Help with Misunderstood Banner at Craft Shows

by Anita Campbell.

Help with Misunderstood Banner at Craft Shows  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I have been doing craft shows since 2011 and have had a banner at the front top of my tent (for outdoor shows) that originally said “The Beckoning Cat – Handcrafted Jewelry”.

I also had a banner on the inside back of the tent which said essentially the same, but also included my name and phone number.

A few years ago the outside banner fell apart and I had someone make a beautiful vinyl banner for me that read “The Beckoning Cat Jewelry”. It had a few figures of the Japanese “maneki neco” cat on it and was truly unique and I love it.

Here’s the issue:

Last year at the outdoor shows, I started having a few people come to my booth and ask where the “cat jewelry” was.

While I have some cat earrings and a couple of button rings that have cats on them, my jewelry is for people.

I tried to make a humorous comment about my cat not wanting to wear my jewelry or some such thing, but for the most part, people seemed to understand that I made people jewelry, not jewelry for cats.

This phenomenon started out slowly last year with maybe only a couple of people making that comment.

It has increased exponentially with my first craft show of 2018 (this past weekend) having people who came into the booth and many who were just walking by commenting, “Oh The Beckoning Cat…cat jewelry how cute.” ARRRGGGHHH! Also SIGH.

I told my husband who is also my partner (and roadie) that I am going to make a little sign under the banner which says, “Handcrafted jewelry for humans”.

Please help as I am at a total loss as to what to do. I can’t afford to get a new banner.

A crafter at the last show whose name is “Blue Peacock Jewelry” doesn’t seem to have the same problem with people asking about jewelry for peacocks.

Anita Campbell
The Beckoning Cat – Statement Jewelry

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  • Anita, I can imagine how frustrating that is. And strange that this issue is suddenly popping up after years of having the same business name.

    The first thing that popped into my mind is that since you’ve got some people in your audience who are expecting to buy jewelry for cats to wear, why not make a line of that type of jewelry and sell it alongside your line of people jewelry? If you’ve got folks ready to buy jewelry for their kitties to wear, you might make a side line of that, and see whether that’s an easy way to make extra sales and profits.

    Also, since it sounds like your banner is attracting cat aficionados, you may want to build up your line of cat-themed jewelry for people – like stamped pendants with cat themed sayings, or even custom pendants with clients’ photos of their own kitties in jewelry frames. (Remembering that custom jewelry should have higher pricing.)

    But I’m not suggesting that you let jewelry for cats (or cat jewelry for people) take over your entire business (unless you want to).

    But if you have an eager audience that’s ready to purchase those things, it might be something to think about.

    Also, those cat-related folks would very likely be interested in your non-cat-related jewelry too – which could also boost your sales of the kinds of “people jewelry” you’re currently creating and offering.

    I’m looking forward to hearing other ideas for you too!

  • Here’s a bit of an update: Just before our second show at a different location, my husband used colored electrical tape, cut it into a small circle and placed it on the banner between “Cat” and “Jewelry”. It seemed to help – only had a few “cat jewelry” comments, but still didn’t eliminate it. Maybe people at that show read the entire banner – I just don’t know.

  • Betsy says:

    When you get a new banner, how about putting the word “jewelry” in a different font as well? It distinguishes “the beckoning cat” as a brand.

  • I get the same problem sometimes. Black Dog Jewelry. Most people understand it’s a name but every now and then people look at me funny and ask if people actually buy jewelry for their dogs lol

  • Lisa says:

    That’s funny that so many people thought the jewelry was for cats. I agree with making a few more cat related items as well as a few pieces for cats. How about matching cat and human jewelry!

  • Karen Robison says:

    I have had a similar situation. My company name is Carolina Crystals. I am based in South Carolina and use lots of Swarovski crystals in my jewelry. People come and ask where are the special crystals from here and seem confused when I say that is the name of my business and not a special type crystal that they can buy.

  • Thank you for your comments – I’m going to start asking what exactly were they looking for in “cat jewelry” to gauge whether there would be enough REAL interest in extending my jewelry lines or if they can give me ideas on what I can or am willing to do.

    I also do jewelry in paracord (bracelets, keyrings, zipper pulls and lanyards). While I have done a dog collar for a friend for her very large lab (that took 18 feet of paracord – for every inch of finished paracord requires 1 foot of paracord), I don’t do pet collars as that is really a custom order type item. By law I have to include a break-away clip as well so I am extremely reluctant to expand that way. Actually can’t compete with the big box pet stores pricewise anyway.

  • Betsy says:

    Without knowing the sort of jewelry you make, I might respectfully disagree with the recommendations to make cat-oriented products unless they really align with your overall product line. a) it takes time away from making things that are part of your creative vision, b) it may attract business, but not the sort you want (for example, if you make unique, high-end designs, this might relegate you to “cute” categories and lower-end customer profiles). If, on the other hand, your work is a wider-range of jewelry, both artistically and price-point, it might fit in nicely and customers seeking out cat-themed products might also be interested in your other styles once they see them. But I urge you to have a reason for making cat things or not — random dabbling could be a frustrating outcome.

  • I was going to suggest a graphic solution, but it sounds as if you’ve already done that with success. If you invest in a new banner, perhaps a separate logo treatment for “The Beckoning Cat” with an illustration and a decorative font and, as Betsy said, the descriptive type in a completely different font. That should end the visual confusion.

  • I agree so much with Betsy.
    In my fashion jewelry business, I create one-of-a-kind pieces in the sense that, I only make one…no mass producing, plus, I do not take custom orders. However, it does not stop folks from making ‘special requests’.

    I believe, if you, change your platform and passion, making jewelry becomes a ‘j.o.b.’ and I know, I enjoy creating because it’s my passion which is not driven by others.

    This is my 2 cents! Keep being ‘you’ in your jewelry making journey, you will be happier.

    And hey! Also, folks have more cats than peacocks, right? Right?!! LOL!!

  • To Betsy and Joybelle: I make one of a kind higher end jewelry featuring my addiction (still) beaded Kumihimo jewelry, wire wrapped gemstone jewelry, jewelry made from paper beads that I make myself, Swarovski pieces and paracord as mentioned above. I have a wide price range and do accept credit cards for the more expensive items. I have charm earrings and rings that have a cat (as well as dog theme) in addition to original designs. I am a semi-retired executive assistant and words have always been an important part of my professional and personal life. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around the “logic” of “cat jewelry” coming from my business name. But as Joybelle says – you’ve got to have a sense of humor.

    Just as an aside, when I had my current banner made, I wanted to have “The Beckoning Cat – Handcrafted Jewelry”, but the person who made it said that this would make the wording too small to see well when it’s on the tent. Guess I’ll just have to smile and sigh. Thanks for the comments – much appreciated.

  • Wilma says:

    It would seem that there is a market for cat jewelry. Quick take advantage of it. It may turn out to be the best lemonade ever made from lemons.
    Perhaps it is provedence.

  • Mary Ann says:

    For Anita, I am so sorry for the grief this has caused you. While you have received some good suggestions on this board, I would wonder if cats would want to wear jewelry. Having had cats for most of my life, I have discovered most of them find a collar and tag intolerable, and constantly try to “Paw them off”. I wish I had a solution for you, but perhaps your table display of your pieces will continue to attract new customers. Best wishes!

  • Alison says:

    If you only sell jewellery, then there is no need for the word jewellery on the sign at all. Problem solved.

    It does not mean that you have to stop calling your business The Beckoning Cat Jewellery. It might also make people curious to look at your display because some will just ignore jewellery stalls.

  • Lynn L says:

    I’m a little leery about making jewelry for dogs or cats. I had a number of people ask me if I made jewelry for dogs and I wondered if I should but, then I thought of my dog and how she was able to get her tags into her mouth, how she did that I have no idea because they did not hang low and I couldn’t tighten her collar or I would be choking her but, she chewed them so bad you couldn’t make out what they were. I thought what if she can get the jewelry in her mouth and she ends up choking on it, if that happened to someone’s pet I’m sure they would come after me for it so I felt it best not to make jewelry for animals.

  • Claudia Kellenberger says:

    I would try to add one smaller line to the banner …. “Psssst ….. It’s Not Really For The Cat”.

  • Lora L Cotton says:

    I’ve read MOST but not all the comments, so this might be a duplicate answer; but my first thought is kind of what you’ve already done with the “dot”. I’d suggest making another dot and turninh that single one into a colon. That way your banner will read as The Beckoning Cat : Jewelry. That should – of course with common sense being almost non existent anymore it might not – make the “differential” between the Name and the Product. Good luck!

  • Laura Rusiecki says:

    Why don’t you bring a framed picture of your cat- past or present,who is your beckoning cat to your shows!

  • Diana Redlin says:

    I read this not as cat jewelry but jewelry for cat lovers. There are so many cat themed charms, cameos and other stuff that is made for cat lovers nowadays. Perhaps that is what people were looking for. I know people who always make cat and dog themed jewelry and it flies out the door.
    I can’t really fathom why people would want a cat to wear jewelry and can’t imagine a cat who would want to, lol.

  • Diana Pucci says:

    While my cats tolerate a collar after a day or two with it on, I wouldn’t want to burden them with one, as I noticed that a collar rubs the fur and causes it to be thin in that area of the neck. I took all collars off. Cat themed jewelry would be nice as an added part of your inventory, as the creativity moves you. Good luck, all the sign suggestions make sense. At some point the sign may wear out and you can have one done properly. You could also make a sub-banner or sign, with a description of your work and perhaps an Artist’s Statement.

  • Mary Anne says:

    Anita, that is an interesting dilemma. When I initially read your sign, I never thought of “jewelry for cats to wear”…but of cat-themed jewelry for cat lovers like me. 🙂

    People just are not going to become more mindful as they shop. Is there a space on banner to draw a simple silhouette of a human head with a necklace and earrings on it? The image could be traced and drawn on with permanent marker. You could also add a nice fiberglass maniquinn/wig head wearing jewelry to your booth display. I have both a male and female head. There are also smaller versions in white finish made specifically for jewelry display.

    You could always add table signage stating “ Jewelry made for humans.” A simple hand letter card would be enough.

  • Marianne says:

    I think Betsy nailed it in her response. Stick to making what you are passionate about and what works with your creative vision. Maybe the problem with your banner is not the wording but the image of the cats. I think many people respond to imagery first and the words second. Could you block out the images of the cats on your new banner and see what kind of response you get then?

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