We are often asked, who is Iya (pronounced, “eye-ya”)? In my head, I always think…oh iya, if only you had the time for me to tell you about iya. Outwardly, we explain that “iya” is what I called my sister, Ashlyn, when I couldn’t yet properly say her name. And it stuck.
Recently, I was back East visiting family. During these visits, it’s not unusual to find me rummaging through old things. This time is was boxes and boxes of pictures. The way one flips through old photos has forever changed; and I can’t help but feel really nostalgic for the old way, especially when I’m in the middle of it. Of the hundreds and hundreds of photos I found of Iya and me, more than half of them are the two of us holding, hugging, climbing, and laying on top of each other. I asked my Mom if her and my Dad secretly put us into these positions for the sake of good pictures. She laughed and said that is just how we were. She said it was rare that we weren’t hanging on each other.
I remember my great Grandmother telling me her version of the days surrounding my birth. She was keeping Iya while we were in the hospital. At 2.5 years old, Iya kept saying, “When is my baby getting home from the hospital? I need to see my baby.” And that pretty much sums up our relationship. As all siblings do, we had our moments; but for the grand majority of the time, if you went looking for us you’d find us together in some way or another.
We are very very different in many ways. She is more reserved, mature and stoic while I’m wild, ridiculous and floppy. She’s blonde, I’m a brunette. She has a small frame, mine is large. While she’s inside cozying up, I’m probably out running wildly around town. She’s feminine ruffles and I’m tomboy angles. We are different, but at our very cores, we are exactly the same.
When I was naming the business, I wanted it to be personal while genuinely reflecting the style of the emerging collections. I have always been most fascinated with the harmony found in contrasts. We are precisely that: betsy & iya.
Dearest Iya, Thank you for protecting me, for teaching me about music, about compassion, about courage, how to laugh, how to love, how to forgive. None of this would be what it is without you. I love you! Your sis, Bets.
***Song of the Moment: I Would Die 4 U, by Prince***