Written by Ray Masaki
What is branding?
I personally think branding is the most important thing when it comes to an online clothing business. Branding is what basically sells the item before the potential customer gets to see the item. And most of us don’t have the luxury of letting the customer see our product in person at a brick and mortar store, so branding means everything! I mean, there is a gazillion bajillion little indie brands out there, so what is it that sets your brand apart from mine? So today, I’m going to be talking about the first step to making a strong brand, the name.
What happend to RAWR! Clothing?
First, let me tell you my story. I used to run a semi-popular brand called “RAWR! Clothing”. I had a decent fanbase, and I thought my products were good. So why did I switch to Lowdtown Friends & Freaks? Of course, I had many reasons, but one of my biggest reasons was because I simply didn’t like the name. Sure, it was catchy enough, but I felt that there was so many flaws that I needed to make a change.
So let’s identify what I felt what was wrong with RAWR! Clothing. The first important thing is that you want something that won’t be confused with another brand or thing. Being that “rawr” is kind of a web meme, I felt that it was immediately identified with the internet. Thus anyone who was interested in web memes like: rawr, was in the target audience of, I’d say, twelve-ish to eighteen year olds. This was not the kind of audience I wanted to associate myself with, so that was the first reason a change was in order.
The second reason why the name is flawed is because of the word “Clothing.” Why would that be a flaw? It is a clothing company, isn’t it? Though that may be true, once you put a category into your name, you trap yourself in that category. Clothing might be a great word for you if you plan to stick to clothing for the life-span of your business, but I plan to expand to fields of toys and art and such, and I don’t want people thinking “why is a clothing company making toys?”
The final reason is that RAWR! Clothing, to me, was just not an interesting or unique name. This kind of ties in with the first reason, but it sounds too amateur for a serious brand. I wanted a name that would pique a potential costumers interest, instead of something that might leave the customer thinking that my brand is just amateur.
So how the hell did I come up with a name like Lowdtown Friends & Freaks?
Let me tell you, it was no easy thing to come up with LTFF. So many things had to be put into consideration. I wanted something that could be abbreviated nicely, something that could be shortened, and something with a nice amount of syllables. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, but it was actually very important to me, and it should be important to you too because you have to really consider how your name will be said and heard.
So before I started on the journey to the perfect name, I had a certain amount of things I had in mind. First, I wanted the brand to have a personal touch. I wanted the brand to have a little piece of myself.
So here’s a few things that I felt was important:
- I’m Japanese
- I have a secret love for digimon
- My web name is RAWRoutLOWD
- I have a character named Mouthcan that I really like.
You’re probably thinking how crazy I must be about digimon to actually consider it, but really, you have no idea how much I love digimon! (haha, I’m like the only one) By now you’ve probably also realized that the idea of Mouthcan eventually became my Lowdtown logo.
The Journey to the Perfect Name
Anyways, so I came up with literally a few dozen names that were influenced by the above things. Please also note, though digimon is something that I am passionate about, don’t use anything to suggest an affiliation with another product, you can see what I mean when you look at the names.
Here are a few possible names for the brand that I came up with and why I didn’t use them:
- Mouth Can Monster – The name had a nice flow but the acronym sounded too much like MGM, which I didn’t like.
- Mouthcan – Wasn’t memorable, and lacked syllables
- Lowd Mouth City – This was by far my favorite name, and it was a tough decision not to use it. It turned out that there is a pretty famous band called Loud Mouth, and I didn’t want any association or confusion with that band. I really loved the ring of the name and the acronym though.
- Kisama – I was trying to play with my last name, Masaki. Kisama in Japanese is kind of a dirty way of saying “you”, and I didn’t want to sound rude or dirty.
- YGG (pronounced igg) – I really liked this name too. YGG is short for yggdrasil, which is an (I think) Irish myth about a tree that powers the world. It was also in digimon, and you can see what I mean when I mean a subtle suggestion to your passion. I ended up not using it because there is a company called YGG, which is: Young Go Getters.
- Adventure Goggles – This was inspired by the fact that all digimon leads (besides 5th season) wear goggles. Jeez, I’m such a geek. Anyway, this name didn’t have a good flow when it was pronounced.
- Fuwa Fuwa – It means fluffy in Japanese. I thought it was a nice sounding name. But I wanted to market my brand as a streetwear brand, so I thought it sounded too cute for what it was for.
So then I finally came up with Lowdtown Friends & Freaks.
I liked the name because:
- It has a nice amount of syllables
- It’s personal because my web name is RAWRoutLOWD.
- The acronym sounds nice and catchy: LTFF
- You can abbreviate the name to Lowdtown
- The domain name, www.lowdtown.com, wasn’t taken
- Lowdtown didn’t come up with any results on google, which means that it is pretty original.
- The name suggests that it could be a street brand that has bold (or “loud”) clothing, which I think is pretty true for my brand.
In closing, I hope this has helped you in even the slightest. I think it’s very important to have a name that is catchy and easy to remember. Remember; try to step out of the box when you’re thinking of a name. I feel like when you have a name like _____ clothing or _____ apparel, you get moshed together with all the other _____clothing and apparel brands. Be unique and try to put a little bit of yourself behind the name, that’s what I did at least. Good luck!