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

Ette + Billie Happy Birthday

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

Ette + Billie Happy Birthday

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. 😉

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

Go-To Tips: Getting S#@t Done – Tips for Accomplishing Your Goals

Tips for Accomplishing Your Goals

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:

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.

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

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!

Go-To Tips: Uncertain Times and What You Can Do to Help

Uncertain Times and What You Can Do to Help

Who else has been feeling overwhelmed with negative news these days? Our country and communities have been put through the ringer. Hurricane after hurricane has caused massive destruction, swept away people’s entire lives and left little in its wake. Forest fires aare devastating Northern California (including my near and dear home county of Mendocino) and the West Coast. Political squabbling instead of action. Mass shootings. It’s overwhelming, to say the least. And so tempting to look the other way when you’re not directly affected. I know I’ve felt that way too. And it’s hard. I’ve felt guilty for not doing more, giving more and participating more. In my experience, guilt rarely does anything but make you feel like shit so clearly, it’s ineffective. What keeps resonating with me is something the incredibly insightful Melissa Wert of Print Therapy said the other day on Instagram

“…just because we can turn off the news doesn’t mean we should. In fact, it’s because we can that we shouldn’t”.

We have the option where other’s don’t, we shouldn’t forget that and instead of pretending like nothing is happening, we need to do something to help those around us.

At Etta + Billie, being a part of our various communities is a core part of what we do. Because of this, I want to continue supporting our communities and our friends as we all deal with these tragedies. Here are some ways we’re taking action:

Right Now

Donating 10% of online sales in October to the Redwood Empire Food Bank

Donating 10% of sales from our Studio Sample Sale to the Redwood Credit Union Fire Relief Fund

All Year Round

Donating 5% of all event sales to various non-profits helping with disasters (like the Houston Food Bank) or working to aid causes we believe in (see list here)

Donating office supplies and craft supplies to SCRAP

Donating unused electronics and equipment to our local Goodwill

Looking for ways to help? Here are a few ideas from some people-in-the-know around the web. 

Help North Bay Fire Victims at SF Chronicle

Help Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico at PBS.org 

Help those affected by Harvey at NPR.org

https://hellogiggles.com/news/help-victims-las-vegas-shooting-case-youre-feeling-powerless/

 

Happy New Year: Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

happy-new-year-2017This year has been one full of lessons, both personally and professionally. There is beauty in all experiences, whether joyous or painful. Something I’ve often had to remind myself of over the course of the year; whether adventuring in Portugal, dealing with product set-backs or feeling a gut wrenching sense of sorrow over the hate-fueled rhetoric and actions of my fellow Americans. As frustrating, maddening, and at times, disheartening, some of those experiences have been, I am grateful for the chance to grow, re-focus and keep moving forward. I am grateful for the greater sense of community, love and purpose I feel from my supporters, friends and family. I don’t know what 2017 will bring, but what I do know is that I will continue to build my business, nurture my relationships and continuing to do what I can to fight for those in need. What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Cheers to a peaceful, prosperous and joyous New Year!

xo
Alana

The Giving Season: Your Choices Matter

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UPDATE: Since we started our Move Forward campaign we’ve been able to donate over $1700 to a variety of organizations (listed below). I am so thrilled and I know that both my grandmothers would be so proud. We were able to do this because of your support!

As you continue your holiday shopping (and even everyday shopping), I hope you’ll continue to purchase from makers and local businesses, especially those that are committed to giving back. Know that every time you buy something from a small business owner, you are supporting their dreams and simultaneously helping build your local community. Total win, win. 

Thank you again for helping make my maker dreams a reality and for helping support the organizations that I believe are working to make the world a better place for everyone. We are all in this together.

xo
Alana

DONATIONS SO FAR

Etta + Billie: Move Forward, It’s the Only Direction

Yowza, what a week. A lot of emotions and a whole lot of uncertainty but I will not let those feelings dissuade me from doing what’s important to me. Now more than ever, we need to come together to support our fellow humans and the organizations that uphold the values we hold dear. I refuse to go down without a fight. I refuse to lose hope. I will persist. I hope you’ll join me by taking some action in your community to help those around you. We are all in this together. We must move forward.

xo
Alana

move-forward-small

What is your favorite tattoo?

In celebration of National Tattoo Day, I wanted to share my own tattoo story and the stories of two local shop owner/makers. Tattoos are such a personal (and permanent) art form that I always find it interesting to learn about why someone decides to get one (or a few). Read on for the why behind some great tattoos.

Alana_Soap Maven_Etta + BillieMe, all soap geared up.

How many tattoos do you have?
Three total. One on my ankle, one on my abdomen and one on my forearm.

If you have more than one, what is your favorite tattoo?
My favorite tattoo is the newest one on my forearm.

Alana Rivera Makers Gonna Make TattooWhat is the story behind your favorite tattoo? Why did you decided to get it?
About two years ago, I purchased some amazing temporary tattoos from Tattly and one of them was “Makers Gonna Make” from the graphic designer Jude Landry. I was instantly in love. The use of traditional tattoo lettering combined with the phrase really struck me. It became my mantra, a reminder of my strength as an artist and maker (and lover of handmade things), that helped push me to keep growing and moving forward with Etta + Billie. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me use it along with almost every photo of product being made or being wrapped. After wearing the temporary tattoo on multiple occasions, I finally decided to get the real thing.

Any ideas for your next tattoo?
Yes, I’m toying with a few different ideas for images that honor my grandmothers and family.

Nicholas Weinstein of Homestead Apothecary, Gardenista_TattooNic Wienstein of Homestead Apothecary

I had the very good fortune of connecting with modern community herbalist and advocate, Nic Weinstein, a few years ago when he opened the magical Homestead Apothecary in Oakland, California. His shop has an amazing collection of dried herbs, tinctures, healing objects, books and of course fabulous apothecary products. Nic is a wealth of knowledge about herbal healing and travels all over California giving workshops.

How many tattoos do you have?
I think I technically have 6. Half sleeves on both of my arms. One on each of my forearms plus one on the inside of my right forearm. My back and my chest.

If you have more than one, what is your favorite tattoo?
I think my Never for Money Always for Love tattoos but its a tough call!

What is the story behind your favorite tattoo? Why did you decided to get it?
Strangely enough my tattoo artist finished the lavender piece on my arm and she realized that it took her a lot less time than she anticipated so she asked if I wanted something else. I told her about the Talking Head lyrics that resonated so strongly with me and she loved it and it felt right so I went for it! So I got 3 tattoos in one sitting!

Any ideas for your next tattoo?
Working on a cover up. What can I say? I started young!

Homestead Apothecary
486 49th Street
Oakland, CA 94609
510.541.5225

Open: Monday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm + Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

 

Tammy and David of RedemptionTammy Liu of Redemption

When Tammy reached out to me months ago about joining the stylishly curated makers in her Campbell, California based shop Redemption, I said “Hell Yes!”. Tammy and boyfriend, David, are extremely passionate about finding and sharing well crafted hand made goods with their community. I’m so honored to be a part of the their shop! Read on to find out more about Tammy’s collection of tattoos.

How many tattoos do you have?
7: 2 on back, both wrists, ribs, stomach and thigh.
Tammy Liu Tattoo RedemptionTattoo Close Up

If you have more than one, what is your favorite tattoo?
Thigh piece, as it represents my mother.

What is the story behind your fav/only tattoo? Why did you decided to get it?
It incorporates a picture of my mother and a dream catcher that she passed down to me. I got it done just before traveling to Australia for a year as a way to keep her close to me throughout my journey. The tattoo depicts her as a warrior/survivor and commemorates her optimism and positivity in overcoming her strokes.

Tammy Liu Redemption TattooAny ideas for your next tattoo?
My boyfriend and I are thinking about getting our store logo done!

Redemption
241a E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008

408.628.4877

*all photographs were provided and posted with permission from the artists.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thankful.

Thankful for my customers.I’m spending time with family today cooking a massive meal (we like our food in the Rivera household) but wanted to take a moment to say how incredibly thankful I am for the continued support of my customers.

Thank you for helping me make my dream come true!

Happy Thanksgiving!