This news item appeared in November on the BBC web page; it’s about a couple who named their child Ikea, after the furniture company!
Loved though it is by many, the world’s favourite Swedish furniture store does not inspire happy emotions in everyone – stress, crowds and flatpack-inspired frustration to name a few. Given this, Ikea is not an obvious name to give a baby. Hence it was no surprise that, with the news that baby names seem to be getting stranger, some papers pounced on the example of Ikea as evidence. “After Janet and John, Moet and Ikea,” was a typical headline.
The source appeared to be baby information firm Bounty, which distributes Bounty packs including disposable nappies to mothers in hospital. Its research was based on 600,000 mothers, which the company claims covers 98% of new mums. Accompanying some recent examples, its survey suggested the number of unusual names was up 20%. More interestingly, it concluded that children with curious monikers grow up to be proud of them eventually, and two-thirds give their own children an equally peculiar name, because they see it as a “unique selling point”. The names Levi, Moët, Caramel, Apricot, Bambi, Rocky, Tudor and Red were on their list for the last year, the papers highlighted, although Levi is a Biblical name and definitely not new.
But what could Bounty tell us about the Ikea child? Not very much.
Spokeswoman Pauline Kent said: “The Ikea name didn’t appear in our main poll. This is a list for the last year and we have been doing this for about three years so this could be a child born four years ago.” So where did the papers get it from? “A journalist said to me that someone had been interviewed on the radio because they had written a book about unusual baby names in the US, like Armani, and this person being interviewed said they had heard of someone in the UK calling their baby Ikea,” said Ms Kent.
Sure enough, there was an Ikea born in the UK, but it was more than three years ago.
Linda Dagless, who was 26 at the time, named her fourth daughter after the furniture store in May 2002. At the time, she told her local paper in Norwich: “I was pregnant, sitting on the sofa with my boyfriend and trying to think of a name for the little girl I was going to have when I noticed the Ikea advert. I saw the name Ikea and thought it would make a nice name for my baby. I have seen the Ikea adverts on the telly and in magazines and thought they always had nice furniture, but I’ve never been to the shop. I’m now planning to go there with my mum.”
There may well be a newborn Ikea out there, of course. However the Office for National Statistics says there are certainly not more than five in all of England and Wales; hardly evidence of a new trend for wacky names. And it seems Moet is not so unusual either, with at least one woman in her 20s carrying the name – and one man too. But the story of a whole houseful of Ikeas? Perhaps it just wasn’t screwed together properly.
What also fascinated me about the article, were the comments made about it!
“I knew a girl called ‘Apple’ when I was at secondary school….. that was around 12 years ago !! ”
“I did laugh the other day when I overheard a family calling out to their young children “Diesel!, Chanel!””
“… a teacher in America who had taught two children from the same family. Orangello and Lemonjello. I have often wondered if that was the pregnancy craving and on that basis should I have called my two daughters gingernut ?
“… Syrena, Kaysha, Collins, Philp (pronounced Flip) and Leonados…”
“I gave all of my children unusual names… Milo and Carys… (and) although I’ve met only one other Tamar, I have yet to meet another Petrushka or a Hallam
“I think our generation just didn’t want children with traditional English names like John and George. Post 1994 babies in my family are called Brett, Nadya, Jake, Killian, Isaac, Brandon, Clem, Bethan etc. At my son’s school here in France where a limited list of officially approved names was only abandoned in recent years he has local friends called Steve, Jimmy and Jason!”
“My oldest son is called Sheffield”
“I wish I’d gone with calling my two boys “Lucozade” and “Marmite””