A few years ago, I was climbing the stairs of our temple to drop the kids off to their Hebrew school class, when I noticed a new piece of art hung in the stairwell. The enormous banner was two stories high, and hung from floor to ceiling. It was complete eye candy! Beautifully detailed painted scenes depicting students, teachers, Hebrew letters, and scenes from the Torah, all enhanced with glitter, gems, fabric pieces, and other 3D effects. It was my first experience with one of Hallie Beyer’s amazing creations. Since then, this mom of three has been hard at work with her custom hand-painted banner business Better with a Banner. The other week I noticed a cheery and encouraging new banner in the window of Sugar Rush (10 Waverly Place, Madison). I immediately knew it was one of Hallie’s! And since then, I’ve been seeing her banners all over my local friends’ Facebook posts, making their kids’ quarantine birthday celebrations extra special. I knew I had to find out more about Hallie’s creative and joy-spreading banners!
A Madison Mom: What is Better with a Banner?
Hallie Beyer: Better with a Banner is my small business of creating custom, hand-painted banners and posters for birthdays, events and special occasions. I love to brighten up a room and add to the festivities! I really do believe that while it's great to have balloons, flowers, awesome food and great pals, a gorgeous banner always adds that "wow factor" to a party, and, well, makes it better! It can also be rolled up, saved and used again if you'd like!
AMM: How long have you been painting, and particularly painting banners?
HB: I've always loved art and been a crafty person, but I've probably only taken a handful of art lessons in my life. About seven years ago I thought it would be special to help out at school by making a big banner/backdrop for my son's Kindergarten play. I borrowed some paint, brushes and paper from the art teacher and created a massive banner and the reactions were phenomenal. From there, I started making banners for my boys' soccer and baseball games- we would hold them up at the end of the games, and the teams would run through them (whether they won or lost!) I continued to make banners for my kids' sports and plays, their birthday parties, then for their school chorus concerts and my synagogue, all for free!
AMM: Why did you start Better with a Banner?
HB: People started asking me if I would paint a banner for their child's birthday and I would, as a gift! I was now purchasing my own materials (paper, paints and brushes.) Then word spread and I realized I should start a small business- so I had business cards printed up, created a website, and started taking pictures of everything I made and created a small social media presence. It was a strange feeling, showing everyone my "work" and being praised, and being asked "are you an artist?" - Am I? I'm not sure I ever considered myself an artist...even now!
AMM: What are some of your themes and special banners you have created?
HB: Most of the banners I make are for birthdays, and I ask each client "What do you love?" I try to incorporate those themes and images into each banner. Font and color, metallic paint and patterns really pop on each banner. I love adding "confetti," hearts, stars, silhouettes, anything that is expressive and festive! While I do so many banners for kids' birthdays, most of my favorite banners are for adults- celebrating their milestone birthdays and painting images of their hobbies for them to enjoy, as if they were kids again! Now, during this pandemic, I've been receiving more banners orders than ever before. People are stuck at home and want to make birthdays, graduations and events extra special...who could blame them?
AMM: Tell me more about your painting process and materials.
HB: I'm always asked..."Where do you make the banners?"- in the middle of my house, in our foyer! I store giant rolls of heavy weight multi-colored paper in my basement, then I hang the paper on the wall to design and sketch it out, often using a projector for special text and imagery. Next, I roll out the banner on my dining room table (a beautiful marble table that belonged to my grandmother) and the painting begins! I use a washable tempera paint- it's like a giant coloring book. I keep all of my paint and brushes in a cabinet in my dining room. My husband and kids are so accustomed to multiple 6 foot banners drying all over the house and have learned to walk very carefully around them to open doors, go up the stairs, or even open the front door. It would be amazing to have an art studio and really spread out, but at the same time, I love painting at home and being accessible to my family all the time.
AMM: How can people learn more about purchasing a banner?
HB: Please visit my Better with a Banner Facebook or Instagram pages to see my work, and then simply message me to start the planning process! Banners start at $100 for a 6 foot long banner, and go up in price depending on how long and elaborate they get! I would love more than a week's notice for an order, but I've never turned anyone down who needs one ASAP. I understand the last minute panic and need! Each banner takes about 1-2 days to complete, between sketching, painting and drying. (If I'm hosting a dinner party and need my dining room table, that's a different story!)