You might have heard the story before and it's all true. In early 2008, I brought a little notebook and a pencil to a little coffee shop, and I wrote down my thoughts about what I wanted to do with my life going forward. That day, betsy & iya was born. From that point until now, many, many things have changed and grown. It's difficult to put into words what that all symbolizes for me, how I find myself sitting here with this shop, studio, and team that I couldn't be more proud of. I get notes and conversations from some of you asking me how in the heck we do it, how I do it. I always feel stumped about this question, but sitting across from our space and reflecting on all of this, I decided that it's time I try to figure it out.
[caption id="attachment_12789" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Rocking my grandfather's overalls in the second betsy & iya studio space, circa 2010.[/caption]
The first thing you should know is that we never talk about fear. I knew from my family and close friends that they were worried for me (skeptical, but supportive) that this little jewelry thing would ever work out (most of them only told me this information after b&i was chugging along, BTW).
What I never told them is that I was terrified, too. How can I make something work that I have little to no experience in? Will I make enough money to make a living? Will I fail? What will people think if I do? These were the overarching questions, but then there were also the day-to-day questions: How in the world do I get a license to do this? A business bank account? Wait, what kind of business is this? Crap, my credit card machine is broken, what do I do? Crap, my merchant services is charging me too much!? How am I ever going to get X to pay me for that order when they never call me back? Shoot, I have three shows in the next few weeks, how in the heck will I have time to make everything? How do I get money for the parts I need to make this jewelry!? Quickbooks?
We just don't have the time to get this space ready before the opening/event/party? <--- yes, that is a question
So there is the fear, it's real. I have it right now, in this moment; what will people think of the new space? Will people notice that not everything is quite done yet? Will people have fun? Will our employees be proud of us and themselves?
[caption id="attachment_12787" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Me giving a double thumbs up in front of our current shop, circa June 2011.[/caption]
But through that fear comes drive, motivation, compassion, kindness, and love. We see sides of ourselves that we never thought were possible. An optimism and positivity that carries us like a beautiful ship winning the battle of the stormy waters. That ship is strong, she's carried us through, well, she's carried us through everything. We built her together and we sail her together. We're all on that ship together.
You see, this business is not me any more. It is us.
[caption id="attachment_12631" align="aligncenter" width="850"] This is the "us" I'm referring to. #dreamteam[/caption]
It is Amory for all of her mad organization, genius (on just about everything), kindness, work ethic, and ability to teach anybody anything. She is tireless in her efforts in life: going to school full-time and being a full-time production manager and basically being a professional climber. OH, and she also bikes to work everyday. Even when it's raining...hard.
It is Alyssa for her incomparable handiwork, her attention to detail, her encouraging spirit and go-get-em attitude, her giggles, her ability to sniff out undesirable energy and explode it out of the room, and her deep loyalty.
It is Anna for learning and knowing b&i the way one might know their own thesis work, the way one knows her best friend, the way one knows her family...like the back of her jewelry filled hands. She has stopped at nothing to make sure she knows it, to make sure it is the voice it has always been and will continue to be. Her joy, her eyes will light up any room.
It is Ashley for genuinely reaching into people's souls and making them feel loved, for her eye, for her ability to make anyone feel beautiful in anything. It is Ashley for her constant positive reinforcement.
It is Barrie for her ability to challenge herself, her artistic prowess, her no BS attitude, her love of Disney tunes, her voice. It is Barrie for being my sidekick whenever I need her, for helping us believe that things can get done and are not as tough as they might seem. Her humor.
It is Kate for filling every package with efficiency and sending it with love out the door, for her efficaciousness, for her buoyancy. For allowing herself to blossom.
It is Matty for his unrivaled ability to make an entire room erupt into laughter in a split second, for his growth, for his can-do (anything) attitude, for his heart. It is Matty for pushing through, for stepping up, for his fearlessness.
It is Suzy for jumping in with absolutely nothing but a positive attitude and a mission. For single handedly lifting heavy bricks off of our shoulders and tossing them off a 100 story building to their ultimate demise. For being our righthand (Betsy) and lefthand (Will). For not being afraid to rule.
It is Will. It is Will. It is Will for working as a partner before he even was my partner. For tying up every single one of my loose ends, pointing out many I didn't even see, and tying them up without even me knowing to stress over them. For being resident genius. For his tech side and his creative side. For pushing so very hard through the hard times. For loving me. For being our rock.
It is Gingham and Maurice. Well because, duh.
It is our team, our teamwork. It is all of you listed above for your tireless hard work, for believing, for always looking to do better, for encouraging each other, for coming through on the other side, for seeing the good in each other, in life, in everything. It is you. And I love you for it, I love you for you.
[caption id="attachment_12790" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Photos by Micah Fischer[/caption]
It is all our wonderful employees come and gone. It is our families for their never-ending love, support, and encouragement, and it is all of you.
This is what the buildout means to me.
Please accept that this business is not mine any more. It is ours. We are in all of this together.
So much love and I hope to see you Friday!!
***Song of the Moment: Rich Woman by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant***