What's in a name?

by Ezinne Chukwu Anyasodo

A story of how our business got its name: Nkịtị

What's the first thing you do when starting a business? Choose a name? Design a cool logo? Calculate how rich you’re going to be? We took a lot of time to land on the name ‘nkịtị’ and here is why.

Firstly, it’s important to recognise the significance that names hold in our African culture. Take for example, the tradition of naming ceremonies, it is a rite of passage where the parents of a new born baby announce the names of the child to their extended family and close community. One particularly thing to highlight with this tradition is the unveiling of traditional names and their meaning. The meaning of a name typically represents –in some ways - a prophetic desire for the child’s future or a statement of declaration about the circumstances surrounding their entrance into the world. As such, we see names as being much more than just a label, instead, serving as a foundation and a legacy on which the individual builds their lives.

In a similar way, we gave our business a traditionally Igbo name with a meaning that we hope will always be the foundation and legacy of our brand. Even before we – the people behind the brand – are introduced or known, we foresee a future in which our brand name speaks for itself. We envision it speaking to our collective heritage as the Igbo people of Nigeria and by extension, a form of language awareness and preservation especially in a diasporic context.

We also envisioned its meaning to speak to the purpose of our brand which aims to create casual ‘everyday’ African wear that is modern & high quality.

nkiti phonetic spelling igbo translation

After grilling our Igbo-speaking parents plus a little help from Google translate, we settled on the name ‘nkịtị’ which means ‘basic’ or ‘ordinary’.

We loved this name because it embodies the mandate or aesthetic philosophy of the brand with it being an Igbo word and its meaning, a synonym for casual. Its phonetic transcription (i.e. how the word is spelled) also informs our audience about who we are, with its distinctive use of letters from the English alphabet and the Igbo alphabet. We easily settled on this name and are very happy with what it represents.

Initially, we tried to merge mine and my husband’s name in creative ways without it bearing resemblance to our wedding hashtag haha… needless to say, it was unsuccessful! Some names that didn't quite make the cut include - ZiMa designs, MarEzi designs, Z&M, E&M, amongst many others that shall not be mentioned. In hindsight, we are VERY thankful that we didn’t settle on any of these.

nkiti logo mood board

Overall, I’d say, a name is more than it appears to be, it carries in it a communal heritage, history, circumstances as well as a sense of purpose and future hope for the person or entity being named.

As you browse our website and buy our products, we hope that our brand and our name leave a lasting impression on you and that our customers are left with a clear understanding of who we are and what our offering is!

Happy Shopping! And don’t forget to tell a friend about Nkiti especially now that you know the meaning behind the name! :)

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