What's in a name?

Mar 28, 2022
What's in a name?

Are you happy with your name? I have never been that happy with mine – and it is one of the decisions made about you before you were properly born or could contribute to the discussion. I was named Gary – which echoed the allure of American charm in the late fifties – when Gary began its popularity, now in full decline (thanks Gary Glitter) and no-one now takes the name.  My son Joseph and his partner Jenny are expecting twins on Monday – a double difficult task to name two children.

So how did we end up with the name HATARI for an unborn chilli sauce? Trying to squeeze everything that the product and production means (OK so I am trying to stay away from the word brand) and still sound attractive. How we got there is not so straight forward.

Back to Blog 1 – where we produced our first chilli sauce – now on sale in East Africa. At the time we were, and still are, so proud of how the farm had evolved. Over the years of establishment, we had noticed how the women showed both commitment and care for the farm, so as we grew it was natural to make the leaders amongst the female staff the managers and forewomen. In addition all the harvest staff were women.  So the Tanzanian name must reflect all this – So MAMA – Swahili for Woman/ Mother was needed, and as it was a hot sauce we simply added the word MOTO – Swahili for HOT – so MAMA MOTO was born and every one ‘enjoyed’ (Swahili English for appreciated and liked). Then with our fantastic graphic designers – Fran & Team at ‘a Dozen Eggs’ we quickly came up with a nice design that fitted the label. So far so Good.

As the months and the tastings and the enthusiasm mounted our eyes turned towards a chilli sauce for UK, Europe, The World. (We were also tasting the competition and realized we were onto something special). But  MAMA MOTO meaning HOT MAMA kind of said something different in the UK – a meaning not that deeply associated with chilli sauce or products. Then when you start looking there’s a list as long as your arm of products called MAMA something or other. The MOTO was a both a chain of motorway service stations and a catch phrase for Motorola. Plus, if we were ever to sell in Europe using this label - MOTO is slang for Motorbike – so Mama MOTO would mean a lady on a motorbike. We thought this did not quite hit the spot.

The chilli sauces were still unborn at this time, but certainly in gestation and a name must reflect what we hoped they would become. Other brands were short and snappy and the name became the sauce eg TABASCO, FRANKIE’S, CHOLULA, so we could think a little bit out of the box. We wanted something that everyone could pronounce, with definite African heritage and was fun.

But we had to be careful, previous naming experiences had not turned out, in time, as we had hoped. My wife Joanna and I named our last child Annie Mae, Annie Mae. We thought it was original but it turned out to be also the name of the singer Tina Turner. She has always been troublesome and a handful, but we have never had any sympathy as friends tell us if you name your child ‘Annie Mae’ you are just going to get trouble!! Just look at all we have to do to now because she came up with some fantastic chilli sauces!! I had to delay my plans of fishing and gardening for over 5 years.

If you have lived or travelled to East Africa you will be familiar with the word HATARI – it means DANGER, and is on electricity supply boxes, bottles of chemicals and wild animal pens. It seemed vibrant, pronounceable, slightly edgy and very African. In Europe it has no meaning so could grow to mean initially our range of chilli sauces and then Good Things from Africa. So we went for it (following the advice Blog 1) and call our emergent chilli sauces HATARI

The one big downside, explained by all the Mama’s on the farm, is any product with HATARI written on in East Africa would never be associated with anything edible!! SO it comes down to this MAMA MOTO in East Africa for the sauces we developed for the market their and HATARI for UK and EUROPE.

We still don’t know what Joseph and Jenny will call their twin girls expected next week, I hope they take heed from my experience. My suggestions are Biddy and Bou, but if they want to be on brand and support the family chilli business the names should be Cayenne and Trinity, of Naga and Serrana.

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