Business names and makers marks?

Discussion in 'Knife Business' started by Black cat, May 28, 2016.

  1. Black cat

    Black cat Well-Known Member

    I'm running out of ideas. For many many years i've been waiting to name and register my business but I never have because EVERY name I can come up with that has any meaning to me is taken lol :p

    Now I have a batch of blades about to finish up and go to homes and they have no names or marks :(

    My name is Kris... Ok Kris cutlery is taken
    Wolf forge, grey wolf forge, black wolf forge, timber wolf forge, fenris forge, all taken.

    My last name doesnt work for this...

    How do I come up with a decent name? It's like trying to come up with an email addresss that isnt taken. I hope I dont have to resprt to a bunch of random numbers, letters and symbols for a name lol

    Also, makers marks... How do you know if the logo you want isnt already in use?

    Stamp or etch makers mark?

    I have to come up with something but I dont want to step on toes.
  2. Rated G

    Rated G Active Member

    Shooting from the hip here, but how about "Kris Co." or "Kris Slits" or "Kris Forge" or "K Made"
  3. wall e

    wall e Well-Known Member

    If wolf means alot to you find the words for it in the ancestrial tongue. Irish,scottish,german etc
    Use your initials and then mabbe WULF if your german or pick what sings to you. Lycan Forge mabbe?
  4. jesseosufsen

    jesseosufsen Member

    You can do keyword searches of trademark descriptions on


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  5. Black cat

    Black cat Well-Known Member

  6. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    The business name isn't nearly as important as the "mark" you put you your knives. The offical business name is going to be more important for official things such as licensing, taxes, ect. Choose a name that doesn't limit you to a specific arena... for example, most have never heard of my offical business name, but many have heard of "Caffrey Knives", or "The Montana Bladesmith". Those are nothing more then nicknames, that I use in public, and for advertising, and neither are officially linked to my business..... but both are what the knife world knows me as.

    Now, when it comes to your "mark"...... All too often I see knives with some obscure logo on it, that gives no indication what so ever as to who actually made the knife. As a knifemaker, you have to think outside your own little "box" when you choose a mark for your knives. An image/logo that has significance to YOU will often mean nothing to those who don't know you.... and those are the individuals you are trying to reach. You have to put yourself in the place of a potential buyer. The mark you choose must be something that a stranger can look at, and with minimal effort, be able to figure WHO you are, and WHERE you are. To that end, I think it's vital to put YOUR NAME at the very least, and possibly your location. With this information an individual need only do a quick internet search to find out exactly who you are, and where you are. If you choose some strange (usually in the knifemaking world individuals think of it as "unique") logo, you've just handicapped yourself and your business. Why? Because in general people are lazy, and if they have to put in much effort to find you, they will just move onto someone else who is easier to find. Using a logo versus a name on your knives will also create a situation where it will take MUCH longer to gain any popularity....simply because people will have to come to associate a logo with a name (whether that be a company name of a person's name..and that takes a LOT of in YEARS AND YEARS). So really, it's up to you. You can make things hard on yourself and your business, or you can make is somewhat easier. Again, put yourself in the place of a person who has never heard of you, or your knives, and think what type of "mark" would give them the easiest way to find you and order a knife.

    I'm fortunate in the fact that currently there is no other "Caffrey" that I know of in the knife world, and even if there were, my knives carry the "MS" (Master Smith) stamp too. My knives are marked with "CAFFREY" and "MS". If you type "Caffrey MS" into a any internet search engine, I will be the first knife related result that pops up. Personally, I think those are the terms you have to think in when choosing a "mark"......otherwise it could end up in a situation where you use something that looks/seems "cool" to you, but that others will just not figure out or understand.
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  7. Rudy Joly

    Rudy Joly Well-Known Member

    If your last name won't "work", you can reconfigure it to work.
    I've met a couple makers over the years that had the same problem, long Polish or Russian names. Their mark didn't match who they actually were. You can make up any last name to suit your purposes. Its the unique name recognition that's important like Ed said. I've had people tell me "I saw one of you knives in NY last month" or some other states...that wouldn't happen if I used a triangle in a circle or square for a logo.

    True story :
    A man called me from a bar room in Tennesee recently, I could barely hear him from the background noise. He said "I'm lookin at a knife you made right now, I'd like one of those". He'd tracked me down just from my logo on his 'smart' phone. We made a deal right then and there and confirmed it the next day (sober).

    On a side note somewhat related... When you put up pics on any forum, put up real pics that everyone can see. More than once I've refered people to forums to get an idea on what they're looking for. More often than not, I get comments like "What's up with the pics, I can't see any ?" or " What's the big secret, they only sell to each other?" I'm sure I'm not the only maker who got business from people who don't 'join' but do a lot of looking.

    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  8. ARCustomKnives

    ARCustomKnives Well-Known Member

    What's your last name?

    I kind of jumped on the "first initial, last initial" bandwagon with AR Custom Knives, and in retrospect I wish I'd have incorporated my last name instead. I didn't, because if I recall, there is another "Riley" who is a blade smith, and at the time there weren't any other A.R. knife companies. In recent history, I've been confused with other "AR" knife makers that came after the fact, though I try to keep my logo out front on my media/forum pages to help deter confusion.

    If I had it all to do over, however, I'd have incorporated my last name, regardless of how many other makers had it, and maybe added "of Indiana" or "knife and tool" or some other unique qualifier as a sub text.

    As for email addresses, if you register a domain name, that can become your email, i.e., "" or "" or however you want it to be.
  9. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    Excellent input! The importance of QUALITY photos cannot be overstated. I see so many crappy knife photos that the maker snapped with their smartphone....and then posted up in an unedited format, and they are NOT doing themselves any favors.
  10. Black cat

    Black cat Well-Known Member

    Thank you all that's a lot of good information.
    My last name is Arsenault (the L and T are silent) doesnt really work so well imo. It's has an interesting history but... It kind of falls short as a brand name lol.

    I would love to ise my name, actually i've been trying to find ways to incorporate it into the business name but... So far not much comes to mind.

    Outside of my own name I was thinking something like "wolf forge" because I do more than just knives. Could use a wolf paw print as a mark?

    I havent found any "wolf forges" out there but there is a "wolf knives" I just have no idea if that's a maker or not. I have looked at all his pages on google and cant find much knofe related. Seems more like some sort of merchandise sales idk, anyway :p

    I have considered changing my name to make it more useful :p
  11. Self Made Knives

    Self Made Knives Well-Known Member

    I'd vote to use your last name, I don't see the problem. It's certainly not a common name, at least I don't recall hearing it, sounds kind of interesting to me. Or come up with a variation of it, Arsen, Arsenal, Karsen, KArsen, KrisA, Krisa, etc.

    One thing that is starting to bug me are how many XYZ Forge's there are lately. Seems like the word "forge" is getting stuck onto everything. Maybe that's just me, but seems like it's getting a little overused. I see guys on Facebook that don't forge anything and have the word forge in their name.
  12. Stew

    Stew Well-Known Member

    With such a distinctive surname, it seems to make sense to me to use it.

    Use a wolf / paw print if you want but don't do something vague with the name as to just name it after an animal.
  13. Stew

    Stew Well-Known Member

  14. caseyfulp

    caseyfulp Member

    I am in the same boat as far as my business name. Luckily, over the past few days I have found that my best ideas have come when I am thing about something else completely. Ideas popup and I write them down. It seems as though time will tell.
  15. seaxes

    seaxes Member

    Hi Guys. New maker here but have been lurking on the forums for a while. If this post is considered hijacking I apologize.

    I have a similar problem. I would like to use my name in a makers mark but my last name is the same as a major manufacturer (lol no relation that I know of). I was considering first name, middle initial, last name along with my state. Do you guys think that this would cause confusion among customers or lead to trademark enforcement problems from the manufacturer later on down the road? I would hate to try to establish a mark and have to abandon it later on down the road.

    Thanks in advance
  16. Justin Presson

    Justin Presson Well-Known Member

    Whats your name?

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  17. seaxes

    seaxes Member

    Last name is Buck.
  18. Justin Presson

    Justin Presson Well-Known Member

    Oh ya that might be a tough one. Not sure what your first name is but it would be hard for the company Buck Knives to argue if you used your full name Like George Buck Custom your instance it might not be bad to use a "company" name for your knives like Smokey Mountain Forge or Outlaw Custom Knives or whatever you might go by.

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  19. BossDog

    BossDog & Owner

    I would use first initial, last name and city if you like but always your name - even if it ends in Buck.

    Scroll through "who made this knife" pics here or anywhere to see lot's of examples of makers not selling more knives because they used some old style touch mark or cryptic symbol/logo thinking everyone would recognize it.
  20. seaxes

    seaxes Member

    Thanks for the advice guys! Name it is.

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