What's in a name, part 2

 
 

Another question I’m often asked is, “What’s up with the names of your products?”

            To list a few:

·       Chunky Charlie

·       Tiny Tim

·       Tall Tennyson

·       Hinton

·       Heller

·       Longfellow

·       Brando

·       O’ Henry

·       Santiago

·       Byron

·       Gatsby

To some, at first glance, they appear random and odd.  Upon closer inspection, there is some connection. 

Side note #1 – In the text below I’ve added a number of affiliate links (clickable words) that will zip you magically over to the Amazon website.  So if you’re interested in any of the authors, books, characters, movies, actors, etc, you can find them there easily by clicking the linked words.  

In the beginning, the names were used in order for me to keep track.  Simple as that.  I’d have someone ask about “that one wallet with two pockets”.  Then someone would inquire about the wallet with three pockets.  Until then, the “Number of pockets” system was working well.  The dilemma arose when two completely different wallets were brought to mind, and they both happen to have 4 pockets each, or 3 pockets each, etc.

I discovered quickly that something had to be done to differentiate the models.  I considered numbers.  #1, #2, #3, etc, but the sheer boredom of that prospect sent chills down my spine, in a bad way.  I knew if the items or products induced excitement in an of themselves, so should their names.  If someone rescued the most adorable and loving puppy from the pound, they’re most certainly not going to name them “Dog Number 2”.  I think “Rigby” works much better (see other blog posts as an example).

Because I have a fondness for literature and great books, I first decided to use the name of a famous author, Charles Dickens.  However, the “Charles Dickens” wallet didn’t seem like the best marketing strategy.  It was too long?  Maybe.  Too clunky?  Possibly.  Too odd?  Most certainly.  The name “Charlie” seemed a bit more comfortable and personable.  There, I’d settled on a name. 


 
 
 

Side Note #2 – Regarding the occasional use of adjectives in names. The “Charlie” wallet quickly evolved into “Chunky Charlie” out of necessity.  I knew from the start that my wallets (and nearly everything else I created) was substantially thicker than what 95% of the population were accustomed to.  For the most part, I use 5.0 – 6.0 oz thick leather, as opposed to the 1.0 – 2.0 oz leather people would find in the wallets they’ve always had in the past.  As a result of this, I made it a point to always inform and educate my customers on the thickness of my products.  I quickly added “Chunky” to Charlie’s official name. Since then, a few names will occasionally have a helpful adjective tacked on, for either good measure, or for fun (see “Tiny Tim” and “Longfellow Long Wallet”).

Speaking of the Tiny Tim, that title / name was bestowed upon that wallet style by happenstance.  It was a similar, yet tinnier version of the Chunky Charlie.  But Tiny Tim wasn’t an author, he was a character in a Charles Dickens novel.  I decided to take a leap of faith, threw caution to the wind, and let it roll.  “Tiny Tim” stuck, and has endured.  When Tiny Tim (the wallet, not the character) broke from tradition by being the first non-author named product, it ended up setting an unintended precedence.  Since then, it seemed fitting for some items to be named after characters in novels rather than their authors (Gatsby and Atticus come to mind).

But what about the Brando Biker Wallet? Brando is neither an author nor a character name in a famous book or novel.  Now we’re wading into some tricky waters. 

Brando = Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando = actor playing Stanley Kowalski in the movie, “A Streetcar Named Desire

Movie was based on a book = by Tennessee Williams

I consulted one of my favorite and long-time customers about this particular naming dilemma prior to setting it in stone.  When I explained my quandary (Brando not an author nor character), he said simply, “Who cares.  You’re the artist. Name it what you feel it should be named.” He was spot on.  So the Brando became the Brando.   This same simple, yet brilliant, logic came in to play with the naming of the Roosevelt Pen pouch and the Patton wallet.



So there we have the odd reasoning behind the naming of Mascon Leather items.