Naming your startup is like naming your child

When Nicole and I were expecting our youngest child, she was adamant that we couldn’t give the baby a name until we met her in person. We considered a litany of names over the course of several months, and I tried and tried to get Nicole to choose one. She resisted each and every time. 

So, when the baby came, I thought, alright! We can finally give her a name! Well, that day came and went, and as it got closer for us to go home from the hospital, we still hadn’t settled on a name. Nicole kept asking, “How the heck do you give someone, even some thing, a name that defines who she is for the rest of her life? How do you pick out one, single name that will shape her personality and identity?”

How the heck indeed. Months later, as we began to think of names for our new business, it seemed like an equally daunting task. We wanted a name that would encapsulate the personality of our venture, tell the right story, and set the tone for what people could expect. We wanted a name that articulated our vision of a community gathering place. But we certainly couldn’t wait to give our business a name until after it opened. 

Then I began to think about the things that really matter to me. For the last five years, I’ve worked diligently to help shape the urban context for downtown Arlington by fostering a sense of place. I believe that, in the past, the city struggled to find an identity, and I knew we could change that by creating a strong urban center that is uniquely Arlington. Downtown Arlington has what it takes to be a great urban center: it’s diverse, it’s eclectic and it has a ton of character. It’s a place where the community comes together; like a melting pot. 

A melting pot that serves coffee and wine. If you look up “alchemy” in Webster’s Dictionary you’ll find the following definition: A power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way. That’s exactly what winemakers do. They take a grape - or blend a variety of grapes together - and transform it into wine. Coffee roasters do the same thing. They gather beans from around the world to create special blends and flavors. 

Urban Alchemy: bringing people together over really, really good coffee and wine to create special relationships, and foster a stronger sense of place in the heart of downtown Arlington. 

When you walk through the doors at Urban Alchemy for the first time, Nicole and I hope you’ll understand why we took so much time and care to get this right. It’s not just a name; it’s our passion. We also hope that each time you come back, your relationships with friends, colleagues and neighbors become richer and fuller through our shared connection to our community. 

We finally did give our daughter a name. The hospital was pretty insistent that we had to before we could go home. Chloe recently turned two years old, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the name we chose. It fits her perfectly! 

We’re thrilled with Urban Alchemy too, and we hope you agree that it fits perfectly.

Next up: Taking a leap of faith

Tony Rutigliano