Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Working Designer Wednesday: Naming Your Floral Design Business

I’m so excited about today’s post. Kate from Floret Cadet has become a sweet blogging friend and she recently began transitioning her hobby into a floral design business. She’s been busy choosing business cards and basic studio equipment, creating a new web presence, finding a logo designer and creating a logo…and she has generously offered to share what she’s learned with the Botanical Brouhaha readers! Today she’s sharing her thoughts on naming your new floral design business, which she so appropriately refers to as your “baby”…Welcome, Kate…

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Tips for Naming Your New Baby

  • Name the business you want to be, not the business you are.  Once you establish a business, it’s not an easy process to change the name- it would be almost tantamount to starting from scratch.  So think ahead to the future.  For example, naming a business “Weddings By Kate” would not be savvy if you ultimately want to add lots of non wedding events to your roster, and naming a business “Fabulous Flowers” would not be smart if you ultimately might want to branch out into overall event production or décor.  This one hits close to home, because the name “Floret Cadet” was chosen just for a blog about floral design from a fan’s perspective, not for a floral design business.  I did later choose to stick with it for my business, but the word “Cadet” implies someone in training, which isn’t necessarily apropos.  I decided that I like the idea and message that I’m always learning and growing, and I just came to love and identify with the name, but I definitely wasn’t thinking ahead.

  • Lots of florists incorporate names of specific flowers into their business names (I have noticed a lot in particular with Rose, Lilac, Lily or Lotus in the names).  I think this is great if you are passionate about that type of flower or really identify with it.  If a customer happens to hate that particular type of flower, they might have a negative impression of the business on first glance, but I don’t think it’s a huge risk if there’s a flower you really want to hang your hat on- people are certainly smart enough to know it's not the only flower you like to work with!  If you don’t want to include a specific flower type, there are lots of botanical words that aren’t specific flower varieties to also consider – names with branch, stem, botanical, organic, twig, vine, etc. can be lovely, as can other evocative words like garden or vase. 

  • If you want your business to have a specific cultural flair, or are just looking for another word for ‘flower’ that isn’t as common, the word is lovely (and still recognizable) in many other languages.  Fleur, Fiore, Flor, Bloem, and their cousins can make for distinctive business names.   Even if the name isn’t recognizable to most Americans as a flower word, a foreign word for flowers or a type of flower can still make a beautiful name.  My friend Olga named her business Landish Studio, which is the Russian word for Lily of the Valley (she is Russian-American).  Her logo also features a lily of the valley icon, further forging the connection.  As long as people can pronounce it, it’s fun to have a back story to your name that isn’t immediately obvious.  Which brings me to the next point…

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image via Landish Studio

  • As with baby names, it makes sense to think about whether the average consumer can pronounce or spell your business name (again, I learned this through experience, because everyone under the sun wants to type or say Floral Cadet rather than Floret Cadet!)  It’s great for a name to have a certain mystique, but you don’t want to spend lots of time and energy educating people about how to spit it out.  Having been a recent floral consumer myself, I will also add that people find a business intimidating if they’re not sure how to pronounce it.  They avoid saying it out loud for fear of being wrong or looking silly (at least I did!)

 

  • It’s also common to use your name as the business name.  You don’t have to register a DBA (“doing business as” or an aka) if you use your first and last name (i.e. Kate Johnston Floral Design), and it’s very straightforward.   I come from a PR background and have seen lots of situations with boutique firms named after the founder where the name eventually became a burden however.  If a customer hires Kate Johnston Floral Design, they might expect (or at least hope) to always and only deal with Kate Johnston.  If you expand and wind up with a team of associate designers or even one trusty assistant to handle some client correspondence, you might have different demands on your time than you would if your company name wasn't personal.   This said, obviously there are many successful and beloved floral design companies that use teams of designers that are named this way, so it can definitely work well! (Holly Chapple Flowers comes to mind as do many others!)

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image via Holly Heider Chapple Flowers

  • I think that it can be smart to include your city name in the business name (i.e. Stems of Dallas).  In the age of the blogosphere, potential customers see work from around the country every day, and it can actually be difficult to figure out where the business is based if it’s not clearly stated on their home page.  I have had to look up zip codes and area codes before to figure out where florists are based!  The potential down side of this is that obviously sometimes floral designers end up moving, and if you did, your business name wouldn’t be transferable (though you'd need to build a new client base anyhow).

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image via Stems of Dallas

  • If you are stuck for ideas, think of things that really inspire you- they don't have to be floral.  I’ve seen really great floral design company names that hinged on or were inspired by foods, colors, places, seasons, people, etc- there’s Celadon & Celery, Geranium Lake (which is a specific color of oil paint, chosen by a painter turned florist),Honey and Poppies (which also sounds floral but was named after the owner’s beloved grandparents, Honey and Papi), The Monkey Flower Group and the list goes on and on!

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image via Celadon & Celery Events

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image via Geranium Lake

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image via Honey and Poppies

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image via The Monkey Flower Group

  • This is a semi-cynical one, but hey, business is business, so you might want to consider that if you pick a business name that starts with a letter that appears early in the alphabet, you will appear first on blogrolls, in alphabetized vendor directories, etc.  Looking at my own blogroll, there is a huge bottleneck around businesses that start with the letter "F," because obviously a lot of flower business owners start their names with Floral, Flower, Flora, and other related words.  It's not necessarily a problem, but if you're looking to differentiate yourself you might want to go against the grain here, and starting your business name with an early letter will also assure you're at the top of alphabetized lists!

What are some of your favorite floral design company names?

Thanks so much, Kate! Next Wednesday, Kate will be back on BB to give us pointers on creating a logo…she’ll discuss working with a  custom logo designer, finding a custom logo at a reasonable rate and using a pre-made logo. You will love that post! She will provide you with numerous resources to help in creating or redesigning your logo. I encourage you to check out Kate’s blog, Floret Cadet, if you aren’t already acquainted with her!

Have a great Wednesday!

9 comments:

marci said...

We have had the pleasure of speaking with Floret a couple times. I think its great that she is trying to help others out by sharing her journey! She's gonna be a household name someday. :o)

Montreal florists said...

amazing looking blog really...

Mimi said...

Really nice hearing about Kate's process of determining a name for her company. We wanted a name that was clever and jazzy. I came up with Fly Me To The Moon Florists. It was jazzy and hinted that our work was far from ordinary. Everyone we asked hated it and thought it was an awful name for a flower shop. Just when we were about to ditch it and start all over with our logo design, which has no picture of flowers by the way. Our designer said he loved it. So we went ahead with it and the rest is history. It's memorable and people do expect us to be different from the typical flower shop. It continues to work very well for us.

Kate (floret cadet) said...

I love Fly Me To The Moon! I think it's a great name - very transporting, and great floral design has the power to do just that - make you feel like you're on the moon or somewhere totally new and different (also like you said it evokes the song, and is jazzy)

Kate (floret cadet) said...

Hi Marci!!!

toronto florists said...

This site is excellent and so is how the subject matter was explained. I also like some of the comments too. Waiting for next post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,
Thank you for sharing all this valuable information. By the way....I love your work!
Gisselle/Florida

Anonymous said...

I was thinking X's and O's Flower Shop...because id really like it if my arrangements would bring people together with hugs and kisses.

Cynthia Sabado said...

After reading this I was even more determined to start a floral design business. Seeing that you took a hobby you are passionate about and turned it into a business gives me hope. Thank you. I know it will take awhile but it'll be so worth the work and patience. Thanks again.

Cindy- Rochester NY