For this installment of "Shops We Love" we're taking a trip south to the Peach State to visit Jessie & Rebecca at Young Blood Boutique (YBB), a shop that betsy & iya has been a part of for over four years. Although I haven't visited the shop in person, I was instantly drawn to it due to their active social media and thoughtful merchandizing. I mean, take a look at the photo below that welcomes visitors to their website; is it not a study in product placement perfection?!
YBB gets extremely high praise from my coworkers, too. Lacey applauds Jessie & Rebecca for their responsiveness and attention to detail when ordering; when I asked Will how long betsy & iya had been sold at YBB he struggled to recall because we've been working so well together for a such long time.
A quick scan of Young Blood's Yelp reviews reinforces the fact that we here at betsy & iya aren't the only ones crazy about this shop: one reviewer writes "THE place to go to for unique, well-made local gifts. I could spend hours here admiring the handmade cards, jewelry, and prints." Another typed enthusiastically "Love this shop! Everyone that works here is so nice, and there's such a great selection of local Atlanta art." If you're unfamiliar with this shop, we want YOU to love YBB as much as we - and apparently all of Atlanta - do, too!
Although the shop has been an Atlanta mainstay since 2003, Jessie & Rebecca took over ownership fairly recently in January 2013. Grab a snack (or five) and let's get to know more about the two women who have been at the helm of YBB for a year now. We promise that by the end of this post, you'll be just as smitten with them and their boutique as we are.
When/Why did you two take over Youngblood in early 2013:
Jessie: Rebecca and I always toyed with the idea of having our own shop. Rebecca was working at YBB when they announced that they were closing. She called me one night and said “We’re doing this! You in?” Years ago, Rebecca & I went to our favorite psychic and she told me that a very good friend of mine was going to come to me with an offer that I should not refuse. It was meant to be!
Rebecca: We’ve both always shared a love for independent design, so I think this immediately seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a chance on creating a space of our own.
What are some of your favorite things about Atlanta?
Jessie: I love the Atlanta skyline….there are a few spots in the city where the view is amazing but my most favorite is from the swings at the Goat Farm (it is the same spot that they filmed the Hall of Justice scenes from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). The Eastside Beltline trail through some of my favorite parts in the city is great, too! There's cool art along the way and excellent people watching.
Rebecca: Some people call Atlanta ‘the city in the forest’ because we have the highest percentage of tree coverage out of all major US cities. I think you can definitely feel that when you’re here and it’s a source of pride for our city. There are a lot of young creatives here, too. The cost of living is relatively affordable compared to other major cities and it seems like people have more time to travel, organize shows, and really incorporate being an artist into their daily lives.Describe your personal style:
Jessie: I like to call it Grandma Liberace Chic...a little tacky but oh so fun!! Lots of floral prints, onesies, tassels & sparkles. I’m going through a hard core velvet obsession right now. I will be the old lady in the nursing home with a full sequined muumuu.
Rebecca: Jessie’s Liberace side is my favorite! I encourage her to grow her sequin collection every chance I get so I can live vicariously through her sparkles. This is tough question for me. I'm definitely drawn toward structured, minimalist clothes. Lots of monochromatic outfits. I think I’ve realized that I like to make my clothes the canvas for my accessories. I do secretly wish I could wear a muumuu every day.
(editor's note: it's right around here in this interview that I started to wish LIKE WHOA that Jessie & Rebecca lived in Portland and were my gal pals)Favorite Local Restaurant:
Jessie: Atlanta has an insane foodie scene, which is perfect for us snacking hobbyists! It also makes it tough to choose just one. I have a favorite place for each type of food. Octane and The Little Tart Bakeshop for coffee and baked treats, Victory for sandwiches and Octopus for late night snacks are amongst my favorites.
Rebecca: Jessie’s listed all the favs. I would add No. 246. It’s my favorite special occasion place. They’ve got really great Italian and delicious seasonal cocktails. We have an awesome international farmers market where I’ve discovered some new fruits that I love now. Like pepinos!Photo courtesy of No. 246 Facebook page
Best Stress Reliever:
Jessie: Metal Yoga at Tough Love! It’s so intense and hardcore that I always feel so refreshed and relaxed afterwards.
Rebecca: I try to save up all my time and money to kick it out of town as often as possible. Even if it’s only for a long weekend, it’s always good to get away and have an adventure. Lazy Sundays with my little family - Ben (husband), Lenny(pup) and Ringo(cat-that-thinks-he’s-a-lion) - are an instant recharge for the week ahead!
How could you be stressed with Lenny around?! Photo courtesy of YBB Facebook
Jessie: Eating snacks, cuddling, and hiking with Benjamin James Brown, the cutest pit bull ever. Also playing tennis and going on adventures, especially with Rebecca!
Rebecca: Yeah, our mutual belief that snacking is a hobby is one of the pillars of our friendship. (JK) ((#notreallyjk)) I try to devote a good amount of time to painting each week and that time is always really important for me. I get to take my mind out of the day to day and relax into a more free creative space for a while. Also, we’ve got a great state park about 20 minutes away that we take the pups to hike in. As soon as it warms up I’m going to start the great "Get Jessie to go Camping" campaign of 2014. This year is the year.A recent favorite snack discovery chronicled on the @youngbloodboutiqueatl Instagram. File under: things I wish I didn't know about.
(editor's note, part 2: aaaaaaand it's after these answers that I actually considered moving to ATL to make my Anna-Jessie-Rebecca bestie trio dream a reality. #allofthesnacks)
What inspires your buying for the shop:
Jessie: I look for things that I would love to own. My favorite collections are ones that have had a lot of love put into them, have a nice cohesive feel, and have pretty packaging.
Rebecca: I love it when people are passionate about what they’re making. I think that passion shows through all facets of a person’s work from the packaging to the craftsmanship. I look for lines that exhibit the highest craftsmanship. I feel like it’s our responsibility when we’re presenting something to our customers to know that it’s a level of quality that we can be proud of and stand behind. That’s really one of the benefits of buying independent!Lovely in shop display via YBB Facebook. Bridge Cuffs sighting!
Most rewarding part of your job:
Jessie: I love it when people say our shop has great energy. That always makes me feel like we are on the right path. I also love hearing our customers say that they found the perfect gift and the reason why that person is going to love it so much.
Rebecca: Yes, exactly what Jess said. But also, when the gift recipient comes back in smiling and telling us how much they love their gift.
Hardest part of your job:
Jessie: Not being able to bring my dog to the shop with me. He isn’t ready to take on the shop dog role just yet.
Rebecca: Holding myself back from buying all the awesome, beautiful things you all make for myself!
Why do you like having betsy & iya at your store:
Jessie: betsy & iya is a brand that I’ve admired and supported long before I was a part of YBB. Everything is so well crafted and beautiful. You always know that a lot of care went in to each piece.
Rebecca: I remember when YBB first started carrying betsy & iya years ago and the line was an instant hit! I’ve really enjoyed seeing the progression of the collections and the voice of the the line really start to solidify and become distinctly its own.
Favorite b&i piece:
Jessie: Aztec Dream Catcher Earrings (below left). I wear them almost every day and they were the subject of the most epic pick-up line I’ve ever heard. Sorry, NSFW!
Rebecca: Catenary Ring necklace (below middle) hands down! It was my first b&i purchase and I still haven’t found an outfit it doesn’t look perfect with. Oh and Treasure Pleasure earrings (below right). First, because I just like saying ‘treasure pleasure’ and second because that pink chain is the most gorgeous.
(editor's note, part 3: DYING to hear that "NSFW pick up line" story, Jessie!!!!!) That wraps up the questions I posed to Jessie & Rebecca. If you're not in full on "shop crush" mode yet, you might want to check your pulse. I will now navigate away from this post to my other tabs filled with "affordable apartments in Atlanta near Young Blood Boutique" searches. We hope you'll consider a visit to YBB if you're near Atlanta or plan to visit anytime soon. Please report back on your experience and for the love of gawd, give these babes a hug for me & my coworkers.
***Song of the Moment: Georgia on my Mind by Ray Charles***