What's in a name? More than you think

Put some thought into your business name, please.

I was going to write about something quite different this week, chiefly wondering why my office carpet smells like beer, but then on the way to work we drove past a maternity wear shop called BirthDaze and everything else was swept from my mind and replaced with a fog of rage not dissimilar to napalm.

Naming your business is no doubt a very personal thing. Your ideal name might have already been taken so you have to go with something else. And puns and intentional misspellings can be quite entertaining. Please note I said quite.

And it depends on what your business is. Naming it after yourself is probably very tempting – there’s a Penelope’s House of Fashion in Otaki I would buy if it were a) for sale and b) I had more than nothing in my wallet. However, there are several business names out there that really make me feel that maybe not enough thought was applied. Or possibly, too much.

In Sydney there’s a string of funeral homes called White Lady Funerals, which made me check to see I’d read the name correctly. All I got was racist overtones but apparently it’s all about a woman’s understanding and consequently all the funeral directors are of the bra-wearing gender. I am not sold.

Wellington has a marketing communications company called Promotus – is it just me or does this seem lazy? Or perhaps it’s so simple I just don’t get it. It reminds me of the stroke of brilliance I’d get writing university essays at 2am that would turn out to be not so brilliant the next morning.

I am also of the opinion that if you’re planning on having a company name that ends in an s then you need to brush up on your apostrophe knowledge – you’re going to be using a lot of them and there’s a good chance you’ll screw it up. If your company is called Forever Flowers then you can’t write Forever Flower’s ever. I mean that. My nerd army will appear on your horizon with white boards and explain in graphic detail, with charts, why you shouldn’t force such an atrocity on the public.

However, we all have our foibles and mine is an unnecessary and unnatural fondness for hairdressers and the terrible things they often name their businesses. For a woman who loathes the use of z instead of s or k instead of c this is particularly strange, given the amount of places using kutz, which I should hate. But I don’t. I find it shamefully hilarious. A Cut Above. Curl Up’N Dye. I once spotted a place called Amorous Hair – I never went in but I am quite curious as to exactly what services it offered.

Yes, this is most hypocritical but it turns out that I look good in hypocrisy so I’m not going to stop.

However, it’s only hairdressers who escape my wrath when a z is used instead of an s. The full fury of my hatred comes down like a crash of rhinos on Lotz of Potz. I gather that this sort of jokey larking about with the English language isn’t offensive to everyone and it’s a free world, blah, blah, blah – grow up. It’s a terrible habit, I loathe it and so should you.

Unless you are a hairdresser. If so, carry on.

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