The teenage daughter of Loose Women star Lisa Maxwell has revealed she made £300,000 helping Chinese parents pick an English name for their children and says that she intends to use the money to pay her university fees.
Beau Jessup, 19, from Edge, Gloucestershire has named more than 677,000 babies so far and also plans to invest in property.
She studies social anthropology at the London School of Economics.
Since setting up her company at 16, it has gone from strength to strength and she even gave a TEDx talk about the business.
She jokingly told
: ‘My parents are really proud but probably because they don’t have to pay for my uni fees.’
Beau set up SpecialName.cn after spending time in China and travelling with her father.
One of his business associates, a Mrs Wang, asked for help in naming her three-year-old daughter and when Beau suggested Eliza, after Eliza Doolittle, the woman was delighted.
All Chinese babies are given a traditional Chinese name at birth, which is written in Chinese characters and used for all government documents.
But there has been a growing demand in the last 20 years to adopt an additional English name that can be read, pronounced and printed in English.
Beau says she was dismayed at some of the names she heard, like Popcorn and Gandalf.
The former Cheltenham Ladies College pupil said at the time: ‘When I went to China I kept being asked to name babies for my parents’ friends.
‘They explained an English name is vital because you can’t use a Chinese name on email or a university application to the UK. Your English name stays with you for life.
‘But I also heard lots of examples where people had chosen culturally inappropriate English names they’d heard from films or read online.
‘It made me realise there was an opportunity to help Chinese people get it right from the start.’
To solve the problem Beau developed Specialname to suggest culturally appropriate English names to prospective parents based on their ideals and aspirations for their child.
It reflects the Chinese tradition for creating unique names for their children.
The website invites parents to select from a list of 12 personality traits including sensitive, honest and confident, to best describe their aspirations for their baby.
The site then analyses the choices and suggests a shortlist of three culturally-appropriate names.
The shortlist is presented along with their meaning and a famous namesake such as Grace Kelly or Catherine Middleton.
The site then shares the shortlist of suggested names with friends and family via messaging giant We-Chat – China’s equivalent to WhatsApp with more than 600million users – inviting help in making the final choice.
The naming service costs the equivalent of 60p for three names and takes just over three minutes from start to finish.
After making their choice, users are sent a naming certificate to keep. Parents are also encouraged to post their baby’s picture on the website.
Beau previously explained how she is proud to play a part in so many happy occasions.
She added: ‘There are babies being born every day and they all need a Special Name. I like the idea of providing a service that enhances such a happy occasion.
‘I have a target to reach which will allow me to pay for my university fees and writing the text for the site was really good practice for my Mandarin GCSE.
‘I spend two hours a day talking to my customers asking how I can make the service better and about an hour making improvements.
‘Since parents love sharing photos of their babies, I have recently added a gallery, so I’m gradually building a SpecialName community.’