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What's in a name?

What’s In A Name?

One of the questions I am repeatedly asked since starting Little Hotdog Watson is regarding the origin/reasoning behind the name.

In response I have condensed what was actually a very considered process to a bit of a rambly soundbite. Names are personal, evocative, draw on our emotions and intentionally and intentionally create labels. Last week Gap has been criticised for it’s use of names and association with gender stereotyping. I decided it was time to talk about why I picked the name Little Hotdog Watson and why I think names are very important for our children.

In a survey carried out in 2013 of 13,000 brides on wedding website 80% of women asked still chose to take their spouses name. There is a belief that this number is falling and try as I might I couldn’t find any similar comparison for gay marriage.

When we got married right after question 1 ‘What are you going to wear? quickly came question 2. “Are you going to change your name?” **Notice only question 2 was directed at me!

I am one of the 20% of women who retained my maiden name; Thompson. I had built my career using that name. It’s association with a very famous British actress has been very helpful in getting bookings in restaurants over the years and I am proud of my roots. In fact it was never really a question of would I change my name.

This all ticked along very nicely until I became pregnant. Then the name question reared it’s head again. What should we call our baby. Step one was deciding on the all important first name. Step two was all about the surname. Our baby was equal parts of us and we wanted them to feel part of our family unit. After much discussion we settled on joining our surnames: Watts and Thompson became Watson.  We didn’t hyphenate our names  For us it worked, we became one family blended together.

I didn’t really think anymore about names after H was born because quite honestly I was in a complete haze. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I started to notice something fundamentally awry with names as I went shopping.

As I shopped for H I started to notice how everything was divided and segments. Boys and Girls sections, colour divided blue for one pink for the other. Names attached to products that screamed this is aimed at girls not boys. Starting from 0 months the gender stereotyping began. It’s all consuming. It made me feel very sad that while all the shouting is being done to smash glass ceiling in business in fact the names, labels and stereotypes are starting much sooner.

In fact last week Gap was not alone with promoting a picture of a boy saying ‘Scholar’ wearing Einstein on his top and a picture of a girl in Pink labelled ‘Social Butterfly’. New Look also stooped to an all time low by selling pyjamas for 9 year old girls with the slogan ‘cheat day’. (More info here)

When it came to setting up the business holding true to my values was really important. Little Hotdog Watson is a family business. It’s inspired by my daughter and if it wasn’t for the total support of both my daughter and husband it wouldn’t be possible.

The name Watson was key to representing this.

Hotdog stems from one of H’s earliest nicknames. Maybe it’s a northern thing but foodie nicknames for kids are part and parcel of family life. I love the fact that Hotdog while meaning nothing also means absolutely everything. It’s about family, pet names and how children are loved and not labelled at home, in the way they are by the high street, wider world.

In the very early stages of the business I confess I had a fear about adding hats that were seen as traditionally male or female.  At the very first photoshoot…each child was asked to pick their favourite hats to be photographed in. Our pictures came organically from that shoot with the children leading, boys choosing pink, girls choosing green. Not one picking from one label or another.

Little Hotdog Watson is proud to be part of a change in the way kids fashion is slowly moving. We don’t label our hats by gender. All of our products have names that encourage action, adventure and fun. We are proud to include all colours and shapes in our range and want Little Hotdogs to choose their hat based on what they like not what they are told to wear.

Names are important. Lets use them to build up our children and not knock them down.

I am really keen to hear your thoughts on how/if you think children are being labelled.


Love Emma x


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