By Michelle Graff
Michelle-blog“Who would want to put hairless cats and jewelry together?” she said. (Really, who would want to put hairless cats next to anything they wanted to sell?)

The answer is the family-owned and -operated jewelry manufacturing business she runs with her dad Jerome and brother Nicky—Victoria, British Columbia-based Rousseau Chain. They have begun using Natalie’s three Sphynx cats in their online marketing materials for their latest line, Quiver Jewelry.

Oh, where to begin … I guess the cats themselves are as good a place as any.

According to Natalie, and Cats 101 on Animal Planet, the Sphynx is a cat that has been bred since the 1960s and actually started in Canada, where Rousseau Chain is based. A hairless kitten was born in Toronto and, boom, there was a new breed.

[caption id="attachment_3099" align="aligncenter" width="302"]two-cats Natalie Zachary’s two Sphynx cats, Leela and Harry, snuggle up. Natalie said they didn’t like each other when she first brought them together but the two are best friends now.[/caption]

Probably the most-well known Sphynx is Mr. Bigglesworth, the cat who belonged to Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies. His name in real life was Ted Nude-Gent, and he was pretty much the Rin-Tin-Tin of hairless cats, paving the way of other Sphynx cats to hit the silver screen. (Ted, unfortunately, passed away a few years ago.)

Natalie says, and Animal Planet concurs, that, despite their alien-like appearance, these cats are very friendly and energetic and love being around people; in other words, they are more dog than cat. “People are quick to judge,” Natalie says. “They think they’re really scary-looking and weird. (But) once you meet them, you are totally shocked. They are not what they appear.”

She says that the idea of using the Sphynx in marketing Quiver Jewelry arose because they want to set their product apart from the competition.

Quiver is a line of, as Natalie puts it, “moving stone jewelry,” which is very popular right now. There’s Diamonds in Rhythm, Rhythm of Love, Unstoppable Love, Dancing Diamonds, etc., and the jewelry is carried by both independents and the major chains.

For Quiver, Rousseau Chain has patented their own mechanism that makes the stone move, and Natalie says it makes the movement more exaggerated and longer lasting.

And then there’s the models. There’s the cleverly named 3-year-old boy Harry and the younger Leela, whom Natalie adopted second after determining that Harry was lonely. There’s also the newborn Olaf, who is Leela’s son by another Sphynx (scandalous!), and has his own Instagram account already, @OlafTheSphynx.

Natalie said the cats love modeling the jewelry and are great at posing for pictures. The campaign is also a bit of comeback for poor little Leela, who suffered an injury when she was quite young and nearly was paralyzed.

[caption id="attachment_3100" align="aligncenter" width="844"]Harry-rotator Harry, one of Natalie’s three Sphynxes, modeling a Quiver necklace. The pieces are available in .925 silver, or with 14-karat yellow or rose gold plating. They’re set with Swarovski cubics and, in the fall, a diamond line will roll out.[/caption]

Their plan is to roll out a few new pictures every week to tell a story using Harry and Leela, later incorporating video of the little one, Olaf. The tagline: “Even cats love Quiver.”

The reaction to the few pictures they’ve put out there so far has been good, though Natalie admits her father wants to see where the Sphynx lead them before investing money into print advertising and in-store materials featuring Harry & Co.

That’s the nice thing about social media, though: It allows you to try out something new and to gauge how invested consumers are going to be in a certain character or idea, without a huge investment.

And these hairless cats certainly are something new, at least in the jewelry world.

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