Why I called my Business The Curious Pancake
Ah... so you don't sell odd shaped pancakes then?
Er, no. No we don't. Surprisingly, it's not a question I get from many customers. It's usually quite clear (sometimes disappointingly so...) to those visiting our site that we don't actually sell pancakes at The Curious Pancake. So what gives with the name?
It's all in the name, right?
When I was contemplating a name for my business I read a ton of articles that told me that the business name should reflect the product I was selling. Which was a really creativity-destroying thing to read. I mean, how do you make 'greetings cards' in any business name sound cool or exciting?! Thankfully this advice, probably based on how search engine optimisation used to work, seems to have fallen out of favour, and articles on start-up business names generally give much more sound advice these days.
Not that I listened back in 2011 anyway!
Although the online card companies that I had already heard of, such as Moonpig and Funky Pigeon, were not the business models I was looking to emulate, I knew from their success that the public was generally open to weird sounding names, especially so from arty farty, creative types!
All the products that I had curated for my store's opening day nearly 10 years ago were decidedly on the 'quirky' side, and, as much as I have a love hate relationship with the word 'quirky' I took this word as my starting point for brainstorming and I began playing around with words like "quirky", "curious", "odd", "strange" "unusual" and so on. I really loved the phrase "down the rabbit hole" from Alice in Wonderland, but thought it was a little too whimsical at the time, and later someone said it could maybe refer to a rabbit's bum hole. I have weird friends. Around the time that I was searching for the right name, I was reading The Third Policeman a novel by Flann O'Brien (pseudonym of author Brian O'Nolan). It is a bizarre little tale that definitely defies a pithy synopsis, suffice it to say that if you like meandering stories, bizarre characters and not knowing what the flip is going on, it could well be for you! It was also alluded to in the hit series Lost, if that piques your interest, and it's probably just as convoluted as a typical Lost episode!
The titular character of the book, said Third Policeman, had quite a flowery way of speaking, and was particularly fond of using the word 'pancake' to describe various objects and feelings throughout the story. As such, we have phrases like "an inexorable pancake" "a contrary pancake" a "difficult pancake" and, my favourite "a most curious pancake". And there was my Eureka moment! The quirky curiousness of the products I was intending to fill the store with really seemed to fit the phrase "a most curious pancake" and lo! my store name was born! In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that pancakes are also my number one favourite circular food (perhaps joint favourite with pizza!).
2021 edit: I recently re-read The Third Policeman, partly because it's one of those books that definitely benefits from a second reading but mostly because I wanted to find where O'Brien references the "Curious Pancake" and..... turns out I made it up! Although the policeman says "an inexorable pancake" "a contrary pancake" and a "difficult pancake", he never references a Curious Pancake! I was a bit gutted, but Curious Pancake has definitely grown on me over the years and I'm not changing it to The Inexorable Pancake ten years later.... or maybe I will?!
That's our business name story in a nutshell! What's the weirdest business name you've ever heard of? Perhaps you have a business name that took a lot of thinking about, I'd be interested to hear your story!
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