It is 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 how long has it been around for exactly? Is it old? Is it 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 inside scoop on her consulting firm called What’s in a Baby Name.
Is this a career, a side-hustle, or a hobby? According to a small group of consultants, it’s a full-fledged business, and parents are willing to shell out big money to find the perfect brand name for their baby.
Let’s Go Back to the Beginning
Wealth of Geeks spoke with Laura Watternberg, who runs Namerology. The author of The Baby Name Wizard – now in its fourth edition – studies trends in baby naming, but she is firm that she is not a consultant.
So, is Baby Name Consulting real?
“It is the mythical great white whale of the baby-naming world,” she says, “and has been for decades.”
Laura has studied baby names for the past twenty years since choosing names for her own children. At first, the way she thought about names didn’t fall in line with the baby name dictionary, which was all about etymology. So she set out to create her own field guide, almost like a buyer’s guide to names.
While she has heard whispers of Baby Name Consulting for some time, she’s hesitant to say it can become a career. For most, it’s a hobby. “It has been the industry everyone talks about, but that doesn’t actually exist, for decades.”
Every few years, a reporter will ask Laura about Baby Name Consulting, and for a brief moment, this mythical career enjoys a stint in 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 consulting firms in the baby-naming world, but what do they offer?
Taylor A. Humphrey makes anywhere between $1,500 to $10,000 per client for her services, ranging from a phone call to a genealogical investigation. The former NYU grad tried other careers first, including a brief stint as a screenwriter. Now she names babies. She posts advice videos on her Instagram, some of which have received over 1.7 million views.
Her consulting firm promises a “holistic and intuitive” approach to baby naming. She offers services like Bespoke Baby Name Lists, Guidance and Counseling, and a Full-Service Baby Naming Concierge and does not list her fees on the website. As for the Concierge Package, Taylor has this to say: “This is an all-inclusive luxury package that is limited only by your own imagination.”
Nameberry offers uniquely different services, with prices easily accessible on their page. Packages include five names for $250, ten 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 been tracking in her own research.
With so many name choices, an increasing number of parents are experiencing name remorse. “If you were naming your son after his grandpa, you couldn’t get that one wrong,” says Laura. Now, with more choices comes more opportunities for regret.
Ipseity differs from the other consulting firms in that it sells its packages as “pay what you think it’s worth.” Their boutique services include a Streamlined Consult with a recommended cost of $50-$75 or an In-Depth Consult, which suggests that clients typically pay between $100-$150.
Is Baby Name Consulting for You?
There is no denying that the services offered are pricey, but is it enough for a consultant to build a side-hustle or a career?
Laura has this advice to offer any aspiring baby namers: “It’s not necessarily about taste; you have to be able to completely put your own taste aside, and understand what it is that your client is actually looking for, and understand that they won’t have the words to describe it.”
If you possess a passion for understanding names and a desire to help families choose a unique moniker for their children, baby name consulting could be for you.
Naming a child has the potential to alter the way we think about names for long periods. Laura tells a story about parents naming their daughters after a great aunt Olivia. “For every Olivia, there were a dozen Mildred’s and Gertrude’s who didn’t get anybody named after them.”
Perhaps a day will come when the Mildred’s and Gertrude’s finally get their due.
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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
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Justin McDevitt is a playwright and essayist from New York City. His latest play HAUNT ME had its first public reading at Theater for the New City in September. He is a contributor for RUE MORGUE where he lends a queer eye to horror cinema in his column STAB ME GENTLY.