Guest Blogging News: 1930s Names

normanrockwell

I’m digging 1930’s names now. The decade may not have been one of the happiest decades, but there were some memorable names back then, names that I suspect will start to appeal in about 10-15 years.

On Nameberry I write about which 1930’s names might come back first.

This is revised from the UBN post, Name Inspiration: The Funky, Eclectic, 1930’s.

And I’m not done exploring the 80-year-rule. I’m working on a presentation that I’m excited to unveil soon.

Readers: Which names remind you of the 1930’s?

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Does Pottery Barn Predict The Next Names? Part 4 – Conclusion

Pottery-barn-summer-2013-pg5

This is the last part of our series examining whether the names on the personalized items in the Pottery Barn catalogs are really fashion-forward names, as the theory suggests.

Each part of the series focuses on names sampled from past years, going back to 2010.

Past installments of this series were:

  • Part 1 which focused on 2010 (Names were examined from the Autumn 2010 catalog)
  • Part 2 which focused on 2011 (Names were examined from the Fall 2011 catalog)
  • Part 3 which focused on 2012 (Names were examined from the Fall 2012 catalog)

And this is part 4, which focuses on 2013.

These guidelines might seem repetitive to those of you who have followed the series, but for the benefit of those who missed parts 1-3, here are some guidelines we used to color code and classify the names.

Names used for girls are coded pink, boys are coded blue, and if the gender is undetermined (or cannot be assumed) the name is coded green.

For example, Chloe is always assumed to be a girl’s name, even if the decor in the catalog is unisex or even traditionally masculine. For a traditionally unisex name like Taylor, the gender is determined based on the decor in the catalog; depending on whether the decor is traditionally male, female or unisex, the name will be color coded accordingly.

Based on when each name peaked, each name is categorized as:

  • Current (on trend for the catalog year)
  • Traditional (never out of style)
  • Down-market (dated)
  • Up-and-coming (ahead of trends)
  • Original (unknown or invented)

Notes about 2013 names:

  1. Since the Social Security Administration has not released the popular baby name data for 2013, the names in the 2013 catalog will be categorized as Current, Traditional, Down-market, Up-and-coming or Original based on their rankings leading up to 2012.
  2. For parts 1-3 (2010 – 2012) of this series, the samples were taken from the fall catalogs, but for part 4 (2013) the samples are taken from the summer catalog because the fall catalog was not out when the sample was taken. There was a Fall Gear Guide but it was a little smaller than a seasonal catalog and didn’t have as many names.

I’m really excited about the summer 2013 catalog because it has more names than the fall catalogs from 2010 – 2012. There were a couple of names I had to omit because I could not read them online due to either poor image resolution, the letter color blending into the background pattern, or both.

Names from the Summer 2013 “The Best of Summer” online issue:

Current Names

These names from the Summer 2013 catalog are at their peak based on 2012 Social Security data:

Adrian
Ava
Blake
Brooklyn
Camila
Charlie
Chloe
Ella
Emma
Jackson
Jacob
Layla
Logan
Lucas
Luke
Mason
Max
Maya
Mia
Natalie
Noah
Olivia
Peyton

Traditional Names

Name from the Summer 2013 catalog that have been fashionable for at least a couple of generations:

Andrew
Catherine

Down-market Names

Names from the Summer 2013 catalog that statistically were on the decline in 2012:

Alex
Amanda
Anne*
Ashley
Bradley
Brian
Carly
Casey
Cassidy
Chelsie
Clayton
Cody
Cole
Connor
Drew
Erica
Ethan
Hailey
Jake
Jamie
Jenny
Joey
Justin
Kevin
Kylie
Laura
Lauren
Mitchel
Patrick
Peter

*Anne might be considered traditional, but I had a hard time putting it in that group because it has been in steep decline these past couple of decades. Twenty years ago, Anne left the top 200 and about five years ago it left the top 500. Anne looks like it might be turning around (it has risen to #561 from its lowest rank ever of #606 in 2010). But it’s a little early to classify Anne as up-and-coming.

Now we are getting to the exciting part. The following lists of names are either up-and-coming or original and ahead of their time. If Pottery Barn predicts name trends, these lists should be the longest.

Up-and-coming Names

These names are on the rise and seem fashion-forward:

Aubrey
Blair
Carter
Dahlia
Graham
Henry
Hudson
Kinsley
Owen

Original Names

And here are that names that are completely original in 2013–so uncommon they aren’t on many people’s radar:

Mallery
Mikey*
Penn

*As a nickname for the traditional Michael, Mikey may not come across as original, but as a given name it is rare. If statistics on nicknames (which are very difficult to track) were available, Mikey would probably be considered down-market (Mike seems like the more common nickname), but I can’t prove that and I had to count nicknames as if they were given names.

Insights from Pottery Barn Kids from 2010 to 2013

Here’s how the Pottery Barn catalog names compare from each year to the next based on my samples:

2010 2011 2012 2013
Current 30% 25% 23% 27%
Traditional 16% 9% 6% 2%
Down-market 33% 42% 31% 35%
Up-and-coming 12% 22% 31% 11%
Original 9% 2% 9% 4%

Observations:

  1. The one consistent finding is the decline of traditional names each year.
  2. For 2011 and 2012 the up-and-coming names group grew and then shrunk back down in 2013.
  3. Every year, the original names were always the smallest group, never exceeding 9% of names in the sample catalogs.
  4. Every year, the size of the “original” group could be artificially inflated by nickname-names. These names are rare as given names but could be common nicknames. Since data on nicknames is not available, these names had to be classified as if they were given names.
  5. Almost every year, the down-market names were among the largest group, except for 2012 when down-market and up-and-coming names were tied as the largest group.
  6. These names appeared in the catalog every year: Blake and Riley
  7. Alex appeared every year except 2011 which had Alexa
  8. Patrick appeared every year except 2011
  9. One of the most original names, Penn (given to 46 newborn boys in 2012), appeared in both 2012 and 2013

Based on these findings, Pottery Barn more likely follows the trends than sets them. While there was an increase in up-and-coming names, the increase was not sustained in 2013 (based on the sample) and the number of truly off-the-grid, completely original names remained small each year, especially when nickname-names are excluded.

I speculate that Pottery Barn tries to represent the mix of names found among the general population, which represents their customers. For marketing purposes this might be a smart strategy.

One thing to keep in mind is that Pottery Barn Kids doesn’t offer products limited to babies and toddlers, but also offers products for older kids, probably between the ages of 5-12. (PB Teen is marketed to kids over 12.)

Older kids were most likely given names that were current or up-and-coming when they were born 5-12 years ago, but might be down-market at the moment. This probably explains the large number down-market names.

Imagine you are a typical Mom of a 10-year-old. You are looking at the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. What kind of names would you expect to see?

I would expect to see mostly names of my child’s peers. Even some of the names that seem very dated now, could be more popular on a 10-year-old than you might expect.

For example, Jennifer appeared in the 2010 and 2012 catalogs. At first I wondered if Pottery Barn’s marketing people were being renegades, purposely picking a dated name like Jennifer to be ironic.

And then I checked Jennifer’s popularity back in 2002, over 10 years ago. Jennifer was still in the top 30 back then, ranking at #28! There were 8,537 newborn girls named Jennifer in 2002. This is similar to the number of newborn girls named Avery in 2012. There were 8,272 newborn Avery’s and it ranked #13.

This means there is a good chance some Pottery Barn Kids customers have 10-year-old girls named Jennifer.

Recurring names such as Alex, Blake, Patrick and Riley made me wonder why Pottery Barn reused these names. I began to wonder if Pottery Barn used names of real people for their catalogs.

Some people think the names come from the most popular names requested by customers for personalized items.

My opinion is the names are most likely a mix of Pottery Barn employees’ kids’ or grand-kids’ names (which would explain an unusual name like Penn appearing in more than one catalog), and names most requested by customers.

The next question is: How did Pottery Barn get this (inaccurate) reputation as a baby name trend setter? The answer could be complex and that is a topic for another day.

Readers: Where do you think Pottery Barn gets the names they use for the personalized items in their catalogs? (multiple selections are allowed)

Image Credit: Pottery Barn Summer 2013 Best of Summer

Guest Blogging News: Will They Ever Make The Top 10?

top-ten

I am often shocked at which names never made the top 10. These are wonderfully appealing names, like Owen, Max, and Lucy.

I share this list of top 10 caliber names with Nameberry readers today.

Some of these names seem like they should have made the top 10 decades ago, such as Ann / Anne, while others, such Owen, Max, and Lucy, feel like they should be in the top 10 now.

Do you agree? Disagree?

To see the list and find out why I feel these names have top 10 appeal check out my guest post: Owen? Max? Lucy? Will They Ever Make The Top 10? 

Are there any names you are surprised never made the top 10?

Photo credit

Does Pottery Barn Predict The Next Names? Part 3

Pottery-barn-fall-2012-pg39

This is the third part in a series addressing the burning question: Does Pottery Barn Predict The Next Names?

The long-standing theory is that names appearing on the personalized items in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogs are baby names on the rise.

To figure out if this is really the case or just a rumor, I took samples of names from the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Pottery Barn Kids catalogs.

Past installments of this series were:
Part 1 which focused on 2010 (Names were examined from the Autumn 2010 catalog)
Part 2 which focused on 2011 (Names were examined from the Fall 2011 catalog)

And part 3, which focuses on 2012, examines names from the Fall 2012 catalog.

Findings from part 1 and part 2 suggest that the names appearing in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog were in reality slightly behind the baby name trends. I suspect I know why this is, but before drawing any conclusions, I want to complete the series and see if the findings remain consistent.

One finding is that many of the names from the 2010 catalog also appeared in the 2011 catalog. It seems that Pottery Barn likes to reuse some favorite names.

And while some of these familiar names were back in the 2012 catalog, there were also some new names in 2012–many which seemed more fashion-forward than names from earlier years.

In fact some of these new names were on my favorite list, and I even featured one recently.

Here are some guidelines that remain the same from part 1 and part 2 of this series:

Names used for girls are coded pink, boys are coded blue, and if the gender is undetermined (or cannot be assumed) the name is coded green.

For example, Chloe is always assumed to be a girl’s name, even if the decor in the catalog is unisex or even traditionally masculine. For a traditionally unisex name like Taylor, the gender is determined based on the decor in the catalog; depending on whether the decor is traditionally male, female or unisex, the name will be color coded accordingly.

Based on when each name peaked, each name is categorized as:

  • Current (on trend for the catalog year)
  • Traditional (never out of style)
  • Down-market (dated)
  • Up-and-coming (ahead of trends)
  • Original (unknown, invented or rare)

Names from the Fall 2012 online issue:

Current Names

These names from the Fall 2012 catalog peaked around 2012 (and in most cases these names are still at their peak):

Aiden
Bella
Blake
Brooklyn
Chloe
Ella
Emma
Isabella
Max
Mia
Noah
Olivia
Reese
Sophie
Walker

Traditional Names

Name from the Fall 2012 catalog that have been fashionable for at least a couple of generations:

Andrew
James
Matthew
Ryan*

*Could be considered down-market since it has steeply declined since its 1980s peak (when it was just outside the top 10), but has been in the top 25 for nearly 40 years and seems imaginable on a couple of generations.

Down-market Names

Names from the Fall 2012 catalog that statistically were on the decline in 2012:

Abby
Alex
Clayton
Danielle
Drew
Hayden
Hayley
Jake
Jay
Jennifer
Jordan
Madeline
Paige
Patrick
Peter
Riley
Savannah
Sydney
Tanner
Taylor

Now we are getting to the exciting part. The following lists of names are either up-and-coming or original, and were ahead of their time in 2012. If Pottery Barn predicts name trends, these lists should be the longest.

Up-and-coming Names

These names were on the rise and fashion-forward in 2012:

Anne
Asher
Blair*
Claire
Colton
Emerson
Emmett
Georgia
Harper
Henry
Jace
Leo
Liam
Miles
Oliver
Owen
Parker
Sawyer
Tucker
Zoey

*Only a few years ago, Blair would have been considered down-market, but in recent years it has made a comeback. After being moderately popular in the 1980s, it left the top 1000 in 2001 only to return in 2011. Its rank increased in 2012. Appellation Mountain recently wrote a post on Blair which gives some explanations for Blair’s recent resurgence.

Original Names

And here are that names that were completely original in 2012–so uncommon they weren’t on many people’s radar (and in many cases are still under-the-radar):

Addy*
Blythe (One of UBN’s recent Names to Watch!)
Celia
Geoff
Maddie*
Penn

*As nicknames for several fashionable names, Addy and Maddie may not come across as original, but as given names they are rare. If statistics on nicknames (which are very difficult to track) were available, these names would probably count as current or up-and-coming, but I can’t prove that and I had to count nicknames as if they were given names.

Insights from Pottery Barn Kids Autumn 2010, Fall 2011 & Fall 2012 catalogs:

Here’s how Pottery Barn names compare from 2010 – 2012 based on the samples I took from the online archives:

2010 2011 2012
Current 30% 25% 23%
Traditional 16% 9% 6%
Down-market 33% 42% 31%
Up-and-coming 12% 22% 31%
Original 9% 2% 9%

 

Based on the samples from the 2010 – 2012 catalogs, the group of names labeled “traditional” shrunk over the course of three years.

The exciting part is the gradual increase in up-and-coming names each year. I’m curious to see if the up-and-coming names continue to increase in part 4, when I sample names from the 2013 catalog.

Do you think Pottery Barn is trying to live up to its reputation as a baby name trend-setter? Have the marketing people at Pottery Barn begun reading baby name blogs? Or is the increase in up-and-coming names coincidental?

Stay tuned for part 4, the last installment of this series for the conclusion.

Image credit: Pottery Barn Fall 2012 Catalog

Does Pottery Barn Really Predict The Next Popular Names? Part 2

pottery-barn-fall-gear-2013-pg29After repeatedly hearing the theory that Pottery Barn predicts the next popular baby names on the personalized items in their catalog, I set out to determine if this is true.

I sampled baby names from the Pottery Barn Kids online archives from 2010 – 2013.

What I learned from part 1, which featured names from the 2010 Autumn catalog, is that most of the names featured on personalized items in 2010 were—in fact—slightly behind the trends.

But before I draw any conclusions, I am going to sample names from the 2011 – 2013 catalogs.

This time, in part 2, I am examining names from the Fall 2011 catalog.

For the benefit of those who missed part 1, here are the guidelines:

Names used for girls are coded pink, boys are coded blue, and if the gender is undetermined (or cannot be assumed) the name is coded green.

For example, Chloe is always assumed to be a girl’s name, even if the decor in the catalog is unisex or even traditionally masculine. For a traditionally unisex name like Taylor, the gender is determined based on the decor in the catalog; depending on whether the decor is traditionally male, female or unisex, the name will be color coded accordingly.

Based on when each name peaked, each name is categorized as:

  • Current (on trend for the catalog year)
  • Traditional (never out of style)
  • Down-market (dated)
  • Up-and-coming (ahead of trends)
  • Original (unknown, invented or rare)

Names from the Fall 2011 online issue:

Current Names

These names from the Fall 2011 catalog peaked around 2011 (and in most cases these names are still at their peak):

Abby / Abigail*
Blake
Brooklyn
Carson
Charlie
Ella
Gabriel
Georgia
Jack
Lillian
Lily
Natalie
Noah
Tyson

*Abby and Abigail were used interchangeably in the same decor on the same page, leading me to assume Abby was a nickname for Abigail. In this case, I looked at the Social Security rankings for Abigail leading up to 2011.

Traditional Names

Name from the Fall 2011 catalog that have been fashionable for at least a couple of generations:

Allison
Elizabeth
James
Matthew
Nathan

Down-market Names

Names from the Fall 2011 catalog that statistically were on the decline in 2011:

Alexa
Bradley
Brandon
Bryce
Cameron
Clayton
Devon
Dylan
Gabrielle
Gregory
Hayley
Jake
Julia
Madison
Morgan
Riley
Roland
Ryan
Samantha
Sasha
Scott
Taylor
Tiffany

Now we are getting to the exciting part. The following lists of names are either up-and-coming or original, and were ahead of their time in 2011. If Pottery Barn predicts name trends, these lists should be the longest.

Up-and-coming Names

These names were on the rise and fashion-forward in 2011:

Amelia
Asher
Charlotte
Clara
Julian
Lucas
Mason
Oliver
Reagan
Scarlett
Tucker
Zoey

Original Names

And here are that names that were completely original in 2011—so uncommon they weren’t on many people’s radar (and in many cases are still under-the-radar):

Cate

Yup—that’s it, one original name that could be up-and-coming or current as a nickname, but since statistics on nicknames are very difficult to collect, I use the Social Security Administration statistics on given names. Cate as a given name never reached the top 1000 for any year since 1880, making it very unusual (as a given name on the Social Security card application).

Insights from Pottery Barn Kid’s Autumn 2010 & Fall 2011 catalogs:

Here’s how Pottery Barn names from 2010 and 2011 compare based on the samples I took from the online archives:

Autumn 2010 Fall 2011
Current 30% 25%
Traditional 16% 9%
Down-market 33% 42%
Up-and-coming 12% 22%
Original 9% 2%

In the Autumn 2010 catalog the down-market group was the largest, but only by a small margin. There were almost as many traditional names in the catalog.

There were even more down-market names in the 2011 sample. In the Fall 2011 issue, the number of down-market names grew while the traditional group shrunk.

However, there were also more up-and-coming names in the 2011 sample.

Never the less, Pottery Barn names appear slightly behind the trends based on the 2010 and 2011 fall catalogs. I have some theories, which I will share at the end of this series if the findings remain consistent in 2012 and 2013.

Readers: What do you think about the names used in the Pottery Barn Catalog?

Image credit: Pottery Barn Kids Fall Gear Guide 2013