How I Named My Baby: Zola Antoinette

How I Named My Baby: Zola Antoinette

Ashley Rouse is the owner and CEO of Trade Street
Jam Co. and lives in Brooklyn with her husband Donald. Earlier this summer they welcomed their first child — a daughter named Zola Antoinette.

Below, we talk with Ashley about how she and Donald chose the baby name Zola for their little girl.

When did you know you found “The Name?”

I had a dream that we had a beautiful baby girl and her name was Zola. When I woke up, I told my husband and he adored it. We looked up the name and it means “tranquil” and “ball of earth.” We were sold.

What strategies did you use to narrow down your name choices?

I literally wrote out her first, middle, and last name a million times. I kept saying it over and over, too. It never got old and I knew that meant it was perfect.

Whose baby name opinions influenced you the most?

It was always just my husband and I. We knew that we didn’t want anyone else’s opinion. I love that we agreed on that.

Is your baby named after anyone?

Her middle name is Antoinette after my lovely cousin who passed away in 2018.

What name did you hate to let go of?

Mia, Luna, Stella, and Arlo. Giselle for the middle name. Gaahhh, so many beautiful names. So many babies I need to have. 🙂

How do you feel about your own name and how did that influence your choice?

I don’t mind my name at all, but I will say that it’s pretty common. I wanted something super unique for my baby girl that would shine like I know she will.

What would your baby be named if it was the opposite gender?

Dash, Lennox, Miles, Coltrane or Ace. Aren’t they everything?

What are the trendy names in your social circle?

Elle and Lennox are trendy in our circle of friends.

Which partner had more fun with the baby name process?

Omg, me of course! I’ve had a “baby names” list going in my phone for as long as I can remember. At least 3 or 4 years now. Maybe more.

Which partner was pickier about baby names?

Surprisingly, neither of us. We were really aligned! There were only maybe 1 or 2 names that he was like, “no way,” but everything else we both really liked.

Did you share your baby’s name before she was born?

Never! I was giving my husband crap for telling people all the time. He was just so damn excited to share. I totally wanted to keep it a secret and reveal it when we shared her with the world. We told our immediate family, but no one else.

Have any unexpected nicknames come up for your baby?

Yes! I keep calling her Zola Bean. I have no idea why. It just fits.

What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?

The fact that even though we had a list, we knew from the very beginning that ‘Zola’ was the one.

What advice would you give someone just starting the baby name process?

Just do what feels right in your soul. No social media, no outside opinions, no worries about what the world will think. Just what feels right on the inside. 🙂

Thank you so much, Ashley!

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest.

Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at Sophie lives in Chicago.