POSTED BY: ERIKA
Hello and happy Wednesday! It is another beautiful day here in Portland. I am enjoying the cool morning from my backyard before the heat sets in!
Before I reveal who my special feature for the day is, I wanted to share something I read that resonated with me. It’s out of my favorite magazine Whole Living!
Big steps. Baby steps. As long as we are headed in the right direction, they’re all good.
I hope you can all find some meaning in this and will carry it with you throughout the rest of your day/week/life :-)
And a drum roll please….Today’s Wild Wednesday is someone who I first met through my sister many years ago. She is wonderfully talented, enthusiastic and hard working, and I am so thrilled that she is this week’s feature.
Her name is Betsy!
1) Name, age, occupation(s):
Betsy Yates, age 25, sole proprietor of Foxtail Jewelry (www.foxtailboutique.etsy.com), founded in November 2011, and salesperson at Redux, an independent jewelry and gift boutique that is SO very “Portland.” I also recently put in my two-weeks notice (which is more like a two-months notice) at my family’s restaurant to focus more on Foxtail.
2) What did you study when you were at the U of O and how have you applied it to what you are doing now?
I originally started out as a vocal performance major but switched my focus to art by my sophomore year. Not long after I took my first metals class and was immediately hooked! In 2010 I graduated with a BFA in metalsmithing/jewelry + painting, and I am pleased to say I’m actually using my art degree with Foxtail.
3) When did your love of jewelry begin? At what point did you decide to turn your hobby into a business?
I’ve loved jewelry since I was old enough to wear (eat) candy necklaces! I never imagined I’d start my own jewelry line, it just happened because it needed to… Long story short, after school let up in 2010 I somehow went an entire year without creating anything. By the following September, I was unhappy and dissatisfied with where I was; I’m a Maker by nature, so after a bit of self-reflection I realized how important a decent creative outlet is for me. I quickly rented a communal studio space and Foxtail was born. It has since taken on a life of its own!
4) Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from?
My biggest inspiration are the materials I work with—right now I’m super into raw crystals, faceted stones, and unique antique findings. I also love the current geometric trend that’s been popular for the past year or two. Simple geometric shapes and clean lines mixed with beautiful stones are a big part of my design. Most of the jewelry I make is designed to be casual, versatile, and perfect for everyday wear.
5) What is the best/hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is being my own boss, working my own hours, and teaching myself the business along the way; that said, the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is being my own boss, working my own hours, and teaching myself the business along the way. Entrepreneurship definitely takes discipline and drive. Time-management is key. Although it sure helps when “work” feels like play!
6) Keeley and I have learned SO much about the “food/grocery world” since starting Wild Squirrel and I can only imagine how much you have learned about the world of jewelry and design since you began your Foxtail Line. What are some things that have surprised you along the way?
Since starting Foxtail, I have completely transformed into a little jewelry-stalking monster. I scour the internet and parade around local boutiques to find more jewelry artists to admire and learn from! There is so much talent out there. A surprising thing I’ve learned along the way is how much my effort influences my success. As I’m sure we’ve both learned in our budding young businesses, success in entrepreneurship is 100% correlated with how much of yourself you put into it.
7) What is your most popular piece of jewelry?
The chevron necklaces were my best sellers for a long time (http://www.etsy.com/shop/foxtailboutique?section_id=10826419)
, but recently the Crescent Moon necklace has taken the spot of Most Popular (http://www.etsy.com/shop/foxtailboutique?section_id=10826419).
8) What are your hopes for Foxtail Jewelry? Where do you see it/yourself in 5 years?
Thus far, Foxtail has far exceeded my expectations. In the next year or two I hope to create a stronger body of work so that all of the pieces listed on my Etsy site are best sellers! In five years I see myself owning a hip little Portland shop that features everything from clothing to home goods—and my jewelry, of course!
9) When you are not at one of your many jobs…how do you spend your time? Hobbies, other passions, things that make you happy?
I love to thrift shop, go to concerts (currently my favorite venues are the Wonder Ballroom and the Doug Fir), and I honestly spend a lot of free time in my studio bringing my designs to life. I listen to a LOT of This American Life
10) Since we are both “Portlanders” let’s chat about this awesome city. What do you love about the city, favorite things to do? Favorite place to eat?
Let’s be honest… you can’t find a city much better than Portland. My favorite Portland activities include dog-watching in Laurelhurst Park, frequenting Powell’s Books, hitting up the Last Thursday Alberta Street Faire, and eating Ike’s spicy fish sauce wings from Pok Pok :-)
11) If I handed you a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
12) What is your favorite flavor or Wild Squirrel and way to eat it?
Chocolate Coconut, straight off the spoon.
13) What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I always have something to keep me entertained; I couldn’t tell you the last time I was bored.
14) What are 3 essential items that you would not want to be without?
1- my laptop. 2- Button Willow, my truck companion. 3- my camera.
Betsy, thanks so much for being this week’s feature :-)
It has been so fun to watch your Foxtail line flourish. It’s amazing how far you have come in such little time. All of your pieces are so innovative and unique…I want all of them ;-)
To everyone reading this…please check out Betsy page on esty!
That’s all for now,