What’s in a (business) name?
Hello everyone, did you have a good Christmas and New Year? I had a great festive season, Alex and I (you will have seen Alex featured in my Joker Step by Step Post) got engaged! Now, I’m not just bragging for the sake of it, believe it or not it is actually relevant to what I have to say! Ok bragging a little bit, but that’s allowed right?? One of the most frequent questions I see popping up on face painting pages and groups on Facebook is ‘I’m just starting out and can’t decide on a business name’, so today I thought I would talk about how I came up with mine, and some things to think about.
Let me just get one thing straight first though. I am registered as a ‘Sole Trader’, not a ltd company or any of the other options, which gives me quite a lot of flexibility rather than being registered as 2 or 3 different companies. For me ‘The Pixie Tribe’ is a trading name used to market the face painting services I offer. I started out as a hair and makeup artist doing face and body art on the side, so I was operating under ‘Mazz Hannah Hair and Makeup Artist’ for hair and makeup marketing and bookings, and I was operating under ‘Mazz Hannah Face and Body’ for face and body painting, all under one website called Mazz Hannah MUA.
A few months in and I was catching up with another makeup artist friend at a job we had been booked on together and we both said how much we wanted to do glitter and face painting at festivals. Oh, how very naive we were (I may do a post on this in the future if anyone is interested…)! Anyway, we decided to meet up and talk about it properly, come up with a list of festivals we wanted to apply to and how we would operate, and, most importantly, come up with a business name, so we could set up on social media and start applying for said festivals. The important thing for us at the time was that it sounded fun and festivally, that was basically our only criteria. We eventually ended up with ‘The Pixie Tribe’ which I absolutely loved, big fan of fairies (I’ve also named all 12 of my glitter mix options after famous fairies). Because we were going in with festival glitter and gems , airbrush tattoos, and festival hair styling as well as face painting, we didn’t want our business name to suggest that we only offered face painting. It had to be versatile, and because the original idea was that it wouldn’t just be one of us, it would be a team of us going off to events, it couldn’t be specific to one of our names, and ‘tribe’ then also played into that quite nicely. Not long after this conversation however, she said to me that she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to fully commit to ‘The Pixie Tribe’ due to her filming commitments and would I mind if I were solely in charge? This suited me as I had realised we had potentially been a bit naive in the first place .
After about a year and a half, I was very conscious that the lease on my domain name only had 6 months left, and I was really fed up with my website host. This lead me to really think about my long term business plans after a year and a half of setting up, relocating and almost setting up again from scratch. This was about February last year, and when my website lease was up in August, I decided to have not one, but 2 websites (If anyone would like me to do a blog post on setting up a website and why it’s important, please let me know in the comments below!). One for ‘The Pixie Tribe’ and I ‘rebranded’ from ‘Mazz Hannah Hair and MUA’ to ‘Mazz Loxton’, which incorporates my hair and makeup work and my more fine art style body painting. My reason for changing to Mazz Loxton (Loxton being my middle name) was that Alex and I had been together 4 years at the point I was starting to think abut all of this, and he frequently reminded me that my surname might not always be Hannah. My surname also causes a mountain of confusions and was another reason I had considered changing my trading name for that side of my business. But if I wanted to start building a reputation, it would be more complicated to change my trading name down the road than changing it now, particularly as I do want to do more fine art body art (Loxton Studios has quite a nice ring to it don’t you think?).
So, below are some bullet points with some things to think about in regards to your trading name.
Do you want people to know instantly from your name the type of services you provide?
Are you going to exclusively offer Face Painting or are do you want to leave room to add balloon twisting, henna, glitter tattoos and other services down the line?
What are some of the other painters in your area trading as? There are a lot of people trading with the same or very similar names, so it might be a good idea to think of something a bit different.
What market are you aiming at and will this affect your choice?
Does the trading name you are considering make your business searchable (if someone were to type in Face Painters in your area into google, would your page come up?)
Sometimes I do regret my choice in ‘The Pixie Tribe’ name because you can’t immediately tell from it what type of services I offer, and it’s not the most searchable name, I rely completely on my SEO’s. There are also benefits to including your actual name in your trading name. But I now have my website, hoodies, business cards etc etc, so I feel like I’m in too deep to do anything abut it at this point, but it might be that when we move to a different area I think about this again, and if I’m lucky it might coincide with the end of my domain name lease!
I hope that I’ve maybe helped you if you are making this decision at the moment, or at least given you a couple of things to think about. I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and that your tax returns haven’t been too much of a headache!
The Pixie Tribe