People ask me how we came up with the name “Tavalon” and I always answer by saying that I locked myself in a room for 30 days and did nothing but brainstorm. All joking aside, naming the business was probably one of the most difficult tasks during the start-up phase. Many entrepreneurs have this problem with start-ups because first impressions go a long way and the name is pretty much the face of the company. Plus, it is extremely costly and difficult to change the name once you are in operation (printing materials, registration process, brand recognition, and so on).
Many entrepreneurs resort to branding companies and pay a hefty amount to have them produce names for their businesses. We didn’t have much capital in the beginning and had to go grassroots. I basically carried around a little black book with me everywhere and every time I came up with a good idea for a business name, I would write it down.
By the time we settled on Tavalon, I had over 1,500 potential names in my book. We sent our Top 3 names to everyone in our group of friends and family to aid us with the decision. Tavalon is a combination of the letter “t” from the word tea and “avalon”, which is the island paradise in Celtic mythology. Put the two words together and you have Tavalon – a tea paradise. I also liked this name because I wanted the company to become a global tea entity and the name had to be easy to pronounce across many languages. Starbucks, for example, is very hard to pronounce in Korean and Japanese.
The logo was also tricky because we wanted it to be simple, yet strong and meaningful. After 40-plus renditions, we settled on our current logo, which is the word Tavalon with our symbol replacing the letter “o.” At first glance, our symbol looks like a yin and yang, but if you look closely, you will notice that the top is a tea leaf and the bottom is a water drop – combined in harmony you have the perfect cup of tea.