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Baby name advice: budding career or industry myth?

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

NEW YORK – It’s the decision of a lifetime, and it’s going to cost a pretty penny. Baby Name Consulting is the latest luxury trend to enter the parenting world, but exactly how long has it been around? Is it old? Is this new? Is it even real?

Taylor A. Humphrey made headlines last month, appearing in every publication from People to The New Yorker, as she shared the scoop on her consulting firm called What’s in a Baby Name.

Is it a career, a side hustle or a hobby? According to a small group of consultants, it’s a business in its own right, and parents are willing to shell out big bucks to find the perfect brand name for their baby.

Let’s go back to the beginning

Wealth of Geeks spoke with Laura Wattnberg, who runs Namerology. The author of The Baby Name Wizard — now in its fourth edition — studies baby naming trends, but is adamant that she’s not a consultant.

So, is Baby Name Consulting real?

“It’s the mythical great white whale of the baby name world,” she says, “and has been for decades.”

Laura has studied baby names for the past 20 years since choosing names for her own children. At first, the way she thought of names didn’t match the dictionary of baby names, which was entirely etymological. So she set out to create her own field guide, almost like a buyer’s guide to names.

Although she has heard of Baby Name Consulting for some time, she is hesitant to say that it can become a career. For most, it’s a hobby. “It’s the industry that everyone talks about, but hasn’t really existed for decades.”

Every few years, a reporter will ask Laura questions about Baby Name Consulting, and for a brief moment, this storied career enjoys a step into the spotlight. Taylor A. Humphrey’s growing media exposure suggests we’re in the middle of one right now.

What is Baby Name Consulting?

What’s in a baby name, Nameberry, My Name for Life and Ipseity are the leading consultancies in the world of baby names, but what do they offer?

Taylor A. Humphrey earns between $1,500 and $10,000 per client for her services, ranging from a phone call to a genealogy investigation. The former NYU graduate first tried other careers, including a brief stint as a screenwriter. Now she names the babies. She posts advice videos on her Instagram, some of which have received over 1.7 million views.

His consultancy promises a “holistic and intuitive” approach to naming babies. It offers services such as bespoke baby name lists, advice and guidance, and a full baby naming concierge service and does not list its fees on the website. As for the Concierge package, Taylor has this to say, “It’s an all-inclusive luxury package that’s only limited by your own imagination.”

Our name is the first thing people learn about us and the last thing we leave behind.

–My name for life

Nameberry offers unique and different services, with prices easily accessible on their page. Packages include five names for $250, 10 names for $375, The Tiebreaker for $100, and a $500 name coaching option. They also refer to their most expensive package — at $10,000 — as a concierge service.

“Our name is the first thing people learn about us – and the last thing we leave behind,” according to My Name for Life. One package they offer is Name Remorse Solutions, a growing phenomenon that Laura has tracked in her own research.

With so many name choices, an increasing number of parents are experiencing name remorse. “If you named your son after his grandfather, you couldn’t go wrong,” says Laura. Now with more choice comes more opportunity to regret.

Ipseity differs from other consultancies in that it sells its packages as “pay what you think it’s worth”. Their boutique services include a simplified consultation with a recommended cost of $50-$75 or an in-depth consultation, which suggests clients typically pay between $100 and $150.

Is Baby Name Consulting for you?

It is undeniable that the services offered are expensive, but is this enough for a consultant to build a secondary activity or a career?

Laura has this advice for all aspiring baby namers: “It’s not necessarily a matter of taste; you have to be able to completely put your own taste aside, and understand what your customer is actually looking for, and to understand that he will win”. I don’t have the words to describe it.”

If you possess a passion for understanding names and a desire to help families choose a unique nickname for their children, baby name consulting might be for you.

Naming a child has the potential to alter the way we think about names for long periods of time. Laura tells the story of parents who named their daughters after a great aunt Olivia. “For every Olivia, there were a dozen Mildred and Gertrude who didn’t name someone after them.”

Maybe a day will come when Mildred and Gertrude finally get their due.

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