Bear with me here...it's gonna get mushy.
I feel so proud and blessed to say that today marks my official ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY on the betsy & iya train. It has been a whirlwind of a year and I've loved ...every. single. moment.
I feel like such a lucky gal to be able to make a living doing something I love.
[caption id="attachment_585" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Wendy Hickok Photography (http://www.hickokphotography.com)"][/caption]
(this picture was taken days before the opening in a somewhat empty studio.)
Here's a bit of a reflection on the past year:
(#12 is the discount info if you wanna skip all the mushy stuff!)
1) Early January 2008, I felt a little pukey about where to go next in life.
2) Sometime in January, I had a "Betsy Retreat Day". I sat in a coffee shop the entire day and mapped out possibilities...including options like taking on a semi-soul-sucking job for just a little while or starting my own business.
3) By the end of the day, I convinced myself that with the amount of inventory I had collected from my bead shop days, I could take the leap into designing my own lines.
4) A tiny studio opened up next to my good friend in NW Portland. It was cheap and she wanted to split the rent with me to focus on her own design work. Somehow I decided I could afford it.
5) Through the month of February I worked my tush off, getting the studio exactly how I wanted it and creating my lines. I made WAY more lines than I should have---I needed to satisfy all sides of my personality, from the plastic, colorful cheapos to the exotic opulent opals...I wanted it all!!
6) I made just enough to prepare for a joint opening with the gallery next door. I decided I would only take orders; that way, I could focus on designing instead of producing. I could also use the opening as a test; i.e. Do people really like my stuff???
7) Will and Jen pulled an all-nighter with me on March 14th. Without them, I could not have done it. My ADD/Virgo brain was so scattered, I didn't know where to focus my energy. They stuck by me, supported me, and showed me the way--hammers, nails, drills and all. I think it was 6 or 7 am when I took them to a victory breakfast for helping me finish just hours before go time.
8) On March 15, 2008, I opened the studio doors with the tireless help of some amazing friends. Kotogoto serenaded us all with their amazing music. Jen and Will did...everything. Lou came into town and like she always does--without even a blink--, pulled all the last minute things together (food, wine, flowers, general studio-presence awesomeness). My family's unending support, my incredibly cool housemates and their baby, my amazing friends, and unbelievably enthusiastic, kind and generous customers all gave me a resounding...
9) "YES!!!" ...you can do this. I was able to fill enough orders in that first day to nearly pay back my initial start-up costs. It was clear: I believed in myself and they believed in me.
10) 12 months later, betsy & iya is in nearly 25 boutiques across the country and growing, online sales are on fire, and I've shipped as far as Australia and New Zealand, more than 3 times. HOLY MOLY!!!!!!!
11) I am ineffably grateful for every single one of you: my family, friends, my Will (you have continued to blow me away with your you), the amazing people I've met along the way, the competition, generous customers, readers, photographers, boutiques, bloggers, independents, inspirers...
thank you so much.
12) Please accept a small discount on all online orders starting now and ending on March 20th. 20% off if you put a favorite quote or favorite book in the message-to-seller section when checking out. (I will refund your discount through paypal after you've checked out. OR you can send me a message before you buy and I'll create a reserved listing for you.)
Suffice it to say, I've felt more like myself in this past year than I have in a long long time. You guys are AWESOME...you bring tears to my eyes.
(also, if you want to share a favorite quote or favorite book, but don't feel like buying anything, please do in the comment section on this post OR you can email me if you want to keep it private.)
***Song of the Moment: To Go Home, by M. Ward***