Happy 9th Business Birthday to Etta + Billie! Part 2

It’s Etta + Billie’s 9th business birthday! I’m recapping all the major things that have happened at E+B (and a few of my life events) over the last 9 years. If you missed Part 1, check it out here, there are some solid photos of me with bangs and you get to see our ORIGINAL packaging. Crazy how things have changed. Read on for more E+B memories.

Etta + Billie: The Big Changes Years

2012 

Early in 2012, I left the business for almost 3 weeks to go on an epic travel adventure honeymoon with my husband. We rented a campervan (isn’t it cute?) and drove around the North and South Island of New Zealand. We both went skydiving for the very first time, pretty crazy! I managed to keep the business running while I was away, thanks to my incredible assistant Eric. If you want to see more travel photos, head to my Instagram page and scroll all the way to the very bottom.

Rebranded! After 4 years, I decided that the original branding didn’t fit me or the product anymore and where I wanted the business to go. My incredibly talented best friend was able to integrate all my inspiration into a distinct new look. 

Said goodbye to our body butter and lotion bars, much to the chagrin of my sister who proceeded to purchase every last one.

First launched collaborations with Ritual Coffee + T-We Tea! 

2013

After months and months of work, I finally launched my own website! 

Etta + Billie products could be found in our first major retailer, Urban Outfitters!

Created and launched our first brewery collaboration with San Francisco based Speakeasy. Obviously required some serious research and development.

Traveled all the way to Chicago for Renegade Craft Fair with my talented maker pal Kendra of Kendra Renee Jewelry. It was my first out of state craft show and we had so much fun!

Launched one of my fav limited edition soaps of all time, the Spiked Egg Nog Soap.

Quit my day job….NBD

2014

Moved into my first outside the home studio space and I was over the moon, even though it was only 723 sq feet. 

Hired the first production employee, Jesse. It was amazing to have help mixing up all the E+B body care goodness.

 

and hosted our first summer intern, Gladis.

We created a custom soap with one of my favorite San Francisco bakeries – Craftsman and Wolves. p.s. they have the best chocolate chip cookies!

Attended my first Trade Show – SF Gift Show

So much fun press. Appeared in two national magazines and one international magazine.

Created our first customized product with gorgeous lifestyle retailer Terrain. The Pumpkin Spice Lotion.

 

Began E+B’s philanthropic efforts with 826 Valencia and SF Marin Food Bank

Check back again next week for the final post!

Happy 9th Business Birthday to Etta + Billie! Part 1

It’s hard to believe but Etta + Billie turns 9 this month! I know, it feels like I just started the business yesterday (ok, maybe not yesterday but it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s been 9 years).  As many of you already know, Etta + Billie was created as a way to escape the dreariness of my 9-5 job and express a creative drive I never knew I had. That teeny tiny body care business has grown so much over the past 9 years. From apartment kitchen to studio space from a biz of just one to a team of 4 (plus my very sweet husband and friends), from part-time gig to how I pay my rent every month. Pretty amazing!

I rarely take time to reflect on how much I’ve achieved and how much I’ve learned over the years. When I think about it, it’s funny that I’m even here because I had never wanted to own my own business. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Why? I’ve never had a job that was constantly fulfilling and challenging. This “job” has taught me so much about myself and what I’m capable of. I’ve had to push myself into uncomfortable rolls and I’ve had to sacrifice time, money, and energy to keep things going. Occasionally I haven’t paid myself so that I could pay employees. It is just part of the process. I appreciate the challenges I’ve faced and overcome because I know that those lessons have helped me grow in one way or another. 

I am so thankful for these last 9 years and to all the customers, family members, employees, interns, fellow makers, photographers, designers, bookkeepers, virtual assistants, friends, and vendors who’ve helped make this happen. And of course, my biggest supporter, my husband. He has done everything in the business from sales to wrapping product to handling IT tragedies to hauling 50 pound boxes up multiple flights of stairs. It truly takes a village and my dream is a reality because of all the folks that have helped me along the way. Thank you!

To celebrate our 9th year in business, all orders placed on the website from April 6th – 30th over $50 will receive a 2 oz room + body spray, no codes needed!

Bonus, I’ll be showcasing some new goodies LIVE on Facebook this Sunday, April 8th on the Artisan Made Show, details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2049844035273897/

Time to take a walk down memory lane! Here’s a peek at the first few years and keep an eye out for a new post each week for the next few weeks where you can see more of the E+B journey.

Etta + Billie – The Early Years

2009

We launch on Etsy with photos I took in my living room using a “homemade” lightbox and a digital camera. Very high tech!

First ever soaps sold – Lavender + Peppermint Lime (which are still customer favorites)

Other highlights: my first wholesale account (I almost peed myself I was so excited) with my dream store Paxton Gate (who still carries E+B) and my first craft show (see the very proud pic of me above).

My first soap conference! Yes, there is an annual conference dedicated to soap and cosmetics put on by the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild, and its great! I got to meet so many people who were just as passionate about soap as I was. Dreamy.

2010

Launch my first Limited Edition Collection for Valentines Day. My photos skills have improved a bit. Were you one of the lucky few who got one of those bars?

Moved from a one bedroom apartment that the business had taken over, into a 3 bedroom apartment where I got an entire room just for E+B.

Keep at the business, taking classes, doing shows and all that good stuff.

2011

Completed application and lengthy review process to become the first cosmetics company in San Francisco to receive Green Business Certification

Chosen by Banana Republic to be a part of their SF Made Pop Up Shop! 

Oh and I got hitched. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Check out Part 2 for a peek at the next few years of E+B!

My Go-To: Spring Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen

Etta + Billie Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips

Who else dreads yet loves a big “spring” clean?  The concept of a super clean kitchen/house is wonderful but not the reality of spending an entire day cleaning it. There is always the option to pay someone else to clean your house but my honey and I are on a money-saving bender right now so that is not an option. In an effort to make our lives a tad easier, I found some great tips for getting the various areas of the kitchen clean and organized in no time. Bonus: they all use natural cleaning methods. One of my favorite tips to make cleaning less terrible – add a mimosa break because nothing makes cleaning more palatable than an adult beverage. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Get the Kitchen Clean

Keep the Kitchen Clean

  • Keep the garbage can, laundry basket, etc smelling fresh with this tip.
  • Brilliant list of ways to use command hooks to keep your kitchen organized from Apartment Therapy.
  • A few cleaning hacks to add to your daily/weekly kitchen list to keep your kitchen clean and save you some time too!

 

 

Recipe: Citrus All-Purpose Natural Cleaner

Etta + Billie Citrus All-Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

One of the first things I changed when I started going natural was my cleaning products. A big motivator was ridding my house of the terrible smell of most cleaners. I am not one who is comforted by the scent of bleach, especially since it seems to hang in the air for hours. Then there’s the environmental impact of all those chemicals going into the water system and just hanging out on my counters and sink. It just did not seem pleasant or responsible. Of course, there are a plethora of natural cleaning products out there but once I realized how easy it was to make my own I figured there was no point in purchasing them. Plus, I can use the money I save on a fancy coffee and a donut. ๐Ÿ˜‰

With a few simple ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen like vinegar, dish soap, and citrus, you can mix up this effective natural cleanser. My favorite recipe consists of citrus infused vinegar but if you don’t want to bother, you can just skip that part and add in essential oils instead.

Why these Natural Ingredients Work

Citrus Peels: Peels of citrus fruits contain the essential oils which are naturally powerful degreasers and deodorizers, making them great for cleaning. 

Vinegar: Clear acidic liquid byproduct of fermentation of fruits and grains for alcohol. Distilled White Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid and 95% water. The acetic acid combined with vinegarโ€™s pH of 2, naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria and mold. A 2010 study showed that a 10% dilution of Malt Vinegar (acetic acid of 5-8%) was as effective as commercial cleaning wipes at killing the H1N1 Flu virus*. NEVER mix Bleach and Vinegar โ€“ harmful chlorine gas is the result!  

All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe Citrus Peel Vinegar

Part 1 – The Citrus Vinegar

I love this because it uses a bunch of citrus peels that I’d normally just compost. I typically start a jar of vinegar and just keep adding peels to it over the course of a few weeks.

Ingredients
Peels from 1-3 lemons, oranges, grapefruits or pomelos
1/2 cup – 1 cup vinegar, depending on how many peels you have

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  • Cut peels from your citrus of choice being careful to avoid the pithy white parts and put into a clean glass jar (plastic is not a good choice for this project).
  • TIP:I use peels from lemons Iโ€™ve used in cooking and baking โ€“ just squeeze juice, then cut away peel and add to jar of vinegar.

All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe Citrus Peels

  • Add enough vinegar to cover peels.

All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe Infused Citrus Vinegar

  • Let peels and vinegar co-mingle for at least 2-4 weeks.

All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

  • Strain vinegar and toss peels into compost.

Citrus All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

  • Keep vinegar in an enclosed container.

Part II – The All-Purpose Natural Cleaner

Etta + Billie Citrus All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

Ingredients
1/2 cup – 1 cup citrus infused or regular distilled vinegar*
1/2 cup – 1 cup distilled water
1/4 – 1 tsp of natural dish soap
*If you don’t have citrus vinegar you can add 15-20 drops of essential oil – any combination of lemon, lime, orange, rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus would work well.
  • Collect all ingredients and equipment for the recipe (measuring cups, bottles, measuring spoons, funnel).

Etta + Billie Citrus All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

  • Measure out the distilled vinegar and add to the bottle.

Citrus All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

  • Measure out the distilled water and pour into the bottle.

Citrus All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

  • Measure and add liquid soap.
  • Shake gently to make sure everything is mixed.

Etta + Billie Citrus All Purpose Natural Cleaner Recipe

To Use: Spray on kitchen and bathroom counters, sinks, floors, stovetops, etc and wipe down to clean and naturally disinfect (one material you shouldnโ€™t spray on is Marble โ€“ the acetic acid and any citrus oils will etch the surface. Try using a combination of distilled water and a tiny bit of dish soap).

5 Tips to Keep Skin Healthy this Winter!

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Anyone else experiencing some serious winter skin blues right now? I cannot believe how unhappy my skin has been lately. My lips are peeling, I’ve got super dry spots all over my face, my cuticles are brittle, and my skin generally looks sad. Winter can clearly wreak havoc on the skin. Going from windy, cold outdoor environments to overheated apartments and offices is a complete moisture killer. Add washing your hands about 1000x a day to keep flu and colds at bay and you’ve got a recipe for disaster skin. Ready to get skin back to happy and healthy? Me too! Read on for my top 5 winter skin tips!

  1. Layer it up.

    Just like you would when heading out the door to keep your body warm, you’re going to want to layer on the moisture to keep skin hydrated. An aesthetician once gave me this advice and it’s worked wonders for me in the past. I highly recommend doing a combination of lotion, oil/serum, and then a balm daily for body and face. 

  2. Exfoliate, but not too much.

    Help skin naturally rid itself of dead skin cells but don’t go overboard or you’ll just exacerbate the issue. 1-2 times a week, max! For the face, use something gentle like this or a konjac sponge (I am gaga over this one). For the body, a natural loofah sponge or an E+B scrub bar does the trick (bonus cocoa butter and shea butter will stay on the skin trapping some of that water on the skin). For the lips, try this super easy lip scrub recipe I developed.

  3. Don’t overdo it.

    I know it’s cold outside and there’s nothing like a hot shower or bath BUT that ultra hot water robs skin of its natural moisture. Which means you’re already starting off badly when you hop out of the shower. Keep the temp warm but not crazy hot.

  4. Re-apply, often.

    Bring hydrating balms and lotions with you and reapply as needed, especially after washing hands or removing gloves. Spritz skin with our room + body spray, then apply some skin balm to add even more moisture to your skin on the go. 

  5. Drink a lot of water!

    The heat of summer zaps skin of moisture from the inside out and so do heated homes, cars, and offices. Drinking cold water may not seem very appealing when it’s cold outside so try drinking hot/warm water with lemon or room temp water. Keep in mind that teas (yes, even herbal ones) and coffee, while warming and pretty awesome pick me ups, are also diuretics which means they cause your body to excrete more water (i.e. pee). Just up your water intake to combat dehydrating effects of those beverages.

Getting S#@t Done: Tips for Accomplishing Your Goals

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Before E+B, I rarely made yearly goals. It just wasn’t my thing. I always thought things would just work out, or I’d focus on short-term goals (perhaps that’s because they are much much easier to accomplish…). But as my business grew, I realized that there was no possible way to keep moving forward without creating goals, both personally and professionally. So in 2010, I created my first goal list. I sadly can’t remember much about what was on that list (I’ve definitely purged a lot over the last 8 years in business which is good because I’m a notoriously sentimental pack-rat) but I do know that my goal creation process has changed dramatically thanks to fellow business owners and a better understanding of what works for me. So if you’re like me and not a goal creator OR just looking at a new way to accomplish your goals, check out my tips for checking those goals off your list.

HOW TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOALS THIS YEAR:

  1. Brainstorm + Review. Every January, I take a day or so to review the previous year. What went well? What didn’t go well? I meditate on what I want to accomplish in the coming year. What is the overarching theme for the year? Some years it could be Balance, or Travel, or Financial. Think about what would bring me the most joy this year. And write it all down. I find this whole process incredibly helpful. Don’t know where to start? Check this out this process or some great questions to prompt yourself with here.
  2. Refine it. Keep that list small. After the brainstorming, my list probably has about 1,000 things on it, but I know that having that many goals is incredibly overwhelming and likely will turn into a situation where I just don’t bother with goals at all (not helpful). I go through and think about what that overarching theme is and what is a priority based on that and what would be nice but can wait. If I accomplish some of the priority goals, then I can always go back to my list and start on some of the other goals.Photo Sep 26, 9 54 40 AM
  3. Focus + Plan. Ever heard of the Passion Planner?! Well, it’s been one of my favorite tools to help accomplish goals and stay on track for the year. There’s a wonderful brainstorming section in the beginning that’s great for step 1 or if you have no idea where to even start! I use the planner to write down all my major goals and use it to break them up into manageable pieces with deadlines. I’ve used my google calendar in the past but there is something about having things physically written down that helps me stay with my goals.

I hope these tips will help you accomplish whatever you’re striving for this year!

Got other tips for checking those goals off the list? Please share, I’d love to hear them!

Holiday Gift Guide for Food Lovers

2017 Gifts for Lovers of Food

A few gifts to up any food lovers cooking game in 2018. 

  1. Dining In by Alison Roman | Powell’s | $30.00
  2. Cork + Cherry Canisters | Melanie Abrantes Designs | $156.00
  3. Free-Range Craft Steak Sampler | Farmer Girl | $39.99
  4. Salt of the Month Club | Jacobsen Salt Co. | $180.00
  5. Poche a Pan aka Bread Bag | Aplat | $40.00
  6. Grapefruit Cardamom Lotion | Etta + Billie | $29.00

Stocking Stuffers for Food + Drink Lovers

2017 Stocking Stuffers for Food + Drink Lovers

Stocking stuffers for all the food-obsessed in your life. Some of my tried and true favs along with some snazzy items I’d love if someone gifted me. I know for sure I’d be pretty excited if I found Dick Taylor chocolates in my stocking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. Patina Bottle Opener in Turquoise | Cofield | $60.00
  2. Bergamot Ginger Room + Body Spray 2 oz | Etta + Billie | $16.00
  3. Damson Plum Jam | Lemon Bird | $14.00
  4. Chai Tea Skin Balm | Etta + Billie | $12.00
  5. Food Storage Wrap Set in Everybody’s Teal | Bee’s Wrap | $19.00
  6. Chocolate Covered Almonds | Dick Taylor | $15.00

Holiday Gift Guide for Drink Lovers

2017 Drink Lover Gift Guide (1)

Interesting gifts for the serious cocktail lover. From upgraded bar tools to interesting mixers to a little cocktail reminiscent soap for the shower. I think I’m going to need those Mole Bitters. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Evergreen + Tangerine Soap | Etta + Billie | $14.00
  2. Zinc Glass Tumblers | Kaufmann Mercantile | $69.00 for a set of 6
  3. 3-Ingredient Cocktails | Powell’s Books | $18.99
  4. Dashfire Mole Bitters | Bitters + Bottles | $14.00
  5. Seamless Diamond Cut Mixing Glass | Umami Mart | $75.00
  6. CK Copper-Plated Teardrop Barspoon | Bitters + Bottles | $29.00

 

2017 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

SHIPPING DEADLINES

If you’ve got some E+B goodies on your holiday gift list, be sure to get your order in by the deadlines above. All orders placed after December 18th will not ship until December 29th.