What's up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday : Naming process


IMG_0949Today, like most weeks, I spent some time naming some of the latest additions to the Gus and Ollie clan. Sometimes a name jumps right off the page and fits perfectly, other times I search and search, trying to find the perfect name to fit those cute little faces.

The questions I am asked the most about my process are How do you name them? And how do you remember which names you’ve already used? Well, the answer is pretty simple.


A few years ago, out of the blue, one of my delightful customers sent me a book of 5000 names, which she no longer needed and thought would be useful to me. Not only was it my very first book of names – but I haven’t found a better book of names since.

Not only does it include names from a vast variety of nationalities; African, Germanic, Italian, Irish, Welsh, British, Spanish, and Polish to name few, but it’s like a dictionary of names starting at A and ending in Z.

There is no boys section or girls section. It simply states if the name is used as a feminine or masculine first or last name, following with its origin and meaning.

My naming method is to completely finish a monkey, monster or elephant, sit them in front of me on my desk with book and green highlighter in hand, then I look at each face and decide on the first letter of their name. I know it sounds crazy – but most look like a B or an N or I know this one will start with S!

It’s just something that seems to come to me. I then flick to that letter in the book and start reading down the list of names beginning with that letter, stopping at names I think might fit. I look again at the monkey and know instantly if it’s right or not.

If not, I simply continue. IMG_0985

Once I have settled on a name, I write it on their name tag and promptly highlight the name in the book – which tells me at a glance that it has now been used. No two Gus and Ollie toys have ever been named the same. There have only been a couple of exceptions, where I have made sure that at least the spelling is different.


Their name tags are then punched and tied on to the left side of the handmade fabric bag your monkey, monster or elephant arrives in. I like to call this their Schlafsack – their sleeping bag, which kids love to use to put them to bed at night.

If the monkey has not yet been sold, they are carefully placed in a cabinet or in the window display at my studio – Atelier E-37 – which is changed regularly, with each new influx of my cute critters.


I hope you enjoyed reading more about my naming process, which only makes each and every Gus and Ollie softie a little more special and personal.

See you Friday!

Love Jess


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