Guest Blogging News: Sassy Short Girl Baby Names


Blythe doll at the cafe

Just like my Spotlight on Rafe inspired my Nameberry guest post, The Motorcycle Riding Poets, my post on Blythe inspired the Sassy Short Girl Baby Name post, which is running on Nameberry today.

Blythe inspired Sloane and the list grew from there.

You can see the list on Nameberry today and check out the photo they used, which I just love.

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Does Pottery Barn Really Predict The Next Popular Names? Part 1

pottery-barn-summer-2013-pg92For years there has been a theory floating around the name-world that names appearing on monogrammed items in the Pottery Barn Kid’s catalog are up-and-coming names to watch.

Being a big time name watcher, I’m curious of course.

I set out to answer the question: Is this theory true or is Pottery Barn simply following trends, not setting them? Could the answer be both or none of the above?

To find out, I checked the Pottery Barn Kids catalog online archives. The online archives go back four years. I took a sample of names from the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 issues.

Since the list of names became lengthy, this has become a four-part series. This is part 1, which focuses on names from 2010.

Future installments of this series will focus on the following years:

  • Part 2 – 2011
  • Part 3 – 2012
  • Part 4 – 2013

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

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

  • Current (on trend for the catalog year or at their statistical popularity peak)
  • Traditional (never out of style or no big peaks or troughs)
  • Down-market (dated or past peak)
  • Up-and-coming (ahead of trends or trending upwards)
  • Original (unknown / invented / rare)

Names from the Autumn 2010 Online Issue

Current Names

These names peaked around 2010 (and in most cases these names are still at their peak):


Traditional Names

Names from the Autumn 2010 catalog that have been fashionable for at least a couple of generations:


Down-market Names

Names from the Autumn 2010 catalog that statistically were on the decline in 2010. Truthfully some names on this list surprised me, such as Alex and Jake, but statistically these names were all past their peaks:


Up-and-coming & Original Names

Now we are getting to the exciting part. The following lists of names were either up-and-coming or original, and were ahead of their time in 2010. A few of these names are still ahead of the trends. 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 2010:


Original Names

And here are names that were completely original in 2010—so uncommon they weren’t on many people’s radar (and in many cases are still under-the-radar):


*I had a hard time reading the font on the online catalog photo and the name could actually be Alice or Allie.

** As a nickname for the traditional Elizabeth, Lizzy 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, Lizzy would probably count as down-market, but I can’t prove that and I had to count nicknames as if they were given names.

Insights from Pottery Barn Kid’s Autumn 2010 catalog:

The up-and-coming and original lists are the shortest. Most of the names in the Autumn 2010 catalog were either current or slightly past-peak. In fact, the “down-market” (past-peak) list is the largest (but only by a small margin).

Before dismissing the “up-and-coming Pottery Barn names” theory, I’m going to sample names from 2011, 2012, and 2013 catalogs.

I have some thoughts on why most Pottery Barn names are either current or past-peak, but I will share my theories at the end of the series if the findings from 2010 are also true for 2011, 2012, and 2013.

To be continued…

For further reading, here is a Nameberry reader forum thread from January 2010 that discusses the names from the January 2010 issue, many of which are the same names used in the Autumn 2010 issue: 

Readers: Why do you think most 2010 Pottery Barn names were current or past-peak?

Image Credit: From the Pottery Barn Kids Summer 2013 Catalog

Guest Blogging News: Combo Names

Peggy-Sues-DinerA couple of years ago I wrote about combo names, and still find the subject inspiring. In the past couple of years, I have discovered new combo names and created some of my own.

Creating your own combo name isn’t as easy as putting two names together; only certain names seem to work.

Traditional names that combine well are: Ann(e), Jane, and Mary.

Modern or revival names that combine well are: Ada, Ava, Ella, and May.

Personally I like Louisa, Louise, and Zara in combo names.

At Nameberry today I talk about combo names past, present and future and share some under-the-radar combo names.

Readers: What kind of combo names do you like? Have you ever tried to make up your own?

Guest Blogging News: Motorcycle-Riding Poets


Hundreds Wait for a Poetry Reading, Venice Beach, 1960

Sometimes specific names inspire new baby name categories. Rafe, which we spotlighted recently, inspired the “Motorcycle Riding Poets” list.

The “Motorcycle Riding Poets” names are retro boys names with the right mix of swagger and culture, loosely inspired by 60s beatnik culture.

I promised I would let you know once this list was completed, and that day has arrived. I decided Nameberry readers would appreciate this list, and I’m thrilled they decided to run this article today.

To see the list, visit Nameberry and read “Retro Boy Names: The Motorcycle-Riding Poets“.

Are there any other names you could add to this list?

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Guest Blogging News: Names Hidden In Plain Sight

hidden-in-plain-sightDo you ever hear a name often enough that you are sure… absolutely certain actually… that the name must be in the top 1000 and possibly even the top 700 or top 500 and then you check on the name’s ranking and see that it’s not even on the chart (or makes it barely)? You might even be surprised to learn that the name was given to fewer 200 or even fewer than 100 babies last year.

This might be an example of “frame of reference” and its impact. Everybody has a unique experience which affects their impressions of trends. My frame of reference is that of a name person, and I hear names like Flora and Sylvie often. These names seem so approachable to me, and just beg to hit the top baby name ranks.

Imagine my surprise when I learned both of these names were given to fewer than a couple hundred babies in 2012. There are many more names like Flora and Sylvie that are unexpectedly unusual.

I share more of these “hidden in plain sight” names on Nameberry today. Check it out for some ideas, names you may have even considered but dismissed because you assumed they must be getting “too popular”.

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