I tried not to think too hard about a name for the company when I first realized that I wanted to step into the retail ecommerce business. It is hard not to have a name though, even if only for the purpose of calling it something when you ask your wife to work on it for 8 hours on a Saturday.
I can't honestly recall the other names that floated in and out of my head back in 2014 when this entire idea started taking shape. I do know that the name Contact eCommerce hit me while I was in a gym working out. I knew that was the name for this company as soon as it popped into my head.
In the military, you use the word "contact" to refer to engaging fire with an enemy. You make "contact" with the enemy or if you receive fire, you would yell, "Contact! 300 meters north!" to direct the rest of your unit to where the enemy is located. "Contact" is also used to refer to an objective of meeting up with friendly units as well. "Proceed to Checkpoint XYZ to make contact with engineers to conduct a road assessment" etc. In general, "Contact" is used for a lot of purposes but mostly it describes some type of interaction. Despite the fact that most of those interactions involve gunfire, the name still resonated with me because it not only has a distinct military meaning but also has an easy literal meaning to the non-military public as well. Contact. Interaction. People talking and learning about other people. The whole point of this company, currently, is to highlight veteran business leaders and provide an easy place for people to come and shop around stores that share their values.
The real draw of the name to me was that it seemed just as good to cover a hopeful expansion beyond veteran-owned businesses. My greatest dream is that this company can establish proof of concept that people are willing and excited to shop from companies that have a social mission and stand for something beyond profit alone.
You want to buy a t-shirt or a purse? Great. Why not buy it from a veteran-owned business who is much more likely to be an American-owned, small business that will reinvest its profits in veterans as they grow their companies? And, oh by the way, most of these military or veteran-owned businesses have important social missions of their own so each purchase you make fuels their growth, reinvests in a population/initiative you care about, and also contributes indirectly to charity organizations in most cases. Your $27 for a t-shirt can do so much more than you think! Speak with your wallet and make a change every day!
This experiment has started with the veteran community because it is one I am familiar with but I hope to expand Contact eCommerce to cover other business communities like women-owned companies, minority-owned, environmentally-sustainable etc. A successful Contact eCommerce store in the future will have a pop-up on the site when you hit the landing page and will ask you, "What's your mission?" From there, you can select some of the different causes and business communities you want to primarily support and your shopping experience will show you only those products that are sold by companies that share your values. That shirt you just bought now just funded an organization that is driving change right along side you.
I really believe that capitalism and consumerism can help share stories and improve connections. "Contact" seems to be a great word to encompass that hope.