Thanksgiving 2014 brought several special guests to b&i HQ. Betsy's mom Charlotte and niece Charlotte (yep, adorable), and Will & Amory's parents Gail & Sid all flew in the week leading up to Turkey Day to spend time as one big, happy family. We've known about this visit for several months and have all been looking forward to it, especially since Betsy's family hadn't seen our space since the buildout. With all these VIPs in the house for the holiday, I confess there was one visitor I was most excited about meeting, Betsy's sister Ashlyn. Aka "iya." As in THAT iya!!!!!

the "iya" in betsy & iya I mean, who do you think deserves all the attention? Clearly the Charlottes! As long as I've known about betsy & iya jewelry - circa 2010 for those keeping track - iya has been a mystery to me. I knew it was a nod to Betsy's sister who lived on the east coast somewhere, but what does she do on the weekends? What does she look like? Does she even like jewelry? So. Many. Questions. Needless to say, when Ashlyn and the Charlottes arrived, I was super excited to meet her, and of course, coerce her into taking a picture that I knew would be pure magic.

the "iya" in betsy & iya Betsy saying "that's you!" to Ashlyn // Baby Charlotte is a natural!

Turns out, Ashlyn/iya is just as lovely in real life as I'd imagined her. She's quieter than Betsy, but wears the same

Turns out, Ashlyn/iya is just as lovely in real life as I'd imagined her. She's quieter than Betsy, but wears the same perma smile. She is blonder than Betsy, but has many of the same physical traits (look at those profiles!). Sisters, if I've ever seen them! Recently, I dug into the archives of our blog and stumbled upon a post about our name, and about iya specifically, from November 2008. For historical perspective, Betsy started the business in March 2008, and was the sole contributor to this blog when she wrote her first post, also in November 2008. So this is early on, people. Here's an excerpt of who iya is, in Betsy's own words:

When I was a child there was one person who showed me the ropes like no one else, the one person who had my back no matter how insane the situation, the one person who believed in me maybe more than anyone else. To this day she has honored those ideas I always had of her, just by being herself through and through. She handles herself with grace and poise, love and passion. She has the most keen (yet subtle) fashion sense of anyone I've ever known. She has always been who she always was. When I was a mere pup, I couldn't pronounce her amazing name: Ashlyn. So I improvised by calling her, "Iya." When speech proved less challenging for me, I held onto that name, secretly and strongly, in my little heart. She continues to be a major source of inspiration for me. We have grown into our own women selves, both very different and both very beautiful. We have both supported and loved each other on our own paths, without condition. I am eternally grateful for this woman. I named the business after both of us. I wanted it to be personal. I wanted it to be a reflection of me and my work. I can think of no better way than: betsy & iya. Betsy is classic, like a part of my designs. Iya is more exotic, like a part of my designs. Betsy is old; Iya is new. Together they are a perfect match. Together they make me feel bigger than I am. Together, I am stronger. This name is a dedication to my beautiful sister, without whom, I would be less of who I am. I love you, Iya.
*Read the full post here: The Truth Behind the Name* I probably should've told you to get a tissue before reading that, right? Just in case you teared up like I did? Maybe it's because I also have an older sister I have and always will idolize, but I'm pretty certain that these words will stir emotion in anyone reading. Betsy, Will, and their families seemed to have a great time over their Thanksgiving holiday. They even squeezed in some Little Boxes shopping, finally experiencing firsthand what they created for shoppers in 2011. I am so happy I finally got to put more names with faces and see for myself that indeed, Iya is very real. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! -Anna ***Song of the Moment: Beth/Rest by Bon Iver***

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