Being an extremely indecisive person, when I finally felt sure that I wanted to start a candle business, I was worried that I would be plagued with indecision on one of the most important steps – choosing a business name. For a while, I pushed it to the back of my mind while I focused on the physical aspects of candle making like choosing wax types, jars, wicks and fragrances. But soon I needed to consider other factors like label design and logo, as well as registering my business, opening a bank account, obtaining insurance, and starting a website. To move forward with these steps, I needed a business name.
So I sat down on my couch with my laptop and started a brainstorming session. I honestly hadn’t thought about it much at all and was surprised that the name came to me so quickly. The inspiration actually came from the location of our wedding – The Fern Lodge.
Where It All Started
Today is the anniversary of my cancelled wedding. Not exactly an anniversary that we celebrate, but it’s where the story starts. My husband and I were one of the unlucky couples whose wedding was cancelled by COVID. We were supposed to get married on April 25, 2020. In Jamaica. Well, that clearly wasn’t happening. It was only about a month prior that schools, restaurants, bars, stores, gyms and theaters were closed. Soon after flights were cancelled and the resort in Jamaica closed as well.
It was a difficult time for everyone, but I was a wreck. Eighteen months spent planning a destination wedding all for naught. I cried for weeks that this was taken from us but also felt guilty for being upset about a wedding when others were getting sick or worse. I worried about our friends and family losing money on cancelled rooms and flights, and I avoided the closet with all the flowers, décor and welcome gifts already packed in suitcases for the trip.
While I was grieving this loss, I also had to figure out what to do next. In the midst of everything, I remember that my husband had a fleeting worry that I would take this as a sign from the Universe that we shouldn’t get married. I squashed that immediately because even though I’m indecisive about a lot of things, marrying my husband was not one of those things.
Moving On to Plan B
COVID brides made a lot of different decisions about what to do with their wedding plans. Some couples rescheduled. Some downsized. Some carried on with their plans despite whatever restrictions were in place. Some had a friend or relative marry them in their backyard. Many people postponed for a year (and then another year!). Micro weddings also became a thing.
It was more difficult for us to just reschedule or downsize because it was an international destination wedding. There was so much uncertainty then about how long this would last and when we would be able to travel again. There were two things that I knew for sure – I didn’t want to plan another wedding and I didn’t want to wait anymore.
So I started searching for elopement packages at hotels within a couple hours driving distance from where we live in Saratoga Springs, and I landed on The Fern Lodge in Chestertown, NY. It was a beautiful Adirondack lodge on the edge of Friends Lake surrounded by trees, greenery and, of course, plenty of ferns. We booked a room there for two nights and the elopement package including an officiant, bouquet, cake, and champagne toast. The lodge owner also gave me the names of a nearby caterer, photographer and hair stylist, all of whom I also booked to add to our package. We invited our parents and got married there on July 16, 2020.
Shortly after I had booked our elopement package there, I remember realizing we had ferns growing in the flower beds right in front of our house. It was our first summer living there, and I hadn’t noticed them yet. I decided to take that as a sign that we made the right decision.
The Lightbulb Moment
Fast forward to my business name brainstorming session. I was plugging candle related words into a business name idea generator and came to the word “flicker," which I liked. Then I started to think about what word I could pair with “flickering.” I glanced over to the window where I knew those ferns were growing on the other side, and “flickering fern” immediately jumped into my mind.
So I ran with it. It reminded me of the place where I finally got to marry my husband and also embodied the vision I had for my business which was to create a natural wax, clean burning candle. This name easily led into the design and branding that I’ve created for Flickering Fern Candle. I’ve since leaned hard into “the fern thing,” as I like to say, which is evident from my growing collection of fern plants, paintings and tapestries around the house.
Personally, I don’t buy into the sentiment that everything happens for a reason. But if you can find a way to pull out something positive from a bad situation, it can help you start to move on. For anyone struggling to come up with a name for their business, my best advice would be to find something that holds personal meaning for you. You won’t regret it, and your customers will appreciate your story.