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What's In A Name?


Posted by carrie kohs on

We're asked all the time, "where did your name come from?" Which is usually preceded with "how do you say your name?" and "what's the significance of the penguin?" So let's get at all three (3) of those questions... 

Let's start with how you say it and spell it... pucciManuli (one word, lowercase "p", Capital "M" - all of my branding / advertising / marketing industry friends cringe, their chorus on repeat, "could you make it any more difficult to say / spell?"), pronounced poo-chee-man-oo-lee, is a fictitious word derived from two (2) last names in Italian. Shortly after launching the business, I had a family from Sardinia contact me by email to tell me how elated they were to discover another family with their last name, "Manuli" in the United States... I had to break it to them they needed to keep searching.

Every Summer, my parents, along with one, two and occasionally all three of us kids in tow, would venture uptown to the annual Art-in-the-Park event near us to peruse the smattering of paint, clay and fiber on display.  I remember in my younger years feeling a bit like we were being dragged along to look at art we had absolutely no interest in, but thankfully as the years past, I think my brother, sister and I all grew to understand and appreciate art in all of its forms, and just how talented the artists exhibiting at this fair were.

It was during one of these many trips to the park my parents met and befriended an extremely talented painter, Pete. Originally from Pennsylvania, Pete was "paying the bills" as an automotive designer for one of the big three (3) car companies. Seeing as how my Dad was a marketing consultant for the auto industry at the time, they quickly learned of their synergies. As my parents began to invest in his art, a friendship quickly followed suit.  It wasn't long after we began to hear and adopt new words, phrases & descriptions - from the everyday mundane to the rare and extraordinary. One such extraordinary word we became smitten with: pucciManuli.  Pete used to tell my parents (and by default my brother, sister and I) he was working on a really pucciManuli car design - it was going to be epic, we were going to love it, just wait and see, it was going to be amazing... It was one of those sticky words that easily found its way into our family vernacular. And it wasn't long before we started using the word to describe anything and everything that represented best-in-class, top-of-the-line, and -- well, extraordinary and remarkable.

Fast forward a decade or two, and I found myself needing a name to adequately convey this remarkable collection of products I'd discovered, and was ready to share with the world (to learn more about how I got to this point, you can read it here).  As you can imagine, the thesaurus became my bible, as did the phrase, "what do you think about this name?" In the midst of the naming brainstorm, my sister-in-law suggested pucciManuli (you see, the word had become so pervasive in my family that my sister-in-law knew its meaning). As I sat down to digest the business name finalists, it became clear pucciManuli was it - it was original, and meant (at least to our family anyway) exactly what I wanted to convey (and it certainly helped that the domain name was also available). Voila.

As for the penguin, it really was as simple as having an affinity for penguins as a child (I used to think if my parents ever got one for me, I could play with her and then she could hang out in the freezer, which would act as Antartica when I wasn't around)... I also love the juxtaposition of this formally dressed-to-the-nines creature - this bird who doesn't happen to fly - who waddles around with childlike wonder.

 So now you know. :)

~ carrie

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