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?!!


Nameless Baker

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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!