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Blog: What's in a Name?

It was interesting how the name for the Shoppe just sort of came to me... as they say. I was inspired by my Swedish heritage when I began this journey and so it made sense to incorporate Swedish into the name of the store in some way. I was initially hesitant about using Swedish vs. other descriptive words such as "Scandinavian" or "Nordic" because I didn't want to limit anyone's perceptions about the Shoppe's offerings. I also didn't want the name to confuse our purpose and vision in any way. After much back and forth in my mind, I just sort of stuck with Swedish and trusted that we'd still be able to capture and convey our message to friends, family and future customers.

As the ideas for the Shoppe began to take shape, I remember sitting on my patio with the dog in my lap and my husband nearby. I messaged my mom and asked her what she thought of the "En Liten Svenska Shoppe" as a name for the new business venture. If I recall, her initial response was, "that's catchy, kind of quaint." And I wondered... is that good or bad?

I ran the name by my husband who is always supportive and accepted a long time ago that when I'm excited about something, he just kind of goes with it. I began talking fast and telling him why this name was the perfect way to capture the story I hoped to tell. I (gently) argued that because of my Swedish heritage, the fact that the Shoppe's space will be small in actual size (big in heart) and that it will carry some Swedish products along with a much broader selection of Scandinavian goods that "A Little Swedish" made a lot of sense. And then I took a breath. Well, he nodded and smiled and said, "I like it." So I did some checking...

Since developing the idea and the logo, I've encountered some really thoughtful questions from family, friends and business consultants. "Are you worried you might exclude people... what about the Norwegians?!" or other very solid guidance such as, "You don't want to limit yourself." And then there's the less direct comments and perhaps they fall more in the Minnesota-nice category, "Well, that's a nice name... not sure everyone will be able to pronounce it." For some reason, the responses seemed to solidify my resolve that I needed to stick to my instincts and go with the name that came to me on the patio (dog in lap, supportive spouse, etc.)

Before I officially registered the business and began designing the logo, I reached out to my cousin in Sweden, a true expert from the field, Lena Ingelsson. She offered invaluable guidance about the name. Lena told me that I should probably look at the nature of what I'm trying to convey because of the many nuances in the Swedish language. I was so grateful for her insights and asked if I could officially "hire" her as my Swedish guru. She messaged back with a smiley face emoji and told me she's happy to offer assistance as I muddle through learning about the language and culture. She was curious about the spelling of the word "Shoppe" with the two p's and an e... I simply told her that we're trying to be a little fancy.

Lena was very kind and with her help, the En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe was mostly official! Shortly after our message exchange, I did a bit more exploring and have a couple of tasks I will tackle over the next year.

One of the tasks includes a language and cultural immersion experience. I'd really love to spend a weekend with the wonderful folks in Bemidji at the Concordia Language Villages. If you're curious about their programs or you're interested in learning (or brushing up!) on another language, I encourage you to check them out here!

As the month of March (finally) arrives in less than a week, I'm finding it hard to sleep as images of Dala horses and Danish candles dance through my mind. Our big market excursion happens in March and I will be more than ready to share a sneak preview of our future Scandinavian gifts and goods.

Sending warmth and light and thoughts of Spring!