So, why did we choose the name Oddyssea (and don’t we know that we misspelled it? )
A little back story is required before we get into the core reasons for the name and spelling. As we contemplated (soberly) if/how/when to enter the retail business, we realized that it was stupid to enter without some basis for competition that didn’t rely on lowest price or largest selection as the key drivers. Why? It should be self-evident, but I’ll say it anyway. If you are competing on those axes, the volume that is pumped through big-box stores and online marketplaces means it’s impossible to even match, let alone beat those prices, while attempting to stay in business.
That being said, we wanted to shift the basis of competition to revolve around the in-store experience where big box stores and online only outfits couldn’t reasonably compete. (Ikea aside for some readers, do you really want to go to a big box store and spend time there? On the online front, sure it’s great to browse on your phone, but don’t you want to interact with the merchandise and sometimes with knowledgeable people?) That’s the whole hypothesis of what we believe is necessary to not only survive, but to thrive with a small independent retail store in the second decade of third millennium.
Coming back to the name, knowing that we wanted an experience, we gravitated toward “adventure” as a theme. We cycled through many, many different candidates and disqualified them right and left. Ultimately, we selected odyssey because of its definition as “an epic journey.” In order to make it memorable and protectable (since we noticed people weren’t great with spelling odyssey in any case) we wanted to tweak the spelling.
We knew that some of our store themes would be ocean related (duh, given that we’re in Half Moon Bay on the Pacific Ocean) so we substituted “sea” for “sey.” We knew some of the themes and products we were attracted to carry were not, shall we say, directly normal and in the main stream thus we opted to replace “od” with “odd” to reflect that element. A little casting around for the various domain names, twitter handles, facebook accounts, etc and we came to Oddyssea as a replacement for odyssey. And thus far, it has been an epic journey.
The last bit is the visual representation of the name and establishment of the brand. We have a narrative that describes what we want the store to be and this naming exercise was central to establishing our core thesis for the business. This narrative was shared with our friends over at 5Rockets to help us find the right visual expression for the store (you can see the result in the logo posted in this entry.)
In any case, I thought I’d share this as it was noted in a conversation last week that it was interesting to understand the level of thought and meaning we intended when we chose the name. Hope it was interesting to you too.