You might look at our branding and think, what exactly is a second banana? Where did the term come from? As opposed to a top banana – the person always getting prime billing at every show, the highest position in the office, or heck, picked first in gym class, a second banana is considered more of the supporting role, the sidekick, an underdog character. The expression is said to have originated in the 1880s Burlesque era where Vaudeville acts were all the rage. Some say the phrase came a popular skit in which the main comic was given a banana after delivering the punch line to a particularly funny joke. Others say it came from an act where three comedians try to share two bananas. Either way, top and second banana were born. Jewish performer Harry Steppe is often credited with coining these terms.
After years of studying graphic design, 2D illustration, color theory, art history and later on, dealing client after client in our freelance positions, we wanted to start a collective that expressed our own identity – namely, a dry, dark sense of humor. Before we knew it, we figured out how to put our concepts and designs to the test, learning how to create a studio and screen print out of an extra bedroom in total DIY fashion. Along the way, we've overcome roadblocks (like buying the right screen printing equipment, for instance... there's only about a thousand different options of chemicals and tools), triumphed over small successes (like first sales and gaining followers), and learn something new everyday. That's what being a second banana is all about.
May is Mental Health Awareness month and in light of that, Second Banana took a look at some Etsy sellers that create and sell items that break the stereotypes of mental health, and even change perspectives. Some of the most common thoughts surrounding mental health issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD, eating disorders, self-harm, and others is the stigma that we cannot talk openly and freely about them for fear of misunderstanding, judgement, rejection, or abandonment. In fact, according to CureStigma.org, the stigma society places on those with mental illness can prevent those individuals from getting the help they need, potentially worsening their symptoms.
At Second Banana, we keep mental health advocacy a priority in our work. We style our messaging to demonstrate an acceptance and encouragement of recovery. We love brands that align with our messaging! Without further ado, here are the top 10 Etsy sellers crushing the stigma of mental illness.
UK artist HouseOfWonderland is a fun shop on Etsy where tons of encouragement can be found. Her illustrations and handwritten calligraphy take the designs a long way. This enamel pin is a helpful reminder you can wear on jackets, jeans, and more!
Fairycakes is a maker from Glasgow, United Kingdom. Her products are pastel, colorful, and snarky. Check out these vinyl sticker badges she created to remind others that getting through the day is tough on some!
Hailing from New Mexico, FatallyFeminine creates work inspired by self-love and mental health awareness, and mostly, she designs "couture quality hand-crafted jewelry for the fashion rebels, kawaii enthusiasts, and all babes with killer style." This enamel pin (a popular seller these days), features the slogan, "you are enough" as a powerful mantra for anyone who needs a helpful reminder.
Another UK pal! Sootmegs creates functional pins that make the invisible, visible. For those who are apprehensive to talk about their issues, this pin set is for you! Check out her shop to see all the pins on mental health, gender identity, relationship issues, and more!
From the sunny side of Los Angeles, California, BoredInc showcases unsung heroes of equality in the form of buttons, enamel pins, prints, and stickers as well as iconic feminist slogans. THere's also a focus on self-care – and important tool in the recovery of mental illness. Check out her enamel pin for practicing self-kindness without the fear of guilt!
MentalHealthMagic is a relatively new Etsy user, but we couldn't help but point out some of her products are truly channeling mental health awareness. This particular enamel pin set are motivational pieces created in the style of small badges.
Based in New York, TheSilverSpider promotes mental health awareness in a variety of ways, but probably the most striking enamel pin she has is this circular one with the quote "you can talk to me about suicide." Very rarely will a piece of flair have such a blunt message on it, but many of her customers agree the pin opens up conversation on this heavy topic.
Yet another UK find, GoatsAndTotes has plenty of charming pieces of flair, all representing encouragement in one form or the other. With phrases like "keep going," "I am brave," and "I am strong," customers have applauded her efforts to feel unabashedly proud to speak about their innermost thoughts.
GirlFawksPins is a Chicago-based Etsy used specializing in feminism, 90s-related artsy and nature enamel pins. Some of her best work is devoted to mental health awareness, such as the pin we're showcasing with the words, "it's okay to not be okay."
If anyone is spot-on with the strength of anxiety and depression, it's PrettyBadCo. Their assortment of patches, pins, and prints allude to the strain of mental illness and showcase the inner perspective of those who suffer from it, all with a bit of sass and jadedness.