 2008

yohko: Wouldn't "Designs" make it sound like I designed whatever item someone is looking at?

First of all, you mentioned ¨designs¨ and ¨originals¨, in your post, which would seem to indicate that you have designed these things that will be in your handmade crafts shop.

Second: Um, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but many off the shelf patterns do not include the right to reproduce the item over and over for commercial sale, but only the right to personal use. I do hope this won´t be an issue for your business. Yes, ¨designs¨ would make it sound like your original design. Your post did not make it clear that you were using other people´s designs.

Of course, if you are looking at an ipod and figuring out how to make something to fit over it that would be your own original design.

You can pick a local name that people won´t associate with Alaska, like ¨Hulahula¨. If you want a descriptor that people won´t cast other associations on, just use ¨store¨.
posted by yohko at 4:19 PM on July 17, 2008

Best answer: It doesn't sound like you're set on "Noun StoreSynonym," so what about "Lastname and Lastname?" It doesn't even matter which last names-- "Yourlastname and Madeupname," "Madeupname and Othermadeupname," "Yourlastname and Mothersmaiden," and so forth. Even the same name twice. If you're worried about it being too pretentious, pick a somewhat ridiculous name; avoid puns if you don't want it to be too cute; use them if you do, etc.

Variations include: "Lastname and Son," "Lastname Brothers," etc, or just "Noun and Noun," like a pub sign.
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 5:07 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Please know that I have done at least enough research to know that I can't sell items based off of other peoples' patterns. My issue with "design" is this: I did not design this yarn. I did not design this button. I did not design the concept of a scarf with a cable on it, but I did decide how many stitches, how many cables, what yarn type and color, and which buttons to stick on there for some whimsy (or whatever) - Therefore, I designed it? I don't know. There seem to be different takes on this depending on who you ask. I guess I'm just assuming the pickiest-person-scenario and asking if anyone will take issue with my not having "designed" the concept of the cable scarf, but making one and calling it a Denali/Whatever Design/Originals product.

However, Macys, The Gap, JC Penney, and countless other stores in my local mall and elsewhere carry similar cabled sweaters each winter, slap their own brand name on them, and I doubt very much that any of them designed the thread holding those sweaters together, the concept of the cabled sweater itself, the specific collar, etc, and yet, they still carry those brand names.

It occurs to me that I may be overthinking this. I doubt if most people give a flip what I call my shop, but it's something I'm likely going to be using awhile so I want to make sure it's as accurate as possible.

Bigfoot Mandala: Good call, I'll experiment with that for awhile.
posted by alpha_betty at 5:20 PM on July 17, 2008

Nadine's Nook
Alpha Emporium
The Countinghouse (knitting and sewing, am I reaching here?)
Tip of the ice burg
Maxwell's Folly
posted by JujuB at 5:59 PM on July 17, 2008

Aryan Notions.
posted by bunnytricks at 7:35 PM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

I love "Twelfth Knit" That so cool and cute especially for a knitting store.
posted by Harrietsw at 11:17 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

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