Will and I have had so little sleep getting this new collection across the finish line (I guess you could say we procrastinated on this one, but not for lack of good reason). With the space expansion, hiring another new teammate, family visits, a new collection, prepping for our next big trade show on top of business as usual, our summer has been packed. It's been an emotional few weeks.
Recently, we started a new ritual at our Monday morning staff meetings: we each go around and take a quick moment to openly and specifically compliment the person to the left of us. The point is to reinforce the good things people are doing and allow the group to learn from them . It has become one of my most favorite things about work.
This past Monday, Matty sat to the left of me. When it came my turn to speak, the tears started rolling in. You see Matty has basically taken over the task of making our signature ear wires. This was the first thing I came up with when I started betsy & iya -- a small thing, but with my *very* limited skill set, it was something that I believed I could make special, make my own. For years, it was only me who made them-- my fingers the forming tools. As things started growing, I couldn't fathom even hiring my first employee, much less handing off the only real thing that I believed made betsy & iya, betsy & iya.
So, on Sunday morning at 3 am as Will hand sawed the last piece from the new collection and I went to throw things in the tumblers, I was struck by a misplaced tray of freshly formed and hammered ear wires. The sight of them flooded my brain with memories, pride, disbelief, peace. Late nights hammering out hundreds of ear wires on my own, accumulated callouses becoming a time sheet of sorts; constant refining becoming necessary like water... we will only strive to keep making it better. The only choice was (and still is) to make this business work. And then I come back to reality and realize-- Wait, I didn't make that tray of ear wires!?!
With every new collection, starting with the simplest of processes (making interesting original findings to add to cool vintage pieces) we have stretched our knowledge about how to make certain things. Every new collection has presented a set of new challenges and new processes that I didn't know we were capable of. To do what Will and I were doing that night, alone in the studio and adding new way cool processes (wax carving, casting, soldering, using grinding wheels, etc) with new way cool tools and machines-- no business plan could have convinced me that this is where I would land just over 5 years later. But there I was, looking at a stunning tray of simple yet intentional hoop ear wires that I didn't make and feeling proud of everything that represented for me--and mostly proud of the amazing team we have.
This collection came from my head, yes; but it steps into this world from every single one of us here at the b&i headquarters. I think that teamwork really comes through in this new work. I'm giddy in anticipation to share with you what we've done.
*And it wouldn't be right if I didn't mention that the production crew stayed with us until 1 am on Wednesday night to see the darn thing through. Wow. You guys blow me away! NY NOW (Booth #8137), here we come.*
**New collection will be released in the shop and online as soon as we return from the show in New York!! Until then, keep checkin' our teaser pics shown above on instagram and facebook.**
***Song of the Moment: Soft Shock, by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs***