Small Business Resources: Choosing Your Business Name

October 12, 2012

When I tell people about my paper goods business, one of the first questions I'm always asked is how I came up with the name Happy Cactus Designs for the company (that's the Happy Cactus on the right). Here's the back story from my About page:

So just where did the name for the design studio originate? While living in New York City, Brannon bought a tiny one-inch tall cactus to remind her of her Texas roots. With loving attention (and a lot of sunlight), the little cactus grew into a thriving plant…a very happy cactus indeed! Now in Texas, the happy cactus is enjoying the warm Texas sun. Just like the plant, Brannon’s goal for the studio is to take her tiny seed of an idea for a paper goods company and grow it into a line of products that bring color and happiness to everyone.

Truth be told, it took a while to come up with a company name that I liked and felt was a good fit for what I was doing. My qualifications for the name were that it: a) was not just my name (My name, Brannon Cullum, is tricky enough to remember as is), b) was memorable and stood out, c) was not limited to just paper products as I hope to eventually branch out with other non-paper products, d) was easy to spell and pronounce, and e) had an interesting and compelling story behind it. 

There were a handful of other worthy names in the running, but in the end Happy Cactus Designs just felt right and it met all of these qualifications. I like that the name evokes a sense of playfulness and fun. It's an easy name for people to recall and I am asked frequently about the origin of the name - a story I love telling. 

Before you set your heart on a particular name, do your research and make sure that no one else is using it for your particular area of business. The last thing you want is to decide on a name, start building your business, and then realize you need to change the name. Google the name and check with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office. You can search here: It's also a good idea to see if the domain name is available and to purchase it before anyone else does! 

How did you name your business?

Leave a comment