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Friday
Aug052011

Ask CakeSpy: Clever Baking Business Name?

Dear CakeSpy,

May I start by saying how much I LOVE reading your blog! It does however make me very envious of the deliciously calorific treats that you have on offer over in the US! I am a Food Technology teacher in the UK (in fact as I write this I have 20 or so 12 year-olds designing the most Willy Wonka style cakes possible!) and baking is my ultimate passion! I have a 6 week summer holiday coming up and I plan to start a cake stall at my local farmers market and craft/vintage fairs. I have my macaron, cupcake, pecan pie and carrot cake recipes down to a T (even if I say so myself!) however I'm struggling with how to come up with an imaginative nameand/or logo. Was just wondering if you had any tips for a newbie?!!

Love,

Nameless Baker

- - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Dear Nameless Baker,

I have thoughts on this. Ready? Let's go.

Please indicate that you are a baking business. It will make you easier to find and it will make it easier for people to know what you do. This doesn't have to be as cut and dry as calling your business "(your name here) Bakery", but, for instance, if you call your business "Acorn", and I try to Google it, it is going to be very hard to find your baking business. 

Don't be cookie-cutter. As Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture said, "I believe in being creative, having a one of a kind name (no copies), think of the brand you want to portray and test out on friends and potential clients." Her business does this well; it indicates a boutique, cupcake-related product, is unique but not too strange or hard to pronounce, and allows her to add other related products to her line without having to alter her mission statement or company name.

Family Names are Always Safe, if sometimes boring. Freedman's Bakery, Olsen's Bakery, DelPonte's Bakery, et cetera. They get the job done. Of course, the cool factor is upped if you also have a cool name: case in point, Molly Moon's Ice Cream. Molly Moon is the owner's actual name.

Be Punny...sometimes. Personally, I love when a business name is also a clever pun. Some are not as much fans--one reader said "It gets stale fast"...but I tend to think that Jill Lightner of Edible Seattle said it best: "avoid puns that will be embarrassing every time you answer the phone."

You can be cute, but please don't be cutesy. As one responder said when I asked about this important subject on Twitter, "please don't replace the letter "s" with the letter "z" when referring to cakes and cupcakes. Just a little pet peeve of mine. I know it's supposed to be "kute", but it's really not."

Consider Shock Value, but Beware the Consequences. Big Gay Ice Cream Truck and Kickass Cupcakes are examples of this--the names will get attention. Just be sure you have a great product to back it up, because there will be haters on names like these.

OK, but this having been said, I also have a few observations on some trends that seem to work.

Magic Formula: Object + Product = Business name! With most things in life, there is no magic formula. However, with naming bakeries, there are some. Examples: Victrola Coffee, Rocket Donuts, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Bluebird Ice Cream, etc.

Variations: Can substitute Geographical Indication + Product (Charm City Cakes, Pearl Bakery, North Hill Bakery) , or Flower Name + The Word Bakery (Magnolia Bakery, Dahlia Bakery, Sweet Pea Bakery)

Choose a word that has to do with the end product. Flour Bakery, Butter Bakery, Sugar Bakery, and Wooden Spoon Bakery are all cute bakery names (that are, sadly, taken), but you might be able to take inspiration from your tools of the trade.

Allow yourself room to grow. I remember, growing up, there was a business in New Jersey called "Just Coats". Well, after a couple of years they realized that to have a year-round business model, they would have to rethink, and their sign was awkwardly altered to say "Just Coats 'n Swimwear". So, if you have a cupcake business, say, don't be afraid to reflect that in your business title, but consider something like local business Trophy Cupcakes, which is officially branded "Trophy Cupcakes & Party" - they have some freedom to branch out into events and the like while still having a very specific, targeted product.

As for the logo? When it comes to the logo, I tend to think that simple works best--think of how recognizable the Target bullseye is--they don't even have to put the name of their store in their ads anymore. Simple line images that are easy to reproduce on t-shirts, tote bags, and business cards will serve you well. DO hire a graphic designer, and a good one--it is worth it.

Oh, and most importantly: Never Use Comic Sans. Unless you're a kindergarten teacher, this typestyle is never the answer.

Love, CakeSpy

P.S. Readers, please share your thoughts!

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Reader Comments (19)

good article! very good ideas!
August 5 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Thanks Cakespy! It totally perked my day up seeing this response! Will start having a serious think!
I kind of liked it better when I wrote it last month;) Check out our branding blogs... http://happysugarbakingland.typepad.com/happy-sugar-baking-land/shop-talk-cake-business/
August 5 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Hawk
This article is so so so interesting. Finding a business name can definitely be a tough thing. Oooohhh how I wich it was the same in french !!! Lol...

Thank you Cake Spy !!!

Livy from Paris.
August 5 | Unregistered CommenterLivy
This is great. Thanks for sharing. I've been in marketing for over 20 years and finding a name that fits (and isn't taken), can be daunting, It took me 3 months to come up with my comnpany name and just this week, my dad said, "Hmm, interesting! Do you think that's good choice?" Urgh! : )
August 5 | Unregistered CommenterChristina
I enjoyed reading your advice---until you got to "most importantly" , DON'T use Comic sans. I LOVE comic sans. But then all was forgiven because I am a Kindergarten teacher ! lol How did you know that about us ???? Love your site too !!!!!
Great advice, particularly the 'no Comic Sans' part. May I suggest a ban on Papyrus font too?
:-)
Great tips! I'll definitely send people here when they ask me similar questions.
"...As one responder said when I asked about this important subject on Twitter, “please don’t replace the letter “s” with the letter “z” when referring to cakes and cupcakes. Just a little pet peeve of mine. I know it’s supposed to be “kute”, but it’s really not.” Actually that was Facebook that you asked this on. And yes, for us grammar and English sticklers out there, names like that are hard to look at.
August 6 | Unregistered CommenterJamie H.
This is a great jumping off point for those setting out to start a bakery business - it's so hard for any business to come up with a unique and ownable name. In my case, I started out as Little Miss Cupcake (urged by a friend & I thought it was cute; and being in Paris, France, it was a pretty unusual name that worked in both French & English). The first time I had to call someone and say "Hi, it's Cat from Little Miss Cupcake," I inwardly cringed. It was just so not me! Unfortunately, another bakery came along and opened up shop as Miss Cupcake (and filed for the trademark which I didn't have). This was disastrous for me as a company and I eventually decided to change my name to protect my reputation. I really enjoyed the brainstorming process and ended up with a list of about 100 different possibilities. While my new name, Sugar Daze, doesn't have the same ring to it as Little Miss Cupcake, it suits me and it's pretty darn unique. I still get Google Alerts for "Little Miss Cupcake" and am amazed by how many businesses out there are now using this name! I'd urge anyone on the market for a new name to do their homework -- with the internet, it's so easy to see how propietary or common your new name is. And take the time to trademark your name once you've created it - it's important to protect your company name/reputation when you're working so hard to build it.
August 7 | Unregistered CommenterSugar Daze/Cat
Thanks Jessie - going through this process right now and have to say it is AGONIZING. Possibly harder than choosing a tattoo.
August 7 | Unregistered CommenterNeil
This is a really good post, full of good advice. I'm having a bit of a business dilemma at the moment! My name is Ballderdash and Bunting- I started out doing cakes as well as cards, bunting etc etc. Now I spend most of my time doing cakes, but people know the name and I have had excellent feedback from customers to say how much they like it! My plan is to adapt the logo to a pic of a cake decorated with bunting and add 'cakes by' to the name. Then I'll narrow my range of other crafts to all be cake related (other than comissions) and I *think* it'll be OK- easier than changing it completely at least! Any thoughts?!
Oh, by the way, the Ballderdash part is because my name is B. Allder :)
Great post! From the customer end of things, I have two huge pet peeves related to this issue:
1) The name needs to accurately reflect what the business is, as you pointed out. Just to add on to your point: I saw a business recently called "Delicious Designs" I thought it must be a dessert shop or a catering business, but no, it was a home accessory store (?!)

2) The sign and logo should be easy to read. Don't use fonts or logos that are difficult for people to read or understand. Sounds simple enough, but many businesses have signs that take a few minutes to figure out.

For now, my home business is called "Christa's Cakes" which is not as clever as I would like, but it gets the point across. I tried for a long time to come up with a cute or clever name, but whenever I thought of something I liked, it was already taken.
August 22 | Unregistered CommenterChrista
The NO to Comic Sans is true and extra funny cause when I wrote the name Sweet Catastrophe Cakes "Cake Maniacs" in comic sans as an example for my 9 year old she said " Mom we're not in Kindergarten are we? Classy and elegant is what you want !" hahaha out of the mouth of babes !
September 3 | Unregistered CommenterboogidownBaker
Did anyone click on the comic sans link? Too funny!!
PS I love comic sans.
September 24 | Unregistered CommenterMarian
ya well.... I had to comment :) Kick Ass Cupcakes was mentioned and I am in Canada with a name like Kick Ass Cakes. Yes, it gets lots of comments... Some not so favorable.. but MOST love it. It is edgy and memorable. And that is why I chose it! :)
October 11 | Unregistered CommenterTasha Nagy
Hello CakeSpy,
I am a teenager and I aspire to create a cupcake business; however, I just can't think of a good name. I read this article and found it very helpful. I live in Hermosa Beach, CA, so I tried Hermosa Cakes, but I was wondering how that would be received by the customers, considering the word 'hermosa' is not English. Would using foreign words be a hindrance to my company?
Thanks :)
Help!
I read the information but I find myself stuck.
I cant seem to figure out a name where i say "there, thats the one"
my name is Julie JessiCA KEnnedy and as a friend pointed out the work cake is in there...
but I find it weird just my name or my full name posted and I cant seem to spin it around to my liking. The closest Idea was JessiCake or even JessiCaktering since i want to also include catering.
Any ideas? Thanks a million
November 24 | Unregistered CommenterJJ
thanks cakespy! you really brighten up my day when i feel gloomy.
March 31 | Unregistered Commenternameless freak

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