Searching for signs of spring on a cold, foggy Sunday, I went to the Temescal Farmers' Market here in North Oakland. I came home with perfectly ripe pluots, just-underripe apricots, shiitake mushrooms, an avocado, and field notes on hyperlocal naming practices.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. But Emeryville-based Scream sells only sorbet, which doesn't contain cream. So although the bold logo caught my eye, the name seems slightly off kilter. (The product, I can attest, is very good. It comes in many interesting flavor combinations; I tasted only the tamely named Cherry, which didn't taste tame at all.) For purposes of comparison, read my take on another local iced-dessert vendor, Ici.
Speaking of sweets, there seems to be a new super-premium chocolatier popping up every couple of weeks. Many of them have names based on the word chocolate in one language or another, which makes for confusion at the shelf. A sampling: TCHO (supposedly an acronym of Technical Chocolate), Schoc, Xocolate (from the Aztec word for chocolate, xocolatl), Chuao ("pronounced chew-WOW"), two Theobromas (the genus name for the cacao plant), and Theo. Then there's this, which stands out:
The logo, a V-shaped snake, has to work too hard. But Vice Chocolates has a bracing directness.
Decent logo, clear tagline. But "food" and "bug" in close conjunction? I don't care how "little" those bugs are, that's an ewwww. (Bug to signify baby is enjoying a moment. Consider Bugaboo strollers, Hug-a-Bug baby carriers, Cuddle Bug Baby [defunct], and—ugh—Bug Baby crib bedding. I've had some experience with bedbugs, which are becoming a serious national problem, and "Bug Baby bedding" makes my flesh crawl. It's one thing to call your own offspring a "little bug" as a term of endearment, and another thing entirely to attach the term to food products.)
I wish I'd managed a better shot of this name, which I like a lot:
B. Spoke Tailor makes and sells civilized bicycling clothing that's very nearly custom tailored: i.e., bespoke clothing for bicyclists. The wheel-spoke theme carries over to the tiny dressing area in the booth:
The clothing is beautiful, distinctive, and a welcome relief from neon-colored Spandex. There are rainproof waxed-cotton coats with deep back vents and discreet reflective trim; elegant washable-wool knickers and ankle-length slim pants; and a trim vest-pack. Prices are surprisingly reasonable for near-custom clothing.
I chatted with owner/tailor Nan Eastep and learned that she'd run into a legal challenge from Schwinn (d'oh!) with her original name, Joyrider. (Businesspeople: do your USPTO homework!) Her online presence is still confusingly split between Joyrider and B. Spoke, and she indicated that registering B. Spoke may be problematic, too. I hope she resolves these issues soon, because B. Spoke is the perfect name for her concept (much better than Joyrider), and Eastep's design and tailoring skills are exceptional.