Archive for the ‘Designer’s Notebook’ Category

Maker Monday: St. Johns Bridge Cuff

Our Instagram contest ended last week, and as a final prompt, we urged our followers to share pictures of what home means to them. It was only fitting to dedicate Maker Monday that week to a piece that reminds us of home, the St. Johns Bridge Cuff.

betsy & iya St Johns Bridge Cuff

Why this piece when we think of home? The design of this cuff was inspired by the bridge that Betsy & Will cross everyday they come to work. For them and for all of us, this cuff has a very special place in our respective hearts.

Watch Amory anneal the brass pieces (heating metal makes it easier to manipulate), remove rough edges on the polishing cabinet, hammer & form into a cuff shape, oxidize the recessed area, & finally clean up with a flex shaft.

Each one of our bridge cuffs is hand stamped on the inside with the year it was built and geographic coordinates (I love this detail!).



***Song of the Moment: Teenage Riot by Sonic Youth***



Studio Visit by Portland Supply Co.

Portland Supply Co. is a blog we’ve come to admire for their thorough coverage of the local maker scene. Mikola and Jacquelyn, the talented ladies behind the screen and lens, paid us a visit in late June and we’ve been anxious for the post to go live ever since. These are some of the first photos taken of Betsy and Production at work in the new studio and we are happy to share a peek into where the magic happens.

All photos courtesy of Portland Supply Co.

betsy & iya studio visit Portland Supply Co

Betsy Cross jewelry maker, betsy & iya, Portland Supply Co

jewelry maker Betsy Cross, betsy & iya, Portland Supply Co

Head on over to the Portland Supply Co. blog to see all the photos from the betsy & iya Studio Visit PLUS a revealing interview with Betsy where she sheds light on her inspirations, what excites her most about Portland, and 5 things she can’t live without. PLUS an insanely cute Betsy-Will-and-the-dogs Family Portrait #frameworthy. Ok, what are you waiting for?? Go check it!

Big thanks to the PSC team for the visit and wonderful profile! Y’all come back now.



***Song of the Moment: Latch by Disclosure***

How to Survive 6 Years in Business: (hint) teamwork.

(Whilst I was writing this post, I felt the grooves come on. Will caught me. It doesn’t feel right not to share the little raw-state video of the whole scene. Thanks for helping me keep my groove, dear friends).

Here we are again. Another year has passed, another reason for me to deepen the well of appreciation towards all that surrounds this little business: you (our precious customers, supporters, etc), our family, our friends, our employees. I am constantly in awe of you. Frankly, I don’t really know how the well could get any deeper. But it does, every single day, it goes deeper and deeper.

Think of me as the woman who sat alone curious about what to do with her life, confused about where it was going, broke, with really nothing at all to lose. She stumbles upon this idea in her head and turns around to see what tripped her. She walks back to take a closer look, picks it up, and puts it into her pocket. She takes it home, puts in out on the table and stares at it for awhile. It’s kind of weird looking, but she immediately likes it. Then she decides there is nothing to do but bring this thing to life. She builds a tiny little place (it’s suuuuper cute, btw) to protect the little thing, water it, watch it grow. All the while, not really understanding what it is. Then with every ounce of her being, she believes in it. A couple years pass–she’s almost singularly focused on keeping this thing alive. Unsure of what it really is or wants to be, she knows without a shadow of a doubt, that it’s meant to be. One day, she turns around and sees miles and miles of people standing right there with her, some were there all along, some have just joined; her heart swells so much, it nearly explodes.

Today, we celebrate 6 years in business, yet it feels like an eternity—but the kind of eternity I want to live in. With the space expansion nearly complete, hitting the 6 year mark, adding new team members, losing old ones, and the ideas getting bigger and stronger, I’ve been reflecting on how and why we’ve gotten here–to this magical place of business, love, and friendship. Lately, I keep coming back to the parallels between what I spent years going to school for and how that translates into our business. My official MFA title is: Master of Physical and Ensemble-based Theatre. Learning how to work successfully as a group of people with a common goal was at the crux of our training. It takes a great deal of patience, respect, determination, communication, support, and admiration to work successfully as a team. But when you find it, when it really clicks, it becomes indestructible.

If we could strip down all the things that have lead up to where we are now, at the very core you would find teamwork at its best. You would find a give and take, a kind of jazz: a call and response, an elevating partnership, you would find support and compassion, one falls and the other is there to catch them. This teamwork begins at an individual level, extends to my incredible partnership with Will and ends with all of us coming together as one big team. Hands down, our business does not do what it does without this team.

Entering our 7th year of business, here is a little bit of unsolicited advice I want to leave with you:

  • Seek out those partnerships that will elevate your lives to the next level.
  • Make a team you are proud to be a part of.
  • Hire your weaknesses (thank you, Sara Blakely).
  • Don’t believe you can do it all: you can’t and that’s okay.
  • Ask questions, ask for help, pull your own weight.
  • Open up: you’ll be shocked to see what happens when you do.
  • Be courageous; be compassionate.
  • Have a blast. It moves way faster than you think.
  • All things must pass (thank you, George Harrison).
  • Find gratitude in every little thing that you do.

You guys! Thank you, again, for being here. Thank you for holding our hands, pushing us forward, sticking around, cheering us on, crying with us, laughing with us. Thank you for your hugs, your high fives, your words, your support, thank you for spending your money–your hard-earned, representation of your best efforts–with us. Thank you for being here. We see you standing there and man oh man do you look good.

We love you. Truly.



P.s. Today we are celebrating quietly; but lookout for our huge blowout of a party when the expansion is complete. It will most likely be in May. And it will most likely be the most awesome party we’ve ever thrown. Soooo many surprises already in the works. I. Can’t. Wait…to share it all with you.

***Song of the Moment: All Things Must Pass, by George Harrison***

Weeks Passing: (nyc – voyage – bachelorettes – engagement rings – love – etc).

Decorations for Create and Cultivate, the Portland edition.

We spoke at Create & Cultivate in St. Johns this summer. Loved these poms.

As per usual, these last few months have run right past me. I dream of the day things won’t be so all-consuming busy; but I also would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Being this busy sort of forces me to not let a single moment go by unappreciated.

So here they are, however raw and undone, some appreciated moments of the passing weeks and changing seasons:


designing jewelry at the betsy & iya headquarters.

Mid-design process with the newest collection, Voyage.


The bachelorette opens presents at her bachelorette party.

Bachelorette party times (I won’t tell you what she’s holding in this silhouette).


The official betsy & iya store sign on a truck.

The shop gets a real sign. Betsy cries.


Ladies playing banjos around a campfire.

Banjo playing at Bachelorette party #2.


A beautiful scene at Lost Lake.

Lost Lake.


Setting up a booth for a NY NOW trade show booth.

NYC trade show booth in its ugly pre-setup state.


The Voyage collection from betsy & iya makes its first appearance.

The first complete grouping of the Voyage collection in our hotel in NYC, pre-paint.


Proof that trade shows are completely exhausting, these two rest their feet after day one.

Complete exhaustion after our first day of the NY NOW trade show in August. Pictured here with Krista from Nell & Mary. (They both fell asleep in this position).


NYC High Line on the way to the trade show.

NYC High Line on the way to the trade show.


High Line walking in NYC.

Happily walking on NYC’s High Line to the final day of the trade show. phew!


Pretty swimming spot on Washington.

We take a break a pretty spot in Washington on a sunny last-days-of-summer day.


Behind the scenes at a fashion photo shoot.

Behind the scenes at our most recent photo shoot for the Voyage collection (photos coming soooooon).


A picture of the whole team at the end of a photo shoot.

That’s a wrap! Can’t WAIT to share this photo shoot with you.


Two tired, panting dogs in the back of a car after a park trip.

Park trips: this must happen at least once a week, or we’ll all go crazy.


After getting rained on at a wedding in Washington.

Teresa and I at Jen‘s very beautiful wet wedding in Port Townsend.


Raindrops on a window looking at a Portland building.

Yes, it rains in Portland. I love how our building looks through a rainy window.


Hayden moon necklace layered several times on a black shirt.

One of my favorite pieces from the new collection. I recommend wearing ten at a time ;)


Tons of origami cranes we're making for a friend's wedding.

Lots and lots of folding for a friend’s wedding.


Imaginary Authors perfume shown in the sample size as a full collectionl

Testing our newest line of perfume for the shop, Imaginary Authors. LOVE THESE SO MUCH.


Showing the mid-process design of betsy & iya's new custom engagement rings.

Our first ever custom engagement ring, mid-process.


Waiting for Janelle Monae in Portland, Oregon to make her first appearance.

It was our resolution to see more music in 2013. I think we accomplished this. Here, we are waiting for Janelle Monae to make an appearance.


Janelle Monae crowd surfing in Portland.

And make an appearance she did. Janelle Monae crowd surfing in Portland.


A non-traditional engagement ring by betsy & iya.

Our second ever custom engagement ring, pictured here in white gold. It was a big HIT.


A building picture of Hotel Deluxe in Portland.

Will takes me on a “stay-cation” for one night in the middle of the week because we’ve been so stressed/busy.


A picture of framed art and plants at the betsy & iya brick & mortar location.

Some results of our revamping the shop for holiday times.


A beautiful scene under the St. Johns bridge at Cathedral Park in Portland.

Running the dogs at Cathedral Park in Portland.


A handsome man and two dogs snuggle together on a bed.

My three true loves. This is a must-do every single morning.

That’s it, just a little slice of my life as it passes.

Love to you all!


***Song of the Moment: Gone Tomorrow, by Lambchop***