Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Story of a Name

I am sometimes asked why I named my jewelry business "Freebird Designs".
It's not because of the song (although I kinda like that song..)

I used to teach as my primary vocation. I taught Art to high schools students at an all-girls school. I liked my job. But! I am not a morning person. I am a night-owl creative type. Getting up at 6 am to go meet teenage girls hyped up on Starbucks was not an easy thing for me.
I always feel the need to remind people that I did not hate my job. It was fine for me and felt I got better at it each year, but I hated routine, I hated not having any creative energy left when I got home from work, I hated not having enough time to experiment, take classes, do shows during school times, etc. And then when we had that faculty meeting in the Spring, when we were so close to being done for the year, and we would go over month by month the entire following years schedule, I literally became physically uncomfortable in my seat, squirmed a lot and thought I would have an anxiety attack.
I guess i was not meant to be a teacher.
I digress.
So, I decided to quit my job and pursue jewelry design full time. I had been selling in the summers, it was going well and I knew in order to do it I needed more time. So, when I finally quit, most people kept asking me: "What are you going to do now"? I felt like I had just graduated from college all over again. Except this time I had an answer. Instead of just, "I don't know", I told them that I was going to make and sell jewelry. The reactions were for the most part, uncomfortable. I could tell most people thought I was crazy (especially my dentist, who had trouble even responding to such an outlandish idea). But the people who knew me, my family, close friends and my customers thought the idea was great, and they generally asked me a different question: "How does it feel to quit your job and follow this dream"? (maybe not in so many words). To them I said that I felt like a free bird. And I really did.

If anything, the name can be a conversation starter. I once had a woman in New York start screaming "Yeahhh!! Freebird!!!!!" I thought she was making a connection to the song by Lynard Skynard, as many people of a certain age and experience do. But she said "No, that's my nickname!!" I asked her why and she said she couldn't tell me. So, then I didn't feel so great about having the name as well.
My friend Jerry has no problem telling my he thinks the name is "lame" and I should change it to "eenelson"(my last name and first two initials).
Many people misread it and think it says "firebird". Is there such a thing?
Grammar buffs tell me it should not be all one word.
I have wavered. I know it doesn't sound "serious" and slick.
But then, neither am I!
So, a freebird I will stay, for now anyway. I have to say I do love my bird logo with it's little necklace on, how could I get rid of that?!
I am flying off now to hunt the flea markets and will report back with treasures (I hope!) soon.

p.s. Thank you Niels (my brother-in-law graphic designer) for the logo and fab font!


  1. No offense to your name...but how is "eenelson" a better option than "freebird"? I, for one, LOVE the's if it's lame...then I'm happy to be lame right with it!! :)

  2. Thank you Mai! I knew I could count on you!!

  3. Erin - I am so thrilled you've chosen to pursue this full-time! You have such a passion and energy for creating beautiful things, and the world deserves to have your designs swimming around. Freebird totally rocks. I didn't think Skynard, actually...I thought of the sky