View From My Window – February 2015


This month I am bringing back a post our son Hal wrote in 2011.


Have you ever wondered what the name Alabu means? We get this question a lot so I thought I’d shed some light on it. It all started way back in the beginning of the year 2000 (that seems like so long ago). My mother had made soap for about three years at this point, and we were selling soap and candles online at a virtual craft fair my father started called Simplerway. I remember listening to my parents discuss in the kitchen what direction to take the business. I recall them talking about all the work involved between the virtual craft fair and the products we were making and selling, and they decided that they really needed to focus on one thing if the business was going to make it. We were getting unbelievable feedback about the goat milk soap, so it seemed like a no-brainer. That was the product we would focus on.

So, Simplerway was sold to my father’s business partner at the time, and we now needed a name for our new business. My sister and I were both pretty young at the time, and my father took the opportunity to assign us the task of coming up with a name. He had a few requirements. The name had to be short & easy to remember, it had to begin with the letter ‘a’, and most importantly, the name had to be an available .com domain name on the internet.

Over the next month we had many conversations around the dinner table about this. In fact I was starting to get tired of it. Even in the year 2000, it seemed like so many good names were already taken online. A few days later, my mother and I were helping out with a program at our church called MOPS (mothers of preschoolers). We would often watch the kids while the mothers met and listened to speakers.

On this day we were showing the kids an animated series called Veggie Tales. In it there is a talking cucumber (Larry) who has a segment of the show called Silly Songs with Larry. In this particular episode he sang a song called The Song of the Cebu (pronounced say-boo). It seemed like a pretty typical day at MOPS to me, but that song sure was catchy.

In fact, it was so catchy that my mother remembered it several days later—I think it was around the dinner table again—when she suggested Cebu as a business name. It didn’t start with an ‘a’, but we all liked the sound of it. One of us went over to the computer to check its availability. Of course, it was taken by a company based out of France. It didn’t stop there though. My sister Nell kept tinkering with the name until she came up with the name Alabu. We all liked the name even better, and to our delight it was available as a domain name. So, what’s in a name?

Nothing, really. Just the cool story behind it. That and one of the most respected brands in sensitive skin care.


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