Are we relevant yet Part III: What's in a name?

posted on: Thursday, 17 March 2016

Here's what I wish someone had told me when I first started FFG: "Your name selection means everything. It is not to be taken lightly and should be thoroughly examined from every angle before you buy that URL." But, I didn't have anyone telling me anything because way back then no one was blogging... and names certainly weren't important. You were just buying a URL and speaking to the great black hole that was the internet. Why does a name matter? Well, folks... if only I had knew what I was getting myself into. 

The first interview I ever did, I got seriously sideswiped and never ever saw it coming. The journalist was being sweet as pie, asking questions about how I got into the industry and where I saw blogging going. We were having a sweet little conversation and then she dropped the bomb. "So, when did you decide you hated animals?" Ummm, excuse me? I looked at her like a true deer in the headlights...and felt like one too. Why on earth would I give the impression that I hated animals? This was my first incident of recognizing the idea of examining your name from every angle.

When I came up with the name Fashion Foie Gras, and I've said this a million times since, it was a moment where I was poking fun at an industry that prided itself on being thin and polished. Fashion Foie Gras was a play on Fashion Faux Pas, it was a touch of luxury and also a name that was supported by the strapline "force feeding fashion news daily." It all just worked, for what it was at the time - again, a blog that never had a drive to be anything other than a daily news source for the few dozen that were interested. It would never get bigger than that, right? So why worry? 

Well, if I had a dollar for every time I've been asked if I liked Foie Gras or supported the production of Foie Gras, I'd be a very rich woman indeed. So, before we go any further, let me go ahead and make something clear. I hadn't even had Foie Gras before I named the blog - God's honest truth. I knew what it was, I wasn't into it, but the name worked for me. However, once FFG developed into a bigger brand, it seemed every PR in the land thought they could only take me to dinners where Foie Gras was on the menu. Ridiculous but also quite flattering. So there you have it - I wasn't making a statement. I wasn't going against the grain. I simply gave my blog a name and let the chips fall where they may. Why couldn't I have named my blog "Fashion Doughnuts"? I would have so much rather seen doughnuts at every PR meeting. Well, live and learn, right? 

Anyway, back to the whole name progression. Eventually the world got past me naming my blog after a rather controversial food. People had heard enough of me proclaiming that I wasn't in the back office stuffing geese as a side business. Although, it wasn't before I received a few death threats. Yeah, you read that right. So, what's in a name? Well, everything if you ever think said blog will be bigger than something your mom and dad will read daily - Ps. Thanks for reading, mom and dad. 

Here's what I always tell people to do now, when dreaming up a blog name. Think of everything you want your blog to be about or to symbolize. Think of everything that describes you and who you are today. Put every thought into a single word and circle it on a piece of paper. Do this until you've filled the entire page and then go back and look at YOU as a whole... in print. What fits together? What stands out? I think you may even be surprised at how this guides you in a direction of a voice for the blog itself. It's funny that I have done this for every other activity in my life, other than naming FFG. 

This isn't all to say that I would have done anything differently entirely. I couldn't be happier with how Fashion Foie Gras has grown and has become a brand, rather than just a blog. You know what? I could have made it a lot easier on myself by naming the blog something inoffensive and safe. But, looking back I've found nothing good ever came from being safe. Be bold, be brave and name as you see fit, and what you can deal with. Some names require you to build a backbone made of steel. What's that great quote from Eleanor Roosevelt? Something about a cup of tea. Oh yeah - "A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." Amen to that, sister.

Read Mademoiselle Robot's naming story in the series now!

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