The World of "Like"
Selling Craft Before Its Time

X-rated Adult Questions Craft Marketing

Sex in the City Flower PinThe following is a true, but rather unusual question from a reader of ASK Harriete. She has allowed me to use the question without her name or business name.

What is interesting about her "Adult" question is that it is such a fabulous example of developing a NICHE market.


XratedHello Harriete,

I have come up against a problem and hope you can help me.

For more than 15 years my name has been associated with a leather item most people would consider 'adult' and some people find that whole idea offensive. I've made my living with this product. I'm well known for the quality. I do 8 shows a year plus all the wholesale and website stuff. It's not going away.

I am becoming an art jeweler. I am selling jewelry. On the advice of several people I created another distinct website with a separate shopping cart and domain.

Here's my problem - many many people suggest you use your own name and then get involved in many social media venues, promote, volunteer, etc. If I say my real name and someone Googles it, they will find the leather business. If I use the new business name, there's no mention of the maker and it would mean multiple introductions.

Personally I'd like to keep the leather, clay, glass, pearls & silver under my name on the main website and just have different tabs for each 'subdivision'. The problem comes when people find out about the leather. They either spend 20 minutes telling me I'm going to Hell or 20 minutes telling me their fantasies and I end up spending time 'educating' them about consensual adult interactions, etc.

I'm concerned that if I'm open about all the aspects of my craft that I may be blocked from jewelry exhibitions.

What would you suggest?

Thanks for your answer.

This is certainly a novel, but relevant issue about branding and serving specific niche markets.  While the "adult" world among consenting adults may have provided you with an income....this is where a fictitious business name would have been a good idea, but that is history. Can't fix history.

Now, I think your instincts are right....Confusing the jewelry world, ceramics or glass with  the adult world with the same name or the same website is definitely NOT going to be an easy solution. The typical jewelry consumer folk are not comfortable with the adult world (at least not overtly).

Below are my recommendations:

Option 1.
Sell the jewelry only to the "adult" world. A niche within a niche.  They might buy it. Of course, it may have to have an adult world aesthetic...or purpose with suggestive hints, but you already have an established "name" and audience.  There may even be iconic images of the adult world that you could incorporate into your jewelry.  Skip the regular world of jewelry as the economy is still slow. Your niche market is already well developed. Your jewelry, glass or ceramics can expand your line .  You know this audience. They know you. Cha-ching~!

Option 2.
Change your name, use a nickname, or adopt a middle name for your new market outside the adult world. Develop two separate identities. Adult world = name A    Rest of the craft world = name B.
You would have to develop the "jewelry name" and reputation separately. Only a few close friends will know both sides of you.

Option 3.
Ignore the shock and surprise and conversations. Do what you want without apology. It is their problem. The stories could give you tons of visibility in the regular everyday world....but your skin is going to have to be really thick.
This could even be great P.R. if you want to go there, but no sense being secret about it.

I think picking between Option 1. 2. or 3. depends on your personal comfort level, and your family and children (if you have any). The adult notoriety is something they will have to deal with if you go public about combining two business identities.

Does this help?

Hello Harriete,
Thank you for the quick reply.
I hadn't expected any response for a week, as I know you've got a lot of things going. Thank you for laying it out so clearly. It's Option #1 that will work. I hadn't thought of focusing my efforts there and it makes so much sense.

I really appreciate your ability to see things. Perhaps some day we'll meet at an event.

Thank you!

Your X-rated reader.
Please join the interview  "Wild West Digital? - "The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY in the Age of the Internet". Click on this link for the details.

For more advice about Niche Marketing listen to this presentation from the Professional Development Seminar. (If you click on this link the SlideShare Niche Marketing presentation is immediately  followed by a podcast lunch discussion from the SNAG Conference.)

Niche Marketing from SNAG PDS 2011 from Harriete Estel Berman

NIche Marketing experts Hilary Pfeifer, emiko oye, and Deb Stoner share insights and practical tips on Niche Marketing.