Choosing A Name For Your Salon

The Beauty SaloonBranding, Business

I see so many small business owners, especially in the beauty industry, who struggle with defining a strong and clear brand for their business. I want to help with that, because branding your salon or independent beauty business may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure that your business continues to grow and succeed.

This is the second in an epic series of posts on how to build your salon or independent beauty business brand starting from scratch, all the way through branding your client’s experience every time she sits in your chair. To read the first post in this series, click here.

Beauty Business Name Inspiration

Your business’s name makes the very first impression on potential clients. If you’ve not yet opened your salon or freelance beauty business, you’re starting with a clean slate, and it’s worth it to think very carefully about the image you want to project with the name you choose.

There are many options when it comes to choosing a business name. Below are some prompts to jump start your brainstorming, along with some advantages and disadvantages to each type of beauty salon name.

Getting Personal

If you’re striking out on your own as a mobile freelancer or booth renter, or opening your own salon, you have the option of naming the business after yourself. There are advantages to using your own name, but there are a few things to think about before you go this route.

Choosing to name your business after yourself can be a smart move if you aim to advance your personal beauty career and keep your options open for the future. Some advantages of using your own name for your beauty business are:

  • You have total control over your own image. YOU are your brand. Good or bad, people will associate their experience at your salon with you.
  • Clients will have an easier time finding you, or following you from a previous place of employment.
  • Your talents and beauty know-how will follow you through your entire career. All of your advancements and notoriety (good or bad!) will be tied to you personally, not to a salon name.

Before you name your salon or beauty business after yourself, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your name scalable? By that, I mean can it work for a second location if your salon grows and expands? If your sights are set on eventually building a large regional or national salon chain, do you want to attach your family’s name to such a business?
  • Is your name unique? No offense to the Jane Smiths of the world, but if you have a very common name, not only will it be hard for your business to stand out from the crowd, but you could run into trademark issues down the road.
  • Is your name hard to pronounce? If you have one of those names that people are constantly asking you to spell or one that people have trouble pronouncing (and many of us do), you might be setting yourself up for headaches.

Location, Location, Location

If you’re ready to put down roots new growth in the location of your dreams, naming your salon after the neighborhood can be a smart branding move. Especially if your city is having a cultural renaissance, as it seems many are, you can capitalize on local pride, honor the location’s history, and ingrain your business into the community by choosing a location-dependent name for your salon.

If the street where your salon will be located is notable, naming your shop after the address can guarantee a permanent place in the minds of your clients. “Salon Ten O Six” and “42 Broadway Ave.” are two examples of this type of name.

The neighborhood may offer inspiration when thinking of a name. For example, in Oklahoma City, the neighborhood which once housed the Film Exchange District where theater owners came to screen and lease films for their movie houses is now known as Film Row. If you were opening a salon there, you could take this to its literal conclusion an call it “Film Row Salon”, or you could choose something more subtle and figurative, such as “Old Hollywood Hair” or “Silver Screen Beauty Shop”.

Choosing a name that relates to your locale can be an excellent way to brand your business and make your salon memorable, just be certain that you plan to be in that location for a long, long time.

Historical Inspiration

As in the Film Row example above, history is a wonderful source of inspiration, especially if you specialize in vintage styles.

Besides local history, beauty and hairstyling history can offer business names that brand you or your salon with a vintage vibe. For example, several modern salons specializing in vintage hair and makeup have used plays on the words “pin up” and “pin curl” to great effect.

Flipping through vintage and antique women’s magazines or cosmetology books can be very inspirational when naming your salon. Certain words will evoke specific eras, which can work in your favor if you want to project a vintage image.

Finally, don’t overlook personal and family history when in search of a name for your beauty business. Using a beloved grandmother’s name or that of a personal hero can be a meaningful and unique approach.

A Brand Experience

By far the most popular option when naming a beauty salon is to choose a name that reflects the brand you wish to build. Here is where the branding brainstorming list you made in the last post comes in handy!

Take a look at the words that you wrote down. Do any of them stand out? Maybe the name of your salon is right there in black and white! More likely though, a pattern or a general feeling has emerged that you can translate into the perfect salon name.

As I wrote my list, a pattern of feminine glamour and refinement emerged. I brainstormed things like, roses, crystal, mirrors, pink, pampering, and luxury, which led me to write the words “powder room”. That antiquated phrase evokes the sense of femininity, sophistication, and vintage beauty rituals that I want my brand to convey. “The Powder Room” has a lovely ring to it, doesn’t it?

Of course, your list of words and the feelings you wish to evoke with your name and your brand will be different from mine, but your personal list should offer the same sort of guidance when choosing a name for your salon or freelance business.

Salon Naming Do’s and Don’ts

Now that we’ve gone over how to find inspiration for your business’s name, let’s talk about what you should do once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a possible candidate or two.

Next Steps

So, you’ve settled on the perfect name. Great! But before you order business cards, there are a few things you should do.

  1. First you’ll need to find out if anyone else is using the name you’ve chosen. Google is your friend here. If you find that someone else is using a name, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but remember, you want to stand out in the crowd, so stay away from names that are overused, especially in your local area.
  2. For my dollfaces in the U.S., you’ll next want to search The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website to see if anyone has trademarked the name you want to use. This may seem unnecessary for a small business, but you never know how big you might grow or where you’ll want to take your brand in the future, and trademark infringement could cost you lots of legal fees and headaches down the road.
  3. Check to see if a domain name is available. I recommend searching (and buying domains) through Namecheap.com. This is so important! It’s the 21st Century, and your business MUST have a web presence. If the exact domain is not available, try adding an extra word, such as “salon”, “beauty”, or the name of your city. Stay away from hyphenated words if at all possible, and never choose strange or alternate spellings. This goes for your salon name too. You want something easy to remember and easy to understand.

Do These Things!

When choosing a name for your salon, DO:

  • Pick a unique name that will be memorable.
  • Think about your target market and your ideal customer. What will appeal to them?
  • Pick a name that evokes the feelings you want your clients to have about your business.
  • Think through the branding of your name. What styles, colors, eras and decor does it suggest?
  • Pick a name that looks good on paper and rolls nicely off the tongue.

Don’t Do These Things!

When choosing a name for your salon, DON’T:

  • Use alternate or difficult spellings.
  • Pick a name that is overused in the salon world. “A Cut Above” is clever, but it returns hundreds of results on Google, four in my state alone.
  • Use a pun, especially one that could be offensive. Just don’t do this. It makes you look terribly unprofessional.

So, there you have some ideas and guidelines for choosing a name. If you didn’t already have one for your salon or independent beauty business, you should now have a better idea of what to select.

Do you already have a name for your salon or brand? What did you choose and why? Let me know in the comments!

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Next week, we’ll cover your visual brand language. See you then!