Choosing a name is always a very important decision, whether it is for a thing, an idea, a place, a person, or, indeed a business. Would Marxism, or Capitalism, have the same resonance as ideas or concepts if they went by different names? Would Rio De Janeiro have a different vibe if it was actually called Staines? Would you be who you are if your parents had called you by the second name on their list?
Naming my business was therefore a huge, and rather scary, responsibility. It needed to speak to my potential customers, reflect my handmade products in some way and also show the personal investment I have made, through my time, energy, imagination and aspirations.
Despite feeling the burden of this decision rather heavily, the name was actually very obvious to me. When I was born I was named Lucy Charlotte. My grandfather said, almost as soon as he heard the name, that everyone would call me Elsie because of the initials 'L.C.'. No one ever did. I was slightly disappointed. I did use the name as my email signature at University and my Professor did remember me by it several years later. However, although I have gone by many nick-names Elsie was never one of them.
When I started making and trying to sell things online I wanted to call my shop ElsieB, as this was an adaptation of my maiden-name initials: LCB. The old-fashioned feel of the name Elsie seemed to reflect the hand-crafted, honest edge to my products. I could imagine a girl called Elsie sitting by a blackened stove of an evening lovingly making pretty things with a craft passed down through the generations. The B, attached to the name with no space, for me gave this image a modern twist to bring it up-to-date with the contemporary craft movement and boom in handmade, particularly selling online.
The name Elsie ultimately derives from the name Elizabeth. Elizabeth was mother of John the Baptist and the English name is based on the Hebrew 'Elisheba' which means 'oath of God' or 'God has sworn'. This meaning speaks to me of the honest feeling I wish to convey through what I make, whilst giving it the more youthful sense of Elsie, rather than Elizabeth.
However, Etsy.com, in their wisdom, wouldn't allow me to use ElsieB as my shop name even though no-one else was trading by this name at the time. Eventually, I came up with the suffix 'By'. Etsy allows it and I kind of liked it. It speaks to a slightly (very slightly) rebellious streak in me - at primary school we used to like to sign our stories 'By (insert name here)', but our teacher, Mr Jones, said that we should just put our name. I had a lot of respect for this wonderful teacher but I still think it's more fun to put 'By....'.
You can see what ElsieB's busy hands have produced here: www.byelsieb.etsy.com
If you're interested in name definitions I post them regularly on my facebook page.