How To Choose a Name: Why une NanaBenz?

Sometimes you don’t need to invent something; you only need to breathe in fresh air or provide a twist.

As a chic Central/West African lady, I needed to pay homage to my matriarchs who were #BossLady of their times. “Les Nana Benz” was a term used to describe wealthy West African female merchants who built their fortune from trading textiles. You know those rich, colorful, vibrant prints that are worn everywhere from the red carpet shows of Stella McCartney to the safaris in Tanzania to the night life of Yopougon. These “Nana Benz” were the first ones to bring the print from the factories in Netherlands to the markets in Lomé and Cotonou.

V&VI wax shirts at a fair in Yaounde.

“Nana” means girl in French slang. “Benz” references the fact that these industrious women loved to drive Mercedes-Benz. Therefore “Les Nana Benz” were not only industrious, hardworking, wealthy entrepreneurs, but they also made sure to put their money where their mouth was. Talk about “walking the talk.”

Now that you have learnt a little bit of history, I chose “une NanaBenz” for two reasons:

The first is to pay ode to these strong women; I believe that if I can “walk” in these shoes, emulate their business mindset, I will be as successful in my endeavors as the were in theirs. Additionally, they already did the most difficult part: transported the textiles across waters. Now that the path has been carved, I can focus my energy on other niches, i.e. create designs from them.

Secondly, my name is Nana and I thought it will be cool to use that name for my blog as lots of people call me Nana. Not only do I love Mercedes cars, but I feel like joining “Nana + Benz” speaks to me as the entrepreneur that I aspire to be. One that will not only command respect but one who will also hold the hand of my younger brothers and sisters as we climb the ladder of success.

There you have it. Now that you have your foot in my door, you have all my attention 😉. So, let me ask you, what inspired you to choose your blog or website name?