Why the purple toasters?

📅 Posted 2020-06-02

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I was recently asked this very question and going with the “I might as well respond in blog form” strategy, here we are.

10 years ago now, I had a couple of “on the side” clients where I looked after their websites and some of their IT needs. I operated as a sole trader and didn’t really have a formal name, apart from my using own name.

This didn’t seem ideal.

So I commenced looking for a better name for my fledgling ‘business ‘.

This is actually a really hard task, peppered by the fact that most good names are already “taken” if you’re trying to register a domain. I used that as a general rule abou the uniqueness of an idea - pretty important I figured, if I was going to be building websites under this name.

So I basically spent 3 days walking around my apartment thinking about nothing but names. Then doing domain name searches. And then more thinking when inevitably the name I came up with already had a domain registered (but usually squatted - something I’m guilty of myself). I don’t think I did anything apart from sleep, eat and think of names to search for.

Finally, the moment of inspiration was when I looked at the walls of my apartment, which at the time were crazy bright colours including ‘Perfect Purple’, I spied my hand-me-down 2 slice toaster and… Aha!

Purple Toaster was born on 4th January 2010.

.com and .com.au were available, so I had finally ‘found’ success. It was good to finally land on a name, it meant 3 days wasn’t completely spent in vain and I could move on.

I’ve received comments over the years, particularly from my seniors who thought my name made sense for a “young business operator”. I don’t feel so young anymore! But I’ll take it as a compliment.

I really like the fact that it’s a super generic name. It doesn’t carry much meaning about what the company does. It could be used for anything. I might just start selling cereal or roasting coffee beans or who knows.

(actually, that probably won’t happen…)

I’ve had trouble pronouncing it over the phone, however.

Was that ‘Purple Poster'?

So it’s sometimes difficult to read out email addresses over the phone. I feel like email addresses should have some sort of ‘check’ digit or CRC, like a credit card number, so you know you’ve got them right. Lost opportunity! RFC that bad boy asap.

My partner at the time (now wife), following the same colour+noun pattern, said to me:

Why don’t you go with something like vanilla cardboard?

Well, it’s available. Someone take it!

Anyways, I had to look for a logo and I found many toasters online, but not a purple toaster. And I wanted a 2-slice toaster. For some reason 1 slice just wasn’t going to cut it!

Recently I upgraded to the world of vector images by using draw.io, a tool I typically use for drawing architecture diagrams (and learnt a lot about SVGs in the process):

Purple toaster logo

Big fan of vectors now. I think the next image I will work on is to capture the beauty of nature in the form of a persimmon. No, really! Look down on the top of one, the symmetry, flair and balance is breathtaking. Well I think so anyway.

Two persimmons

Enough spoilers.

At the time, shortly after launch of my Purple Toaster website, I actually ranked OK in Google when searching for “Purple Toaster”. This was before the craze when lots of manufacturers started making colourful or ‘retro’ styled kitchen appliances. Now you can actually buy a purple toaster (and I do have one - happened to get it later and not because it was purple!). So my site no longer ranks for this term. But why would you be searching for that anyway?

So there you have it. My mascot is a questionably coloured kitchen appliance and I like it.

Today’s post was inspired by a question from Angus Dorney, co-CEO of Kablamo.


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