I felt inclined to share a little bit of business knowledge I've acquired over the years regarding business names and branding. I will soon be offering beginner to intermediate photography classes, as well as some business instruction. So for this blog post, I wanted to offer some business name advice to new businesses, or mainly to people considering starting one. But first, a quick history on our own name, Boudoir á la Mode!
Back in 2010 while I was putting together my whole boudoir photography business plan, I knew I wanted a studio name that had the word "boudoir" in it. That would help with not only Google and other search engine SEO, but it would help any prospective client to instantly recognize that I am very much boudoir. Back in 2010, I was still shooting weddings, but also branched into boudoir. There is an older blog post that lays out our studio history in more detail.
I wanted the word "boudoir" to appear in my business name. The french word boudoir means A private sitting room, dressing room, or bedroom, especially one belonging to a woman. So I got to thinking and brainstorming (with the help of my sister in California), what could I name this company? Hmmmmm. I was really hoping to continue using French words, since boudoir is French. But I wanted to make it recognizable to us non-French speakers. Here's the fun part that came to my mind! Note: "á la mode" is a term we have all heard as a way to serve apple pie or similar desserts. Apple pie á la mode, meaning, served with ice cream. But wait....ice cream has nothing to do with boudoir. (except that women love them both!) So I looked it up, and behold, the other definition for the term á la mode is: "in fashion or up to date". BINGO. I have a business name that works!
Now, for those up-and-coming photographers who are considering going into business. I beg of you, PLEASE think it through! Think long term. Think different, and memorable. Do you think there's a chance that some day in the future, you may want to sell your thriving business? Well then you don't want to name it after yourself. I mean, who wants to buy a business named Joni Fabriucci Photography, unless you get lucky and find another photographer named Joni Fabriucci who also wants to buy your business. That's likely never gonna happen.
One trap I see new creatives fall into is thinking small and non-creative. I've seen many a new photographer use the word "Creative" in their business name. (thinking they are being creative) They often call it something like Creative Photography, or Creative Creations or similar. That's usually a dead giveaway that you are a newby. New photographers are thrilled that they have found a new creative outlet, and they think they are going to be the only ones who thought of calling their business "creative" something. Just don't. You will outgrow that idea in no time (if you continue on the path of photography). You will realize it was not a good name, and then have to redesign and reestablish yourself. Again, think long term! Think BIG. Envision yourself as a well established super-photographer in the future. What would that super-photographer's business name be? Maybe it would be your own name. That's perfectly awesome! If you know you will never want to sell the biz, by all means, using your name can be a powerful tool, especially if you have a cool name.
A third and final tip. It's best not to use intentional wrong spellings for your business name. It's not good for most businesses, and it's not going to help your SEO (search engine optimization) For instance, if you wanted to call it "Black Cat Photography", don't spell it Blak Kat or Blak Cat or whatever. First of all, who on earth can remember how you spelled your business name? If you meet someone and tell them to look up your website, do you think they will remember what spelling you used? Likely not, unless you spelled it correctly. And that's assuming they even remember your business name at all to begin with. Be memorable, and spell correctly.
Now, who can even remember how to spell "boudoir"? (insert laugh) Thankfully, Google and Bing and those others can all figure out what you are trying to type, and bring you results. Sometimes, technology can be quite the little helper.
So that does it for this business tip on naming a business. I'm sure I could think of more tips, but in the name of keeping it brief as possible, I'm signing off now. Thanks for reading!
Shane, founder of Boudoir a la Mode.