I had interesting input from the Universe about naming this business- pretty miraculous interventions, in fact. Tigerflag Natural Perfumery wasn't my first choice.
Because I'm a gardener, someone once asked me if Tigerflag had anything to do with tiger lilies and flag irises. Nope. It means nothing except that over my desk is a large Japanese print of a tiger, and taped to the top of the frame is a little American flag on a stick. I don't remember why, it's just always been that way.
Back in early 1998 we bought our first computer- a Cyrix 166 with 32 MB RAM and a 2.5 GB harddrive- for $800. Remember those days? I was terrified of it... certain that if I touched the wrong key I would blow it up. So when we went online for the first time I had my husband sit at the keyboard for me. We were using AOL and trying to log in for the first time. We had a nine-character name limit. Every user name I tried had to do with roses and was already taken.
We kept getting disconnected because our phone lines were bad, but we didn't know why at the time. We thought it was because AOL didn't like our user-name choices. I was afraid that if we struck out too many times they would shut us out permanently. So I panicked (I'm good at that). I glanced up, saw the tiger, saw the flag, counted letters in my head and yelled, "Try tigerflag!" It worked. I've been tigerflag ever since. I got the domain name tigerflag.com in 2000 and used it to host my personal homepage, which is now at www.tigerflag.com/siriamrit/ (Opens a new page).
Here I am, wanting to sell natural, nontoxic perfumes to people who want something better than the chemical perfumes in the stores. Every pretty, flowery, evocative, perfumey name I tried had a conflict with an existing name when I ran a trademark search. Each trademark search cost me three-hundred dollars and ended in failure. In desperation, running out of money before I'd even bought any product, I mentioned my domain name 'tigerflag' to my trademark attorney, and he said, 'That should work.' Duh!
So I told him I would have to pray about it, because I couldn't see any good way to tie tigerflag into perfumes. That was the 21st of September.
I'm a Sikh, and when a Sikh needs guidance, we go to our Guru- our scriptures, comprised of writings from many Faiths, called the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. We call it 'taking a Hukam', which means 'Order from God'. I kept feeling the Guru calling to me, specifically Guru Nanak. That evening, praying for guidance, I took a Hukam asking if I should call the business Tigerflag Natural Perfumery.
Opening Siri Guru Granth Sahib at random, my Hukam was from Guru Nanak himself! Here's a bit of it:
This soul wandered through many births and then, the True Guru communicated to it the Name.
There is no benefactor so great as the True Guru.
Hear! Hear! Hear! O ye people.
Guru Nanak never lets me down.
The next day, before ordering the LLC papers be drawn up, I felt a compulsion to look up the Sikh calendar to see if there was anything significant about the date. Turns out that the 22nd of September is a very auspicious historical day in Sikh history, and it has to do with flowers! I feel like, along with my Hukam, it's a good omen for starting my business.
I'll share with you the story of what happened on that date, just because it's always been one of my favorite stories:
In a time of religious strife, Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, traveled the world teaching religious tolerance, an end to empty ritualism, and that we best serve our Creator by serving humanity. He lived by example, and when he died on September 22, 1539, he was beloved by both Hindus and Muslims; both religions claimed him as their own! An argument broke out between his followers as to what to do with his mortal remains. According to their traditions, the Hindus wanted to cremate him, while the Muslims wanted to bury him.
They decided to cover his body with flowers, and the flowers given by whichever religion that wilted first, the followers of that religion would concede to the others' will. So they covered him with flowers and sat vigil during the night. In the morning, his body had vanished! All that remained were the flowers and the sheet upon which he had lain.
They ended up cutting the sheet in half. The Hindus cremated their half, and the Muslims buried theirs.
I think the story of Guru Nanak shows us that we can all transcend our differences and live in peace. So here we have a Sikh in the USA selling perfumes made of flowers by Hindus in India, Muslims in Morocco, and Jews in Israel. God has to be smiling about this.
I dedicate Tigerflag Natural Perfumery to my beloved Guru Nanak and his message of peace, service and Universal Love. I will always endeavor to honor him with my actions. My mission is to use this business to educate as many people as possible about Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, to carry high-quality products at fair prices that will help bring health and happiness to all, and to serve my customers to the very best of my ability.
You will always receive the highest-quality products at fair, honest prices. I want you to be happy with your purchases and will do all within my power to help you before, during and after the sale. If you are ever dissatisfied with your purchase, contact me and I will do my very best to make you satisfied.
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