• vivsumner55

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

But I’m afraid, I beg to differ with Miss Capulet!

I think there’s quite a lot in a name actually.

Names are important. Your name identifies you as an individual, special, unique and different to everyone else.

Remembering a person’s name (and pronouncing it properly) makes them feel valued and significant, important. Be it for positive reasons or not, they are worthy of being remembered!

So, do you like your own name? Do you or others shorten it, or lengthen it? Do you go by a nickname, or have you even changed it all together?

As a child I didn’t really like my name. I thought it was old fashioned and I never met anyone else with it, so it seemed, well, odd. Being different in that way then didn’t sit well with me.

Also, people never knew how to spell it, many still don’t actually!

It‘s Vivien. Just that. No double nne. That’s Vivienne.

And it’s not got an a in it. Vivian is a boy’s name.

When I was really little I was often called Vivvy, or, being the youngest of three - Nigel! Judith! Vivien! Thanks dad 🙄

I don’t get Vivvy anymore, but I do get Viv and that’s OK.

Naming your children is a big thing.

Is it an accepted tradition in your family to use certain names?

Maybe the names you’ve always really loved just don’t go with the surname, or you now realise that they will be shortened or lengthened inapropriately?

My first born, my eldest son, is called Adrian - although for a time you could have been forgiven for thinking it was Abrian, as he struggled to sort his bs from his ds 😂.

He calls himself Aidy now.

My eldest daughter is called Alison. Should have been Allyson, but I foolishly let her dad go on his own to register her. ‘Nuff said.

We all just call her Al.

My middle daughter is called Jayne (he got that one right), but is mostly known as Jean, thanks to my eldest grandson’s early attempts at her name.

Then comes John - definitely with an h in- and lastly Katie - definitely not Katy, but often simply Kate!

My children don’t have middle names, but all of my grandchildren do, mostly honouring their great grandparents and two of my grandchildren even have hyphenated first names, plus second names - that’s a lot of spellings to master!

Most of us are known by more than one moniker though depending on who we’re with, what we’re doing, or where we are and according to familiarity or status.

I’ve gone from Mummy to Mum and sometimes even Mother! I love being called Nanny, but wonder if this too will be shortened to Nan as my grandchildren grow towards adulthood.

When I was teaching, obviously I was called Miss or Miss Sumner, but again sometimes Mum by mistake - which was either totally endearing or totally embarrassing, depending on the age of the child! I don’t use Twitter, so I don’t have a ‘handle’ and, just in case you were wondering, I’m not prone to expressing myself with a graffiti tag either! 😂

However, I found naming my business harder than naming my children!

Initially it was ‘Made in Peckham‘, as that is where I come from, but I knew pretty quickly that that wasn’t right.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of where I come from, even with the Fools and Horses associations!

Depending on who you listen to, or what is happening at the time, Peckham is either one of the worst places in London to live, rife with violence and crime - or one of the best, with its trendy bars and creative culture!

It would appear that a lot of small businesses are named after the children or other special family members, but as I’m sure you realise, that wouldn’t really work for me!

Eventually I decided on Fox & Stitch - because I have ‘always‘ loved foxes and, well, the stitch bit speaks for itself.

Having settled on the name, I had my first labels made with the lettering embroidered in red.

I continued using these labels for quite a while and still do so today for certain little projects, even though they were later replaced with a snazzy new design!

I’ll qualify my use of ‘always’ by telling you a little tale.

When we moved up to Chesterfield a couple of months before my eighth birthday, we lived in a brand new house on a brand new estate, with big open gardens both front and back, so before all the hedges and fences were put in you could easily see into everybody else’s space.

And it was there, over the back from us, that I first spotted Rusty, a beautiful dog that I instantly fell in love with and which, to me, looked exactly like a fox!

I’m not sure what breed of dog he was but his name said it all really. His coat was a beautiful rusty, orange colour, his ears were alert and his big tail waggy!

My friend says that this is a boring story and that I should claim instead to have been abandoned as a baby and raised by foxes, but, well, let’s just say she has a weird and vivid imagination 🙄

I yearned for a dog like Rusty, but it was several years later before my parents finally relented and we got a black and white Jack Russel terrier who we named Susie and loved completely, even though she hated going in the car and was always travel sick!

Here she is, pictured with my Mum in Filey in September 1973.

I have been lucky enough to have loved several other dogs since Susie.

Sadie, then Honey, both RSPCA rescue of indeterminable heritage, were much loved family pets, gentle, kind and tolerant in a crazy, busy, noisy household - but they both had their individual quirks.

Sadie would do regular head counts of the kids, always rounding them up and making sure that no one got left behind on family outings.

Honey, I think, was ruled by the moon and would run full pelt down and round the garden, back into the kitchen , round the dining table then back out again on repeat until she was exhausted- and it was heaven help you if you got in her way!

Later I had Mac, a pedigree Westie, who definitely considered himself to be the boss and finally Lucky, another RSPCA rescue who I was immediately drawn to - I wonder if you can see why?!

But enough of dogs! In the course of writing this I did some Googling about the do‘s and don’ts of naming your business and came up with quite a scary list actually!

Number 1, a name shouldn’t be too literal and descriptive - is ‘Stitch’ too descriptive?

Number 2, it shouldn’t be too plain - you’ve got to stand out!

Number 3, don’t use a place name - good job I ditched ‘Peckham’ 😅

Number 4, don’t be too obscure ...🤷‍♀️ Number 5, use positive words and metaphors!

So how does FoxandStitch hold up against these ideals ?

Maybe it depends on your view of these guys.

Do you see them as sneaky, cute little bunny eaters like Mr Tod, or dedicated family men, who only steal chickens in a desperate bid to feed their families, like Fantastic Mr Fox?

Personally I prefer to align myself and my business with the accepted positive characteristics of foxes, namely that they are loyal, passionate and creative creatures - I’ll take that!

And finally, I’m going to let the clothing labels I use now have the last word.

My daughter and son in law had these designed for me as a Mother’s Day surprise two years ago. With a not too cute Fox image and the unique, back to front, mixed up upper and lower case lettering style, I think they’re just perfect!

Much Love, Vivien 😊❤️

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Looking forward to sharing more about myself and my brand with you all - soon!