Behind every name is a story.
My name is Katie Buczkowski. Try to pronounce that last name. Or spell it without looking. My point is, it’s not an easy name. When you run a business, you want a name that people remember but you don’t want it to be hard to say. So, when I began to think of a name for my business, I knew using my name was out of the question.
Still, I wanted a name that was personal, a name that conveyed something about me. So, I started to think of a name that told something about myself. My first thought was… Chicago.
Ever since moving to LA, my Chicago pride has strengthened tenfold. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving life in LA - no snow, lots of sun, lots of sand. It just seems that whenever you move to a new city, you begin to appreciate your hometown more. Let’s be real- I was blessed to have been raised a short train ride away from one of the greatest cities in the world. So, there was no doubt I wanted to choose a name that was a nod to Chicago.
There are a lot of aspects of Chicago that could be used as elements of a company name. I went through a lot of different ideas. Then, I got stuck on the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
Here’s the thing about Navy Pier: if you’re from Chicago, you rarely go to Navy Pier. It’s for the tourists. Nonetheless, it's a pretty awesome place. It’s the home of the city’s iconic Ferris wheel, recognizable even to foreigners. The original ferris wheel was actually invented in Chicago and debuted as the centerpiece of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Growing up in Chicago, this is something every kid learns about and inevitably does a project on at some point. Shortly after I completed such a project, my mom took us into the city for a “staycation.” We went to Navy Pier and walked through the funhouse, shopped the vendors, rented bikes to ride along the lake, and of course, rode the Ferris wheel. We stayed in a hotel overlooking the city. The next day we went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field where we stuffed our faces with Chicago-style hot dogs. It was a quintessential weekend in the city. It was on this mini-trip as a young girl that I began to fall in with love the city. Over the years, I spent many weekends and most of my summers exploring the city. At the end of my senior year of high school before I was to leave Chicago to head to college, I attended my prom at Navy Pier where we all rode the Ferris wheel.
On the same day that I thought of the Navy Pier Ferris wheel as inspiration for my namesake, I was walking the dogs down to the bottom of my street. As we admired the red streaks in sky over the water, I looked to my left to watch the lights of the Ferris Wheel on Santa Monica’s pier. That’s when it hit me - It was meant to be. My Ferris wheel inspiration now represented both my home city and my new city that I love.
So, there you have it. Why the name? I’m a Chicago-raised gal living in Santa Monica.
Oh- and why the “red” in Red Wheel Social, you might still be asking? The colors behind my brand are inspired by the Chicago flag, another iconic feature of the city. What color are the four big stars on the flag? You guessed it- red.