What’s in a name?Posted: 02/13/2012
“Do you design shoes?”
I hear it all the time. Just heard it again today at the bank, in fact. And I understand! My business name is…er…different. I like to think that someday it’ll easily roll off people’s tongues, since it will be so well known. Right now, it seems most at least remember “redshoes.” I’ll take it.
I do see my business written out incorrectly a lot, which is a little more irritating. But I don’t let it bother me too much because I realize it is a high-maintenance name. (Unless it was fact-checked by the writer and STILL appears in print incorrectly…grr. This has happened.)
So, what’s the story behind redshoes26, you ask?
Back in my days at St. Cloud State University, I played on the Husky softball team. My freshman year, we had me (Christy), another Chris, a Krista, and a Kristin all trying out for the team. It was insanity for the coaches, who were trying to keep us organized during drills, etc. Because of that, my catcher, Alison, began calling me “Christy Redshoes,” due to the red cleats I came in wearing from my high school days.
After a couple weeks, Chris, Krista, and Kristen all left the team or were cut. I remained, and so did my nickname. When it was time for the new players to order our big-kid metal spikes, I was going to try and blend in with the other nine freshmen and others on my team and wear, for the first time in my life, black cleats. But the upperclassmen would not have it–they insisted I order red ones.
The name had stuck, and I proudly wore red cleats all four years at SCSU.
As the years went on, the younger girls coming in would often not even know my “real name” until our media guides came out in March, and we had all been playing together since early September! I even had professors call me Redshoes, and my parents were known to my coaches and teammates as Mr. and Mrs. Shoes.
Nicknames for my nickname also became abundant: Shoes, Red, Red Dawg, Feet, Toes. I had some creative teammates. Shoes was the one that really stuck. I still have former teammates and other softball friends who call me Shoes, 13 years later. I love it.
After being enrolled in design school in 2003, I knew that if I ever started my own company the name would involve redshoes. The 26 came in because I’ve been obsessed with that number since my sophomore year of high school. I got pulled up to the varsity softball team that year, and 26 was the only varsity jersey still available.
I had the best season I’ve had to date as a softball player, batting over .400 and establishing myself as a key member of the varsity team. I was hooked–as many superstitious softball/baseball players would be. Now I can’t imagine playing without the number 26 on my back. I was lucky enough to get it as a freshman at SCSU, and I still wear it in my women’s fastpitch league every summer.
So I added the 26 to “redshoes” when I incorporated in 2005 as a way to make my business name less girly, and more memorable. I liked the way it sounded. It’s a long name when you say it out loud, but I don’t mind. It’s quirky and different, and it fits me to a T.
That’s the story.
And now I want to know yours! What’s behind your business’ name? If you don’t currently own a business, what would you name your dream company? What business names make you smile…or cringe?