Can't Come Up With A Name For Your Small Business? Here's Some Inspiration

It's (mostly) all in a name.

18/05/2016 5:40 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
They All Hate Us
Tash Sefton and Elle Ferguson named their business They All Hate Us to show haters they don't care what they think.

Finance, confidence and finding the right people are three of the most common challenges small business owners face when starting out.

But there's one challenge that rivals all of these -- and it's one that can have a massive impact on the success of their business ... what they call it.

Here, some top Aussie small business owners share their naming secrets to help give startups some inspiration.

She's Empowered
Kym Clark wanted to call her brand something that a "lot of women could relate to".

Kym Clark, founder of She's Empowered

She's Empowered is dedicated to helping women succeed in male dominated industries, and has developed a range of high-vis workwear for women.

"My goal was to encapsulate a brand that a lot of women could relate to," founder Kym Clark said.

"I'm a very visual person and love to scribble and doodle, especially on flights. I was on a flight to Sydney and I started writing down 'She is... she is confident, she is strong, she is driven, she is compassionate, she is approachable, she is relatable, she is hardworking, she is etc etc.

"That moment cemented my gut feeling about wanting the brand to be inclusive and I started trying to find words that wrapped up all the 'she is-es' into one or two words and that's when She's Empowered struck."

Clark said while she loved the name, she was aware it was an odd choice for an industrial workwear brand.

"To me, acknowledging that I wanted to call my business She's Empowered was a bold move because I knew I personally had to grow into the business name as well," she said.

"I remember vividly the first time I told someone my business's name face-to-face... I got quite a bizarre facial expression to say the least!

"In saying that, I am extremely proud that I stuck with She's Empowered because it sums up perfectly what the brand is about."

Vino Paradiso
To name their wine festival, Matt Williams and Kieran Tanner asked friends and family to rate their favourite suggestion.

Kieran Tanner and Matt Williams, founders of Sydney-based wine festival Vino Paradiso

To come up with the name Vino Paradiso for their annual wine festival, Kieran Tanner and Matt Williams shortlisted 10 to 15 names between them.

"We kept coming back to Vino Paradiso as a name that would grab people's attention," Tanner said.

"It's such an important thing for an event, for a festival, to get that right so we then canvassed a whole bunch of our friends of Facebook and asked for a popular vote and time and time again that's the one people said to run with.

"It's literally the translation of wine paradise and it conjures up the spirit of the event of 80 different wineries and 32 iconic wine regions across Australia presented at the one location. I came up with it and then immediately had my doubts, but Matt pushed the name and everyone we took it out to agreed."

The Academy Brand
Anthony Pitt's The Academy Brand meets the needs of his target market, the Forgotten Man.

Anthony Pitt, founder of The Academy Brand

This menswear fashion brand was founded in 2007 when Anthony Pitt identified a gap in the market for a product that delivered value without compromising on quality.

"I developed our target market and called him The Forgotten Man -- he's the guy who loves to look good but he couldn't find enough of what he needs," Pitt said.

"The Academy was the place where we could reach him. People ask me about the name and there's a few things. That was initially it -- the Academy was the place where we were going to find The Forgotten Man and with my marketing background I wanted a brand name that really had longevity and legs and could actually survive.

"At the time there were a lot of labels and brands starting with very obscure names and obscure stories. I wanted something easy, familiar, something that wasn't daunting or didn't alienate any customers.

"We've got a real American vintage prep undertone so it had to fit in with that. You hear the word 'academy' and it draws those cues automatically."

Brown Jersey Bicycles
To name his business, James Connell used an term bandied about during his days as a currency trader.

James Connell, founder of Brown Jersey Cycles

James Connell said the name of his cycling business, oddly enough, came from his days working in finance.

"I was a currency trader for a very long period of time which was a very hedonistic world to be in," he said.

"You see a lot of people like me with dreams and aspirations to break the cycle of wherever they have come from -- I came from a humble background -- and you see those hopes and dreams smashed on the altar of foreign exchange trading.

"In the mid 2000s I was working at a particular bank and the type of people you're working with, it was always about performance on a day-to-day basis and we used to refer to the person who had made the most amount of money that day as the yellow jersey on the day.

"In the background there were people who were having a really hard time of it and losing their jobs so we started to do something different -- we'd try to take the heat out of losing money and having bad days by having a laugh about it.

"In the Tour de France there are a few ways to describe the person who comes last and one of those is the Brown Jersey so we'd always refer to the person who'd lost the most amount of money as the Brown Jersey and we'd have a laugh about it.

"It seems like a strange story but it had a really positive impact on the team -- instead of being depressed it really diffused the situation, and we became very successful. Since then it has evolved into something different -- now I describe it this way: the spirit of Brown Jersey is learning to smile even on your crappiest days because if you do that then your life's pretty grand."

Adore Beauty
Kate Morris named her business back in 1999, and it still works today.

Kate Morris, founder and CEO of Adore Beauty

Morris's online fashion and beauty store launched online in April 2000 -- back when internet shopping was in its very infancy.

"The name came about because back in 1999 there wasn't such a focus on Google," she said.

"There were online directories and that was how you would find businesses, and they were always ordered A to Z.

"So I literally went through the dictionary and said 'I'm having something that starts with A and is relevant to beauty' -- and it works! I don't hate the name after 15 years so I think that's great."

Divvy Parking
Nick Austin says Divvy Parking has "no-nonsense, let's get stuck into the problem and fix it feel about it".

Nick Austin, founder and CEO of Divvy Parking

Divvy Parking was started by Nick Austin, who would drive to work in Sydney each day and could never find a parking space. It sent him mad enough to quit his job and start a parking platform.

"When we first started out, Divvy was a peer-to-peer platform, where residents could rent out their vacant parking spaces to commuters looking for convenient parking options," he said.

"I was fascinated with the collaborative consumption trend, popularised by big players like Uber and AirBnB. I loved the idea of a community working together to solve a common problem, sharing or 'divvying' up existing resources in a way that benefits everyone.

"The name Divvy was perfect for us -- it has that no-nonsense, let's get stuck into the problem and fix it feel about it.

"We have since moved into the commercial property space and the name Divvy applies more now than ever. Our smart technology connects commuters with available, underutilised parking spaces in office towers throughout the CBD, which would otherwise sit vacant all day."

To name his Home Improvement site, David Vitek went for something short and snappy.

David Vitek, CEO and co-founder of

Home Improvement Pages was launched to help connect people with tradespeople.

"When we first started the business we chose the name home improvement pages, because we wanted to be straightforward and clearly represent the industry we operated in," David Vitek said.

"After some time we created hipages as a short URL, to make the name easy to spell over a phone or type into a browser. This was extremely important because we communicate with our customers and businesses on a daily basis.

"Many of our clients started referring to us as hipages when they spoke about us. While the original name had worked fantastically, we were noticing more and more that the name hipages had caught on, and that it resonated well with our customers.

"Apart from being shorter and snappier, we also liked incorporating 'hi' into our name, to be more warm and welcoming to our potential clients. After some deliberation we decided to make the jump and change our name to hipages!"

They All Hate Us
Elle Ferguson and Tash Sefton

Elle Ferguson and Tash Sefton, founders of They All Hate Us

This trailblazing online fashion blog and store was started by Sydney-based BFFs Elle Ferguson, the former global visual merchandising manager for a swimwear label, and Tash Sefton, a former buyer and head of womenswear for a leading youth retailer.

"They All Hate Us came about as a little tongue in cheek joke between Tash and I," Ferguson said.

"We worked in an office full of men that just didn't get us, Sex And The City or our passion for fashion.

"We never dreamt that name would now be known around the globe. The more people we talk to the more people we find that have those 'haters' in their life and it's about giving it back to them and showing us it doesn't bother us what they think."

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