What’s in a name?

Being in the rather difficult position of having to choose a name for my business recently got me wondering how other brands come up with theirs. If you’re a fashion designer naming your company eponymously is often the way to go. But how does everyone else come up with a fitting and memorable name?

Coca-Cola is named after the two main ingredients coca leaves and cola berries. It seems like a no brainer now but I wonder if it seemed an odd name at the time?

Google was based on the mathematical term googol which means 1 followed by 100 zeros. The team thought it a fitting term as what they were trying to do was categorise an incalculable number of web pages. When they searched to see if the domain name was available they misspelled it, entering the word Google instead and decided that they preferred that name.

Amazon was chosen because the founder, Jeff Bezoz wanted a name beginning with A. He decided on Amazon, the biggest river in the world because it was his aim to grow the biggest company in the world. Gosh, that was some visualisation.

Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, wanted to rebrand and so began the quest for a new name. The founder Phil Knight, liked the name Dimension Six and the names Peregrine and Bengal were also bandied about. Another suggestion was inspired by names such as Xerox and Kleenex was that they should go for a two syllable word with an uncommon letter in it such as K, X or Y. Based on this the name Nike meaning the Greek Goddess of Victory was put forward. No one particularly liked it but it occurred to someone that the name would fit on the shoes and with a factory deadline approaching Knight went with it saying “I guess we’ll go with the Nike thing for a while.” Knight commissioned a local design student to create a logo. When the Swoosh was presented to him, Knight was ambivalent and said that it might grow on him.

Steve Jobs said that his company’s name was inspired by a trip to an apple orchard whilst he was a fruitarian. He thought the name was fun and unintimidating. Apple’s omnipresent logo was created by Rob Janoff, a simple design of an apple silhouette and the bite was used to represent scale and to show that it wasn’t a cherry. The significance of Adam and Eve, or it being a tribute to Alan Turing are all myths and he says the fact that ‘byte’ is a computer term was a lucky accident. The now simplified version represents sleekness, sophistication.

The iconic Chanel logo, arguable one of the most recognisable in the world of the intertwined C’s came about after Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanels attended a party at the Château de Crémat in the south of France. Rumor has it that she got her inspiration came from the interlaced C’s on the stained glass window at the Chateau. Onlookers today would be forgiven for thinking this window has been designed by Coco Chanel.

russell russell

My inspiration for russell russell came from a t-shirt with the branding Lewis Lewis. In my head I immediately replaced it with my surname and it was a light bulb moment for me, the name of my company has never been anything else.

When I was really young my dad would tell me a bedtime story which ended up with me being alone and lost in a forest (thanks dad. What a great way to get me to sleep soundly!) And when I stopped to look around I could hear the sound of rustling leaves and then someone calling out my name. Someone had come to find me. Then my dad would repeat “Rustle, rustle, Sally! Rustle, rustle, Sally!” so when I saw the t-shirt and replaced it with my own surname, I was immediately transported back to the 4 year old me listening to the story and the decision was made.

One of russell russell’s philosophy’s is to encourage you to buy less, a bit odd for an online retailer, I know. But as a designer and manufacturer too, it’s truthfully what I want people to do. As well as being beautiful and stylish, Russell russell bags have been crafted using the finest quality leather by really talented leatherworkers. So before my customers hand over their money I ask them to give the decision their full consideration. Why do you want to buy it? Do you love it? Will you love it 1 year? Will you still love it in 5 years? Will you use it time and time again?

Recently I’ve found myself wanting less of everything. Less cosmetics, less food in my cupboards, less mugs in the kitchen, less stuff on my laptop, less pins saved, less time spent with people I don’t want to spend time with. I want to simplify every aspect of my life because if it’s full of stuff that I don’t use or like anymore I find it stressful and I find that it wastes time.

My personal philosophy is that I want my stuff to make me feel happy. I want to feel positive seeing, using wearing my stuff. Regardless if it’s a box of matches, a hairbrush or people, I expect everything to conform to these rules. If I feel ‘meh’ about it then it’s either gone or it’s going.

It feels to me as if the cult of clearing out is firmly embedded in the zeitgeist. Recently my newsfeed has been full of influencers clearing, tidying and cleaning and despite it’s ubiquity it’s provided me with a sense of calm and happiness. The more I saw and read about, the more I got rid of stuff and the more stuff I got rid of, the more I appreciated what I had.

With sustainability being high up in our priorities these days, we want the things we buy to stand the test of time. We want our furniture to be robust, we want our toaster to be repairable, we want our clothes and accessories to be durable and versatile and we want value. So what does all this means in terms of shopping? What should we be thinking about before we buy?

The first question I ask myself now is why I want it. Is there a real need for it in my life or do I simply want something new? Afterall we can always find something that we like the look of and think that we need. Shopping can be an emotional response to how we’re feeling: sad, lonely, bored or even happy. I used to be an emotional shopper, craving the hit of dopamine I would get after purchasing even though the feeling was short lived. These days I am so much more mindful about why I do what I do.

Next, I research whatever it is I’m interesting in buying. I read impartial reviews, I watch youtube reviews and tutorial, I see what Instagrammers are saying about it. If it’s possible test it before buying, something we can do with cosmetics but not so easy with other things. QVC is a brilliant shopping channel, with great brands, trust me, it’s worth a look. The presenters are the best at what they do and yes I know they are there to sell which they do brilliantly but they impart so much helpful knowledge to assist with your buying decision. And the best thing about it is that you are able to test the product at home for 30 days (sometimes this is extended depending on the item) and if after that time if you don’t want to keep it no matter the reason you can return it. This applies to every single purchase, makeup, perfume, earrings, shoes everything. I have bought many items, some I’ve returned but most I’ve kept because I’ve been happy with them. It’s a fantastic way to be sure that you’re happy with your purchase before you commit.

The final consideration before buying is how much I’ll use something. If I’m looking for a winter coat, I know that I will use it most days for 6 months of the year and I will expect it to last for 3 years. That’s a lot of wear. If I’m buying a bag which I plan to use for work and I expect it to last a long time then I’ll be happy to spend more. Whereas if I’m buying a dress that I know I’ll only wear once to a wedding I won’t spend too much and I will sell it afterwards.

I’m no longer an impulse buyer, thank goodness, I’ve squandered so much money shopping like that. The next thing I’ll do is wait a little longer, maybe a week, just to be 100% sure that I’m making the right decision.
My final rule is one thing in, one thing out. When I’m finally ready to purchase I’ll try to make room for the new item by taking away something I no longer use, want or love.

I find that by carefully considering my purchases I am less wasteful and more appreciative. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sometimes a little extravagant but that’s’ ok because after all these considerations I know, no matter the price, if it’s worth what I’m paying for it then I will get value from it.

In short don’t buy just for the sake of it. Make sure you either need it or can’t live without it. Either way make sure you enjoy it.

If like me you’re a child of the 80’s the style icon Bet Lynch won’t have passed you by. With masses of blond locks piled high, a long tip cigarette holder in hand, her sassy attitude and of course what she infamously celebrated for, the animal print. I thought then and still do that this woman was a sensation. But little did I know then that she wasn’t at the vanguard of this fashion style statement. Long before Bet was pulling pints with aplomb in the Rovers, Jean Harlow, Coco Chanel, Earha Kitt, Debbie Harry and many others had done it before her. Today we have the equally fabulous Victoria Beckham, Olivia Palermo, Anna Wintour and Gigi and Bella Hadid showing us how it’s done.
It’s allure is that it’s a little bit rebellious, totally unapologetic, sometimes extravagant and a lot powerful. It shouts out “don’t underestimate me” and I love it for that.

Head to toe print isn’t for everyone, but that’s not to say it isn’t doable, I applaud you if you’re all about going for it, afterall, if it’s good enough for Nicki Minaj. I don’t believe that animal print should be a binary decision where you either throw everything at it or you don’t do it at all. As a self confessed minimalist when it comes to style I still believe that I can wear animal print in a more modest way. It’s versatility is part of it’s charm. Whether your a minimalist or maximalist or somewhere in between, this is for everyone. Here’s my advice for pulling it off.

Just a touch

Sometimes a scarf, belt or some jewellery is all you need.  Lois Avery creates the most beautiful cashmere scarves in a range of colours, but one of my favourites is their Bengal Kitten Animal Print Scarf. Alternatively a statement belt such as this rock star style silver studded belt can be worn to add a touch of pizzazz and these Iris leopard enamel hoop  earrings by Regina PYO are just too cute not to want to wear every single day.

Find your feet

Another easy way to add this print is to wear it on your feet and the great thing about this pattern is that you can wear it no matter the season. Any of these shoes could be worn with a summer dress or a pair of black cigarette trousers. I love French Sole’s India ballet flats such as the or keds leopard print pumps and those Gianvito Rossi mules are so magnificent, hell, I’d never want to take them off, ever.


Mix it up

Putting different prints together works really well too, especially if making more of a statement is your thing. In the image below, Sophia is wearing two different leopard prints but it works because they are the same colour tone and are brought together by the black sweater and simple, one colour bag. Equally completely clashing patterns worn with jeans and heels is an inspired choice.

Add a classic

A white shirt, cashmere sweater or leather jacket are so versatile they will add instant elegance to any outfit and work brilliantly with animal print.

The Eye of the Tiger

Everyone needs a pair of sunglasses and why not go for a statement animal print finish?  The great thing about a pair of shades is the versatility.  You could wear these with your kimono or a blazer and pants.

Be Fierce

These bolder looks take the theme up a notch by adding shimmer to the pattern. Wow, just when you think animal print couldn’t get any better. However you chose to wear it, the most important thing is to feel comfortable, be confident and just go for it.  No excuses, no apologies.  Now let me hear you roar.