What's In a Name?
People often ask where the name "Mad Gab's" came from. Those who know me, know that I don't get mad often, and when I do, it passes pretty quickly. Here's the thing: like having a company at all, the name was just a fluke, spur-of-the-moment decision born out of necessity. I was planning on making one roll of labels for a few batches of this natural lip balm that I had been whipping up on a whim.
Like everything else Mad Gab's-related, the name had a life of its own. The original containers I used for Lip Lube (the original name back in 1991) were small plastic square boxes I bought at a local shop in Amherst, MA, my hometown and where I went to college (UMass). The boxes were 1" squares, so there was not a lot of space for a label. What i ended up with was a 1/2" round label to work my magic on. I say 'magic' loosely, because I did not know what I was doing, or have plans to figure anything out, anytime soon. This lip balm thing was a fluke, a project, but I was rolling with it. Friends in the Anthropology department and around town had enjoyed the samples I shared, and my neighbor who was supplying the natural beeswax, was encouraging and kind. When people started telling me I should sell my concoction I thought they were nuts, and clearly didn't know who they were dealing with. I had no interest in business, which is why I was studying anthropology, and working with monkeys. And failing math, but that's another story.
When I finally was intrigued enough by the idea of selling my natural lip balm (long before I had landed on one recipe to get to the not-waxy not-greasy consistency which was my original goal), I needed a label. Or so said the stores who offered to try and sell them.
Not only did I need a label, but I needed a company name and a product name. The latter was easier, with friends sitting around with beers, it wasn't long before we discounted the normal "Lip balm" names and decided "Lip Lube" was far more interesting and racy, but what to name a company that wasn't really a company? That was a whole other issue.
I found a guy in downtown Amherst, next to D.P. Dough--a famous calzone delivery place. He was a designer, and with an office piled high with paper, and massive computers, he offered to design a label for me. He told me to come back the following week with what I had in mind, and we would sit down and hammer it out.
When I returned, on time as usual, (but also flying by the seat of my pants, also as usual), I realized as I locked my car door that I had not come up with a name for my company. In the 20-ish steps from car to door, I played with words that were short and would go well with Gab, and landed on Mad but then realized, I needed to make it possessive, so I added an apostrophe and an "s."
Good enough. For something that would be a one-and-done it certainly felt as much. Little did I know, it was just the beginning and the first of many lessons I would find myself on, as a young, female entrepreneur. Reluctant or oblivious, I was on my way.