It wasn't easy, but after weeks of phone calls, emails and
abrupt changes in "confirmed" schedules, our own roving reporter, Tish Tagore, was finally
able to get some face-to-face time with both Jack and Anna. This
elusive event took place in a taxi cab making its way from JFK to
Newark - they're busy people! Tish began the interview by asking
the Lombards how much of the Whachacallit story (featured on this site) is factual.
© 2007 Trish Tagore and The Whachacallit Corp.
Jack Lombard - World Champion Namer
Factual? Almost nothing... I guess Mickey spells our names right. The facts
behind our careers are in our own book, if anyone is interested in the true story - read
Tish: But you approved the story - and you sponsor the
Name Your Salon site - why?
Jack: Yes, because the facts in this case are not what's important.
Like I said, the facts are in our book. Anna never had a salon and
I never had a girlfriend named Suzy who "almost" christened
Anna: I used to dream about having my own salon. That was my
Jack: ... anyway we approved that story because we are not vain people -
we can laugh at ourselves. The author portrays us as being a little silly
and a little crazy without loosing focus as to our mission - and he gets
that aspect of us right. We hope the story will inspire others,
even if we would prefer that they buy our book. (laughs)
Anna: What's important is the message - and we think the message is
correct: Every individual on this planet has the creative power to
move mountains - it's only fear and convention holding them back.
The truth is, you don't need much of a brain to be creative - smart
asses are no more creative than dumb asses. We've got namers on our
staff who couldn't get through high school, have never read
anything more challenging than a shampoo bottle label, can't add six and
seven, and all that, you know ... but they're nailing down names for
million-dollar-products that will sit on every store shelf in the
Tish: So a high IQ is not a prerequisite for getting a job at
Anna: (laughs) I was talking about namers. The truth is, most of
the people we hire are not paid to sit around drinking coffee
and think up names. For every namer there are a dozen other
employees doing administrative stuff: poling, focus groups, sales,
surveys and all that sort of boring-boring. For that kind of work
you need a high IQ. (more laughter)
Tish: But I suppose most people who come to you for a job do so
because they think they have a talent for names?
Jack: Yeah, they should - names are everything. It's what you call
things that counts. We've proved that pretty definitely I think.
Anna: Just look at the New York Times Best Seller list. Either
you're exceptionally famous or you have a damn catchy title.
Without that title your book is gonna flop - believe me, cause it's
been proven ... it don't matter how good a writer you are, or how
much wisdom or smut you pack in there. You gotta have that great
Tish: Is your company responsible for some of those names ... I
mean on the New York Times list?
Jack: You better believe it ... half of them!
Tish: Well I know you have competitors...
Jack: What's the name of this cab?
Tish: I have no idea.
Jack: Yeah - exactly! Cause somebody didn't bother to spend a lousy
10 minutes to think up a half-decent name for the company. If they
had, you would have seen it on the door and remembered it.
Anna: For example, they could call it "Colorful Cabs" and paint all
the cars like flower beds. Did you hear that driver?
World Champion Namer
Driver (Yemi Ajibade, according to his license) : I heard you
Ma'am. It's not my cab, but I will tell that to the owner.
Anna: Are you from Lagos?
Driver: The outskirts. How did you guess?
Anna: I could tell. We have an office there. There are a lot of
creative people in your country. Even the 4-1-9 scammers are
creative in their own way.
Driver: I wouldn't know about that Ma'am...
Anna: If they channeled their talents into legitimate endeavor,
they could do really well, you know.
(The driver received a call on his cellphone and remained
engaged in conversation for the rest of the
Tish: If names are your business, Jack, then how come you give
them away on Name Your Salon?
Jack: "Curls in Combat", "Dinky Do's"
Tish: Excuse me?
Jack: I just thought of those - just made them up totally out of
the blue. Your turn Anna...
Anna: "Just a little off the sides" and "Capricious Cuts".
Jack: There you go, Tish. Four names instantly dreamed up, even
though it was ages ago we two ever dealt personally with salon names...
Anna: Yeah, it's sad - we just don't have time for that now now.
Nigerian taxi driver
Jack: Now when you are back in your office, go out on the Internet
and look up those names, Tish. And you know what? You are going to
find out that someone out there also thought them up totally
independent of Anna and myself. Everything is out there. If there is
one possible connection between something vaguely related to hair
or the tools of the trade - if there is the slightest chance to make
an alliteration, work out a pun, or score a paraphrase - well, trust
me, someone has done it. The Internet has changed the nature of our
business. Totally changed the nature of our business.
Anna: Yeah, and what counts is the match. Matching your name and
your personality - your name and your vision - your name and the
essence of what you are. Names are a dime-a-dozen - it's the match
Jack: And there isn't a would-be salon owner in the world who, in
their right mind, should blow half their start-up budget getting
innvolved with us. We are talking sderious money here, you know.
We simply wouldn't take the job.
Anna: So we figured - what the heck. Why not do something for the
community? Why not show a little compassion? Show a little
Jack: Name Your Salon is like our foreign aid - our Peace Corps. It's worldwide
you know. Two days ago I got a letter from a woman in Chengdu,
China, who had found her salon name with us, which, she told me, previously
had been called Hair Salon #57!. Isn't
that wonderful? She is going to call her place, "Extension
Evolution" she is going to get her sign done in English, cause she
says it will add class to her business.
Anna: Of course, English is the magic language. But we are rebuilding the site and adding Mandarin, and some Indian languages as well. That's where the action
is. That's where the future is heading. Before long salons in the states are going to be looking for Chinese names - it's inevitible.
Our taxi had arrived at Newark
Tish: Well, I guess on behalf of all the hairdresser in the
world, I should thank you?
Anna and Jack: (In unison) You're Welcome!