January 12, 2022

Ever Wondered How we Came Up with Our Name, Make the Dot?

Andrew Pickles
Andrew Pickles
Fashion & retail supply chain veteran across both Europe & Asia

There’s a lot of fun to be had when creating your own business, whether that’s fashion to fintech. From the thrill of doing something about the awesome idea you’ve had, the satisfaction of forming your own team of people and the culture that you want to foster, to the setting up of all the legal and accounting side of things. Okay, so maybe not the last one for most people, but I like that bit.

One of the most important things though is the setting of the company name. On the face of it, it would appear to be a relatively simple thing to do. But, in actuality, it can be quite a difficult task.

There are a number of considerations to take into account. What do I want from the company name? Should it contain some or all of the co-founders names? Should it be something that allows a client to recognise what the product itself is? Should it be something that sounds cool and therefore more likely to be memorable. Should it tell a story? Should it resonate geographically? Do you want to stand out or fit in?

Much like I sympathise with my young son trying to find an email address that isn’t already taken, an immediate problem is finding a name that’s unique. (You don’t strictly need to do this, but it will save headaches in the future, especially if you are looking to Trademark the name as well, which again is highly recommended). Originality really is tough these days. (I apologise for the un-original title of this blog!)

At the end of 2020 there were more than 200 million companies in the world, a number so large that it’s difficult to even comprehend, so trying to find a name that hasn’t already been used is not that simple, especially if your business is in a field that is already well established. Depending on whether your business is looking to compete in the international market or just locally, actually finding whether or not your name is taken can be a surprisingly time consuming and expensive task, even more so if adding in that Trademark, running into several thousands of dollars per region. (Not to mention the frustrating regional differences in both the process and time to process). It can also take many months after registering your name before any challenges are reported back.

Another thing to take into account is of course the all-important website domain name. It’s amazing how many domains have been bought up cheaply with the intention of then selling them on for hugely inflated profits. Many have been held dormant for years with price tags in the hundreds of thousands. And more and more these days too, you need to make sure that you can get the social media elements too, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest etc etc. Definitely worth checking out before you decide on your name, I’m speaking from personal experience on this one!

Having a name that is easy and obvious to pronounce and spell is also key. It needs to be easy for potential clients to be able to find the company online.

Whilst there is no doubt that some businesses have become super successful with meaningless but catchy names, such as Google or Yahoo, it’s much cheaper to market when the name expresses something or has a relatable story behind it.

Probably the last thing to do, which may seem common sense, is to run it past your friends. Feedback from unrelated parties can be invaluable. It’s unlikely everyone is going to thrilled with your choice but getting responses from half a dozen or more people should at least give you a rough idea whether it’s a winner or a loser.

So why Make the Dot?

I have to admit, the first time the proposed name was mentioned to me I didn’t like it. It wasn’t obvious to me what it meant, and I thought that saying the domain was clumsy, Make the Dot dot com. Yuck. Although I did at least grudgingly admit that it did make me wonder what the meaning was and therefore had some stickiness about it.

However, when the reasoning behind the name was explained to me, I was sold.

The Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky is credited with saying –

“Everything starts from a dot.” - Wassily Kandinsky

The artist was saying that no matter what the finished article that you were creating turned out like, all art and design starts with the same thing. It’s such a simple yet powerful concept and as our product, primarily our fashion moodboard, is there to enable designers to be creative then Make the Dot makes perfect sense. Each and every one of them will all start with making that initial dot and Make the Dot allows them to do exactly that.

From a purely business point of view it made sense too.

Having a name that wasn’t regionally restrictive ✔️
Having a name where the dot com domain was readily (and affordably) available ✔️
Having a name that could easily be used in marketing ✔️
Having a name that was easy to remember, and easy to spell ✔️
Having a name that wasn’t Trademarked in our target market ✔️

All of these things were important but personally it is that simple concept of name equals story equals product that really hits home.

So, having gone through our own tick box exercise we really have landed on a name that all of us have taken to heart, although as you would do with names of family and friends we already shortened it as a term of endearment internally just to Dot, and it feels like the business is almost a sentient entity because of that.

If you ever get to the stage in your own career where you are trying to name your own company, I sincerely hope that you find one that you too fall in love with, as we have with ours.

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