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EditorialsUpFront 07/21

UpFront 07/21

Business and brand names have been a source of fascination for many of us over the years and whilst the bulk of names were based on something relevant to their products, such as Our Price Records, Opal Fruits, or Tie Rack, to name a few that no longer exist, there were many whose titles were more obscure. This month Etsy snapped up Depop for a reported $1.6bn. The founders of both businesses have said that their company names have no particular meaning. Robert Kalin, one of the founders of Etsy, is quoted as saying he ‘wanted a nonsense word’ because he wanted to build the brand from scratch. While Depop founder, Simon Beckerman, told Esquire magazine that the name ‘doesn’t really mean anything’. Today, those ‘meaningless’ names represent serious money in the bank for the owners of both companies. Other names like Zippo lighters for example came because the founder liked the word ‘zipper’, while ‘Google’ came about because of an accidental misspelling of the word googol. Researching the closed pubs and the new businesses in and around the Marshwood Vale recently, I was struck by the brightness of some of the new additions. Bar and restaurant names have changed from the likes of the Fisherman’s Arms and the Victoria Inn to Dorshi, Soulshine, Hoppiness, and Bowlcut. In the past, the names came from sources that included historic events, sports, trades, or animals—The Trafalgar, The Bat & Ball, The Mason’s Arms, or The Red Lion. The longest pub name is reported to be ‘The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn’ in Stalybridge in Greater Manchester. The town also boasts the pub with the shortest name, ‘The Q Inn’. I love the newness and positivity of modern business names but the traditional side of me also likes a name that is easily understood. A pub I spent a lot of time in during my youth was called ‘The Hideout’. It was a name inspired by the idea of a haven from the outside world, but also because when the public phone rang in the lounge bar, at least three people would turn around and in a loud whisper say: ‘I’m not here!’ If truth be told, in some cases they really hadn’t a clue where they were.

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