Sorry it has taken me so long to answer, I have not been able to get on but I have been following the discussion via email. I am so glad that I posted this question. Even though the ambiguity of what I posted caused a little confusion, the discussions that has been generated from this question have been phenomenal. This post will be a bit lengthy but I think it will be worth it.
Let me first answer one of the hanging questions posed and respond to make clear my intentions. It has been mentioned a few times that an overtly Christian theme can be detrimental to the success of the shop. You are 100% correct and If this was a professional shop I would not go with that type of theme. It has been mentioned that the only reason one does choose such a name is that they are trying to specialize in their clientele or do make themselves look more trust worthy than they are. Sad to say that I must agree with this statement. There are many companies out there that “Make merchandise of God’s people”. Unfortunate, this is not new. It was the reason that Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple. I find the process to be despicable and a hindrance to honest Christian businessmen/women. I think that there is a special place in hell for such people. I want to thank you for making this point it is spot on. It had not occurred to be when coming up with a name and a good argument against “The Cross and Anvil. It is not my intent to focus on Christians as my clientele nor to offend others in their choice of beliefs.
(Soap Box ended)
After reading all of the post it occurs to me that the lesson here greater than the names in question. So I am going to attempt to condense this discussion down to a few tips I have learned based upon the discussion. We have been discussing this from a Christian / secular naming question but the thought process in this discussion has a broader application in the decision of a shop name choice. Please feel free to add or correct what I am posting. Together maybe we can come up with a definitive guide on how to choose a shop name.
Tips In Choosing a Shop Name:
Is this a professional or a hobby?
This is the first question that must be asked and is a major determining factor on the outcome of the name. If you are setting up a professional shop the name of the shop should not only convey what the shop is or produces but also it should not include a theme that may be off putting to potential customers. For example, you want to stay away from Political, Racial, Sexual, or Religious stance or theame if possible. In America, “The Donkey’s Hammer” or “The Elephant’s Trunk” may act as a polarizing catalyst for and against the success of your shop. If there is a desire or need to have a theme that falls under one of these three topics, then make sure your shop name is pleasant and not polarizing. For example, there is a frozen yogurt company called “Sweet Frog”. It is funny it is pleasant but the FROG stands for “Fully Rely On God.” While the you may not get that from the first viewing of the name, they explain it in discussing about their company.
If this is a Hobby or home shop you have a bit more leeway as the shop is an extension or representation of you and your passions. If you are never planning on really selling your product you can be as vulgar as you want; that being said, there will be consequences. If you want to walk around with a shirt that says KKK-Forge it’s your funeral. So, while you do have the freedom to name your shop what you want you still need to do it in a way that is respectable to others as a common-sense human being. So be clever, be unique, in the name let it reflect you and your thoughts but also be wise.
Who is your attended audience?
This is probably the second most important question to ask. Are you trying to focus your business to a specific clientele? Is your shop focus more generalized or does it have no focus at all? As mentioned earlier choosing a name to reach a specific clientele may get you them as customers but it may prevent you from obtaining better and more lucrative jobs from others. One question you have to ask yourself if you are considering this method is “Is there a strong enough specific customer base to support my business?” If not, you may need to rethink you plan. If the focus of your business is more generalized, then you name must be more generalized not specific to a questionable theme.
Again, if your shop clientele is just you, or if you are using this as a means to place your touch on your hand made gifts, then as before you have more leeway. That being said look at the name the same way you would a tattoo. Ask yourself, “How will I feel about this name 10 years from now?” Ask yourself if your grandchild came up to you years later asking about the name would you feel happy or sheepish in explaining the name.
What is the product that your shop will produce?
One good thing to consider is the scope of your shop. This can be the one time where being specific can bring you more business. For example, do you specialize in creating and fixing iron gates then add a reference to that in your name, something like “Gates of Fire”. What you do have to be weary is that people make assumptions when reading business names and they will call or pass you by depending upon those names. For example, if your shop specializes making hammers, do not name your shop XYZ-Knifeworks. Even if you plan to make knives someday, those who would benefit from your business may assume that you only make and sharpen knives. If you do not know or if what you produce is of a broader scale then don’t label a specific product in your name. For this question here, there is no real separation here from the Professional business and the hobbyist. Look at your shop what it does / will produce and name the shop accordingly.
In the end it is your shop and you can name it whatever you want. There are plenty of crazy business names out there who sell their product every day but whose name people shake their head at. Here is what is all comes down to and why both professional smiths and hobbyist agonize over the choice of the name. That name is apart of you. That touch mark is your fingerprint in iron. It is something of you to last after you have left this spinning piece of rock. Remember, while iron does not last forever it generally lasts longer then us so be wise in the choice of your name, make it something that you would be happy to have on your great great great grandchild’s mantel.