From the Dog We Never Had to the Cocktail We Drank in Cuba
Naomi Neilson Howard, Founder and CEO
Of the various responsibilities I have as CEO of Native Trails, I have a particular passion for the product design and development process. From creating the designs for our most recent copper trough sink series or our new reclaimed wood bathroom vanity collection to refining the curvature of our upcoming bathtub (concrete or copper? Your guess!), there are many fun challenges along the way. One of them is finding the perfect product name.
The Cocktail We Drank in Cuba
Sometimes the name comes first – even before the product. While sipping a mojito in Havana during one of our travel adventures, my husband and I both felt very touched by the spirit of the Cuban people. While life is certainly not easy for most Cubans, they have a beautiful habit of celebrating it every day; of finding joy in every opportunity and interaction. I felt compelled to create a copper bar sink to reflect their spirit of celebration and joy. Seems I’m not the only one who loves the heady mixture of mint, rum and fun—our Mojito bar sink has become one of our top sellers in the bar sink category. Salud!
The Dog We Never Had
While some of our products gain their names in less interesting ways, the name of one of our really striking copper bathroom sinks, Tatra, can claim a waggish origin. My husband got it in his head that we needed a Polish Tatra Sheepdog as our next family pet. I had to do something—those dogs average 120 lbs, have more hair than Big Foot, and would be miserable in our coastal California climate. So…instead of getting the dog, we designed a copper bathroom sink named Tatra, that looks as angular and edgy as the word Tatra sounds. And the happy ending? We ended up with our much-loved Golden Retriever instead.
We bestowed our Cuzco Collection of metal bath vanities, mirrors, and bath cabinets with another travel-inspired name after my husband and I returned from a life-changing trek through the Andes, culminating in Machu Picchu. While sketching out this bathroom vanity idea, the mountain town of Cuzco flashed through my head. The earthy metals in the furniture design brought to mind the ancient metals forged by the Incas while the bold look felt somehow reminiscent of the Inca strength. The Cuzco Collection started with the metal bathroom vanity design, which combines hammered copper or nickel with matte black finished steel, then grew to include black metal mirrors, bath storage, and now a new insert option—Carrara marble—to contrast with the bold black metal vanity base. Even in this evolution, the collection has adhered to its original inspiration. I think the stone-loving Inca would approve.
Taking inspiration from another part of the world, Kohani, our popular bathroom vessel sink, was named after the Polish word ‘kochanie’ meaning beloved. When we received our first prototype and saw our idea turned to reality we knew this was a special piece. And we were not mistaken—Kohani is certainly beloved, by designers and homeowners alike. This copper vessel sink has been caressed and adored by millions since we introduced her.
And then there are those items with names that I just can’t improve. Our Copper Lazy Susans are an example. Lazy Susan is what she is (find out where the name came from); all we can do is add the modifier. If you have a better name than “20” Copper Lazy Susan”, please drop me a line!
Naomi Neilson Howard is the founder and CEO of Native Trails, the premier source for functional, earth-friendly products for the kitchen, bath and home. She currently lives in San Luis Obispo with her husband and two young children.