Beau Jessup never suspected she would turn her far-fetched idea into a million dollar business…
Beau Jessup was just a regular sixteen-year-old British teenager when she took a trip to China with her father that would change her life forever. While accompanying her dad on a business trip, Beau had the idea of helping Chinese families choose culturally appropriate names for their new babies, and has since helped name over 600,000 children.
From Little Things…
Once in China, Beau’s dad introduced her to a business colleague who asked Beau to suggest an English name for her three-year-old daughter. “I was surprised by this because having the responsibility to name a child is quite important,” she told news.com.au. “I wanted to take it seriously.” After being given a list of characteristics that they would like their daughter to have, Beau did some research and chose the name Eliza after the famous character from Pygmalion, known for her strong personality. “She was so happy with it and took the name suggestion straight away,” she said. Being able to speak, read and write Mandarin after studying it at school proved to be a huge advantage for Beau as she set about creating a company that filled a gap in the Chinese market.
Prior to launching Special Name, Beau put together a database of more than 4000 names with each name attributed to five characteristics. Parents using the site then select the characteristics they would like their child’s name to reflect and pay for the three name suggestions that it generates based on their choices. Beau said that the demand for anglicised names reflected China’s status as a global economy. “The fact that China is becoming a global economy bridging the west and east, it’s a service that’s becoming increasingly necessary,” she said. “When I was at school, a lot of the Chinese girls had English names, but some were very odd… and it’s a shame because people would take the mickey out of them, which isn’t nice, and I didn’t want to perpetuate that.”
Beau is using the profits from her site to fund her degree in social anthropology at the London School of Economics and has plans to further improve the service and invest in property. “It’s probably the most sensible thing to do,” she said. “Probably a bit too sensible!”
Would you use a baby naming site to help name your child? Let us know in the comments.