What to Name Your Company (Small Business Tips)

I’m in the process of putting together a full series of how to start up a small business online—so bear with me as it may take awhile to get all of them out.  But here’s the first of my 6-step series!

 

What to Name Your Company

It’s a pretty important question—the answer to which will (hopefully) last many years into the future. It can make or break your brand, so it’s a task not to be taken lightly.

Following are my tips for choosing a business name.

What to Name Your Company


What to name your company – Approach 1: Nondescript Name

The first way is to choose a nondescript name/word that you like.  Something that maybe vaguely sounds relevant to what you’re doing, but doesn’t shout out your product or idea in explicit details.

The main PRO of this type of business name is: if for any reason your business plan or products change, you can keep your business name and all the hard work you’ve put into it doesn’t have to be scrapped.  This was the case with Fair Ivy — the business concept has changed quite significantly since inception, but the name has been able to stay the same, due to it not particularly meaning anything at all. It can become whatever I want it to become!

Another potential PRO to this approach is that your business name can come to MEAN something completely new to your customers….like creating an entirely new word for a dictionary. Good examples are the companies Xerox and Kleenex.  Prior to these companies, the products for them were called copies and tissues—but now we can substitute the business name for the item itself, which means no-effort marketing.  Obviously these are extreme large-scale examples, but in your specific niche your customers can also come to adopt your name.

How do I choose this name?  

Well, you can always just brainstorm with friends and family members, or you could use a business name creator website such as Panabee.com which generates creative business names based on words you like, which should help you figure out what to name your company.

But before you settle on one, make sure the domain name is available for purchase—you can check domain availability on GoDaddy.com, which is where I register all my domain names. (Side note: GoDaddy also makes for a great hosting company—they are inexpensive and offer great phone customer service.  I’ll go into more detail about setting up your website later).

30% of GTLDs at GoDaddy!


 

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What to name your company – Approach 2: Descriptive Name

In this scenario you choose a business name that pretty much tells your audience what you’re selling, right in the name of your product.  So for Fair Ivy, had I gone this route we might have been called something like “Box a Month Subscription”.

The main PRO of this type of business is for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.  Which means that if someone were to type a search into google, and your company name was the search phrase (e.g. “Custom Screen Printed Shirts”), you’d have a lot easier of a time getting to the top of the returned results.

A second potential PRO to this approach is that if someday you decide to discontinue operating the business, the domain name and all it’s associated SEO strength might be able to be sold to someone new.

How do I choose this name?

If you really want to take advantage of the SEO potential, make sure you choose a name that isn’t already saturated or TOO desirable.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to sign up for a Google AdWords account.  It’s a bit of a pain to do at first, but worth it for a multitude of reasons, some of which I’ll discuss in later posts.  You don’t actually need to spend any money on Google Adwords if you don’t want to (I don’t, anymore).  What you’re looking for at the moment is use of Google’s Keyword Planner.

On the landing page of the Keyword Planner, you can type in a phrase you think might be a good start for your business name.  Enter any criterion you want (e.g. customer location, etc), and hit submit.

What you get is a page like this (click for a larger version):

What to Name Your Company: Tips for choosing a business name

 

You can mess around with some of the filters on the left, but the most important thing you’re looking for is something that has a decent number of monthly searches, but with a low competition rating.

For most of my blog posts, if I want them to show up in SEO without too much hassle on my end, I usually choose keywords that return 10-30 monthly searches, with low competition. Once I’ve made sure the post is SEO friendly, I just have to sit back and wait a few months for Google to do its page-crawling, and bam—I start getting visitors on my site who searched for the exact terms I planned them to.  10-30 monthly searches might be too low for you (it works for me because 10 visits a month x 10 or 100 blog posts starts adding up).  But if it’s your company name you can probably aim for slightly bigger fish, like over 500 a month.

I understand that this step might be tricky, so if you need any help at all feel free to drop me a line (lucyf@fairivy.com) and I can get you sorted out. 


That’s all I’ve got for you today folks!

I hope the above tips have been helpful in answering the big question of what to name your company.  Whether the name was created via a random business name generator or via carefully analyzed SEO research—take your time to discuss your final company name with friends and relatives, to review any potential problems or drawbacks.

Until next time—when I discuss starting to get your business online via domain registration and hosting plan setup.

What to name your company

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY – Autumn Gift Wrap Ideas

I think Autumn is a lovely time of year—things are cooling down and the leaves are starting to fall from the trees.

….and because of all this, it’s also a great time for me to post a natural gift wrapping DIY!

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

Step 1: Go for a walk

Take a stroll in the Autumn air.  On your journey, gather up some twigs, dead leaves, and perhaps some lovely dried berries.  If you don’t have any gardening twine, grab some from a garden store (the dollar store usually has it too!).

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

Step 2: Wrap your box in kraft paper

This is the base layer of how I wrap the majority of my presents. It looks fancier and classier than other types of gift wrap, in my opinion—and is what helps give the boxes their natural gift wrapping feel.  If you don’t have any of it lying around, use an inside-out brown grocery bag or a brown lunch bag.  If those are also not available, a piece of newspaper (text mostly) can be an ok substitute.

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

Step 3: Twine it up

The brown twine is also important for the natural gift wrapping feel.  Tie it either centered or off-centered.  Off-centered can give an even fancier vibe.

Natural twine gift wrapping DIY

Final Step: Try out different combinations

Go nuts with the collection of leaves and stuff you’ve collected.  Usually one or two different items is sufficient—like some twigs and berries, or a dead leaf and an acorn, etc.

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

 

And you’re done!

I have another post with some more intricate natural gift wrap DIY ideas, so if you like this style go ahead and check it out!

Want to check out some other posts on natural gift wrapping DIY?  Check out some of my favorite blog posts on the subject!

DIY Halloween Candy Bags and Halloween Gift Wrap

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

I love that it can be just as fun for kids as for adults, and it’s a perfect opportunity to exercise a ton of creativity, both in choosing AND creating your halloween costume (here’s my zombie costume from last year and here’s one of Chris‘, a mad scientist).

I also love handing out candy (and scaring the older kids)—but it wasn’t until this year that it occurred to me that I could combine my love of cute gift wrapping with my love of Halloween.  I am working on some new styles, but for now, here are some of my favorite…..

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

….plus other Halloween-themed gift wrapping!

 These super simple and fun googly-eyed paper ghost candy bags by Craft-o-Maniac:

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

These cute little owl candy bags you can make with a free printable from Paper Crave:

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

 

This fantastic witches broom candy bag free printable from LollyJane:

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

 

Lastly, here are a few Halloween Gift Wrap ideas—they take a bit more time so might not be as good for handing out as DIY Halloween candy bags, but if you have only a few kids you’re giving a special gift to for Halloween, they’d be just the ticket!

This adorable “What’s in there” box from Growing Spaces:

DIY Halloween Gift Wrap

 

This gothic Black & White Gift Wrap style from Nordic Bliss appears to be made for Christmas, but I think with very few tweaks (say a spider on the white ones, a little pumpkin or dead leaf on the black ones) they could make great Halloween gift boxes!

Black White Gift Wrap

I’ll be working on some of my own styles this weekend that are a bit more generally Autumn-themed, so stay tuned…

Popular Subscription Service : A Wait List Solution

We get a lot of questions from fans about our subscription wait list, so I thought I could go ahead and answer a bunch of them here.

The scenario:

We are overbooked.  We started out as a small subscription service 5 years ago, but now find ourselves amongst some of the most popular subscription service out there in terms of customer demand vs. our ability to supply everyone with subscriptions!

We want to be able to bring everyone on board, but it’s tough.  We only work with a single individual artist each month, which means there is a limit to the number of items they can produce without losing any of the care and quality they put into each one.

Popular Subscription Service : Fair Ivy's solution

Popular Subscription Service : Our solution

A wait list has been implemented, but it’s quite lengthy!  Whenever a current customer’s subscription ends, we offer that spot to the first person on our wait list.  In the past we have had no more than 5-6 spots open each month.

But there is hope—even if you are far down the wait list!  Sometimes people on our wait list hope to get invited in time for an important occasion, such as a girlfriend’s birthday.  If the timing isn’t right when their invite does arrive, they may sometimes pass on the invite.

Secondly—we DO hope to someday soon open up a second subscription, sending very similar items each month but with different artists.  That way we can offer twice as many subscriptions per month and let more people in on the surprise fun.  If that happens your spot on the wait list could jump you right on board!

Thirdly, we plan to start doing a blog post each month on a popular subscription service that we personally love (but send different types of things than Fair Ivy, such as Panty by Post), so you can check those out while you wait for your subscription to Fair Ivy to begin.

Want to sign up for our wait list?

With a Fair Ivy subscription, a new artist delivers a high-quality handmade (& hand wrapped) gift to your mailbox every single month—for just $30/month.

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Recycled Gift Wrap DIY – Or, Gift Wrapping Handmade Products

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in my life I became nutty about cute gift wrapping. Combine that with an eternal love of crafting, upcycling, and generally being thrifty….and you have the perfect storm.

Part of my job here at Fair Ivy is to ensure that the gifts sent to our monthly surprise subscribers are wrapped in a cute and unique way.  We know that a good chunk of the experience of getting a monthly surprise package is the actual unwrapping event—so the gift wrap is definitely an important part!  However, a lot of our new favorite artists are facing gift wrapping handmade products for the first time, and it can seem like a daunting task.

But over the years, the great thing I’ve realized about gift wrapping is that the more mis-mashed, recycled, and made-up it is, the cuter and more personal it looks.  Take the image below for example:

Recycled Gift Wrap DIY - Or, Gift Wrapping Handmade Products

To make this, I started with the inside of a brown paper grocery bag.  I found a piece of random scrap fabric and cut a strip, and used 5 pieces of blue/green string to go on top of it.  I made the little white dots with paint, and plucked a small leaf from a plant outside.  The tag I just cut out of a scrap of paper I rescued from my recycling bin.

I spent nothing on the wrapping whatsoever, yet it looks a lot more adorable than your generic wrapping paper job.  It also feels a lot more like it contains some kind of quirky artisan bath product or handmade jewelry—in other words, it looks thoughtful.  It took about 10 minutes, but most of that time was waiting for the white paint to dry.

Wouldn’t you squeal with delight if you received that as a gift from a friend?  They probably would think it was wrapped by a fancy store, rather than recycled gift wrap from your own home!

Recycled Gift Wrap – A super straightforward DIY

So, using recycled gift wrap is a great way to gift wrap handmade products if you have a store (like on Etsy), or if you just want your personal gift to have an extra thoughtful vibe.  There are a thousand ways to do something like this, but I’m going to do the absolute simplest version I can come up with—in the hopefully unlikely scenario that you are at home and literally have no crafting materials like ribbon or paint or even gardeners twine.  In my opinion, it isn’t the absolute cutest way you could wrap something—but it takes a very bare-bones approach if you have no materials.

This style is best suited for a smaller gift, like jewelry.

Recycled Gift Wrap - Easy gift wrapping ideas

Materials:

  • Brown paper (e.g. grocery bag)
  • White paper strip
  • Pen
  • Some sort of a piece of a plant—flowers, leaves, dead twigs
  • Tape or glue

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With your pen, create all kinds of linear floopity patterns (that’s a Lucy-ism) on the brown paper.  You can really do anything, but if you know of something in particular that your gift recipient likes, include a line of some of those—like cats, for example.  I included a line in cursive that says “Happy Birthday Sarah!”, since this gift is going to Sarah for her birthday.

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This took a few minutes.  Wrap it on up using tape or glue.  I like the pattern to go diagonally across the box, but if you’re more of the straight-laced-variety, you can align it.

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Add a white strip of paper around the thinner part of the box, and then a smaller strip of the same brown paper on top of that. Slip your plant piece underneath—and you’re done!

Recycled Gift Wrap - Easy gift wrapping ideas

Recycled Gift Wrap DIY - Easy gift wrapping ideas

I hope you give it a shot—if so, tag a picture on Instagram or Twitter (@fairivy #HandmadeGiftWrap).  You could probably even create this from random papers sitting in your car, if you’re seriously having a last-minute panic—I may give that a shot next and see what happens!

Anywho, wrap on!

Fair Ivy: Now a Vegan monthly subscription box

Fair Ivy - vegan monthly subscription boxBeen looking for a vegan monthly subscription box?  Well you’re in luck….Fair Ivy is now a vegan-friendly subscription box!

I have been toying with the idea for awhile, but it wasn’t until I started doing some work with the vegan film and recipe company Forks Over Knives that things really started to click.

Fair Ivy is now vegan-friendly.  Get handmade monthly surprises in your mailbox with this vegan monthly subscription box

 

Vegan Monthly Subscription Box : What does it mean?

Firstly, it does NOT mean:

The move towards Fair Ivy being a vegan-friendly subscription will not change the style, vibe or quality of the items you find in the hand-wrapped gifts mailed out each month.  It also does not mean that the subscription is targeted only at vegans (e.g. you won’t be receiving any vegan cheese!).

It does mean:

What it means that we will not be selecting artists or handmade gifts that are not vegan-friendly.  None of our handmade surprise gifts are made from animal products, nor are tested on animals.  This also includes the gift-wrapping for each of the surprise gifts.

We think this is a positive move towards a healthier and more kind gift box experience, and we are happy our company can make this move for both ourselves and our subscribers.

I hope you enjoy the changes, and would love to hear any feedback you might have on this new concept of our handmade subscriptions now also being a vegan monthly subscription box.

Warmly,
Lucy
Fair Ivy Owner

 

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