The typical jobs students do to make extra cash usually include things like working as baristas, tutoring, babysitting; but naming babies? One A-level student has discovered a niche side-gig that’s proving more profitable than most people’s day jobs…
Having an English name is held in high regard in China – not so much because its inhabitants are enamoured by pastiche American culture – but because children are often sent to study in Western countries, and a more Westernised, ‘recognisable’ name is said to help smooth the application process with academic institutions.
However, because of limited internet access, simply hopping onto Google for baby name inspo is not possible in China, so it’s a tough task to come up with something that’s not only English, yet is also appropriate for bestowing upon a child.
Enter 16-year-old Beau Jessup, from Gloucestershire, who set up the website specialname.cn, enabling Chinese families to pick out an English name for their baby via a few simple steps.
By assigning certain personality traits to a list of classic and popular names, Beau has created a database of titles that allow Chinese parents to find a name that’s both ‘meaningful’ and practical in terms of connecting with English-speakers.
A family pays roughly the equivalent of 60p, selects the sex of the baby and chooses 5 traits they’d most like the child to have.
The website then generates 3 suitable names… the results are then shared to China’s WhatsApp equivalent, We-Chat, for friends and family to help choose the best fit.
Reportedly, Beau had been asked to name a family friend’s baby during a visit to China before – and thus the seriously genius idea was born.
The sudden entrepreneur says: “I’m not really qualified or relevant enough in that baby’s life to be the person to give it a name.”
Luckily for Beau, though, things are done a little differently on the other side of the world – and she’s happy to help Chinese mums and dads avoid some cringe-worthy naming mistakes (although that’s evidently a risk not just localised to China).
“Being exposed to luxury items and things like Harry Potter, Disney films and Lord of the Rings means they use those for reference. I once heard of someone called Gandalf and another called Cinderella.” She’s apparently even met an unfortunate tot named Rolex.
The site has coined an incredible £48,000, so Beau is definitely on to something smart…although personally, I’m totally cool with my kids’ LOTR (and Star Wars)-inspired monikers…