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Etta + Billie Crew: Alana

Since the Etta + Billie’s launch in 2009, the company has focused on creating purposeful, sustainable, natural body care products. Stemming from a love for brewing up apothecary products and an emphasis on aromatic and enjoyable foods, Etta + Billie’s crew helps create amazing products that blend a love of good food and the believe in the attitude-changing power of a fantastic shower!

Want to know more about the Etta + Billie team? Here is a closer look at our founder: Alana!

Etta + Billie Crew Alana

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was obsessed with Indiana Jones and was sure that I wanted to be an archeologist so I could go on all sorts of treasure hunting adventures. Once I found out that most archeologists spend less time “adventuring” and more time writing I decided it wasn’t the job for me after all.

As a new mother, how do you balance everything without getting overwhelmed?
Great question. I have no idea! HA! The best piece of advice I have has come from an E+B retailer. Esther of Gifted in Fort Worth recommended trying to be fully present when I’m with my little guy and fully present when I’m at work. So far that has at least helped me get through each day and feel good about what I’ve accomplished.

If you had a superpower what would it be?
I would definitely fly! I think it would be so freeing to just take off whenever and soar above the clouds, cityscapes, and forests. Plus I wouldn’t have to deal with traffic!

Fried Chicken

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is soooo hard because it’s a toss-up between enchiladas and fried chicken!

What’s your favorite cocktail?
My all-time favorite cocktail is an extra dirty martini.

Which E+B product do you find most essential?
The bar soap! I don’t know what I’d do without it. My favorite scent tends to change but I gravitate toward the citrus or spice notes.

Etta + Billie Citrus Poppy Soap

Happy 9th Business Birthday Etta + Billie! Part 3

Ette + Billie Happy Birthday

It’s the last installment of this birthday blog series! Here’s a look at the last three years, which have been some of the most intense but also most exciting at E+B. Missed the early years? You can read all about those here and here.

I am always striving to do things better, add more products that our customers want, and create a  connected community of E+B fans so I’d love to hear your thoughts! Got a product you’d love for us to make? Ideas about how you’d like to see your shipments come to you? I want to know about it. Please share your thoughts here.

BIGGER AND BETTER!

2015

My first speaking engagement! Shared all my tips for creating collaborations with other business owners on Indie Cruise!
E+B Indie Cruise 2015

Our first appearance in VOGUE! Including a very youthful looking headshot of me.

A full-page spread featuring me making soap in the E+B studio in the San Francisco Chronicle as part of a piece on local makers

Kiva Zip Campaign was a huge success and my community helped me raise $5,000 in 8 days! Amazing.

2016

First out of state Trade Show – Axis at Capsule in NYC.

Etta + Billie at Axis by Capsule in NYC

Launched an amazing collaboration with Heath Ceramics!

photo by Jeffery Cross.

Realized a long time business goal by offering health insurance to my employees.

Etta + Billie offers health insurance to employees

First Appearance on TV! I represented assorted small businesses as part of a KTVU segment on shopping small for the holidays.

E+B First TV Appearance KTVU

Donated over $1700 in three months to various charities as part of our Move Forward campaign.

Launched our first new product in 3 years – the liquid soap!

2017

Add the third employee to our team and 2 summer interns!  We are packed like sardines in my 750 sq ft studio.

Etta + Billie is super packed!

First attendance of the biggest gift show in the country –  NY NOW with creative collective Join Design.

E+B at NY Now with Join Design

Worked with Woods Beer Co on one of my favorite collaborations, they came to the studio and made soap and we went to the brewery and made beer!

Etta + Billie Woods Beer Co Collab

Donated over $3000 to charity as part of our philanthropic efforts.

Launched our room + body sprays!

Etta + Billie Room + Body Sprays Launch

Now!

2018

What’s happening this year? Well, we added an additional 1100 sq ft of studio space so we have plenty of room for some new E+B goodies! Stay tuned!

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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!

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

ettabillie-30

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