Jewelry Business Name Ideas

I have previously asked for help naming my handmade jewelry business and I have yet to fall in love with any. I stumbled upon this website that makes semi permanent tattoos and someone posted a skeleton key titled, Alapas. It means to break free/break loose in Tagalog. I love that for personal life reasons and this business is helping me break free so I want to name it Alpa, but is it offensive because I am not Pilipino?
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August 9, 20180 found this helpful

It might be. Why dont you call it Breaking Free in English?

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August 9, 20180 found this helpful

Neat! I don't think it is at all offensive. The only thing is most people won't know what it means and how it relates to jewelry...so you may want to use it with jewelry in the title. Wishing you all the best on your freedom and creativity!!

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August 9, 20180 found this helpful

this is a great thing to think about, the co-opting of someone else's language, especially of a minority, especially in a for-profit context, is something worth considering

i apologize for this ridiculously long answer that follows but it's something I've had reason to learn about in life

I think what you are worried about is cultural appropriation: "Cultural appropriation is the adoption of elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from an equal cultural exchange due to an imbalance of power, often as a byproduct of colonialism and oppression." (wikipedia) en.wikipedia.org/.../Cultural_appropriation

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Things to think about are

1) what are your intentions in using the specific Tagalog word, and is it still cultural appropriation to just use the one word and do everything else from your typical cultural framework (IE no Phillipine references & I assume White)? I think the issue with cultural appropriation and co-optation comes from a sense of being a member of the dominant cultural/racial group (read: white) adopting ethnic qualities or attributes while being completely freed from the concomitant cultural baggage that comes from being an oppressed minority, as well as lacking the actual cultural identity that justifies the ethnic choice. It is all made worse and really frowned upon when these ethnic attributes are adopted because they're 'cute' or 'fun' marketing tools.

So in a sense yes, naming your for profit venture for a random word from a culture you have nothing to do with can cross that line. On the other hand, the English language by design is incredibly flexible and ever growing and words from different languages and cultures enter the common usage so frequently it is not really the same thing. It is almost a given that we will adopt words that fit what we are trying to say. And it is of course interesting that nobody frowns upon randomly using French, German, or Italian words in marketing or branding, but due to that historically loaded baggage of colonialism, oppression, etc it can become an issue to randomly appropriate African, SE Asian, or Native American words/ideas/imagery.

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if you think about all this and still feel good about using it, then that's a reason to use it

2) no matter what you do in life, you're going to offend SOMEBODY. Even the cultural appropriation dialogue in the sociopolitical (read: left) contexts in which it appears can be rife with confusion and contradictions.

but the important thing is, what is your primary audience? If you lived in an uber liberal hipster kind of place like Asheville or Portland or highly cosmopolitan like New York, you will be more liable to 'offend' someone. If you live in a place with a high Filipino population it's a mixed bag because some members of a group take this sort of thing very seriously, and others don't care or find it flattering. But if you live somewhere in the Americna Heartland where maybe there's not many Filipino folks around and where people are not necesarily given to pondering the sociopolitical dimensions of things you will probably be OK - they will find it cool, exotic, etc.

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On the other hand if you have an online presence there's that risk again.

3) i think whether it's globally considered cool or offensive or not, it will still be subject for many conversations that could turn repetitive, awkward, or tiring. Someone will ask "what does it mean?" and you say "break free in Tagalog" and they say "what's that?" and you say 'Filipino' or they know already but either way the following question inevitably is "oh are YOU filipino?" and you say "...no" and they say "oh is your husband/SIL/business partner/what have you Filipino?" and you say "... no...." and then "...oh. Cool." Awkward silence.

4) from my personal perspective (as a member of a minority group myself) I think it's cool to try new things in different languages and I think it is cool or interesting or fun when others react or interact with my culture, whether they are of the dominant cultural group or not. Unless there's a blatant act of hostility or prejudice I don't offend easily. But I acknowledge that others don't feel that way. For instance, here's another interesting concept:

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"A microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward any marginalized group." en.wikipedia.org/.../Microaggression

for instance something as benign or well intentioned as telling an Asian person 'you must be good at Maths' is considered a microagression. Something like saying 'I love the fashion sense of your cultural group' is seen likewise. It's a whole weird dialogue there about placing individuals in boxes, being typecast, clumped together, etc.

which if you think about it can sound weirdly contradictory because on the one hand you are saying you don't want anybody else to utilize any aspect of your culture that defines you and your group very specifically because it somehow belongs to you, but on the other hand you yourself resent those who wish to group you into those categories into which you yourself group yourself in? So yeah microaggression is something I don't personally get at all. There's many nuances here that I know I am missing and it's probably because I don't belong to a minority that has been traditionally marginalized or typecast in this country. Which brings me to my final point

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5) I could well be wrong but I don't believe Filipinos belong to a culture that has traditionally been wronged or maligned in a very toxic way by the dominant (read again: White) cultural paradigm in the U/S - not the way the Native Americans or African Americans have for instance. So probably the cultural baggage is not as powerful there and possibly there is less cause for offense

anyway these are all my ideas and I am sorry I don't have a great answer for you but I just wanted to share that I get where you're coming from

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August 9, 20180 found this helpful

Makes sense. I didnt want to offend anyone, correct assumption. I am white. You gave me a great idea to use google translate - entered alpas and had it translate to unconfined. SO I now thought Unconfined Designs!

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August 10, 20180 found this helpful

Makes sense. I didnt want to offend anyone, correct assumption. I am white. You gave me a great idea to use google translate - entered alpas and had it translate to unconfined. SO I now thought Unconfined Designs!

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August 14, 20180 found this helpful

I think that's the best approach, and it's a really good name.

Since the name doesn't include any reference to jewelry, I would suggest your sign include beads, finished jewelry, etc.

Best of luck in the jewelry business!

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