By: Tony Huey
When you have a business, one of the first items on the agenda is to name your company. Easy, right? Sure, it is! If you only have one mind and one voice in the room, your “best idea” will easily rise to the top and that’s the name you run with! In our case, we have three families who share in our Truffle Farm. Three wives, three husbands, and six brains to decide what is best for the farm and our families.
It was November of 2018. Our land was purchased, and our Truffle Farm idea was coming to fruition. We knew where our farm was going to be, what we wanted to produce, and had a long-term vision of where we see the company ultimately ending up. Now, we just needed a name. During our November meeting, the first topic of discussion became company names. How were we going to brand ourselves? What are we trying to portray? What is fitting for our family and ultimately our farm and company?
We knew that we weren’t going to come up with a name spur of the moment, and have all agreed upon one final option during the 1-hour meeting, so our task was for each family to come up with around 10 names that we liked and send them to each other, and eventually we would narrow them down.
In the days following, I obviously had some great names, where I was taking into consideration our product, our location, and marketing. I loved the thought of using an old writing trick, alliteration, and I came up with ideas, like “The Tantalizing Truffle,” “The Tasteful Truffle,” and “The Truffle Triumph.” I thought they rolled off of the tongue well, and were clear as to what our brand did (sell truffles).
Then I had other ideas, like “Triangle Truffles” and “Truffes Triangulaires,” which was my Google Translate attempt at Triangle Truffles in French. I thought these were good because we live within the Research Triangle or more simply, The Triangle, an area of North Carolina that contains three major research universities: North Carolina State University, Duke University, and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
My favorite of the 15+ names I had written down was, “Top-Notch Truffles,” aka TNT. Not that I thought this was 100% the catchiest name, but I pictured selling a t-shirt with a cartoon graphic of a push-down handled detonation box with TNT exploding and truffles flying out everywhere! Trust me. The image in my head made complete sense, and was definitely a winner in my mind!
Over the next few days and weeks, my wife, Josh and Jamie, and Mickey and Lizzie had all come up with names. Some of the names were very similar to ones Brittany and I had come up with; some were in French and some were in Italian. Others hit on ideas including family, love, or trust, like “Trusted Truffle” or “Family Truffles.” If you’ve ever read The Truffle Underground by Ryan Jacobs, you’d know why this is so important. The truffle industry has had crazy stories along the journey to become a mainstream delicacy around the world. Then of course, there were names that included the allure of truffles using words like gold, diamonds, supreme, lavish, and one of my favorites “Piedmont Pearls” to pay homage to the region of North Carolina which our farm is in.
With 40 plus names on this new list, I only hoped that TNT (Top-Notch Truffles) would survive and make the cut. That graphics and marketing were going to be killer! And, since once upon a time (in high school and college) I went to school for graphic design, I couldn’t wait! Plus, I knew Josh had some fun graphic design experience when we were in college, so I knew the possibilities would be endless.
At our next meeting, we started narrowing down some of the names, and unfortunately Top-Notch Truffles didn’t get enough votes, and didn’t make the first cut. Sad day. I know! All of the names not in English, quickly fell by the wayside, as we knew we wanted our customers to understand what our name was and meant, and these names wouldn’t be ideal to appeal to the United States market, especially when we have locally, U.S.-grown truffles. Ultimately, there was one name that kept getting votes, in which we would all come back to. It was the first name on Lizzie’s and Mickey’s list. That was Truffletopia.
Truffletopia combined the word truffle, the product we would produce and sell, and the idea of a utopia, what we all imagined our family farm life to be. Utopia by definition is, a place of ideal perfection in laws, government, and social conditions. It is also defined by Merriam-Webster as, an imaginary and indefinitely remote place. While we might not be able to achieve all of these 100%, the idea of it is definitely where we wanted to be and what we wanted to capture. We want our farm to be a place where people can visit, learn about truffles, and enjoy time with their family and friends over food. We want our guests to have a Utopian truffle experience! Truffletopia was it! That was the name. That is where we would live, where we would eat, and where would share our truffle journey.