Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Name Game

Hi there. Anne-Marie of Handmade by Amo'r here, musing if a rose by any other name really would smell as sweet, or if it would be as thorny as my own Esty shop name has become to me of late.
I’m suffering from store name envy. Forgive me a little name-dropping here but ones like Queen of Cuffs, Patchwork Delights and Huggle Knits are simple and clever. These names instantly give a clue to what is on offer while also evoking an emotional response. Irish Woolen, Purls of Colour and Homespun Ireland also conjure up a sense of the brand. Names like Balanced, Rainbow Stained Glass and A Box for my Treasure I find engaging and most importantly, memorable.

How I rue the day I chose to name my store Handmade by Amo’r based on own my initials. (Anne-Marie O’Rourke.) It seemed an obvious choice as I’d gained the nickname Amor, meaning 'love' in Spanish, when living in Spain. My shop was to be, and is, a labour of love.

Scouring the internet for businesses with similar names (in English) I found no reason not to use it. Granted, there were some with Spanish names incorporating the word. Now, if you search for ‘Amor’ with relevant keywords you’ll find tonnes of other brands (but please don’t!) I’m buried so deep I practically don’t exist.

A few years ago when I signed up green and uninitiated, I knew nothing of brand identity or marketing. SEO was just the Irish translation for the phrase ‘here is’. The more I learn, the less I seem to know.

I do know however, I made the faux pas of choosing byAMOR as my Etsy user name instead of amor or even handmadebyamor.

My friends, family and happy customers, who are my greatest advertisers, do not pass the name byAMOR on to their friends and colleagues. The simpler term amor, naturally sticks in their heads, sometimes attached to some random other word. As we already know, a search for the term 'amor' will not dig up my store! As if to prove my point, this very week my cousin told me she couldn’t find my shop when she googled said term. The searcher needs to google byAMOR if I am to be found.

While gnashing my teeth over my predicament, I sought distraction and began pondering the stories behind other shop names. Sailmakers Daughter was a name I always found intriguing. Curiosity got the better of me, so I asked the owner, Edana for her story.
“Like many others I have a strange obsession with the sea and come from seafaring roots - my Mam's family being from Clogherhead and 2 of my Uncle's are fishermen“ Edana explains. “It was something I wanted to incorporate into my shop identity from the beginning but I spent a loooong time deciding on a name. I thought that it should incorporate hand craft also and spent a while looking through annals of bygone crafts. The Sailmaker fitted the bill and Daughter I added because of my family's sea going ways plus I felt it softened the effect and also allows me a nice wide scope for the ridiculous number of crafts I seem to dabble in.”

Mary of ‘The Blue Cow and the Grey Crow’ (Myrasimon) also had an enchanting story to tell.
“I chose the name ‘The Blue Cow and Grey Crow’ based upon the idea that people describe colour in relation to their own experience. “she says. “A bluey-green isn't the same as a greeny-blue for instance. My father, a farmer, describes cows that are grey in colour as blue (ours is a Belgian Blue/ Freisian cross breed I think, 1980’s), as most farmers do. That’s a bit of a mystery! Hooded crows, as the rest of the world calls them, he calls grey crows. The head and wings of these birds are black and the body is grey.

So in a given context a colour description can be very individual (Grey Crow) or in another context a widely accepted description. When it comes to describing the colour of the pieces, especially the knit ones, on my web site I've faced a similar quandary. Hence the name!”

Liz of The Green Peach explains that her shop name is a little of where she grew up and where she lives now.

“I was born and raised in Georgia, USA, just north of Florida, which is famous for peaches. It's called the Peach State. I moved to Northern Ireland about four years ago and that's where the "green" comes from. Mostly because compared to South Georgia, where everything is mostly brown, N. Ireland was quite a welcome contrast!

I've also been making jewellery for a while, but only just joined Etsy recently, so I thought green was appropriate in that sense as well. "

Names like these are memorable and obviously mean something to their creators.

If you are contemplating opening a new or second Etsy shop, you'd be well advised to learn from my follies and heed this important Etsy post ‘What’s in a Name.’ Also, make sure your friends, family and customers have easy access to your shop link - add it to the end of emails etc. If you can, keep your loved ones well stocked with a few business cards and/or other promotional material to pass on.

As for me, born with a noble Irish surname like O’Rourke, I’m not about to lie down and play dead. Too late to win head-on without starting over, I shall attack the problem from the sides. I’ve already taken the first steps to counteract my rookie mistakes. So far, 'byamor' and 'handmade by amor' seem to be yielding better results but how I solve the greater problem is a story yet to unfold. May the game begin!


  1. What a great post, Anne-Marie! Definitely something to think about.
    I admit, I didn't put a ton of thought into mine, so I'm thrilled to hear you find it memorable. :)

  2. Well done on the article. It's lovely to read other peoples stories. Thanks for including my shop :)

  3. Love this article!!!


    There can only be oooone byAmor! Oooone byAmor!!!

  4. Love the article AnneMarie.
    It also makes me wish (again) that etsy offered the "do you mean. ." option when looking for a shop name.
    Someone can then find you even if they get close to a name.