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Salon Name Ideas
What’s in a memorable salon name? Success.
Successful salons don’t just cut hair and paint nails, they create a unique experience that can’t be replicated by a competitor.
We review real salon names, share boring and overused salon business names you should avoid, and share expert tips you can use to come up with a captivating name for your salon.
When you’re just starting a business, the right name for your business is much more important than most people think.
A strong business name can help your business get a competitive advantage. A weak, forgettable business name can lead to failure.
Real salon names reviewed
If you want a salon that is continually educating their employees on new techniques you pick the salon with the name that advertises they are not like everyone else. Fringe signals that they are a departure from typical salon chains.
Rock Paper Scissors
A fun brand name for a family salon focusing on kids haircuts. A name kids like to say will get them to remind their parents where they want to get their haircut. Businesses that focus on services for kids need an environment that is fun and non threatening and this name sets that expectation.
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Most salons are trying to brand themselves as upscale and luxury. Paint Bucket wants to create a social atmosphere. Nail polish comes in small containers so the juxtaposition of a gallon sized bucket of paint sets a jovial tone. The name lends itself to lots of color combinations and paint bucket imagery.
The deep blue semi precious stone Lapis Lazuli has been prized since antiquity. This salon and day spa sets the tone for opulence with this name. There is a ready made color palette of deep blue along with other prized elements like gold and silver. It is also easy to pronounce and write.
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The sound of these two words work very well. They are both two syllables and start with the letter 's'. The 'a' at the end of Sensa softens the word and makes it pleasing to say. This would be an easy name to share in a conversation or referral.
More than 60,000 of the world’s best entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies and non-profits love and trust crowdspring for unique business names.
Crowdspring is an online design and naming platform linking businesses like yours with over 220,000 design and naming experts. Instead of investing over $10,000 with a branding agency - or paying an unknown freelancer for a single design or name you hope you like - crowdspring delivers dozens of custom designs or names to choose from for every project. With over 12 years of experience, we’re the reliable, affordable solution for small business.
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Boring salon names
Stay away from these unimaginative and overused salon names.
You want customers to think specifically about your salon when the name is mentioned and you want them to understand what makes you unique. These names do neither of those things:
- Color & Curls
- My Hair Lady
- Cut Costs
- Hair Repair
- To Dye or Not To Dye
- To Trim or Not to Trim
- Snip Salon
- Secret Salon
- Hair Doctor
- Angel Hair Salon
- Cutting the Dream
- Lock and Curl
- Sass and Class
- Cutting Line
- Clips N Cuts
- Le Posh
- Hair Sensations
- Bella Chic
What makes a salon name strong?
The name provides an opportunity for a visual brand
The name is brandable
When you say the name do you think of another company? Consider making up a unique word or building a brand around a word without an established brand like Apple, Panera or Starbucks did.
The name can be trademarked
Once a name has been trademarked in the U.S., that name is protected in all 50 states. If you use a name (or even a significant part of a name) that is already under trademark, you should anticipate a cease and desist letter in your future – along with the need to find a new business name. The best way to avoid this problem is to come up with a completely custom name for your salon. When the 'Artisan Spice Company' (boring and generic) received a cease and desist letter for trademark infringement they came to crowdspring for a custom name. After dozens of unique names were submitted they chose 'Asabasa' because it was fun to say, memorable and stood out from all the other spice companies.
The name matches your audience
A name has to be considered with your target audience in mind.
Are you targeting young adults or sophisticated and affluent retirees? A name like 'Lapis Lazuli' is perfect for communicating decadence but would not be understood by a younger, price conscious adult.
A great way to think about your audience and how it relates to a name is to pick from brand opposites.
- Friend vs. Authority
- Classic vs. Modern
- Playful vs. Serious
- Local vs. Mass Appeal
- Youthful vs. Mature
- Feminine vs. Masculine
- Luxurious vs. Economical
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The name is not too literal
Literal names are the easiest names to come up with and represent most small business names.
They are boring and uninspiring names like, 'Hair Lady' or 'Color and Curls'.
Adding depth and imagination to your name will help your restaurant stand out and communicate why you are unique. A family hair cutlery named 'Rock Paper Scissors' is a great example.
The name is short and easy to pronounce
Names need to be short and easy to both pronounce and spell. Something too complicated will make it harder to remember.
The sound of the name matches your brand
Words are made of phoneme (pronounced fonem) which are the noticeable differences in sound in each part of a word.
Research has shown that we associate certain traits to different sounds.
Words starting with 'st' sound powerful (strong, Starbucks, state).
Words ending in 'a' sound feminine.
'P', 'T' and 'K' are associated with sharp shapes.
'M', 'N' and 'L' are associated with round shapes.
The sound 'ee' as in flea and 'i' as in fly are categorized as smaller sized and less powerful.
The sound 'ou' as in bout and 'oo' as in boot are categorized as larger and more powerful.
Ask someone to describe your name and see if it matches your brand.
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Fundamentals of memorable business names
Why is a strong business name important?
A brand is a name, term, design, or symbol that differentiates a business, organization, firm, product or services from its rivals, in the eyes of the customer.
A strong brand name communicates what your company does, how it does it, and at the same time, establishes trust and credibility with your prospects and customers. Strong business names are important for every type of entity, including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLC), LLP, PLC, joint ventures, and others.
Business names can be real words, made-up words, or combinations of words. For example, Hospira, a name selected by the company's employees, was derived from the words hospital, spirit, inspire, and the Latin word spero, which means hope. Bosch, a German diversified technology-based corporation, was named after its founder, Robert Bosch.
Some famous companies started operating under different names but later changed those names. For example, Google was initially called BackRub. Pepsi-Cola was initially called Brad's Drink. Sony was initially known as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. BP, formerly British Petroleum, was shortened as part of a rebranding effort in 2000.
Some companies choose to operate under a trade name, or trading name, which is a pseudonym frequently used by companies to operate under a name different from their registered legal name.
How many of these and other successful companies do you think used a 10-second business name creator to get a creative brand name in seconds or to generate business names instantly? If you answered 'none', you are correct. No successful company has ever jumped from naming a brand to securing the domain name, to starting a small business - all in a few clicks.
If you have an existing name that no longer fits your brand, you can learn more about the why and how to rename your business, and review the 10 tips for naming your startup or small business on our award-winning business marketing blog.
Can you operate under a business name different from your legal name?
Every business has a legal name. But, sometimes you don’t want to operate your business under your registered legal business name.
There are many reasons for this. For example, the legal name might be confusing, unrelated to your business, or no longer descriptive of your business. Or you just might want a new name without changing your incorporation or registration documents.
You can easily do this by registering a DBA (doing business as). A DBA is like a nickname for your business. A DBA is sometimes also called an 'assumed name', 'fictitious business name', or 'trade name'.
Importantly, registering a DBA does not excuse you from forming a legal business entity. You must first create a business structure, like a corporation, LLC, limited partnership, or another structure, before you can register a DBA.
You can operate your business under as many DBA names as you want - there are no limits. But, each DBA name must be registered in the state where you operate. This is required because the public has a legal right to know that a particular person or legal entity is conducting a business under a name that differs from its legal name.
There are many reasons you should consider registering a DBA for your business: you don’t want to use your personal name for the business, your bank requires a DBA, you’re taking your business in a new direction, you want to improve credibility, and it’s better for marketing. The legal name of a business might be complicated or hard to pronounce. A DBA will allow you to market a memorable, accessible brand name that’s more search engine friendly.
The cost to set up a DBA varies by state, county, city, and business structure. In general, you will end up spending from $10 to $100 on registering your DBA.
Here’s a useful starting point to file a DBA, with insights, FAQs, links, and state requirements to help you file a DBA in any U.S. state or territory.
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10 things to consider when naming your business
Here are the 10 things you should consider when deciding on a new business name.
- Think about what you want your business name to convey. Your company name is an important part of your company’s identity. The name will appear on your business cards, letterhead, website, promotional materials, products, and pretty much everywhere in print to identify your company or your company’s products and/or services.
Businesses located in rural areas and serving rural communities may want to project a smaller, hometown feel with their name. However, businesses planning to focus on bigger markets or bigger customers might want to project a larger, more corporate image with their name.
- Brainstorm to identify name possibilities. Set aside some time to brainstorm. Think about words that describe your industry or the products and services you offer. Think about words that describe your competitors and words that describe the differences between your products and services and those of your competitors. Also, consider words that describe the benefits of using your products or services. Finally, think about words (and phrases) that evoke the feelings you want your customers to feel when they see your company name.
While brainstorming, look up Greek and Latin translations of your words – you might find new ideas from doing that exercise. Look at foreign words too (we spent some time with a Swahili dictionary looking for strong names).
- Keep the name short, simple, and easy to write and remember. Think about the names of companies you admire. They typically have a few things in common: their names are short, simple, easy to write and easy to remember. (Examples include Apple, Google, Virgin, Southwest).
Obscure business names are often difficult to write and even more difficult to remember. This is a problem because for most startups and small businesses, word-of-mouth advertising is the most successful form of marketing. If your customers can’t remember your name or can’t spell it for others, it will make it difficult for them to help promote your business.
While it might be tempting, avoid using a K in place of a Q or a Ph in place of an F when coming up with your company name. Such letter substitutions make spelling the name very difficult.
Also, don’t forget to consider the acronym of your company name (an acronym is composed of the first letter of each word in a phrase). You might not use an acronym, but your customers might refer to your business by an acronym. A name such as Apple Support Services can result in an unfavorable acronym – ASS.
- Avoid names that are too narrow or literal. Think about how your company may evolve over time and make sure that the company name can evolve with the business. For example, if you name your company iPhone Accessories and later expand to sell accessories for other products, your original name will be too narrow and restrictive.
The same advice applies even if your company sells a niche product. For example, if you sell antique lamps, you should consider whether you might sell more than lamps in the future. Naming your business Joan’s Antique Lamps may be too limiting when you start selling antique clocks and furniture.
- Avoid decisions by committee but do test the name with others. It’s tempting to involve our friends, family, employees and customers in finding a name for our company. Sometimes, this can work out really well. But there are risks. People might be upset if you don’t pick a name they think is great. You’ll also find yourself trying to find consensus – which can lead to a very plain name. If you must involve others, pick a small group of people who understand you and your business. (pick a mix of right-brain types and left-brain types so that you can have some variety). Once you’ve selected a few possible choices, you should share them with trusted friends, family and customers to get feedback about the name.
- Avoid plain words. Plain words make it very difficult to differentiate your company from your competitors. For example, there were hundreds of thousands of logo design businesses around the world when we started thinking about crowdspring. We knew that we would be expanding to many different industries (graphic design, web design, industrial design, and many more) and so we didn’t want to name our business Great Logo Design or manyDesigners. That name would have been descriptive, but not memorable and certainly not unique.
There are exceptions. General Electric is one of the most successful companies in the world and its name is composed of two plain words. But, General Electric was one of the first companies in its product/service category and was able to get away with a plain name.
- Be careful with geographic names. Some people use their city, state or region as part of their company name. If you plan only to work in your city, then this might serve you well. But a geographic name could hinder you later. One great example is Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining. Initially, the name worked because the business was focused on Minnesota. But once the company grew beyond their industry and the state of Minnesota, they needed to find a new name and renamed the company 3M.
- Avoid obscure words. Company names that help tell stories can be powerful and memorable (think about Google, for example). But obscure words or references might be difficult to spell or pronounce. Be especially sensitive if you’re trying to reach a mass audience (such as on the Internet). Obscure or invented names can work – Xerox is a great example – but this often requires a huge marketing budget and tremendous effort.
- Avoid trends. You’ll want your company’s name to evolve as trends evolve, so be careful to identify the trends and to avoid following them. For example, in the late 1990s, it was trendy to use a .com after your company name if your company was an Internet business. After the Internet bubble burst, the .com became synonymous with having no business model and those companies who survived very quickly dropped .com from their names.
- Consider whether you can register a domain and obtain a trademark. It’s important to make sure that your competitors are not using the same name in your industry. It’s not uncommon to find similar (or even identical names) in different industries, but this can result in confusion for your customers and vendors. If your competitors are using the same name – you’ll expose yourself to possible litigation and you’ll likely be unable to obtain trademark protection for your company name.
So, look for a company name that is also available for registration as a domain (ideally, as a .com domain). You should understand that .com domains are very popular and you’ll struggle to find available domains that match your company name. Many people worry about this and that’s why every proposed business name on crowdspring has a matching domain name.