Brand Building: What’s In a Name?
One thing I have to say about this wacky business I know and love, is that there are some pretty damn clever folks that abound in the sex toy biz. I have come across many names of products and stores that absolutely leave me in hysterics so I thought I would share them with you.
Of course I have to start with my very own. In 1992, I decided to leave my high-ranking job at Harvard to sell rubber dicks to girls. I came up with the idea to open a female-friendly sex toy store in Boston simply out of frustration that there weren’t any and I wanted to buy my vibrators and dildos without feeling hassled by a cigar chomping sales clerk in a sticky-floored store in the Combat Zone of Boston. So what the hell? I was motivated and determined to do it myself (much like masturbation).
When I started thinking of what to call my newly conceived “baby,” many names popped into my head. “The Gee Spot” was one. Cute but nah, that wasn’t it. “Pandora’s Box” came to mind as well but I thought the negative connotations of that name far outweighed the positiveness of it. Scrapped that one.
At that point, I realized that the more I concentrated on coming up with a name for my store, the more difficult it would become. Kind of like orgasm: if you keep thinking about it and working towards having one, you’ll never have one. Simple as that. But start thinking about hot times, hard sex, tastes, smells, textures and the flavors that go with a good round of fucking, and voila! That elusive orgasm is bound to happen, completely without thinking about it.
So I decided to just let my wander and the name would come to me and sure enough, it did. I was brought back to a time when I was about 10 years old, sitting in front of my father’s furniture store with a much older friend of my brother, in Bayville, N.J., watching traffic going down Route 9. A wedding procession of several cars, complete with the gleaming white limo leading the way, was making its way past Friendly Furniture (yes, that was the name of my father’s store which lent itself to many jokes growing up), and my brother’s friend remarked “Oh, another ‘grand opening.’”
That was it – the name of my store. Grand Opening! It was a name that could be said in mixed company with a knowing wink and nod, something you could say at work without fear of reprisal or thread of sexual harassment, a phrase that you’d see everywhere which essentially would become free advertising for me. Yes, Grand Opening! And I added the exclamation point because as many of you know, I get really excited about sex toys. I really do.
So that was it. A quick search in databases and phone books (this predated the ubiquitous Internet) let me know that this name was available and I claimed it as mine. When the Internet began establishing its roots in society, I bought the domain name GrandOpening.com where the store exists today as an online seller of thousands of sex toys without the additional overhead of a bricks and mortar store which works well for me.
I’ve come across many names for sex toy stores and I have my favorites. Oh My! is in Northampton, Mass. and is owned by an alumna of Grand Opening! My store also spawned another store with a clever name, Self-Serve Toys in Albuquerque, N.M. There’s the long-standing store, Good Vibrations, which is as we all know, a popular Beach Boys tune and double entendre for our favorite zippy products of lust and desire. A complementary phrase, Good For Her is in Toronto, making the female customer feel pretty good about her sexuality, for sure. The newly anointed Trystologyin Ventura, Calif. is a creative play on the words “tryst” – a meeting for lovers and “ology” – the knowledge or science of a subject. Nice combo, I say! Skitzo Kitty in Palm Desert, Calif. makes me think of what my, um, kitty feels like after a crazy night of raucous sex. And there’s one of my favorites, Hoosier Daddy in Indiana, the name of which made me laugh so hard, I forgot it was the name of a sex toy store.
Sometimes the name can be as simple as a woman’s name such as Patricia’s, Priscilla McCall’s, Christie’s, and I’m sure you can think of many others. Sometimes it can be a word that has to do with sex and sensuality such as Entice, Lover’s Lane, Lovers, Early to Bed, Personal Preference and Ambiance. And sometimes it can be really obvious such as Adult Video Warehouse, which pretty much sums it up.
So choosing a name for a store or even a website for that matter, is something that takes a great deal of thought, or simply none at all. Be honest with creating the name because that’s what you’ll be known for in the future. Being known forever as “Kim Airs Grand Opening!” suits me just fine and yours will to, I am sure.
Kim Airs is the founder of sexuality boutique GrandOpening.com. She is a consultant for all aspects of the adult toy industry: training, sales, marketing, etc. She loves her job!