Many have asked us why kept changing our name. Yes, we weren’t always called Muni Coffee Co. When we started, we called our coffee shop project Pamana, a Filipino word that means legacy. We loved this name, because it speaks of what we do: to leave a lasting legacy of positively impacting the communities that produce our coffee and, at the same time, inspire people whom we serve coffees to.
To have a name that embodies that whole idea of who we are is very important to us. However, as we went along we have been approached many times by brand experts and marketing people in London saying that we have to change this name or it will work against us. PaMAna was simply too close to PaNAma. Of course, this name almost had a sentimental value to us, we were stubborn enough to keep it for a while. In business events people called us PaNAma coffee and some did some of our closest friends (no offense taken guys!); even google autocorrected Pamana to Panama. And so setting aside our sentiment and understanding the name issue, we had to change our name.
With the help of friends through facebook a brilliant idea came up. We removed the pre-fix PA and used the root word Mana. The brand team working with us loved the name and we carried it on since then. The trouble really came when we applied for a trade mark recently and realised that Mana had already been trademarked by an operating Japanese Cafe in Central London. This gave us a massive headache! We had to withdraw our application the day before our video shoot for Kickstarter! We had throw away our business cards, marketing materials, and a month’s worth of photography with our logos.
On the day we received a letter stating that we just could not use Mana as our name, I almost lost my cool. I rang our video team for Kickstarter and told them about the situation to cancel the video shoot.
Our video guy was encouraging to push me to continue on and even shared his own story of having made the same mistake. He said that it’s just one of the many challenges that you encounter along the way.
This encouraged me a lot and went along with our video shoot without a name. You will notice that we only mentioned “in our future coffee shop..” in our Kickstarter video shoot. We were glad we were able to repair the situation despite that it caused us massive delays with our launch, extra branding costs because we had to redo our logo and print materials.
A week later, our friends were there to rescue us! We got piles of suggestions for a name on facebook. One of our closest friends (who is a Scottish man) spent time researching names for our coffee shop. He ended up suggesting Muni-Muni (which means to ponder in Filipino) along side other, sometimes too creative, names like Bundok coffee or MYPD (Me You in the Philiippines Drinking coffee). This joint effort by our friends really warmed our hearts and brought us back on track. So we took Muni-Muni and passed on to our brand team which decided to shorten it to Muni. Lo and behold, everyone loved the name and thought it best for our brand look. This is how we got the name Muni and we were happy as ever! After all, to ‘think deeply’ (which is what our name means) is the experience we want our customers to have. To ponder and consider the stories we are telling through our coffees.
So yes, the name Muni came from our dear friend from Scotland. In case you were wondering!