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What's In a Name?

What's In a Name? by Colleen Kanna
Have you ever daydreamed about a business you would secretly like to start up? I think I did this from the time I was a little girl.
One of the first things I would do was come up with a name for my business. I might have even named the business before I figured out what it would be, what I would make, or what I would sell.
When I was still in the daydream stage of my clothing design business, I spent hours doodling different contractions of my name. I have the same initials as Calvin Klein so a simple CK was not going to work. There was Kannaction, a play on the word connection using my last name, or simply Kannact for connect.
I even daydreamed about opening a store with my sister, Linda, and calling it Collin’s Urban General Store & Meeting Place. Col, short for Colleen and Lin, short for Linda.
I eventually came up with coKANna but then someone told me it reminded them of a tropical cabana or Copacabana. Hmmm, not that I don't secretly love the song "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow but cabana wear was not what I had in mind!
So, then I went off on a totally different tangent. I seriously considered Cuore which means ‘heart’ in Italian. When I tested it out though, no one could pronounce it or spell it.
I came full circle back to coKANna. At a glance, it’s the first two letters of my first name followed by my last name but there is so much more to it than that. You probably remember my original logo.
coKANna original logo
The ‘co’ stood for, not only the first two letters of my name, but the co-existence of change and courage like cohorts in the journey of life.
The spiral design for the ‘o’ represented the circle of life, healing, and change.
The KAN was emphasized for the 'can do' attitude that comes from an inner strength we all possess and propels us forward one step at a time.
Since then, my logo has evolved. The old logo was hard to read. People didn’t know the spiral was supposed to be an ‘o’ and they didn’t understand why the ‘KAN’ was capitalized. I could explain it to people in person. But, on paper the meaning was lost. I felt simpler was better.
COKANNA new logo
My new logo is much easier to read with the spiral either stacked on top or out in front. I think it’s more classic looking in black and white. And I feel the font embodies strength and elegance.
COKANNA can stand on its own, and the spiral can stand on its own.
COKANNA spiral
I have always been drawn to the spiral image. To me, it feels like the flow of life, circular in motion ever changing, healing, and evolving just like my line, and just like me.

Stay tuned next week, and I will explain how I name my designs. Until then...

Greely Christmas Pop-Up Shop 

Come out to our Christmas Pop-Up Shop in Greely on Sunday, December 2nd from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Pick up a unique Christmas gift for a loved one or treat yourself to a beautiful scarf or a soft comfy bamboo cardi or pant.

Colleen Kanna

Colleen Kanna is a recovered Chartered Accountant and breast cancer champion turned fashion designer. She is the creator of COKANNA Designs, a line of stylish bamboo Canadian-made clothing for women over 40. Five percent of sales are donated to the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre in support of their Head Start Program for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.


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