the Paris of the Manawatu?

February 22, 2009 § 2 Comments

As promised, here is a Part 2 to the exciting investigation into salon naming practices. This time brought to you from Palmerston North.

The same categories were used to examine the 65 hair salons listed in the yellow pages (online edition). Now strictly this is not grounded theory anymore, because that would have entailed Palmy specific categories emerging from the data. But we might just want to make comparisons between the Palmy and Wellington cohort of curlers and  colourists.

Palmy                             Wellington

personal name     14%                                        26%

location                     14%                                       10.5%

glamour                    12%                                       10.5%

pun                               12%                                         11%

hair                               4%                                            6%

aspirational            3%                                            6%

other                           35%                                        35.5%

ambiguous              4%                                             7.5%

getting those numbers lined up was killing me ….

Overall, the results seem quite similar. Shockingly, the pun strategy is exactly as popular in the capital as it is in the regional centre, blowing my own stereotypes/presumptions out of the water. The only clear difference was in the use of personal names, clearly favoured in the bigger city. Without relevant statistical tests we cannot be sure how significant some of the other findings are. More interestingly, and hidden by the statistics are the differences within categories that were favoured to a similar degree. For example, PN location names were usually street specific, whereas Wellington ones were more likely to be names of areas or suburbs. There were few location named salons in central Wellington, but the CBD of Palmerston (don’t laugh Aucklanders and Wellingtonians) had quite a few. In PN, combining the name and the location strategy was also popular in the form of NAME of STREET.

The glamour strategy was slightly different in PN. Instead of a smattering of class images such as Lords and Ladies, Palmerston glamour is strictly continental, and predominantly French by the looks of it – la patrie ‘one’s homeland’ and the superfancy travail d’amour ‘labour of love’!

Most shockingly, however, was the extreme lack of playful orthography in Palmerston North.  Only three examples! One of those was outstanding though – phixx. Fantastic!  This lack is surprising given that other business types such as retail stores and motels employ this strategy. Perhaps this ‘technique’ is strongly associated with non-hair dressing enterprises in this part of the country.

Well that is probably enough about hairdressers though there could be plenty more to be said. I challenge you to come up with a theory about the different social meanings of hair salon versus hair design as part of the business names.


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§ 2 Responses to the Paris of the Manawatu?

  • Gillian Skyrme says:

    As an enthusiastic client of Bianca, the owner of the superfancy Travail d’Amour, I told her that she had achieved fame on this site and we discussed why she had chosen the name. She said that she felt very profoundly that for her doing her hairdressing task and her salon itself (it is in her own home) were truly a work of love … but that it felt more difficult to say that in English. Do you think that we protect ourselves sometimes from profound statements by putting them at one remove from the bread-and-butter ordinariness of everyday English?

  • OMG my interests collide …. remember the NZ Vegas towns … well know there is a Hair salon in a Manawatu village, Rongotea, called Rongo Vegas!

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