Zero Waste but lots of Wordplay

"When it comes to naming, unpackaged stores are the new hairdressers," was recently reported in an article in the German "Zeit" magazine which took the witty naming of unpacked stores as a target. From funny to weird names, everything is indeed there and makes you smile at first. But do such names really contribute to making more people want to shop without packaging? We take a closer look!


Packaging for the name only

The less packaging, the funnier the names. In the relatively young sector of zero waste shops - the first one in Europe opened in 2014 - there is actually a relatively high number of witty or at least humorously inspired names. Puns are first and foremost one thing: eye-catchers. Humorous hooks that grab attention and get stuck in our heads with a "stumble" when we read them.

So if you read the name Earthkind or Jarful, you automatically think of the underlying "real" word - that is, mankind or mouthful - and then in a second step make the connection to the context, the zero waste store: earthkind = food taken from earth, jar-ful = measure with / by jar. With such names one quickly recognizes the play with words and finds the name coherent. If no one else has come up with the same idea so far, you have done everything right from the point of view of finding a name.

The second main reason why such a humorous stumble is sought is the likeable impression it gives. Humorous and funny is equated with friendly and open and seems loose and inviting. In this respect, it answers the question of whether it will attract more people to the store with a definite "yes". Anyone who has such a funny name comes across as likeable and makes a positive impression.



"Zero names" can be too much

It gets difficult when it becomes a little too much. Too much in the sense of too many names in the same industry, all going in that one direction. This is what happened with the hairdressing stores mentioned above, which have certainly presented every possible or even impossible pun with hair, comb and scissors. On the best way to replace the barbershops are the food industry and dentists, who come up with ever more daring word creations. And now the zero waste stores. The industry is still young, but once all the games of fill, loose, without and un- have been grazed, it's better to take a different route to stand out. But it's not that far yet, and there are still plenty of creative naming opportunities waiting to be explored individually. 

It also becomes too much when too many changes or "stumbles" are built into a name. This looks rather effortful and complicated than loose and funny. One should not overdo it with the name play too much and pay attention to keep to the point. For example, with the name "RemiUsable," you have to look more than twice to match the name with the theme – and you'll rather not notice that "Remi" is the owner's first name.


Less is more, even with the name

It's great when the term itself remains unchanged, but is put into a different reference. This is also a stumble, but not by the change in the word itself, but the changed reference. "Get loose", "Harmless" and "Down to earth" are expressions that are in the dictionary and are simply reinterpreted as names for an zero waste store. Clever and unique!

In fact, we would warn against overly silly variants that could come across as childish or even insinuating. After all, an zero waste shop is a thoroughly serious approach to really doing something for the environment, the climate and sustainability. If this is made too much of a joke, customers who take the issue seriously could be put off. "Naked Larder" or "Naked Pantry" are quite courageous in their choice of name. But at least they attract attention.

So we summarize: Names with wordplay can be clever, if you don't overdo it. You can remember the rule: Better once than sorry! This means that one change in the word or play with letters is allowed ("Bare Bazaar", "Lesser Litter"). Several variations or such, which need a spelling with capital letters in order to get it – rather think it over whether one does not stumble there too much ;-)

Some "wrap-up" does well, not with the packaging, but in any case with the name finding.

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