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How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business? Design-In-Practice Series

Posted by learntobead on July 12, 2020

Designed Impacts was a management consulting firm I started in 1980. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I worked with several large corporations on internet marketing. Today, I provide management and marketing assistance and training to jewelry designers under the Warren Feld Jewelry company name. Image Source, Feld, 2020

 How Do You Start and Run A Business Selling Creative Products?

Between Commerce and Art

Many people learn design in order to sell what they make. Designers create websites. They create interiors and exteriors. They build things. They craft things. They make art. All in an effort to make some money.

In today’s world, designers who sell what they create must become savvy in both regular retail selling, that is, directly business-to-customer, as well as internet retail, or virtually business-to-customer. This might seem too complex. Too overwhelming. Too impossible. Too boring. There are a lot of tensions here between commerce and art, not least of which is having to introduce your creative products publicly and persuade people to buy them. Creative thinking is not the same as business thinking. This makes many creatives uncomfortable.

Let Business Concerns Influence Your Artistic Choices

OK, you want to sell your work. But there is always this nagging question: To what extent do (and should) business concerns influence the artistic choices you make?

If you want to be in business, then I’d say, “A Lot!” But this isn’t what a lot of artists like to hear. Design is not the same as painting a painting or sculpting a sculpture. With paintings or sculptures, the artist does not need to communicate interactively with the viewer in order to create the product and that product be deemed successful. Design, instead, is more of an interactive art. It is like architecture, where success can only be created through some kind of meaningful interaction with others, and only be defined as successful as the product is introduced publicly.

Selling your pieces is merely another phase of this interactive art, but, as a business, selling creative products sometimes forces upon you some more limits and refinements. You have to market to audiences. You may have to make trade-offs between visual appeal and functionality. You may have to standardize things to be able to make the same thing over and over again. You may have to work in a production mode and repeat making certain designs, rather than freely creating and designing anew each time. You have to price things so that they will sell, and you have to price things so that you can make a sufficient profit. You shouldn’t undersell yourself, like offering discounts to family, friends and co-workers, lest you run out of money.

You have to conform to prevalent styles and colors and forms. You have to make things that will photograph well. You have to make things that clients want and are willing to buy. You may end up with a lot of “one size fits all,” because producing too much variety in sizes, shapes, colors and sizes could overwhelm you financially.

You find that if you want to make your designs into a successful business, you may have to compromise with yourself, your artistic drives and sensibilities. You may have to limit what you offer. In order to make that sale. In order to make a profit. And stay in business.

A Good Business Selling Creative Products involves:
— Putting your artwork on a sound cost/revenue footing
 — Developing market-driven (what they want) strategies as opposed to product-driven ones (what you want)
 — Pricing your work for sale
 — Implementing various selling strategies
 — Compromising artistic and design choices, in the interest of the business

Why Designers Fail In Business: Some Key Reasons

Over and over again, I have seen one designer after another fail as a business. Usually the reasons why keep repeating themselves with each designer.

1. A reluctance to learn how to conduct oneself as a business

2. Gets bored

3. A fear of marketing your own things

4. Trying to please all audiences

5. Doesn’t do homework on the competition

1. A reluctance to learn how to conduct oneself as a business.

Many designers get so excited after making their first sale, that they think they don’t have to get too involved with business principles. They misunderstand their “business” as a “project-by-project” endeavor. Make something, sell it. Doesn’t matter what the price. Doesn’t matter to whom. Doesn’t matter if making the work in the first place is in line with the resources you currently have, or will drive you in debt in order to get those resources. All that matters is the count — the number of pieces or designs you have sold.

Designers need to focus, not with the count, but on what’s called Velocity, instead. You need to have in place sufficient strategies for keeping your money turning over at a constant rate. You make something. You sell it. You reallocate the money you just made to reinvesting in more inventory, replacing the inventory you sold, evaluating the pros and cons of the sale that just happened, adjusting accordingly, and strategizing how to keep this velocity going at a constant, or ever-increasing, velocity or rate. If you can’t maintain this rate, you go in the hole.

And artists need to keep good records, and implement good accounting principles so they can monitor and evaluate the data about velocity.

2. Gets Bored.

People who get started are very excited. They’ve made a lot of pretty pieces or designs, and someone has bought some of them. But then you need to leave your creative mode, and enter a production mode. You need to discipline yourself to make the same things over and over again, particularly in the first 2 or 3 years of your business. Many designers quickly lose interest.

3. A fear of marketing your own things

You won’t succeed without marketing. Marketing is more than advertising. It includes all forms of self-promotion. It includes doing research on your markets and market niches. It incluces how to reach your potential clients in these markets, how to get their attention, how to get them to translate this attention into needs and wants and desires, and how to get them to part with some money.

Many artists are shy about self-promotion. Time to train yourself, if this is you, to get over it.

4. Trying to please all audiences

When people get started, they are reluctant to use the “No” word. They want to please everyone. But when you get started, you can’t. It will put you out of business.

Let’s say you are a jewelry designer, and have some jewelry for sale that is predominantly purple. Someone at work loves the jewelry, but asks if you can make it in red. If you don’t have an inventory of red beads, and will have to go out and buy them, it may make this sale foolish, from a business standpoint. You can’t buy just one bead at a time; you need to buy strands or packages of these beads — many more parts than you would need to make one piece of jewelry for this customer.

When you start in business, you need to pursue a strategy of depth, rather than breadth. As a digital designer, you want to invest in a limited number of software applications, equipment, and related resources, and narrow your focus on the types of projects you undertake. As a jewelry or crafts designer, you want to buy a limited number of pieces, colors, sizes and shapes of materials in large enough quantities to get adequate price breaks. So, initially, your designs will be limited, as well. If someone asks you to develop a project or design that is outside your budgeted resources, you need to be able to say No!. No! to your family. No! to your friends. No! to the people you work with.

Source, Feld, 2013

In my experience, such as the situation for the jewelry designer with red vs purple beads above, when you say No!, the potential customer tends to make a face. Pitiful. Angry. Frustrated. Sad. Pleading. If you can wait 60 seconds, in almost every case, the customer stops making this face, and says, in our jewelry example, for instance, “OK, I’ll take what you have in purple.”

60-seconds. That’s how long you have to wait without responding. Only 60-seconds before that person gives up and stops making the Face. It always amazes me, but so many jewelry and other designers can’t wait those 60 seconds. They cave.

And don’t give these people discounts. They’re already getting it cheaper, than if they bought the same design in a store, or purchased the design services from a large corporation. One major way your business will get built up is word-of-mouth. You don’t want some of that information to include extremely low price expectations. If you are stuck giving low prices, you will never be self-supporting in your business.

5. Doesn’t do homework on the competition

You need to understand how other designers you compete with function as a business.

How do they define their markets?
 How do they price things?
 What kinds of inventory, software and equipment do they own? What kinds do they NOT own?
 Where do they advertise? How do they promote themselves? 
How do they staff up, contract out, or learn the necessary skills to get the jobs done within the set time-frame?
 How do they define their competitive advantage — that is, all the reasons people should buy from them, rather than from anyone else, like you?
 Where do they sell things? What seems to work better for them?
 How do they figure out the best place — real or virtual — to link their product and product message to the customers most likely to need, want and buy their designs?

You can find a lot of this out by Googling. You can look for designers in your field and occupation. Directories of designers. You can plug in a designer’s website, and see where they are listed, and who lists them. You can look at their work. Often, you can discover many of their clients. You can look at reviews.

Can I Make Money?

Some designers are only interested in selling the occasional piece or project. Others want to create a steady flow of some extra income. Still others want to be financially self-sufficient as a designer.

Whatever your personal goal and commitment, can you make money? The answer is YES… That is, if you are smart about it.

Your friends and relatives might tell you that living as a creative designer “Is not practical,” or a warning “Don’t quit your day job.”

I won’t lie to you. It’s tough. It requires commitment and perseverance. It requires some introverted skills and some extroverted skills. It requires managing a process that includes some creative elements and some business and administrative ones. But you can do it.

First, Goals. Sit down and write down some do-able sets of goals for your business. Some sets of goals will be on the creative side; others on the business side.

One set of goals should answer the question: How are you going to manage the design process (from inspiration to aspiration to finished product to marketing and selling your products)?

Another set of these goals should answer the question: How are you going to maintain your cash flow throughout the whole year?

After you start implementing your goals, at some point you should be able to ask a friend: Did I achieve my goals or not?

Second, Time. Organize your time. You need to spend a certain amount of time with creative activity. Another block of time on business, administrative and marketing activities. And a certain amount of time for reflection and evaluation and self-care. You need to maintain balance between the personal and the professional, and between the creative and the administrative.

Third, Limits. Do not try to do too many different projects or work with too many different kinds of design elements and components at the same time — particularly in your first 3 years in business.

As your business grows, you’ll reach a point where you have enough cash flow — that Velocity of sales — that you can begin to broaden your efforts, meeting more of the needs of your current clients, and expanding the options for new clients.

Fourth, Realism. Do not go for roofs before setting foundations. Learn about materials and techniques in a developmental order. Things will make much more sense and be easier to accomplish as you advance your skills and endeavors.

Last, Supports. You can’t do everything by yourself. Find compatriots. Find a mentor. Share or coordinate some workloads. Be sure you structure in ways to be accountable and get feedback.



Bethke, Kelly. “A creative’s guide to starting a new business,” Fast Company, 11/9/18.

Campbell, Anita. “A 30-Point Checklist For Your Start-Up,” Small Biz Trends, 4/18/13.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Other Suggested Readings:

Backward-Design Is Forward Thinking, (FELD, 2020)

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency in Design, (FELD, 2020)

Jewelry Design: A Managed Process, (FELD, 2020)

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“Backward-Design” is Forward Thinking: Design-In-Practice Series

Posted by learntobead on July 9, 2020

Land of Odds homepage detail, Source, Feld, 2020

So often, designers struggle to figure out the reasons why their designs did not feel finished or as successful as they could be. They get so caught up in the here and now of design that they forget to study what was, and fail to sufficiently anticipate what will happen when that design is introduced publicly — to the client, to the client’s client and to the world.

Clients sense this. When the designer does not share, or at least anticipate, the understandings and expectations of the client, the project could go awry. The designer could end up expending many non-billable hours trying to adjust, tweak, re-do, re-conceive the project. And the whole process ends up not feeling good. Unfulfilling. A chore.

Often the core of the problem is the design approach to the project. Designers like to follow a linear process of design. This is an unfortunate remnant of the scientific management philosophy prevalent in the 1930’s. A belief that everything can be reduced to a progressive series of steps, performed in an objective, almost-scientific way. Processed from a beginning, through a middle, and leading to an end. No iteration or back and forth. Little trial and error. Objectively gather information and data. Analyze it. Formulate a hypothesis. Test it. Draw conclusions. Set goals, objectives and activities accordingly. Organize resources. Arrange things in a pleasing manner and implement. Evaluate. Happy client, happy life.

But, as we all know, things aren’t so linear. They aren’t so clear-cut and pat. They are not so perfectly objective and universally understood. We have all felt these things:

  1. Working with imperfect information.
  2. Often inarticulate clients.
  3. Or clients not understanding or appreciating or anticipating what you are trying to do.
  4. Some limits to the access to resources we want and need.
  5. Not fully skilled in every single technique that might come to bear.
  6. Can often get caught up in our heads, sometimes over-thinking, other times not thinking enough.
  7. A fear of failing to know when enough is enough.
  8. A weak sense of what happens when we introduce our designs publicly.
  9. Never fully sure if we have achieved acceptable results.

Design should not be seen as a set of steps per se. Rather, design is a way of thinking. That way of approaching the professional task with fluency, flexibility and comprehension. Here the designer must provide a sense of the underlying intellect in the design of the project, or else others cannot appreciate or anticipate what the designer was trying to accomplish. They need to sense the designer’s thought process all along the way.

Towards this end, we want designers to get socialized into a disciplinary literacy as they pursue design as an occupation and profession. They need to learn how design differs from art. Achieving a harmony and some variety in design — the goal in an art project — often falls short of client expectations. There’s that “It’s nice, but…” or “Where’s the WOW factor I was looking for…” or “I like it, but I’m not sure how I’m going to use it…”.

And professional, experienced designers need to learn how to tell when enough is enough. That is, they need to have this automatic, intuitive sense when if they added or subtracted one more thing from their design, it would not be as good.

One useful type of tool, designers can resort to is called a Thinking Routine (see footnote 2). The Thinking Routine is any structured way of asking yourself questions which help you organize your thoughts. You should have several thinking routines in your designer tool-box. These aid you in applying that disciplinary literacy you are forever developing and improving upon.

One Thinking Routine I want to introduce you to here is called “Backward-Design(see footnote 1).

How the designer begins the process of creating a design is very revealing about the potential for success. One of the things designers more literate in their discipline learn to do is called “Backward-Design.” The designer starts with determining how their finished project will be assessed, then works backward from there in specifying the tasks and methods to be employed.

The designer begins the process by articulating the essential shared understandings and desires against which their work will be evaluated and judged. The designer starts with questions about assessment, and then allows this understanding to influence all other choices going forward. The designer anticipates what evidence others will use in their assessments of what the designer is trying to do.

Given that the more successful designer “backward-designs,” he or she would begin the process by anticipating those understandings about how their work will be assessed. The first assessment is how others, particularly the client, but including the client’s audience(s) as well, will see the design as finished, complete, coherent, and parsimonious. The second assessment is how others will see the design as successful, satisfying, having the desired effect, contagious, and impactful.

The designer then is equipped to make three types of informed, purposeful choices:

1. Choices about composition

2. Choices about construction and manipulation

3. Choices about performance

These choices involve what to include and not include. How to organize and how not to organize. How to mesh things together and not mesh things together. How to introduce things publicly and not introduce things publicly.

Given what the client wants, your choices will be influenced by what evidence they will look for to know you have achieved it. These choices involve evidence about what tasks will be worthy to be accomplished, and the most efficient and effective ways to accomplish them. These choices signal that the designer really gets it and is ready to perform with understanding, knowledge and skill.

In backward-design, these choices emerge through dialect and communicative interaction. Choices about tasks are purposeful. Design is more seen and operated as an action, rather than an object.

When beginning the process of design, the designer thinks about assessment before beginning to think about what and how they will design. Designers do not wait until the end — what scientific management calls the evaluation step — of the process. Thinking backward as a strategy for problem solving really isn’t that difficult. While this may feel illogical or counter-intuitive, in the end it makes more sense.

Again, we can set up a backward-design process as a Thinking Routine. A Thinking Routine can help the designer internalize the backward-design process. It can help the designer sharpen their focus. The Routine becomes a way, used informally or formally based on your style, to structure the client intake process. It also becomes a way to force you to prioritize your tasks.

Here is a simple example useful for designers interested in backward-design, and which I call DESIGN FRAMEWORK.

How Do We Elicit This Information From The Client?

Critical here is the designer’s ability to elicit a lot of information from the client. Information about expectations. Past experiences. Things they like and dislike. What they want to happen at the end. Values, desires, worth, risks, rewards. What the client’s various audiences might expect and desire.

Understandings are often revealed through the exercises of comparing and contrasting or summarizing key ideas and images. We can provide pictures. We can take the client on an internet tour. We can ask the client to take us on an internet tour. During all this, we encourage the client to explain, interpret, apply, critique, empathize or reveal prior knowledge about and experience with. This gives us a lot of information to start with.

We can then seek to find specific examples of what the client has done in the past, or has tried to do recently. They can describe certain actions they have taken. They can share with you various products they have designed or had designed for them, and their feelings about these products. They can explain the “facts” as they present them. Or offer up “interpretations”.

We then have to step back from our interactions with the client, and ask ourselves: Does the information we have collected provide enough evidence for us to determine a task plan? Can we see patterns and themes emerging? Hard and fast convictions? Things loosely connected? Are the client’s understanding of the problem(s) to be solved consistent with those of the possible solution(s) which can be implemented?

Or is there still some ambiguity needing clarification? Are any expectations unrealistic? If so, we return to interacting with the client to gather more evidence of their desires and understandings about what they want to be accomplished.

The Successful Designer

The successful designer is one who can generate designs which are engaging and effective, as judged by the client (and perhaps by extension, the client’s various audiences).

The design process should allow the designer to identify and prioritize those tasks which are most relevant to or likely to achieve the end result. And in turn, reject or shorten tasks which do not.

The client should see the design as relevant, provoking, meaningful and energizing. The project should feel finished. It should meet the client’s understandings about what constitutes success. You do not want the client to walk away thinking the design was merely the result of an academic exercise. You do not want the client to think or feel you have sold them a cookie-cutter solution.

The design process itself should impact not only the final product, but the client him- or herself. It should elevate the client’s own sense of design and accomplishment. It should result in a client more competent when interacting with you and securing your services the next time.



(1) Backward-Design. I had taken two graduate education courses; one in Literacy and one in Planning that were very influential in my approach to disciplinary literacy. One of the big take-away from Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005, was the idea they introduced of “backward-design”. Their point is that you can better teach understanding [and my words, perform professionally] if you anticipate the evidence others will use in their assessments of what you are trying to do. When coupled with ideas about teaching literacy and fluency (see Literacy: Helping Students Construct Meaning by J. David Cooper, M. Robinson, J.A. Slansky and N. Kiger, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015), you can begin to introduce ideas about managing the design process in a coherent and alignable way.

Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Literacy: Helping Students Construct Meaning by J. David Cooper, M. Robinson, J.A. Slansky and N. Kiger, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015

(2) Thinking Routines. There are many different types of Thinking Routines. The Harvard Graduate School of Education has researched, evaluated and categorized these. These routines can be used in your own reflections with yourself, or as active tools when working with clients. They are used to help you understand and manipulate your world.

Project Zero’s Thinking Routine Toolbox. Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

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NAMING YOUR BUSINESS / NAMING YOUR JEWELRY… You Better Get Good At This … Your Success Depends On…

Posted by learntobead on May 19, 2020

Topics Covered In This Article:



3. BRAINSTORMING (with other people)












Right off the bat….

List your initial, first-things-coming-to-mind business name or range of business name ideas here:


It’s Really Difficult To Pick A Business Name

Would you ever buy a Swarovski necklace or a bead crocheted rope lariat from a company called “Flan”?

The “FLAN CORPORATION” sells handcrafted, bead strung and bead woven jewelry.

The name “FLAN” doesn’t suggest anything associated with “jewelry” or the “emotions jewelry should evoke”. The name “FLAN” doesn’t connect in any way with people who might be looking to buy some jewelry. The name “FLAN” doesn’t lend itself very well to the kinds of imagery you might use in a logo, or on a business card or on a website. The name doesn’t really make you want to find out more information about the company.

As the people at the FLAN CORPORATION discovered every early on in their new, budding jewelry business, as new customers failed to knock down their doors…


Your name choice can make your business the talk of the town, or doom it to obscurity.

Picking a business name can be harder than naming your child.

It can be harder than naming your dog.

I’ve tried many times to come up with business names with varying degrees of success.

And the first business name you pick might seem great and work great at the beginning, but will it evolve with your business as well? Maybe yes, maybe not.

People often make snap judgments about your business based on your business name.

Your business name can often make or break your success.

What’s important is not only how good your business name sounds, and how appealing it is today, but also how adaptable it is over time, as you grow or change your business.

There are all types of business names.

Some are ABSTRACT — a blank slate upon which to create an image, suggestive of what your business is about.

Some are INFORMATIVE — so that customers immediately know what your business is, where it is, who owns it.

One problem that businesses which select an Informative name run into is that the name can become a straight-jacket. If your name is a niche business name, and you change or outgrow your business, your name might not grow with it.
You don’t want to outgrow your business name. What if Amazon had been named Bookstore.com — books were the primary item they were selling when they first started? They would be limited to selling books.

One name that outgrew itself is Burlington Coat Factory. When they were naming their store, they didn’t think far enough into the future. When they expanded their product offerings, they had to change their tagline to, “We’re more than just coats.” (They also always have to have a legal disclaimer in their ads that says, “Not affiliated with Burlington Industries.” Ouch.)

Some are COINED — names that come from made-up words, usually to try to evoke an emotional feeling or to make your business more memorable.

If you invent a new “word” for your name, be careful that it doesn’t sound unnatural. Mashing two words together or mixing up a bunch of letters to form a new word rarely appears or sounds smooth. And be cautious using trendy suffixes to make up a new word. Sprayology, Teaosophy and Perfumania are all train wrecks.

Watch out that you don’t run into a trap where you try to be Mysterious with your Coined business name.

A sure-fire way to annoy people is to choose a name that’s completely random and seemingly meaningless. One I wonder about a lot is Vungle. I have no idea what this company does, and I don’t want to know. Likewise, can you guess what companies Qdoba, Magoosh, Iggli, Kiip, Zippil, or Zumper do?

Blindly following naming trends will lead to nothing but trouble down the road. But don’t just take my word for it. Ask the founders of Xobni, Svbtle, and del.icio.us.

Some Coined Names involve NEW FORMS — new ways of spelling traditional words, like YRNGS for Earrings, to make your business more memorable and have qualities of innovation or with-it-ness.

The problem with having a name like Naymz, Takkle, Flickr, or Speesees is that you will forever have to spell it when you say it, because it isn’t spelled how people hear it. (Think about how often you have to spell your own first and last name. Why would you want to have to do this with your brand name, too?)

Plus, Siri and other voice recognition software do not understand names that are not spelled naturally. And if you and your employees have to spell your name out loud for people, you are wasting everyone’s time and apologizing for it, over and over again.


Be Brutally Honest About What Your Business Is (And Will Be) All About.

You first need to know: What Do You Want To Communicate?

Over the years, I have had to come up with many business names for different types of businesses, some more, some less successful.

Take the business name, “Land of Odds”.

The name was always received well by customers, and was memorable.

Originally (starting in 1980), I used the name for a hobby business where I restored antique lamps and sold some antiques.

Years later, with my partner Jayden, we opened up a retail store (in 1989) that sold all kinds of handmade jewelry and unusual collectibles and beads. The name still had a good fit.

Eventually, Land of Odds evolved from a bricks and mortar operation to an internet e-commerce store. Here visibility and recognition depended on how well the website got indexed by search engines. We were not selling LAND. We were not selling ODDS. Our name, which had served us so well over many, many years, became a bit of a handicap.

We also opened (in 1999) a retail store we called “Be Dazzled”. At first, Be Dazzled sold finished jewelry, collectibles, some clothing, greeting cards, and beads. But at its location, mostly the beads sold, and nothing else. So we narrowed the operation to beads.

The name was always popular and attractive, but there are many bead stores across the country that called themselves some version of “Bead Dazzled”, and there were many hair salons across the country that called themselves some version of “Be Dazzled”. People frequently confused us with other businesses.

Again, as more and more business, directly or indirectly, moved online, I wished we had formally named our business “Be Dazzled Beads”, so it would be more easily indexed.

And for awhile, one business opened up a few miles from us in Nashville, and named their business, “BeadDazzled”. Nothing we could do about that.

On-line, however, I called our website’s domain name www.bedazzledbeads.com . Had to get that word “beads” in there so that search engines would index us correctly, and customers specifically interested in beads would find us.

Several years ago, I began making high end, handcrafted jewelry. Coming up with a name for this business was difficult, as well. I settled on Warren Feld Jewelry — www.warrenfeldjewelry.com .

Several things went into consideration here. I wanted to create a strong brand identity associated with my name. I wanted to make it difficult for other people to copy my business name. Since I anticipated that most of my business would be conducted on-line, I wanted a key word that search engines would see and associate with my business.

However, I settled for a name configuration that is so common among jewelry designers — Your Name Jewelry — that it was not a name that would stand out as much, set me off from the pack as much, or be as memorable as much — not like Land of Odds has been. [Same issue with Your Name Designs.]

Also, if I ever entertained thoughts of selling this business, having my name in the business name would probably be a negative.

Self-Marketing Analysis means that you take some time and write down what you think your business is today, and what it will evolve into tomorrow.

This includes:

BUSINESS ATTRIBUTES: What Is Your Business Today (Real or Anticipated)?

What do I want a name to accomplish for my company? What do you want your name to accomplish for you?
A name can help separate you from competitors and reinforce your company’s image, says Steve Manning, founder of Sausalito, Calif.-based Igor, a naming agency. He suggests clearly defining your brand positioning before choosing a name, as Apple did to differentiate itself from corporate sounding names like IBM and NEC. “They were looking for a name that supported a brand positioning strategy that was to be perceived as simple, warm, human, approachable and different,” Manning says.

Exercise: DISCUSS Name Options, In light of each evaluative question posed below…

Will the name be too limiting?
Don’t box yourself in, says Phoenix-based Martin Zwilling, CEO and founder of Startup Professionals Inc., an advisor to early-stage startups. Avoid picking names that could limit your business from enlarging its product line or expanding to new locations, he says, citing the example of Angelsoft.com, a company formed in 2004 to help connect startup companies with angel investors. A couple of years ago, the company realized it needed to appeal equally to venture capital and other types of investors. So, it did a costly rebranding to Gust.com, which is less specific and evokes a nice “wind in the sails” image.

Does the name make sense for my business?
For most companies, it’s best to adopt a name that provides some information about their products and services. That doesn’t mean it can’t also have a catchy ring. Lawn and Order, for example, is a good name for a landscaping business because it gets people’s attention and also clearly relates to the company’s services, Zwilling says. While unusual words like Yahoo and Fogdog sometimes work, quirky names are always a crapshoot.

Is the name easy to remember?
The shorter the name, the better, Zwilling says, suggesting that business owners limit it to two syllables and avoid using hyphens or other special characters. He also recommends skipping acronyms, which mean nothing to most people, and picking a name whose first letter is closer to A than Z because certain algorithms and directory listings work alphabetically. “When choosing an identity for a company or a product, simple and straightforward are back in style and cost less to brand,” he says.

Is the name easy for people to spell?
That may seem to be a given, but some companies purposely select names that consumers can’t easily spell. It’s a risky strategy to try to make a company stand out, and some naming consultants recommend against it. “If your name looks like a typo, scratch it off the list,” says Alexandra Watkins, founder and chief innovation officer of Eat My Words, a naming service based in San Francisco. She also believes that it’s important that your name be spelled exactly as it sounds. Otherwise, you will forever have to spell it out for people when saying the name or your company’s email or website address aloud. “Think of how often you have to spell your own first or last name for people,” she says. “Why would you want a brand name with the same problem?”

How will potential customers first encounter your name?
Some naming experts believe there are exceptions to the easy-to-spell rule, especially if most people will see your name for the first time in a print or online ad. For example, consider Zulily, the online company offering daily deals for moms, babies and kids. “If you just heard that name, you might not guess how to spell it, but the company’s aggressive online ad campaign has meant that most people first see it spelled out,” says Chris Johnson, a naming consultant in Seattle and author of The Name Inspector blog, who came up with the name Zulily. “The payoff is that the unusual sound and spelling of the name have helped them create a very distinctive brand.”

Does the name sound good and is it easy to pronounce?
Manning says the sound of the name is important in conveying a feeling of energy and excitement. You also must be sure potential customers can easily pronounce your company’s name. “It is a hard fact that people are able to spell, pronounce and remember names that they are familiar with,” he says, pointing to Apple, Stingray, Oracle and Virgin as strong names. But he doesn’t like such company names as Chordiant, Livent and Naviant. “These names are impossible to spell or remember without a huge advertising budget, and the look, rhythm and sound of them cast a cold, impersonal persona,” he says.

Is your name meaningful only to yourself?
A name with hidden or personal meanings evokes nothing about your brand, and you won’t be there to explain it when most people encounter it. “Refrain from Swahili, words spelled backwards, and naming things after your dog,” Watkins says. She gives the example of Lynette Hoy, who was using her first and last name for her PR firm in Bainbridge Island, Wash. The name didn’t work because it failed to evoke Hoy’s fiery personality and passion, Watkins says. So, the company was rebranded Firetalker PR, and Hoy took the title of Fire Chief. She called her office The Firehouse, and began offering PR packages such as Inferno, Controlled Burn and The Matchbox. “Her entire brand is built around that name and lends itself to endless ways to extend the name,” Watkins says. “Her prior name didn’t lend itself to any theme or wordplay.”

Is the name visually appealing?
You also want to consider how the name looks in a logo, ad or a billboard, Manning says. He points to Gogo, the inflight Internet service provider, as a good name for design purposes. “It’s the balance of the letters, all rounded and friendly, versus a word with hard, angular letters like Ks and Ts and Rs,” Manning says. Other visually appealing names include Volvo because it has no low-hanging letters and Xerox for the symmetry of beginning and ending with the same letter.

How will your name look? — On the web, as part of a logo, in an email address, on social media, on packaging.

What connotations does it evoke? — Is your name too corporate or not corporate enough? Does it reflect your business philosophy and culture? Does it appeal to your market?

Is it unique? — Pick a name that hasn’t been claimed by others, online or offline. A quick web search and domain name search (more on this below) will alert you to any existing use. When naming a business, you need to think about your potential customers. What’s their appetite for embracing the new? Or should you place emphasis on tradition and history?


Initially, at least, Don’t Limit Yourself.

How did you come up with your current business name, or list of business name possibilities?

If you were starting from scratch, and trying to name your jewelry-making business, what things could you do?

What factors are important?

What do you want your name to communicate?

Do you like how certain words sound or look printed on a page?

DISCUSSION Q: How does your business name, or name possibilities relate to what you wrote about your jewelry above?

Start by deciding what you want your name to communicate. It should reinforce the key elements of your business. Your work in developing a niche and a mission statement will help you pinpoint the elements you want to emphasize in your name.

The more your name communicates to consumers about your business, the less effort you must exert to explain it. According to naming experts, entrepreneurs should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words. People prefer words they can relate to and understand. That’s why professional namers universally condemn strings of numbers or initials as a bad choice.

You first brainstorm with yourself only.

First, write down every name, word, partial word which comes to your mind?

Second, What inspired you, or inspires you? Why did you get into this business?

Third, look at your jewelry and think about every word that might be used to describe it.

What are your styles of jewelry? Sophisticated, every day, novelty? Gemstone, crystal, glass? Only one of a kind, or more mass-produced? In what settings will you sell your jewelry?

Fourth, think about your work process — how you organize your jewelry making supplies, how you apply your craft, how you finish off your projects. What are all the words which come to mind here?

Fifth, think about your potential customers, markets and niche markets. Who are they? How will your jewelry benefit them? What are all the words which come to mind here?

Sixth, find out what types of business names are jewelry designers currently using?


If you do a Google search on “jewelry designers” or “directories jewelry”, you can come up with lists of names other people use. Most use the artist’s name and either the word “design” or the word “jewelry”. Susan Fein Designs. Susan Fein Jewelry. Susan Fein Jewelry Designs. Susan Fein Designed Jewelry.

The Google search will also show you other types of business names jewelry designers use. You might also page through jewelry popular and trade magazines.

Play With Words And Word Combinations

Write down all the words and phrases that appeal to you.

BRAINSTORMING (with other people)

Now, involve other people in this “coming-up-with-names” process.

Similar to what you did “inside” your head. Now see how other people think, react and understand what you are trying to do.

At this point, you come up with every word, phrase and idea that has any possibility.

Share your lists of words and names with others.

See what additional words and names they can come up with.

Brainstorm with EVERYONE. As many family, friends and strangers (who may be potential customers) you can. Don’t be shy about this.

Brainstorm. When making the decision about words and names, brainstorm a lot. Brainstorm with yourself. Your friends and family. Potential customers. In this initial part of the naming process, don’t reject anything. You want to pull out as many ideas as possible. You never know what combination of words and phrases might click.

How would they describe your work and your design abilities?

Why do they think you wanted to get into this business?

What do they think inspires you?

What qualities do they think people will associate with your jewelry?

What target markets do they think you should go after?

How do they see your products benefiting others?

When choosing a business name, keep the following tips in mind:

· Choose a name that appeals not only to you but also to the kind of customers you are trying to attract.

· Choose a comforting or familiar name that conjures up pleasant memories so customers respond to your business on an emotional level.

· Don’t pick a name that is long or confusing.

· Stay away from cute puns that only you understand.

· Don’t use the word “Inc.” after your name unless your company is actually incorporated.

Here are five of my most lucrative brainstorming tools and techniques:

  1. Open the thesaurus treasure chest.

Begin your online brainstorming on a thesaurus website, where you can find a jackpot of synonyms and related words. My go-to one is Thesaurus.com. When a consultant I know had to come up with fresh name ideas for a hip frozen yogurt franchise in Utah that was targeted at teenagers, he hit the jackpot when he typed in the word “cold” and found these three fun names:

Bitter: With one of the two yogurt flavors being tart, it was self-deprecating and fun
Goosebumps: Perfect for their target audience of hormonal teenagers
Frigid: Playful and fun. He actually used this later as the name of an ice cream store

2. Comb through glossaries of terms.

Every sport, hobby and industry has its own lingo of fun words and phrases. You can find pages and pages of them online by searching for “glossaries,” “lingo,” “vernacular,” “jargon,” “dictionaries,” “thesaurus,” “terms,” “words” or “slang,” which are essentially the same thing but will turn up different results in searches. While brainstorming frozen yogurt store names, my consultant friend looked at snowboarder glossaries and stumbled upon the word “Chatter,” which was perfect for this business, as it evokes teens socializing with each other.

3. Go “Googlestorming.”

There are endless ways to utilize Google for brainstorming, or as I call it, “Googlestorming.” For the frozen yogurt store, my friend searched for “coldest places on earth.” He found a small town “deep Siberian wilderness.” The word Siberian jumped out at him. “Siberia,” sounds hip, is relatable, and has an underlying humor to it. Great name for an ice cream or frozen yogurt shop.

4. Tune into iTunes.

Song titles make super sticky names, because just like the songs themselves, they get stuck in our head.

5. Search stock photos and Google images.

A picture says a thousand words. Photos can inspire awesome names, which is why I always do image searches to fuel my creativity. Stock photo websites such as Bigstock and Getty Images are fantastic places to get ideas and search for concepts related what you’re naming.

There are many word and image resources online to help stimulate your creativity. Try the ones above and poke around to find others. You’ll have the freedom to come up with ideas without anyone shooting them down. And you won’t have to buy anyone dinner.

6. Online Business Name Generators



See how combinations of words might work for you…

Then, filter

Start Putting Words Together Into Phrases. From this list of potential key words and tags, start putting words together in various combinations. Say them out loud. Plug in some of these words into the GOOGLE or Yahoo browser bar, and see what other suggested key words they are associated with.

For some of your favorite words, you might look these up in different languages — French or Spanish or German or Italian or Chinese or whatever.

Check these words in a Thesaurus to find related words. For each 2 or 3 or more word combinations, do a Google or Yahoo search on them, and see what comes up. Are these the kinds of businesses you want your own to pop up with in an internet search? See any other words other businesses use that relate? Does it appear that no other business is using the same name you want to use?


Begin to group the words and names into categories, such as GREAT, GOOD, FAIR and BAD.

If you are marketing to a multi-lingual audience, will the words you use be recognized in more than one language, and will they be seen as positive and have no negative connotations?

Some better business names function on more than one level of understanding — a play on words. That is, a word or part of a word can convey more than one meaning, and each meaning can be appreciated. A business called “JewelryWorks” or “DesignWorks” suggests that the jewelry is handcrafted, as well as successful — it works! — for the wearer.

Names that begin with hard sounds — K, — usually work better.

Find words or pairings with a rhythm or semantic flow, which helps to avoid leaving someone with a hard stop. This tends to create alliteration, such as Freaky Friday or Sunny Shores.

People are most likely to remember how something makes them feel. This means that beautiful-sounding names have a better chance of encoding into long-term memory. Interesting fact: “Cellar Door” has been rated as the most phonetically beautiful pairing of words.

Names with letters that have high point values in Scrabble — J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z — tend to be more memorable, likely because they are less commonly found in western languages. This less commonly found attribute makes a name more distinct for encoding into memory.

Letter form beauty. Brand names are more often seen in writing than any other form, so having a name translated into visual language, such as a logo, is an important next step. Take OXO and xpedx for example.

Context is important. A name should feel like a fit for the category it is going to occupy. Do this by being relatable through contextual meaning. For example, naming a small pillow company Microsoft today would be odd, but 100 years ago it may have worked.

The more physical and tangible a word is, the easier it will be to remember. The reason? It gives someone an image in their mind and helps to store it as a memory. Take “mossy rock” vs. “soft place” as an example. One is an object and the other is a concept. Guess which one someone would remember tomorrow?

Not every name is going to encompass all of these factors, but considering them gives a better sense of how memorable a name may be when it reaches the eyes and ears of a brand’s audiences.

Avoid tongue twisters. “Six Thistles Jewelry”, looks pretty on paper, offers many graphic illustration options, but is very difficult to say aloud.

Don’t Settle On The First Name You Come Up With

The best approach is to generate 3–5 business names, and start pre-testing them.

Again, search Google, domain name registries and trademark offices.

Again, bring your friends and families into a brainstorming session. Show your friends and family members all 3–5 names, and ask them to pick their favorites, and tell you why.


Subject your 3–5 choices to some rigorous and extensive reality-testing…

THE PRINTED WORDS. Type out the names, using different type-font faces. You can easily do this in your word processing or web-page editing software. How does it visually appear on the page, and do you like it or not? Besides the overall look, be sure that anyone reading your typed out name (or domain name or email address) won’t confuse lower case “L” with the number “1” or a capital “I”, or Zeroes and “O’s” or Fives and “S’s” or underscores with hyphens or blanks when the name or email address is shown as a highlighted, underlined link.

THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT. Type in your business name and domain name into a web browser and search engine. How does it look in the location bar at the top of the browser. In the search list, how does it appear, where does it come up, and what other businesses come up with it?

Type your email address into the TO section of an email.

Make sure you haven’t picked a name where, when you write it down, some letters slur together, making it illegible for others to read.

On the screen, it’s difficult to read “ill” , for example. Again, Besides the overall look, be sure that anyone reading your typed out name (or domain name or email address) won’t confuse lower case “L” with the number “1” or a capital “I”, or Zeroes and “O’s” or Fives and “S’s” or underscores with hyphens or blanks when the name or email address is shown as a highlighted, underlined link.

Some online applications may reject anything with a non-letter symbol, like a hyphen or slash or exclamation point.

Online applications will not typically recognize letters in different colors.

How long will it take or how difficult will it be for someone to type out your email address?

Does your business name lend itself to a logo.

A long time ago, I had done some consulting with a friend — Marje Feinson. We called ourselves Feinson-Feld Planning Associates. “Feinson-Feld” was easy to say, sounded professional and established, and we liked it.

We had a terrible logo, however. We took the “F” of both of our last names, and had one F upright and one F facing down, to form a right-leaning box, and people would frequently ask which one of us was the upside down F. (Of course, it was me!)

Hold your jewelry next to your name. Match? Mismatch?

Say your business name out loud. How easy is it to say and pronounce and be understood? Have other people say your business name out loud.

Your name pronunciation is not güd. Your name should be approachable and intuitive to pronounce in your brand’s country of origin. Don’t rely on punctuation marks or letters in different colors to aid in pronunciation. Your name will not appear in color in the press or in search-engine results and people go batty trying to find accent marks and umlauts on their keyboard.

DISCUSSION: Relate business name/names to questions below…

Can people spell your business name?

Can people remember your business name?

When people hear your business name, will they know what your business is about?

Does the name seem as workable for a physical bricks and mortar business, as it does for an online business?

Think about how you intend to market your business — brochures, directories, ads, email campaigns, signage — does your name feel good and fit with these marketing strategies?

If your primary means of marketing is a listing in the Yellow Pages or some other directory, then the first letter of the name might be important. Should your business start with the letter “A”? Should your business name avoid the “a”, “an” and/or “the”?

Do certain words in your name make different people react in different ways? I remember a gemstone shop named Art By God. On the one hand, gemstones are literally Art by “God”. Lots of people can appreciate that. On the other hand, whenever you use “God” in a name, it may seem that you’re diminishing something some see as sacred. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable naming one of my businesses, “Land of Gods”. And I remember the TV commercial where a woman names her new shoe store “Clothing Optional”, and attracts a hoard of nudists.

If you have an identifiable major competitor, does your business name sufficiently distinguish you from them?

Using “DESIGN” or “JEWELRY” as part of the business name…..This has pros and cons. On the positive side, it’s important to get your name associated with the jewelry you make, and the certain style, look and/or quality of your jewelry. This is called branding. You always need to keep re-emphasizing your name. In terms of both positive and negative, this gives the search engines something to work with when indexing. The name is user friendly in that it is easy to interpret and understand.

On the negative side, it seems that almost everyone you are competing with uses the same naming construct. If a potential customer is paging through the yellow pages, or scrolling down a list of designers in a search engine, you can get lost in the crowd.

Sample potential customers.

What will the future bring?

Where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? What will you be selling, to whom, at what price? Will it be the same merchandise you began with, or very different merchandise?

Will the name limit you in any way over time? Have you chosen something like Tennessee Jewls, and may want to sell outside Tennessee, or have non-Tennessee products to sell? Do you think you might want to expand beyond jewelry?

PICK YOUR BUSINESS NAME (consider this a working title for now)

Now you are ready to choose the ONE…


Double meanings often work best, such as in DesignWorks or DesignedExpressions.


That first name you come up with probably won’t be the chosen name…

PICK. Pick your business name. (final draft)

Now, how do you make your final decision?

Recall all your initial criteria. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind?

Some entrepreneurs arrive at a final decision by going with their gut or by doing consumer research or testing with focus groups to see how the names are perceived. You can doodle an idea of what each name will look like on a sign or on business stationery. Read each name aloud, paying attention to the way it sounds if you foresee radio advertising or telemarketing in your future. Use any or all of these criteria.


Registration, Trademark, Service Mark, Copyright…

Register Your New Business Name

Registering a business name is a confusing area for new business owners. What does it mean and what are you required to do?

Registering your business name involves a process known as registering a “Doing Business As (DBA)” name or trade name. This process shouldn’t be confused with incorporation and it doesn’t provide trademark protection.

Registering your “Doing Business As” name is simply the process of letting your state government know that you are doing business as a name other than your personal name or the legal name of your partnership or corporation. If you are operating under your own name, although you can skip the process, it is still a strategically sound idea to register your name. In some states, you may have to register your name at the City and County level, as well as with the State.

Learn about the requirements in your state and how to file in this Registering Your Doing Business As Name guide.

Apply for Trademark Protection

A trademark protects words, names, symbols, and logos that distinguish goods and services. Your name is one of your most valuable business assets, so it’s worth protecting. You can file for a trademark for less than $300. Learn how to trademark your business name.

When it comes to starting a business, there’s often some confusion about the process of business name registration. How are trade names and trademarks different? Does a trade name afford any legal branding protection? Can your trade name be the same as your trademark?

Simply put, a trade name is the official name under which a company does business. It is also known as a “doing business as” name, assumed name, or fictitious name. A trade name does not afford any brand name protection or provide you with unlimited rights for the use of that name. However, registering a trade name is an important step for some — but not all — businesses (more on this below).

A trademark is used to protect your brand name and can also be associated with your trade name. A trademark can also protect symbols, logos and slogans. Your name is one of your most valuable business assets, so it’s worth protecting.

An important reason to distinguish between trade names and trademarks is that if a business starts to use its trade name to identify products and services, it could be perceived that the trade name is now functioning as a trademark, which could potentially infringe on existing trademarks.

NOTE: You cannot trademark adjectives.

Registering a Trade Name

Naming your business is an important branding exercise. If you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name (i.e. a “trade name”), then you’ll need to register it with the appropriate authority as a “doing business as” (DBA) name.

Consider this scenario: John Smith sets up a painting business and chooses to name it “John Smith Painting.” Because “John Smith Paining” is considered a DBA name (or trade name), John will need to register it as a fictitious business name with a government agency.

You need a DBA in the following scenarios:

  • Sole Proprietors or Partnerships — If you wish to start a business under any name other than your real one, you’ll need to register a DBA name so you can do business under the DBA name.
  • Existing Corporations or LLCs — If your business is already incorporated and you want to do business under a different name, you will need to register a DBA.

Note that many sole proprietors maintain a DBA or trade name to give their business a professional image, yet still use their own name on tax forms and invoices.

Depending on where your business is located, you’ll need to register your DBA name through either your county clerk’s office or your state government. Note: Not all states require fictitious business names or DBA registration. SBA’s Business Name Registration page has more information about the process, plus links to the registration authorities in each state.

Registering Your Trademark

Choosing to register a trademark is up to you, but your business name and identity is one of its most valuable assets, so it’s worth protecting.

Registering a trademark guarantees exclusive use, establishes legally that your mark is not already being used, and provides government protection from any liability or infringement issues that may arise. Being cautious in the beginning can certainly save you trouble in the long run. You may choose to personally apply for trademark registration or hire an intellectual property lawyer to register for you.

Trademarks can be registered on both federal and state levels. Federal trademarks can be registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Applications can be submitted online, by using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), or by requesting a hard copy application and mailing in a paper form. Although both methods are acceptable, filing online is a faster and more cost-effective process (less than $300).

It usually is more expensive to get a US Trademark. This can be confusing, and I would suggest consulting with a trademark attorney.

It is usually less expensive to get a Trademark in the state you do business with. The process is usually very simple, and usually you would not need the services of a trademark attorney.

Tip: Before you register, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Determine whether your product is eligible for a trademark
  • Conduct a trademark search using TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System)

Because it can be tricky with US Trademarks to identify potential infringement or clashes, and the penalties for doing so are high, it’s worth talking to a good intellectual property lawyer to ensure you cover all bases.

As with trade names, registering a trademark at the state level varies from state to state. Check out the USPTO’s State Trademark Information page for links to your state’s trademark office.

For a step-by-step guide to filing a trademark application, FAQs and more, refer to SBA.gov’s Small Business Guide to Intellectual Property.


As you begin to narrow down a name, check with the US Trademark office to be sure no one else has used these names. Go to www.uspto.gov , and search the business names. Your state trademarks office may also have a searchable list.

Protect your business name by registering the name (and logo, if you have one) as a trademark or service mark. Also copyright your brochures and advertising copy, and any sets of instructions, if you create these.

As soon as you pick your business name, register it as a trade or service mark with your state trademark office. Each State you do business in, as well as the US as a whole, offer opportunities to protect your trade or service mark. It may or may not make sense to trademark in multiple states, or for the US as a whole.

In Tennessee, this process is especially inexpensive — around $40.00 per trade or service mark. You can prevent someone else from using your business name, or product name, by registering this name with the state(s), or US. You would put a TM next to the name you’ve trademarked, such as Be Dazzled BeadsTM .

Have I conducted a proper trademark search?
A great name is worthless if someone else already has laid claim to it. Start with some free resources like Trademarkia.com or USPTO.gov to do a cursory search to see if the name is already in use. Then, hire a trademark attorney to do a more thorough screening, and if the name isn’t taken, to register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “Get it right the first time,” Watkins says. “A third of our business comes from companies who are being threatened with trademark infringement.”


You can copyright any documents or marketing materials (brochures, instructions, etc). You can do this by registering a copy with the Library of Congress, or just putting © YOUR NAME, date somewhere on the document.

Or you can send a copy to yourself in a Registered letter, write on the outside of the envelop what is inside, and don’t open the envelop when you receive it back in the mail. This is a proof of date, should you need to challenge anyone.


Check to see if anyone has registered your business name online as a registered domain name. Go to www.networksolutions.com/ or www.GoDaddy.com and type in the name you want. If the name you want is taken, you can always vary the domain type, such as “.net” or “biz” instead of “.com”. You can vary a name by adding punctuation like a hyphen or period or deleting a space between words. You can vary a name by making it plural. You can vary the name by playing with the spelling of certain words — even making up your own creative spelling for some words.

Next, register a business domain name, so that you protect your business name from other people who might use it on-line. In translating your business name to an internet domain name, keep in mind that your email address will include that domain name. You want people to be able to easily and quickly type in your email address into an email. You do not want people to confuse the spelling or any added punctuation.

The business name does not have to match your domain name.
The .com extension would be best, even though there are many other choices.
If possible, the domain name should be rich in key words.
Avoid using punctuation as part of the business name.

To find out if your business name has been claimed online, do a simple web search to see if anyone is already using that name.

Next, check whether a domain name (or web address) is available. You can do this using the WHOIS database of domain names. If it is available, be sure to claim it right away. This guide explains how to register a domain name.


Determine how you want emails to be directed to you. Never use “info@yourname.com” or “customerservice@yourname.com” or “webmaster@yourname.com” or “store@yourname.com” or “mail@yourname.com” or “contact@yourname.com” or “ask@yourname.com” and generic things like that. These too often are challenged by spam prevention systems as spam. You don’t want your customers’ email systems automatically deleting your emails.

Claim Your Social Media Identity

It’s a good idea to claim your social media name early in the naming process — even if you are not sure which sites you intend to use. A name for your Facebook page can be set up and changed, but you can only claim a vanity URL or custom URL once you’ve got 25 fans or “likes.” This custom URL name must be unique, or un-claimed.

Along with the URL for the business name, you’ll want to check and make sure there are places on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, and Instagram (at the minimum) to claim early on.

You will want your business listed as a business in various search engines, like Google and Bing, and various directories, like Yelp.

Being active on public social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter in addition to your own business blog, is almost an essential part of any business marketing toolkit. These tools can have enormous benefits, but they also have their dangers.

For example, some businesses jump on social networking sites only to discover that someone has already registered their company or product names on Facebook and Twitter and is misrepresenting their brand as a consequence. Likewise someone might be out there reproducing your copyrighted web copy, blogs, photographs and videos (all that good multi-media stuff that social networks love to propagate) — without your knowledge.


Use a catchy phrase to summarize your business and get people’s attention…

Create A Tag Line

On written documents, brochures, stationery, envelopes and on online documents with titles, headings and the like, you have an opportunity to present more “words”, that is “meanings”, about your business. This gives you a second opportunity to convey things about your business that perhaps your specific business name falls short on, or needs more emphasis.

After you’ve come up with a business name, return to your lists of key words, and not-so-key words, and think of a tag line. Think of it as a “subtitle”.

Your Tag Line is a marketing opportunity, and should be worded in a catchy way.

Great tag line for taxidermy business:
the only game in town

A great tagline captures the essence of the value you provide to your customer in one or two concise sentences.

For my shop, Be Dazzled,
“Don’t be Frazzled, Be Dazzled”

For my shop, Land of Odds,
“Your Partner In Design”

Creating a tagline is a powerful exercise, as it forces you to think about exactly what it is you do for your customers that is unique. I call this a business’s Unique Advantage Point (UAP). It’s the perfect place to start when developing a tagline for your business.

First write a 9 words or less tag line. You need to be able to tell someone, in 1-sentence, preferably seven to nine words, who you are as a jewelry designer. What’s your style? What’s your approach? What’s your uniqueness? What’s your competitive advantage?

No qualifiers. No further supporting detail and elaboration. 1-Sentence.

It might be helpful to fill in this blank: “You want to buy/sell my jewelry because….(blank)….”

Or, “My jewelry is different and more relevant and better than everyone else’s because… (blank) …. “

A tagline doesn’t need to be overly clever or cute to be effective. A good tagline is primarily functional. It should explain the unique value that your business offers as clearly as possible.

Sure, many classic taglines are pretty smart. “Let your fingers do the walking” is a clever play on words for a telephone directory company. But it also clearly evokes the value that the Yellow Pages offers: easy access to reliable information.

Don’t Worry About Being Too Cute

Make It Memorable

Inject a Little Personality

Settle on a final draft.

Some examples of tag lines / slogans:

De Beers. A diamond is forever.
Citizen. Beyond precision.
Crystal gets closer to the body than ever before.
Diamonds by the Yard.
Every kiss begins with Kay.
Live the moment.
Perpetual spirit.
Quality is Remembered Long After the Price is Forgotten.
The crown jewellers for 150 years.
The Jeweller of Kings.
The right time for life.
The added value of the first impression.
Where Maryland gets engaged.
For those who want more.
Honesty, my addiction.
Getting rid of headaches since 1888.
Ring on your finger, necklace on your neck, and men on their knees.
Diamonds. Divas. Desire.
Love’s embrace.
Want honesty?
She only has two things on her list.
Unleashing the beauty of the stone.
Our reputation shines as brightly as our diamonds.
Beautiful, masterful design never goes out of fashion.
Walk down our aisles first.
Hearts on fire.
The ultimate in luxury and style.

Write Up Short Descriptions of Your Business

At this point, you have done a lot of work generating terms, key words, phrases all very relevant to your business. Take a little more time to generate some descriptions of your business which you can cut and paste into forms, such as the application forms for getting listed in various online directories.

Then, come up with a 250 word description of your business.

Then, come up with a 100 word description of your business.

Last, come up with a 25 word description of your business.

All these will be useful, when creating written documents, as well as web-pages, and, just as important, will be useful for filling out forms to register your business name with various search engines and directories online.


Naming your jewelry will increase your sales…

I was filling out an entry form the other day for a jewelry contest sponsored by Beading Daily, a part of Interweave Press. I was submitting my Duchess Aiko Necklace under the Czech Glass category. On the entry form, they asked you to name your piece, and I’m glad I had.

This piece was very classical looking, very European sic Roman sic Greek sic British aristocracy and French bureaucracy. Stuffy, Uppity, and Refined. Hence the “Duchess”.

I have frequently used a variation on a Japanese jewelry design technique and motif called a bundle of straw. The bundle of straw allows some interlacing, some interpenetration of forward, center and receding spaces, and some simple movements. I used a variation of this technique with a narrow tube bead that slipped through the larger holes of two positioned rondelle separator bars, and underneath two 14mm faceted and frosted carnelian discs. This had the effect of pushing the upper disc forward, increasing the dimensionality of the piece, as well. Hence, the “Aiko”.

I kept thinking how important it was to name all your pieces, and how I had named them — The E. Taylor (a take-off on a multimillion dollar piece worn by Elizabeth Taylor), the Barcelona Necklace (a translation of contemporary Spanish jewelry fashions and techniques), the Etruscan Vestment (a contemporary interpretation of an Etruscan collar), and Blue Waterfall (for a piece in silvers and a multitude of blues that felt very much like a moving waterfall).

The point here is, Name Your Jewelry. I find it useful in increasing attention and sales to name my jewelry. I name each piece of jewelry, and organize similar pieces of jewelry into collections and series, to which I assign names, as well.

This helps people relate to the various pieces I make. They get connected to my pieces because the “titles” give them meanings to relate to. Naming allows me to segment all the jewelry I make into smaller subsets. This enables me to explain techniques and materials pertinent to particular pieces, so I don’t end up, in my sales pitches, making broad generalizations about what I sell. And I find people often like to own more than one piece within any series or collection. People are natural “collectors.” The familiarity these names generate seems to encourage people to want to own a second or third piece of mine.

Keep your names short.
Relate the names to your design work, but not necessarily too literally.
Have fun with your names.

Sell yourself as an artist by telling your story…

Write A Short Story About Your Business and Your Biography as an Artist

Sell yourself, the jewelry artist, as well as your jewelry creations.

Buyers of your jewelry and other craft creations will want to know a lot about your craft or jewelry background. They will want to know about the piece, how you thought about it, what kinds of techniques you used to make it, where the materials come from, what makes the piece special or original. The more they know about you, the more connected they feel towards you. And the more comfortable they will feel about doing business with you.

They might want to know who taught you and how you learned your craft. They might want to know if you make your items full-time or part-time. They might be interested to learn where else you sell or have sold your pieces.

Write up a 3–4 paragraph story about yourself. It could be a true story, or it could be a fantasy you want associated with your products. This story, or parts of it, may end up in your brochures. It may end up on your packaging, such as earring cards, bags or gift boxes. It may end up on your web-site. It will be something you should be prepared to tell orally, as well.

Then re-write these paragraphs as 3 short, concise, distinct sentences. You won’t be able to tell everything about yourself. You won’t be able to go into your creative process.

Things that will work well in this 3-sentence structure are titles of articles you’ve written, awards won, specialized training programs, classes you teach, your website address, specialties you concentrate on, state where you are from.


Last, translate your short story and 3-sentence summary into a 30-second Elevator Pitch. Picture yourself on an elevator with a potential client, and you have 30 seconds to “make the sale”, so to speak.

While you are at it, ….


Once your decision is made, start building your enthusiasm for the new name immediately. Your name is your first step toward building a strong company identity, one that should last as long as you’re in business.

Part of the success of your business name is how you effectively use it in your marketing plans.

Right or wrong, the name you choose, or don’t choose, speaks volumes about your business savvy and understanding of the world you are about to enter.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

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