I recently changed my business name from Hit the Spot to Monkeyshine. Hit the Spot had become quite an identity crisis which was affecting my business endeavours so much that I felt almost embarrassed to introduce my business and reluctant to approach potential retailers.
When I first chose Hit the Spot some years ago, I was only producing greeting cards (the ones with the sewn-in tabs). At the time, the cards were more of a hobby and I simply wanted a label for them that would suit all sorts of occasions. Hit the Spot was pretty good for that. It can be applied to a very wide range of congratulations and greetings. But it soon started to feel constrained, desperately twee and most decidedly not me.
This is not a rebrand
It’s an elucidation and strengthening of my existing brand: a clarification of what I’m about to my current supporters, and a big, cheery hello to potential new customers.
So for quite a while I’ve been brainstorming new names. There were a good few boxes that the new name had to tick:
- It had to be personal, to me. My new name somehow had to capture something of my history and what makes up Brigitte.
- It had to make me feel proud, confident and excited when I introduced myself and my goodies.
- It had to be happy and a little bit cheeky. I wanted a name that sounds fun and funky and that will instantly elicit a smile.
- It had to feel expansive, welcoming, joyful and celebratory.
- It had to suit my design style: bright and colourful, a little bit retro and a little bit glam, with a pinch of wit and a dash of wordplay.
- It had to have broad appeal and application. My new name had to fit equally well with a wide range of products: greeting cards, clothing, homewares, jewellery, textiles … even skate boards. (I have big ambitions for my brand, heh heh.)
- And finally, it had to somehow be available as a domain name (not so easy these days, I discovered) and an Etsy shop name.
Yikes! As Tony Greig, the cricketer and commentator used to say, “That’s a hard ask!”.
Why not just use Brigitte de Villiers? Because it’s long and is a nightmare to spell! I love my name (even though de Villiers is as common as Smith or Jones in South Africa) and I think it has a beautiful sound, especially when pronounced by ze French. But to me it feels impractical as a business name.
It took a long while – and a lot of patience on the part of My Beloved as I threw name after name at him – to come up with something that met all of those criteria. You may well be wondering how Monkeyshine ticks box number one. Good point. Monkey is the name of my very first soft toy (highly original moniker for a monkey, I know). And I still have him! Not bad considering Monkey and I have lived in, or near, Johannesburg, Stanford, Bristol, Cape Town, Winchester, back to Bristol, London and now Hobart. You can see him here pictured with Tedward, whom My Beloved bought for me in the early days of our continuing romance. Monkey’s head is a little bit squashed because apparently I used to carry him everywhere with me, his head clamped tightly under my armpit.
The word monkey also encapsulates the cheeky, mischievous, playful elements of what I’m about.
Shine on you crazy monkey
OK. That’s the Monkey bit taken care of. What about “shine”? Well, shine has so many beautiful, positive connotations: glowing, sparkly, radiant, bright with emotion or happiness, loving and affectionate (as in to take a shine to someone or something). A few people have pointed out that it makes them think of moonshine. That doesn’t bother me, particularly as I’m quite partial to strong spirits.
As it happens, Monkeyshine is in the dictionary and means a frivolous or mischievous prank. I didn’t know that until after I’d chosen the name.