I told a friend about Stay Apparel Co. in the spring.
She called it “an interesting brand name.” I wondered just how to take that and hoped she didn’t mean it in the Chinese curse “interesting times” sort of way.
I didn’t ask her to clarify, but I have been asked what the name means. I hope that our tagline – “An authentic American brand of place” – and place-specific T-shirts offer compelling clues as to what Stay is about.
Of course, our name invokes stay in the sense of being somewhere, as a short-term visitor or guest or a more permanent resident. Stay’s mission is to celebrate those places, and we’re starting with shirts branded for Hershey, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster and Philadelphia, as well as Pennsylvania and the U.S. of A.
But we also honor those American cities and towns where our products are made, from my hometown of Lewiston, Maine, to Long Beach, Calif., from Shelbyville, Ind., to Cleveland.
As part of the process of developing Stay’s brand identity, I came across a 2012 column written by Edward T. McMahon, a land-use expert with the Urban Land Institute. He discussed "[w]hat attracts people to a place and keeps them there."
"Place is more than just a location on a map. A sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics – visual, cultural, social, and environmental – that provide meaning to a location. Sense of place is what makes one city or town different from another, but sense of place is also what makes our physical surroundings worth caring about."
Honoring those unique qualities that create a sense of place, that’s what defines Stay Apparel Co. for me.