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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 11:44 GMT
A child called Ikea: Myth or reality?
Tom Geoghegan
BBC News Magazine

Apple with mum Gwyneth Paltrow
Apple has not been widely copied
Newspapers gleefully claimed this week that Ikea was the latest example of barmy parents calling their newborn children after brand names. Er, not quite.

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.

Daily Mail, Daily Mirror
Wrong impression
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, Mot, 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.

Radio clue

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.

I saw the name Ikea and thought it would make a nice name for my baby
Linda Dagless
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."

Scarred

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.


Your comments:

I knew a girl called 'Apple' when I was at secondary school..... that was around 12 years ago !! So it isn't a new name invented by celebrities at all!
Gregor McIntyre, Rayleigh, Esssex

I also knew a Tudor (when I was at university) and he would be around 40 now, so not that new. And what about Lettuce, Water, and Murder - all names found in Victorian registrations! I did laugh the other day when I overheard a family calling out to their young children "Diesel!, Chanel!". Very tasteful, I must say...
martin bk, Brighton UK

Tudor? New? Not only is it my surname but it's also quite a popular Welsh name often spelt Tudur.
Nicola Tudor, Cardiff, UK

This very subject was discussed on the radio about a year ago and I remember one comment was from 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 ?
Marion Raine, Durham

I was called Levi over 30 years ago. As well as being a family name, I have begun to hear of more children called Levi, both boys and girls. I agree that an unusual name is an asset, people remember you more, your name stands out at interview etc. My favourite unusual names that I would like to see making an appearance are Banks, Mitre and Asia. There does seem to be a trend for surnames as forenames e.g. mason, Chase, Jackson, Brock, Decker etc
Levi, UK

I'm 23 and got the best named friends in the country, we're all within 2 years of each other both way. Syrena, Kaysha, Collins, Philp (pronounced Flip) and Leonados. I unfortunatley was born with parents who had no imagaination. But i won't follow suit, im thinking of Caleb, Younger and Talos.
Daniel, London, England

I gave all of my children unusual names - they only seem bothered when they can't get ready made personalised items in stores. 2 of their names are now much more common, Milo and Carys(named 2 years before Catherine Zeta Jones used it), although I've met only one other Tamar, I have yet to meet another Petrushka or a Hallam
Lisa, Sherborne

I once went to school with a girl called Iona Pyle. Everyone kept writing 'Of what ??' or worse when she has her work on display in the corridors.
Rob Schofield, Chester UK

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!
Simon Lee, Bordeaux, France

My oldest son is called Sheffield - he was born there. At the time most people thought we were crazy. But he likes it and now we live in Hong Kong most people have no idea he is named after the City of Steel.
andrea farley-moore, Hong Kong

I wish I'd gone with calling my two boys "Lucozade" and "Marmite". I heard someone calling "Shania!" in a shop the other day - that don't impress me much!
Gary Rogers, Basingstoke, UK

I've heard of genetic engineering, but "self-assembly babies" is taking things a bit far.
Gary, Bedford, UK

"Tudor" a new name? I used to know a gent in London with that very name, he must be in his 50's by now, lovely chap. Still wouldn't call my kids "Regency" or "Victorian" though.
Alan Beers, Leicester, UK




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