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Beauty Salon Marketing » » Starting a Salon - What to name your salon?

Starting a Salon - What to name your salon?




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If you’re starting a beauty salon, starting a hair salon, or starting a spa, one of the trickiest decisions is likely to be the name you choose for your new business.

What’s in a (salon) name?

entrepreneur logoEntrepreneur.com has a useful guide to read when you are choosing the name for your new salon business. As some of their points only apply to larger businesses, we’ll run through the points that apply to salons and beauty businesses, with examples of real salon names to illustrate the factors. As they say in their introduction -

“If you’re smart, you’ll put just as much effort into naming your business as you did into coming up with your idea, writing your business plan and selecting a market and location… There’s a lot of controversy over what makes a good business name… In reality, any type of name can be effective if it’s backed by the appropriate marketing strategy.”

So don’t panic! While it is great to have a name you’re pleased with, you can almost guarantee that not everyone will like it (people thought “Google” was a silly name when they started!). And with a good marketing plan and strategy, a salon with an averagely-good name can outperform a salon with a brilliant name but only an average marketing strategy.

What do you want to communicate?

What do you want your salon name to communicate? What will make you different from all the other hair or beauty businesses in your area? What image do you want to portray - cheap and cheerful… upmarket… friendly… personal service… highly qualified… cutting edge… ?

If the business name was the only thing someone knew about your salon, what first impression would you want it to convey? As Entrepreneur.com explains -

“Should your name be meaningful? Most experts say yes. The more your name communicates to consumers, the less effort you must exert to explain it… people prefer words they can relate to and understand. That’s why professional namers universally condemn strings of numbers or initials as a bad choice.”

Take a look at these (real life) examples of beauty salon names. What is your first impression, just from the name?

  • Isis
  • Debbee’s
  • Oasis Health & Beauty Clinic
  • Top Image
  • Nu U Therapies
  • New York Nail Fashions
  • VIP Beauty Clinic
  • Beauty Secrets
  • Adele’s Hair Removal
  • Body Retreat
  • The Lilac Room
  • B Beautiful

If you read those names in Yellow Pages, and none of them had a fancy advert, which would you phone first? What images do those names conjure up in your mind? What meanings do they convey?

“On the other hand, it is possible for a name to be too meaningful. Naming consultant S.B. Master cautions business owners need to beware of names that are too narrowly defined.”

So, “The Tan Van” might be a great name for a mobile tanning technician, but what happens if she decides to setup in a salon instead? “California Nail Fashion” evokes certain images that may appeal to her customers, but what happens when she starts offering massages as well? Very descriptive and specific names like those can be effective and memorable, if your beauty business “Does exactly what it says on the tin” - but if you think you may want to expand into other products or services, be careful not to tie yourself down with your choice of name.

At the other extreme are what the article calls “suggestive names” -

“Suggestive names are more abstract. They focus on what the business is about. Would you like to convey quality? Convenience? Novelty? These are the kinds of qualities that a suggestive name can express.”

What qualities do you feel the following examples of “suggestive names” express?

  • Final Touch
  • Isis
  • Zozo Vivace
  • Pulsar
  • Ambience
  • Papillon
  • Vanilla Moon
  • In-Style
  • Sheline
  • Alternatives
  • Rivals
  • The Inner Sanctum

Brainstorming your salon name

Page 2 of the article has some suggestions for brainstorming your new business name -

“Begin brainstorming business names, looking in dictionaries, books and magazines to generate ideas. Get friends and relatives to help if you like; the more minds, the merrier. Think of as many workable names as you can during this creative phase. Professional naming firms start out with a raw base of 800 to 1,000 names and work from there. You probably don’t have time to think of that many, but try to come up with at least 10 names that you feel good about. By the time you examine them from all angles, you’ll eliminate at least half.”

One way to get your creative juices flowing is to compare your new salon business with other, seemingly unrelated things. For example, if your salon was a car, what sort of car would it be? Think of the key words or phrases that describe that car for you. If your business was an animal, what sort of animal would it be, and why?

Some people like to create a “Vision Board”. Spend a few days browsing through magazines, websites and newspapers. Whenever you see images, or words/phrases, that “speak to you” in some way, cut them out (or print them from the website) and attach them to a pinboard, or blu-tack them to the wall. After a while you’ll have something like a collage of words and images to inspire you and boost your creativity.

Or try searching online for inspiration, as we mentioned previously - Beauty Salon Logos - find design ideas for your salon logo

Also on page 2 of the article are some excellent suggestions for checking your name ideas, once you’ve created a list of the best suggestions -

  • If you live in a multi-cultural area, make sure your names don’t have undesirable meanings in other languages
  • Run the “toddler test” - if a young child was saying the name, perhaps mispronouncing it, could it easily sound like something rude or insulting?
  • Is it easy to spell and pronounce - are you going to get tired of spelling it out to people over the phone?
  • Will it fit easily on to a sign, advertising leaflets, an A-board…?
  • Do you want it to appear early in Yellow Pages and other directories? In which case, you’ll favour names that start with early letters of the alphabet
  • Will you want a salon website? You should check to see if the domain name is already taken

(To register website domain names, or check if they are available, we use www.GoDaddy.com
Their website lets you search to see if the name you want is available, and offers suggestions for other names if the one you want is already taken)

If you think you may be advertising online, you should also think about Internet Yellow Pages, directories, and search engines like Google. Local SEO (search engine optimisation) experts have noticed that businesses that have important keywords in their business title tend to appear higher in the search results than those that don’t. So, if other factors are equal, “Azzura Beauty Salon” will appear higher than just “Azzura” if someone has done a search for “beauty salons” in their city.

If you are a sole trader, in the UK, you will not need to register your business name (please check your local regulations in other countries). But you should still check to see whether other local businesses have the same, or a similar name already. Even if it’s not a legal requirement, it’s much easier to avoid the potential hassle and confusion!

The final decision

By now, you probably have narrowed it down to a shortlist of three to five names for your new start-up salon. How do you make the final decision? Again, the Entrepreneur.com article has some suggestions -

“Recall all your initial criteria. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind? Which name do you like the best? …Some entrepreneurs go with their gut or use personal reasons for choosing one name over another… (others) have a graphic designer turn the various names into logos to see which works best as a design element.”

Ask your friends and family for their thoughts. Even better, ask your potential customers which one they like best, and why? There is no science, this is art! In the end, you are the most important decision-maker. Think how much happier you will be in your day-to-day work if you have a salon name that makes you feel proud.

And, as we said at the start, remember that this is not a life-or-death decision! As long as your name meets most of the criteria we have discussed, what will really matter in the long run is how well you market your salon.

More Resources for Naming and Branding your Salon

Recommended book - Branding for Dummies

Like all the “for Dummies” books, this one is great for beginners, covering topics like -

  • Defining your company’s identity
  • Developing logos and taglines
  • Launching your brand marketing plan
  • Managing and protecting your brand
  • Fixing a broken brand
  • Making customers loyal brand champions

Take a look at it on Amazon.co.uk, or on Amazon.com -

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