One of my favorite parts of our Maker Monday Instagram series is seeing how our production team works together seamlessly. We’ve all been a part of a team at one time or another, so you know just as I do that the result of good teamwork is no accident; it’s intentional, it’s communicative, and it takes practice everyday.
The Jalisco necklace is yet another example of a multiple maker piece. Watch how it begins with Barrie hand painting the recessed areas on each bronze bar, then those pieces are off to Alyssa for assembly.
Watching just how precise Alyssa is when stacking the “ladder” bars to create the focal of this necklace is truly amazing. Bravo ladies! You two execute this design perfectly.
This OOTD started out normal enough. Alyssa, ever the professional, struck several picture perfect poses for me as we strolled down Raleigh Street during a rare dry moment in our NW Portland neighborhood last week. Here she is, all cozy and pretty in her Smurf-meets-Santa (in a good way) jacket.
Then something unexpected happened; as I snapped photos, we met a new friend, Mac the dog. Mac and Alyssa got acquainted very quickly. Maybe because Mac smelled Gingham and Maurice? Or maybe because he heard Alyssa loves tiny dogs? Or…..
…because he thought the trim of her coat was MADE OUT OF DOG FUR??????!!!!!!!
And thus, Mac’s mood took a defensive turn, as we see above. But fear not, Alyssa took it all with a laugh and assured Mac that she wasn’t skinning his kind and making coats, but rather – in her best Cher Horowitz impression – told him that “it’s faux“! Peace was immediately restored in the human/dog universe. Jah Bless.
One of our unofficial company maxims here at betsy & iya is do nothing halfway. Another is that failure is not an option. Combine these and add some serious heart, love for the work, perseverance, and the results can be incredible. And yet, despite the presence of these forces in our company culture, I’m always inspired and proud and even a bit surprised when I see the result of work that embraces these tenants. I should be used to this excellence–the awesomeness that we’re capable of–by now. But I suppose if I was, it wouldn’t be quite so meaningful when I recognize it again. All of this was present for me last weekend at Content, a one-night event that invites brands to take over a hotel room, to transform it. Here’s what we did.
We saved notes from our day-to-day at b&i for months. We dug through years old notebooks and sketchpads (talk about a walk down memory lane) and ripped out notes from our first trade show prep, from opening the shop, from old IKEA shopping lists, production lists, new designs, checklists, and more. Any piece of paper you might envision being a part of what goes on behind the scenes here, we threw into a big box (The list-makers out there know what I’m talking about). Our goal was to pull notes, sketches, lists, and scribbles together that show where things start, how things stay organized, get designed, get produced; that the process of creating a piece of jewelry, of developing social media strategy, of staying true to our brand, of hiring, or remembering to call that customer back, or place that order, or sweep that floor, that the process of running a business isn’t some intangible magic, but rather an idea that gets broken into parts, translated into tasks, and accomplished by a team. Most of the time, you see the product of all that. Our idea for Content was to show you the process of it.
*all photos by Margaret Jacobsen
We papered the whole room with our notes. We filled the sink with notes; put them in the shower, on the toilet paper, on the floor. At the tail end of a forty foot-long strip of notes that thrust from the ceiling down into the room, rolled around on the bed, and crept back up a wall, we played a video that our friends at Good Kid Pictures created for us. They filmed footage over the course of a few days just hanging out at betsy & iya. They saw Betsy working on new designs, makers producing pieces for orders we’ll ship around the world, people shopping in our shop, our team doing our weekly cleanup, and our weekly full-staff meeting. They saw our space and our tools, our hands, and our movements. In our paper-filled room, this video was the bold streak of life and color that cut across it all, looping dutifully on a tiny TV screen in the corner.
As tends to be the case with projects I work really hard on and feel successful at, the process taught me something about us as a company, about teamwork, and team-based ideation, execution, and (at the risk of going into super-cheese mode…)life. Here’s what hit me:
There’s no shortcut to success. It’s only hard work.
That hard work is many different things. It’s tedious, costly, hilarious, frustrating, draining, invigorating. You must work throughout all the feelings to feel the big success fully.
When developing an idea, you must simultaneously be critical of it and believe in it. You must identify the gems in it and polish them while dismissing all the other stuff. And you must keep that other stuff handy though, because who knows when you’ll realize the gem you needed you tossed aside earlier. It’s a balancing act of optimism and realism. It’s hard enough to do this as an individual and even harder to do well as a group. We did it well this time.
Sometimes, when it’s midnight and you’re tired, you should push through and get that last piece in place. Sometimes when it’s 1:30am and you’re even more tired, you should call it for the night and go sleep.
Good music. Always.
My hat is off to everybody who worked on our room: Barrie, Gaby, Betsy, and myself (can my hat be off to myself?) I was so proud of our idea, our work, our collaboration. And I’m so proud of our inspiration: this lil’ business of ours and everybody’s lists and scribbles that make the wheels turn. We couldn’t have made the room without all the hours and heart that go into running things over here.
Oh, and remember that last lesson: Good Music. Always. Here’s the playlist we blasted all night long. Now turn it up and go get some work done.
Made in small batches, this multi-purpose balm is made right here in Portland. Each balm is formulated with nourishing properties of olive and shea oils, natural beeswax, and grapefruit essential oil. It comes in clear (no. 1) which can be used for dry or chapped areas like elbows, knees, ankles, and cuticles. It can be also be applied to hair for taming those pesky fly aways.
Olio-E-Osso comes in three more colors: melon (no. 2), crimson (no. 3), and berry (no. 4). The tinted balms are a light wash of color for lips and cheeks.
Several of us at b&i gave Olio-E-Osso a test run and we all agree this product is fabulous. The application is easy and it goes on smooth without being too sticky. It’s super moisturizing and has the most amazing light grapefruit scent. All of the colors are really pretty, although on my olive complexion, I favor the crimson color. It’s much lighter than I thought based on the name, but I am pleased with the subtle warmth it gives my lips and cheeks. It looks very natural, fresh, and gives that healthy glow.
If you have any questions about Olio-E-Osso feel free to call us at the shop 503-227-5482, option 5. Or better yet stop by say hi and check out all of the new products we have in person!