I'm back in the office after 4 long days at the NYNOW gift show in New York. I'm tired and a little cranky. Cranky because there seems to be a trend out there that has inadvertently hurt business for us. Horn jewelry. I think it's pretty safe to say faux-tortoise jewelry and accessories have been around for a while, considering my family alone has been producing it for over 50 years. We aren't trying to be horn, and we don't want to be horn.
For years, while I was growing up and helping my family at trade shows, we would hear buyers saying, 'Oh, it's plastic' and they would walk away in disgust. The stigma that we used plastic was tough to overcome but we did, faux-tortoise has been popular for years, and I know all of our customers love and appreciate our jewelry. This material, cellulose acetate may be plastic, but our factories in Italy take great care in creating these rich painterly effect colors, and our acetate is light weight and durable and so comfortable to wear. Again, this is appreciated by all of our fans and has been for years.
In the past 6 months, all of a sudden the charms of lightweight faux tortoise has been lost. People want to wear clunky animal bone. I have had numerous conversations in the past 4 days where a buyer will ask if it's horn, I say no it's acetate and they b-line it out of there. This is all fine and dandy, this part doesn't bother me, our jewelry isn't for everyone. The part I have a hard time with is that people seem to think we are selling jewelry that is trying to be or copy horn. We sell faux-tortoise jewelry, and I think it's been around long enough where that doesn't need explaining.
I'm also a little surprised that there are so many people out there comfortable with wearing real horn, and I sincerely hope the horn being sold here is truly cruelty free. Since we are proud that we are selling (gulp) PLASTIC, and not real animal horn I've decided I will start referring to our material as vegan tortoise when at shows, as acetate is a plant-based material, totally cruelty free and not harmful to the environment.
Having to stand there at the shows with a smile on my face while people look down on your product is not a good feeling, and I have to just remember that most of those people are uninformed, and that there are plenty of buyers out there who appreciate a quality product that is handmade by a small business in the United States and to boot, does not involve animal bi-products. I'm very proud of what we do here, and I promise no more rant posts!