Whats in a Name? How to Name a Company
Naming something, anything feels personal and critically important. Of course it didn’t matter that amazon was called amazon and not Hudson or nile but it’s somehow impossible to pick something trivial.
As many of you know, I’ve been working on a business the last few months. We hoped a name would come to us—an epiphany, or a meaningful place or event—but the moment of truth never arrived, and we needed to finally lock down a name.
I couldn’t find many references out there of how to go about doing this (and would appreciate at least for future readers of this post any suggestions). So we kind of winged it, but found it worked well! I don’t mean to suggest that the way we did it was the best way, but thought I would share what we did:
- Reserved a room with lots of whiteboard / chalkboard space for 4 hours
- Snacks, beverages
- Invited funny, creative, retail-related, and generally out-of-the-box friends to come by for different time windows for said snacks and beverages
The general concept was to put a bunch of words together on the board. We knew we wanted something that was probably going to be 2 words long—something easy to remember but also long / random enough that we can get the domain name.
First, we brainstormed a list of ‘conjuring’ words—guiding words that we associated with our business that we wanted to be associated with our brand.
We then drew columns of several different categories of words outlined below:
- Personal: Here we included personal references— Streets we’d lived on, our last names and the like. Example: onekingslane.com
- Industry: In this case, we were thinking of retail—hanger, closet. etc. Example: hautelook.com
- Adjective: In a 2-word scenario, one was likely to be a descriptor. From colors to feelings, anything that was a descriptive word that we liked was in this category. Example: Bluefly.com
- Literal: Though we didn’t want to have strictly literal names, such as “style in a box,” we did think of words like style, habit, etc. Example: renttherunway.com
- Veto words: Mostly to guide our friends wandering in and out– words we absolutely didn’t want included.
With our creative, fun, and thoughtful friends, we brainstormed words for each of the categories, and then stared at the board and threw together combinations of words from different columns as potential names. And noodled over snacks. Lots of noodling.
In the end, it was a fun, but also very productive session. We had several finalist names that we considered putting out to a vote, but fell in love with one in particular before we could even set up a poll to vote.
The name we selected… drumroll please… is:
Do you love it? Rack is meant to evoke the rolling in of a rack in a personal shopping experience, and habit is a somewhat literal reference to the service being ongoing and continuous, and almost like a vice, in a good way. Memorable, available, and simple, what more could you want in a man? Or a name, I mean.
More to come soon!