What's in a name? A whole lot of jokes, memes, and the wrong kind of second glances if you choose the wrong one. Sometimes names are just outdated (and might even have lingering racist or sexist leanings decades later). Sometimes they just don't make sense in another country or language. Other times they were just flat out bad ideas from the beginning.
Choosing a name for your business can be equally the most exciting and most frustrating part of being a business owner. It's like naming your child. Sure, "Wolf" sounds pretty badass as a first name right now, but your child could be teased and bullied mercilessly in school if he lives up to the moniker. And what happens when Wolf grows up and decides he (or she) wants to be a CEO but isn't taken seriously because of it?
Just like baby names, business names can heavily influence the future. Here are some of the roughest names from around the world.
1. F*#xing Lovely, South Korea
Travel through South Korea, and you might be shocked by the otherwise demure and lovely women (and children) sporting shirts filled with English profanity. There are two possible explanations: Whoever created these shirts didn't understand English profanity or--worse--did. There's a store in a large Seoul mall that features plenty of pink and feathers. Ain't that f*#xing great?
2. Anal Jewelry Center, China
Let's hope the owners of this store aren't fluent in English (otherwise, they're focusing on a very niche product and might not have the demographic reach to succeed). However, with a tagline of "really unique jewelry" maybe they know what they're marketing after all.
3. Cadabra, US
This was the original name of Amazon, and although it's not overtly that bad, it's not great. Jeff Bezos meant it to be a shortening of abracadabra but realized, not only that people had a tough time spelling it, but also they didn't really get that it was part of abracadabra. Bezos also famously wanted a company that started with an "A" for better listing.
4. Beaver's Trim Shop, US
Let's get this over with: Yes, this shop is in Texas (so, you know, there's that excuse). Yes, it really does offer (door) trimming services. It's really old and likely the owner was nicknamed Beaver. It probably predates more recent slang meaning for "beaver," but it's still unfortunate.
5. Big Beaver Stump Grinding, US
This particular company, a tree removal service, is in Massachusetts. It's been described as "providing high quality stump grinding" for several years now. Just so you know, Angie's List gives it excellent reviews.
6. BlueBalls Boutique, Canada
This humorously named boutique is found in a British Columbia mall and is described as a "trendy women's boutique." It is said to carry top brands like Diesel.
7. Bunghole Liquors, US
The owners of this shop might have known exactly what they were doing. With a motto, "We're not number one, butt we're right up there," they're definitely appealing to a certain demographic. This name was no mistake, and they seem to be doing well by staying cheeky.
8. Cock Polishing Services, UK
In a country where "spotted dick" is regularly on the menu, is it any surprise that this is a perfectly respectable name for whatever it is the owners really polish? The company also proudly puts the name and logo on vans that "pop up" around town (presumably on business runs that are surely very popular until the clients realize it's not what they hoped for).
9. Dick Cleaners and Carpet Services, US
Richard. If only it was Richard Cleaners! However, Dick took it a step further and added "carpet services" to the name of this cleaning business to show that he was truly open-minded.
10. Dykes Lumber Company, US
This one has 10 stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Dykes? Lumber? Of course, it was really just an unfortunate coincidence (and surely whoever has Dyke as a last name and knows lumber is a lovely person), but still. Wasn't Jersey Shore embarrassment enough for one state?
11. Fuchs Lubricants Co., around the world
It gets even better if you visit its website. Do you want Fuchs in America or Fuchs Worldwide? (Sorry.) Simply click on the link and you'll get to Fuchs just about anywhere you like. However, if you already know what Fuchs can do for you, you can head right to Cutting and Grinding Fluids or Quench Oils.
12. The G Spot, anywhere you can imagine
There's not just one store named The G Spot (and there are probably several more that intended that sexual innuendo). Are you looking for the comedy club in Buffalo or the clothing store in Canada?
13. Hoe Repair, US
Technically the full name of this company is LP Coplete Hoe Repair. However, the actual shop just says "HOE REPAIR." The handyman-services company is located on a street corner in New York state.
14. Hung Far Low, US
Well, since this restaurant and lounge is located in Portland, Oregon, in an area that happens to be next to the "Entertainment District" and is literally steps from the highest-prostitute-per-capita street in the country, it makes some sense.
"You'll love your home again!" this business promises. Well, who wouldn't?
Names. They matter, people. Whether you're creating a name with your tongue planted firmly in cheek or you unintentionally ended up with a suggestive or inappropriate name, please remember that things like this have an effect on your long-term success. In some cases that could be a good thing. Either way, it's generally advisable that you err on the more conservative side when you are naming your business.