Archive for the ‘News + Events’ Category

Make your holiday Wish List at betsy & iya!

Get exactly what you want from us!

Now through December 20th: Stop by our shop and make your Wish List of items from our brick & mortar. Set your loved ones up for success this holiday and get exactly what you want in the process. We’ll help you make a Wish List of your most coveted items at betsy & iya and when you’re done, we’ll notify persons of interest (ahem, distant cousin who always gets you ugly socks) via email or send you off with a notecard you can give to him/her letting them know your list is at our shop. It’s that simple!

betsy & iya wish list

They say if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. When it comes to gift-giving, we couldn’t agree more. Simplify the process for satisfaction guaranteed! See you soon (we’ll be the ones with the pens & clipboards following you around the shop).

betsy & iya earrings

Need inspiration? These babies are waiting to hop on your list!

betsy & iya jewelry

I’d like one table full of Voyage Collection pieces, please & thank you.

Let the holiday joy begin!


***Song of the Moment: My Oh My by Leonard Cohen***

Little Boxes 2014: Nov. 28th & 29th!

Little Boxes Portland, OR

Here at betsy & iya, November = Little Boxes, the two-day shopping event and raffle founded by Betsy & Will in 2011 that happens the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving – aka Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Little Boxes is all about community; pooling the resources of our city’s vibrant independent businesses and using them to encourage Portlanders to shop small during the busiest time of the year in retail.

Consumers have incentives – like, a Grand Prize travel package – to support the participating businesses, as well as discounts, raffle prizes, and the overall feel good attitude that comes with supporting independent shops.

For more on “how to play Little Boxes,” we teamed up with our friends at Good Kid Pictures to make this informative video:

SO good, right? I “LOL’d” the first time I saw it, and I don’t just throw around that acroynm.  Now that you’ve watched the vid, there’s only a few things left to do before you head out on Nov. 28th & 29th:

- iPhone users: download the FREE Little Boxes app; if you have it from last year, make sure you’ve updated your apps before the event

- Start planning your route & drooling over prizes at:

- Follow us on Social Media for gift inspiration, shop owner profiles, and a whole lot of small biz love: FacebookTwitter, & Instagram #littleboxespdx

- BONUS: I highly suggest reading up on the history of LB, beginning with The Love Affair For Portland that tells the whole story, written by Betsy in 2011.

Additional reading:

Little Boxes 2012, Recap of 2012

Little Boxes 2013, Recap of 2013

Alright, you have everything you need to dominate holiday shopping this year. Wherever you go & whatever you find, please share your photos with us using #littleboxespdx.




***Song of the Moment: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me by Diana Ross & The Supremes***

First Thursday Nov. 6th: OOAK Pieces!

news and events first thursday

November, 6, 2014: 6-9PM

2403 NW Thurman St. Portland, OR 97210


We’ll be open till 9pm offering out of season sale items, drinks, and a selection of one-of-a-kind betsy & iya pieces.

Over the summer, Betsy led our production team in a Maker Playday, a dedicated amount of time when they reviewed sketches, experimented with new materials, and were free to make whatever pieces they could. I captured some of the action on our Instagram; you can revisit those photos here: #MakerPlayday.

As you can see, some pretty spectacular pieces were produced during this time. We decided to make them available to shoppers and can’t wait to see who they end up going home with!

See you Thursday,


***Song of the Moment: Capture the Flag by Broken Social Scene***


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

content at Ace Hotel


content at ace hotel

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.

content at ace hotel

content at ace hotel

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.