Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's In A Name - Guest Post w/ Genevieve of LightboxSF

Hello! I’m Genevieve, co-founder of Lightbox SF. Sarah asked me last week if I would share a few words about choosing a business name. My first reaction, besides being flattered, was that I didn’t really know anything about that topic. However, after thinking on it a bit I realized that the story of how we chose our name might be just as helpful as a list of guidelines.

First let me tell you a bit about what I do. Lightbox SF empowers creatives to take over the world. We do this by working with individual clients on branding and marketing their small creative businesses as well as teaching them the awareness to keep themselves on track and moving forward. Full disclaimer, both Sarah and Lisa have worked with me.

So as you may guess I see people at many different stages of business and I’ve heard all sorts of names. Lightbox SF is also the second name that this business has had and boy did we struggle over both. I won’t tell you the story of the first, but will just mention that we needed to change it because one of the partners ended up going in a different direction.

So Shelly (my business partner) and I thought long and hard about what we wanted to change it to. For inspiration we looked to the types of creative businesses we thought we’d work with most, photography, fashion, and jewelry. We wanted something direct with only one or two words and nothing gimmicky or made up. We thought of our business as a tool for our clients so we started to look toward the tools used in each of the industries above. Lightbox came out of a long list. It didn’t blow our pants off and it’s been used time and time again, but it just kept coming back to us.

We like that it is a more or less outdated tool. In the age of digital very few photographers have use for a lightbox let alone even know what one is. However, both Shelly and I had fond memories of putting a newly developed set of slides up against a lightbox to see what we had captured. We also liked the literal description of what a lightbox does, illuminates film for the purpose of selecting the best images. We saw ourselves as illuminating our client’s strengths and creativity.

Since starting the business I’ve asked many of our clients, “Where does your name come from?” Most can tell me a short, engaging story about why they chose it. The ones that are the most memorable are the ones that have some personal meaning to owner of the business. The public doesn’t necessarily need to get the connection, but I believe that this connection somehow emanates and draws people in.

In general we are simple creatures, we don’t want to think too much and we want to remember things easily. Find something that speaks to you, that’s simple and you’re off to a great start!

Here's Shelly & I - meet LightboxSF! 

Thanks for the awesome guest post, Genevieve. We adore you!

Sarah & Lisa


  1. Coming up with the name of my business was totally trial by fire. I had a friend help me come with a list and we kept saying them over and over again until we were like, yes, that's the one! Genevieve was pivotal to helping me rebrand my photography business and for that I am eternally grateful!

  2. Great post Genevieve! Thanks so much. I still struggle with the art of naming. Keeping it simple is great advice!

  3. I also struggle with the art of naming..I have to brand my new business and I haven't the slightest idea what to call it!

    1. I hear ya! You are so not alone on that one. It is an ongoing process for me in every aspect of my business, from product to marketing. I always come back to Genevieve's idea of keeping it simple. That and the principles in the book, Made to Stick have been really helpful.

    2. Psssssssst, Lisa and I used this site to get our creative juices flowing! http://watchout4snakes.com/CreativityTools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx

      it is very very fun to use.

      Good luck, Karrie!