It seems there is a stubborn trend governing the naming of small businesses. Especially if a shop purveys handmade jewelry, reclaimed boat magnets, or organic plum muffins, you can be sure they’re doing business as a combination of obscure nouns. The effect is unabashedly grassroots, and when paired with lowercase letters and a wispy “+” symbol, you can’t help but fawn over how artisanal, hyperlocal and bespoke the shop’s wares must surely be.
Some real world examples: Hammer + Vine. Dapper and Wise. Satchel & Sage. Whimsey & Spice. Standard & Strange. Frank & Oak.
Now let’s make some up: Froth and Coin. Sail & Sword. Tooth + Anchor. Duck&Goose. cane + apple. Heart & Honey.
As you can see, it’s as easy as snatching two random words and plopping them together. Meaning-be-damned, the combination need not make logical sense, so long as the vibe conjured would feel at home at a Brooklyn book reading. The effect is amplified when instead of using “and”, or “+”, you carefully select a delicate ampersand to adjoin your chosen words. You’ll be peddling farm-to-table brooms from Portland in no time.
Like all naming trends , its cyclical existence is harmless and hardly worth going on about at length. I think what I find most noteworthy about this particular one, is how quickly it’s being embraced. It’s all tailors and latte-artists for now, but perhaps next up is the 2016 presidential campaign. “clinton+biden™”…written in chalk…sure looks like a shoo-in for at least the hipster crowd.
1. My favorite of which is the use of simple, single syllable words for high-end nightclubs. Think air, bed, home, liv and womb (my favorite for how unique, but also creepy it sounds). Also worth noting is the excruciating use of “ly” for startups. How people haven’t gotten tired of that one yet is beyond me.