After 5 Years of being called TogTees, today we are changing our name. Welcome to Photogenic Supply.
What’s in a Name?
Shakespeare famously delved into this in Romeo & Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2 where Juliet asks “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.
For the last 5 years, we have been known as TogTees. Today, that is changing.
Henceforth, we shall be called Photogenic. To be specific, we shall be known as The Photogenic Supply Company of Philadelphia.
So what is in a name? And why do names matter?
I first came up with “TogTees” back in 2015 when the idea of launching a photography-themed apparel line first came to me. I liked it because it was short, easy to remember, included alliteration, and it was unique. The name (for those who still don’t know, which we’ve realized is many many people), comes from “PhoTOGrapher TEE Shirts” (“TogTees”).
What’s wrong with “TogTees”?
For the reasons mentioned above, “TogTees” a great name. Plus, many thousands of people around the world have come to know and love our products and know us by this name.
So why would we change it? Three reasons:
- Firstly, I never really liked it. TogTees is short and easy to say and remember, but that’s about all it’s got going for it. It’s not a special name in any way. It doesn’t carry any significant meaning beyond the obvious. It felt a bit superficial, given what we were doing behind the name.
- Second of all - and this was a big one – from the very beginning, it was already a misleading name. Just a few months after launching our t-shirt designs, we were already making hats, hoodies and other items. It was never just about “tees”, not even in the first year.
- Finally, I have been thinking about changing our name for a couple years now (remember those surveys we sent out asking what you thought of it...?) I wanted a name that conveyed the full depth and range of what we do, and that was flexible and could work nicely with any of the hundreds of different products we now make.
How Did We Choose the New Name?
The crazy truth is, we spent 2 years looking for the perfect name. We made lists, asked friends and family, tested out options, crossed out, added, amended, re-arranged, and a lot more.
In the end, Photogenic was the only one that felt perfect. Why?
Allow me to explain.
You might know the word Photogenic in the modern sense, meaning “something or someone who looks good in photographs”.
But the word itself has a much more interesting history than that.
It was originated by William Henry Fox Talbot – an early photography pioneer and contemporary of Daguerre– in 1839 to describe a new photographic process he had created. He invented the word by combining the two Ancient Greek words φως and γενης.
Φως is the Greek word for “light” - that’s where “photography” comes from (“writing with light”). Γενης is the Greek word for “to create”, “to be born” or “to generate”. Together, the newly crafted word φωτο-γενης (photo-genic) meant “created by light”.
Because the word “photogenic” did not exist in Ancient Greek, this makes the word a calque for anyone who might have linguistic leanings. (And by virtue of it being used in Modern Greek, it has come full-circle and is now officially an example of reborrowing).
So, while the word “photogenic” has morphed into a new meaning and has for a while been part of the popular lexicon used when describing someone who looks good on camera, it actually came from a very different background and initial meaning. Not “good-looking”, but rather the original meaning: “created by light”.
So, why did we choose “Photogenic”? Once again, three reasons:
- Photogenic means “Created by Light”. All Photography - from digital to film to contact prints to cyanotypes to instant film - is created by some sort of light. Since a driving passion for Photography is our life’s purpose, everything we make is created by light and because of light. All that we do at Photogenic, from coming up with new items to prototyping them, building them, photographing them and sending them out to the world is driven by this underlying passion for that which is created by light – Photography.
- Since we started out 5 years ago, we now make everything from Apparel such as t-shirts, hoodies, and hats, to hand-made Special Edition Wood Crafts, to Glassware, Keychains, Stickers, and a lot more. As time goes on, we will only expand our array of products, and we need a name that works well with everything from tees to unique gifts.
- I am Greek. I grew up speaking Greek, and being able to incorporate my native language in the name of the brand I created has been a truly special gift. I may not be φωτογενής myself, but I feel the meaning of the word every time I use it.
So that’s it. That’s the story of why we’re changing our name. From now on, we will be called Photogenic Supply. You might still see some products that say “TogTees” on them for the remainder of the year as we work through our current inventory, but all of our new packaging, email and social media will have our new name starting this week.
Thanks for coming along on this journey with us as we continue to build and evolve this thing we’ve created. Please do reach out and let us know what you think of the new name and new branding and logo – we always love to hear your thoughts.
As always, thank you for your support, your orders, your comments, your emails, and all the love you've shown us over the years. It’s what keeps us driving forward.
Creator, Photogenic Supply