“Where did the name Indigo+Canary come from?”

I’ve been asked where the name Indigo+Canary came from several times over the past few months, and it turns out—surprise!—I have a few answers. Here’s the story.

Papa, wearing his Pirates hat

My great-grandfather came to America from northern Italy, met my grandmother (a story for another time), and settled outside of Pittsburgh, where I was born. He worked as a coal miner, and my grandfather (we call him Papa), worked as a coal miner as well—until he figured out it was safer and paid more to become the mine’s fix-it guy. (Smart man, my Papa.)

Since mining is part of my heritage, it’s only natural that I know about the concept of the canary in the coal mine. If you haven’t heard it, here’s the gist: Before they had fancy equipment to test the air quality in a mine, miners would take a caged canary down into the mine with them as a fail-safe. If the canary died, the air in the mine was likely poisoned with carbon monoxide or methane, which are odorless gases—warning the miners to get up out of the mine and into fresh air.

Since the cosmetics industry in the U.S. isn’t well regulated, and since there are lots of synthetic chemicals like parabens, pthalates and BPA in the products we use every day, I see Indigo+Canary as being sort of like that canary in the coal mine—a brightly-colored beacon reminding you to be aware of what’s in the products you use.

The second meaning of the name Indigo+Canary is a little less poetic. Indigo is my favorite color (and a naturally occurring pigment, I might add), while canary is a great shade of yellow. When you put the two together, you get a lovely shade of green, which is another thing I love about natural and organic cosmetics—just about every single company that creates them cares about sustainability and being good stewards of the environment. And I love that, too.

There you have it! Did either of these meanings occur to you when you first came across Indigo+Canary? —Aleigh

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4 Comments on “Where did the name Indigo+Canary come from?”

  1. Lucy said on

    Thanks so much for sharing that, Aleigh! Never would have thought about the Canary part! Very neat!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Thanks, Lucy! 🙂

      –Aleigh

      >> Reply

  2. Lindsey @ Lindsey Living said on

    Love the canary in the coal mine story. I did have the yellow + blue = green figured out, though:) Cleverness all around!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Thanks, Lindsey! 🙂

      —Aleigh

      >> Reply

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