Wednesday, July 27, 2016

{ olive & belle } What's In The Name?

The story and meaning behind our company name


When coming up with our business name, I joked that I was a wedding planner with commitment issues. I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to settle on a business name. Indecisiveness paid off with a business name that means a lot to me and hopefully, to you as well. 

At almost every meet-and-greet, I get asked about the meaning behind "Olive & Belle." Other entrepreneurs have asked about my process, and bride and grooms just want to know the story. I am finally getting around to writing a long overdue blog post to answer those questions.

Olive : Belle :: Bride : Beauty :: Man : Wife

The name "Olive & Belle" is inspired by the rhetorical device, analogy. You know? Like the high school standardized test question: A is to B as B is to C. In short, Olive is to Belle, as Bride is to Beauty, as Man is to Wife. 

Olive & Belle represents two parts that make a whole. Like ying and yang. The two parts of the name, "Olive" and "Belle" are two unique and distinct, yet symmetrical and compatible, parts that make up one whole, comprehensive brand. Similarly, Love doesn't always make sense, but it completes us and makes us whole.

But there is so much more! The name is full of personal meaning. If you are interested in the nitty gritty details about the imagery, symbolism, and process for how I came up with the name...keep reading...

My Company Name Wishlist

When I first started the naming process, I listed out my requirements for the name:

- Not a self-proclamation: there are a million "Sally Smith Events" companies out there ([Insert Your Name] + Industry), so I wanted a name that stood out from the clutter of freelancers that are using their personal names for business. I didn't want my name to drown in a crowded sea of other like names.  I hoped this would add a sense of legitimacy and professionalism to my company, elevating it above the freelance level. 

- Forward thinking: in that same vein, I wanted to be forward-thinking. If I called myself "Sally Smith Events" it would be difficult for the company to grow and welcome additional planners to the team. I wanted every team member to have a sense of ownership and pride in the company, which is hard to do if the company is named after someone else. 

- Not style specific: I also did not want the name to pigeon-hole the company into a specific style niche. For example, "Boho Weddings" is style specific and gives the impression that boho is all we do: a one-trick-pony.  In the end, a good planner should make YOUR vision come to life, not stamp their own style preferences on it. The Olive & Belle name allows each bride to create their own interpretation of our brand.

- Reflects my values: I believe a wedding day should be beautiful to reflect the beautiful vows being made to love unconditionally. It is a powerful day that isn't just about the flowers, food and music. Your wedding day should represent two parts becoming one, centered on Love. I want my company to reflect these values through our branding and quality of work.

The Brainstorm, Inspiration, and Symbolism Saga

Once I had the requirements, a designer encouraged me to start writing out lists of words or names that had meaning to me. I still have the original notepad somewhere with words that ranged from flowers I liked, to Walt Disney characters, to street names I lived on growing up, and pet names...

Yes, pet names...

Here are the words that rose to the top of my list:

- Oliver: Oliver was a Green Cheek Conure parrot that I grew up with, and my first pet. Irrelevant fun fact: I fed the bird cereal in the morning and made home videos of the bird doing wheelies on remote control cars. But who names a wedding planning company after a parrot?

- Olive Branches: After writing down Oliver, I thought about Olive Branches, and...LIGHT BULB! I have always loved the Biblical imagery of brides that wore olive branches in their hair on their wedding day to symbolize purity, peace, and victory. So from Oliver came, "Olive." For a hot minute I considered making a green bird carrying an olive branch my logo...too much? Instead I went with a modern interpretation of the olive branch with a reddish-pink water color effect. A contemporary, creative spin on something classic.

- Campbell: My married last name. If I want the company to honor unconditional love, then what better than to pay tribute to the man who has brought that into my own life: my husband.

- Bell: Eventually I shortened CampBELL to Bell when I remembered my grandmother. Before my own wedding, my grandmother was ailing and I was worried she would not make it to the wedding. She told me not to worry because no matter what, she would "be there with bells on" (note: this is where our tagline comes from). After some research, I discovered that that colloquialism stems from the history of Bells chiming at the end of a wedding to ward off any negative energy that would subtract from the newlywed's celebration and joy. Meant to be? Yes. The deed was done and Bell made the cut.

- Belle: For the first couple of months, my company was named "Olive & Bell" but something still didn't feel right. It did not feel balanced. Olive felt masculine, but Bell did not feel feminine enough. By accident my designer added an "e" to the end of "Bell" in one of my logo designs, and...LIGHT BULB! The symmetry of Olive+Belle with the same character count and matching e's on the end was perfection. The newly revised Bell to Belle evoked Beauty and Boutique and the name was set.

We Will Be There With Belles On

1 comment:

  1. I love your devotion to excellence and brilliant thoughtfulness, it shows in every decision you make. Truly lovely.