betsy & iya Handmade jewelry from Portland, Oregon designer Betsy Cross. Shop, studio, and online store celebrating the vitality, integrity, and tradition of the independent designer. Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:53:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 OOTD: Mac Attack. Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:53:27 +0000 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.


Coat from Wanderlust

Jeans from Target

Boots from Half Pint

Shirt from H&M

Ring from Porch Light

Addition Mission earrings by betsy & iya



***Song of the Moment: Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones***

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Content-ment. Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:50:37 +0000 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.



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New in Shop: Olio-E-Osso Lip Balm. Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:32:48 +0000 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.

Olio-E-Osso lip balm

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!



***Song of the Moment: Crimson and Clover by The Shondells***

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OOTD: Peruvian Princess. Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:54:24 +0000 One part “Warrior Two,” one part South American royalty, this outfit is truly fitting of who Betsy is: a strong, regal woman with a playful personality. A dress with this much pizzaz doesn’t need many additional accessories, and Betsy’s choices – a statement necklace, dangling earrings, and a simple, waist-defining belt – enhance the dress without competing with it for attention (because this dress will win, always).

Peruvian Princess

Detail shots, because that’s what we’re all about. The Gotland necklace in the Mexico colorway is the perfect modern piece to pair with this vintage dress. Securing Betsy’s signature top knot is a hairpin by her friend & fellow talented jeweler, Teresa from Tiro Tiro.


Dress from Palace

Belt from Mom <3

Hair pin by Tiro Tiro

Gotland necklace by betsy & iya

Aztec Dreamcatcher earrings by betsy & iya

jewelry detail

Always inspired by BC!



***Song of the Moment: Holocene by Bon Iver***

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betsy & iya Personal Stylist: The Good Scarf. Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:41:14 +0000 The colder days are upon us and it’s time to layer up; here’s one accessory you won’t want to be without.

Whether you are a minimalist or an accessory junkie, the versatility of the Good Scarf by good hYOUman makes it a wardrobe essential.

Scarves are an ongoing trend and and always seem to make an outfit. Might I add that they aren’t  just for the sake of style but have a purpose, to keep you warm. The Good Scarf in particular is awesome because it keeps you cozy without adding bulk. If you are not a fashion enthusiast, it still looks great when its wrapped up and looks a bit unkempt.

good scarves

 There’s nothing not to love about this scarf: it’s unisex, extremely soft (50% cotton and 50% modal), and you can pretty much wrap it any way your heart desires.

scarf colors

The Good Scarf is $32 and comes in these sophisticated colors for fall: black, deep plum, cilantro, midnight, storm, & cloud (not pictured).

I know for myself the hardest part will be deciding which color. If you know me, it’s probably more like which two colors.




***Song of the Moment: Fashion by David Bowie***

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Bring it, Fall (Part 2). Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:10:33 +0000 In Bring it Fall, Part 1 I shared a sure sign of the impending fall season in our corner of NW Portland, spiced tea. Now that we’re 1/2 way through October (what the what?), another sign of the times has crept in our kitchen cabinets. Ladies & gentleman, Wellness Pills!

We’ll be doling out these bad boys like candy from now until May. I expect a call about an endorsement deal any day…

Be well,


***Song of the Moment: Support System by Liz Phair***

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OOTD: On the Move. Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:11:57 +0000 All I gotta say about this first photo is “outta the way, I got biz to conduct!” This is how I’d like to always imagine myself: walking with purpose, determined face, and in a super comfortable dress that’s pretty much like wearing a giant black T-shirt.

black tee ootd2

I like this dress so much I bought two of them knowing it’ll be a perennial staple in my wardrobe for many seasons to come. I love wearing black because it’s the perfect canvas to showcase what really matters: JEWELRY. The turquoise handlet I’m wearing is in my top 5 favorite pieces of all time (side note: why doesn’t spell check recognize “handlet” as a word??). I spotted it in an antique store in Noblesville, IN over Christmas last year and didn’t purchase it right away. Mistake! I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I returned to Portland so I enlisted my beloved mother (hi, MJR!) to go back and get it for me, with the agreement I’d make payments on it. Which I’m pretty sure I’m past due on, so I better sign off and get to my checkbook…


Black T-shirt Dress by Project Social T from Urban Outfitters

Ava Slip by Folly

Shoes by Via Spiga

Sunglasses by Quay from Yo Vintage!

Vintage jewelry



***Song of the Moment: Walk this Way by Aerosmith***

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HBD, Maker Monday! Wed, 08 Oct 2014 00:03:02 +0000 I realized this week that we’ve already passed the one year anniversary of our Maker Monday video series on Instagram. That means, with the help and patience of my coworkers, I’ve made somewhere between 40-45 videos (even pro videographers need weeks off ;-) ) of our amazing production team in action. WOW. I’m seriously proud of this milestone, especially when I look back at our first video, posted on September 16, 2013. Click on the photo below to watch our humble beginnings in this series:

Maker Monday betsy & iya

How cute are those faces at the end?? The first video is a pretty random collection of clips, if I do say so myself. It was clear after this one that we needed to be really intentional about what we showed each week. Thus our current theme of showing the process, from separate materials to a single stunning piece, was born.

In contrast, here’s a video from two weeks ago introducing a new tool, a custom made Jig:

We’ve come a long way, baby! And we’ll keep going even further; Will recently spent some time showing me new tips and tricks for my filming and editing processes that has increased the quality of the videos. We’ve experimented along the way with a few series (“Machines of Maker Monday” was one I really enjoyed and learned a lot from) and I hope to do more of this with the next betsy & iya collection (hint, hint).

I’m also thrilled that the hashtag has taken on a life of its own. Our videos used to be the only media that showed up when clicking on #makerMonday; now, the tag has 496 posts. That’s way more than just betsy & iya represented! Makers all around the world are turning what many consider the roughest day of the week into a time to show off creativity and hopefully inspire others by doing so.

Maker Monday, I love you! Cheers to one year down & many more to go. Now, let’s dig into some celebratory cupcakes (Barrie, are you reading? Could ya make some celebratory cupcakes? Kthx.).


***Song of the Moment: Cecilia by Simon & Garfunkel***

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Content 2014 at Ace Hotel Portland. Mon, 06 Oct 2014 20:20:08 +0000 What, you thought hotel rooms were for sleeping? Get ready to experience a visit to Ace Hotel Portland in a whole new way. On Saturday, October 18th, we’ll be participating in Content, described on their website as “a living installation” that takes place in the guest rooms on the second floor of the hotel. Each participating designer is given a room to transform into some sort of representation of his/her products, processes, &/or personal inspirations. The result is a gallery type experience that makes the viewer feel like an insider into the world of some of the most creative people in Portland.

Content Portland OR, ace hotel

Photos courtesy of Content website

This unique event requires careful thought and preparation from designers. They are each given the same amount of space to create an impactful installation that must connect with the viewer quickly; Content is extremely well attended and the hallways fill up fast. I went to the event last year and found something interesting to appreciate in every room.

I’ll leave the concept Betsy’s dreamed up for our room a surprise, but I’ll tell you this much; if you go, you’ll get an unprecedented view into all that goes into making the betsy & iya machine run smoothly and efficiently. Be excited and be ready to beeline to Room 213.

Saturday, Oct. 18th 5-10 PM
Room 213
Ace Hotel Portland

Tickets available HERE.
Follow on social media –> #content2014



***Song of the Moment: Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees***

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betsy & iya Personal Stylist: Fall Essentials Fri, 03 Oct 2014 11:55:59 +0000 fall essentials

  1.  Beet Root Lip Stain by Aster & Bay $12
  2. Luminous Body Oil in Vetiver Cardamon by Herbivore Botanicals $32
  3. Steel Bridge Cuff by betsy & iya $77
  4. Arden Thermal in Lipstick by Curator $69
  5. Bourbon and Brown Sugar Candle by Sydney Hale Co. $28
  6. Infinity Scarf in Oyster by Curator $40
  7. Palate Polish in Black Current $10
  8. Leather Belts by Muse $62
  9. TransPorter Bag in Noir by Dargelos $220


If you have any questions about these items, feel free to call us at 503-227-5482, option 5.




***Song of the Moment: Isn’t It a Pity by Galaxie 500***

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