Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Say My Name, Say My Name, Say My Name. . .

There is a lot to be said about a name. Ralph Lauren named his company Polo because he thought it brought to mind a certain sense of class, cache, and luxury. And many know the story how Oprah Winfrey was to be named Orpah after a woman in the bible, but a nurse misspelled the name on the birth certificate. Could you imagine if we were instead watching, "The Orpah Winfrey Show"? It sounds a little strange. Would she be where she is now if her name had not been misspelled? My mother had decided on the name DAVID for me, but when I was born my father asked her if he could instead name me after him. And she acquiesced. I was teased as a child, sometimes as an adult. But I could not imagine my life as anyone but Wilbur.
When I conceptualized my business, probably 13 or 14 years ago, my former boyfriend and I had lofty goals. Since we had attended cosmetology school together and successfully completed our studies and received our licenses, we dreamt of a "World Of Beauty." This world would grow to include facials, manicures, make-up application, hairstyling (cutting, coloring, etc.) and, of course, fashion. We pondered over many names for our new business venture until finally he suggested Sorta Straight/Kinda Knappy. It was a phrase that I used to describe a friend's hair weave many years earlier. And I loved it! It was fun and unpretentious and just spoke volumes about our personalities. When we split, we squabbled over who would keep the name. I knew I would use part of the moniker for my clothing line as I moved into the next phase of my life. And now the name of my fledgling fashion empire (LOL!) is called Sorta Kinda Enterprises, LLC. When I leave a message or mention it, people will oftentimes smile or chuckle and remember me. "That's cute," is a comment I've heard time and time again. But business people or people in finance don't seem to get it. Over the phone there are long pauses and in person an introduction is met with quizzical expressions. And several times these masters of industry have advised me to change the name of my company. They suggest that the name connotes indecisiveness, instability, and uncertainty. And it implies that I have no idea what I am doing. And my response is always a dismissive, "I am not changing the name of my company." Sorta Kinda Enterprises, LLC is a corporation with history that has been built with my sweat, tears, and a lot of sacrifice. It speaks to moving forward and making progress despite naysayers and obstacles. It is about the inclusion of all women from diverse ethnic backgrounds and different communities who think fashion should be fresh, fun, affordable, and colorful. And for those who don't get it, maybe one day you will. Say My Name, Say My Name, Say My Name. It is Sorta Kinda Enterprises.
Peace & Fashion!

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