On Retail Naming: Can We Please Get The Dresses Out Of The Barn?


If ever there was a company that could use some help from naming specialists with brand name creation—Dress Barn is it. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve nothing against a store name that telegraphs to its customers that they can expect bargains within. Target comes to mind. Ann Taylor Loft is ok. But…Dress Barn? Can we leave a little romance here? At least Pottery Barn, with its evocation of some artisanal enterprise tucked away in a picturesque shed somewhere makes some sense; PB’s product offerings include rustic pottery and other home furnishings. (Although they’re getting less rustic—and more pricey—by the minute). But women’s dresses and suits amidst hay and barn animals? My mind just doesn’t want to go there. Now Dress Barn has compounded its naming sins with a new line of fragrances. I’m referring to Truly Beautiful, Truly Magical and Truly Fresh. Am I just being cranky, or are these some of the lamest perfume names you’ve ever heard? For starters, opinion words (beautiful, magical, fresh) tend to create resistance in consumers. We’ve heard them millions of times, we don’t believe them—and we stop paying attention. They’re like wallpaper. Without distinctive packaging or an A-list mother brand to lend them credibility and cachet, they’re not likely to generate either. And when paired with “truly”—one of advertising’s most clichéd buzzwords—we’re even less likely to believe these perfumes are anything special. Dress Barn: you gotta start dressing it up a little.

Name Grade: C-

Final Grade:



Do your favorite pet names date from 10, 100, or 1000 years ago?
Alcohol-free beverage brands have an interesting opportunity, and challenge these days. Catchword takes a look at the messaging and brand...
Our take on AI chatbot names and how they reflect our hope for, and fear of, AI