Five Questions With Betty & Eve

Written by Caitlin Turnbull
on 02 November, 2019

Warning: Getting to know Byron born brand Betty & Eve will have you in the mood for a seachange! Taking a break from muti-making and floating down the Brunswick River, Caitlin chats to us about her creative journey and what small-batch making means to her.

We’re thrilled to welcome artist & designer Caitlin to Finders Keepers Brisbane this spring. Debuting her fashion and ceramics this season, Betty & Eve is one stall to get on the must-visit list!

Tell us about your creative background and the journey to starting Betty & Eve’s? Was there one big ‘ah ha’ moment?

 I think I’ve always been quite creative; I loved drawing, making & painting when I was young. I took Visual Arts and Textiles & Design throughout high school, learned a lot of basic skills then did a year of Visual Arts at Uni but it left me feeling stagnant and uninspired so I deferred my second year (and the next, and the next..). I knew I wanted to continue pursuing art & design but wasn’t quite sure how – the idea of starting my own business surfaced; incorporating all the things I love doing & making – it excited me. So I got a full-time job in the meantime and continued to sew and paint, and picked up pottery as a hobby in my spare time. I thought about and planned it A LOT and over the course of about two years, Betty & Eve slowly came together. My website launched in February this year!  

There’s something so beautiful and special about small-batch products. What do you love most about making small runs, and how do you keep the inspiration flowing?

I absolutely love working with small batches – it provides so much creative freedom which is really important to me. By making small runs, it allows space for different designs to come into play, which means more variety. Small batches also avoid any deadstock, and nothing kills my creativity more than making the same thing over and over again. I’m an artist and a maker, not a brand – so if a particular piece sells out, and I can’t stand the thought of making more, I won’t. I love what I’m doing, and I don’t ever want anything to feel like a chore to make & the beauty of small batches is that when I’m over a particular design, I can just move onto a new one that I’m excited about. It keeps me inspired and motivated & ensures that all of my pieces are being made with love and passion!   

Betty & Eve has a wonderful focus on ethical and sustainable practice. How do you manage this in your business through to your personal life?

I knew when the idea of B&E was born that I wanted to do it responsibly – working with small batches, avoiding waste, and using only natural fibres. We live in a world dominated by mass-produced, fast fashion and the only way this will change is to educate on the detrimental fashion industry and provide ethical & sustainable alternatives. I researched fabrics & fibres, how they’re made & grown, and determined which had the least environmental impact. This led me to linen; which scores high on the environmentally friendly fabrics list, second to hemp – though it’s harder to source due to the negative stigma surrounding cannabis for the past 80 years – but I’m excited to be bringing in a few hemp pieces later this year. 

Naturally, this focus on ethics and sustainability in my business reflected in my personal life, making me conscious of the impact I’m making as an individual too.  

What do you love most about living in the Hinterlands of Byron Bay? Do you have a favourite nature walk or cafe you frequent?

There is a lot to love about this area – it’s laid-back but there are so much creativity & culture and a real sense of community. I live in the quiet country-side with my partner and two dogs and was lucky to create a workspace here too. There’s a couple of places we’ve grown quite fond of the past few years which have inspired a lot of my work with Betty & Eve. The National Park in the mountain ranges visible from our house and my studio is so nice to walk through to unwind with all the native plants & trees, plus there are some pretty gnarly views of the coast & Byron Bay. I’ll also never get sick of our favourite spot to swim with the dogs in the river in Brunswick Heads in summer; at high tide, the water is clear, blue & beautiful – it’s paradise. There’s certainly no shortage of inspiration living here. 

Can you tell us about what the Brisbane community can expect to discover at Finders Keepers this November?

I am so incredibly excited to be debuting at Finders Keepers this November! I’ve got my biggest batch of pottery yet on the way with a few fun new pieces like funky vases and little potion bottles plus some prints of a few of my paintings. In terms of clothing, I’m bringing back some older favourites & bestsellers, some in new colours, and I’ve got a couple of new designs that I’m really excited to get out there. It’s going to be such a fun weekend!

Bonus Q: What’s on the spring/summer wishlist at this year’s Finders Keepers for you?

Oh my goodness, that’s a tough one – there are so many amazing businesses at the Brisbane event! CHABOO looks absolutely beautiful, I can’t wait to visit their stall. I definitely want to check out One Thousand Lines, their designs and screen printing is just so beautiful, I’m a sucker for native flora. And how cool is Upswitch?! Repurposing old objects into something useful – love it. Also, I’m excited to check out Kirralee & Co, The Pink Plate, and Woodfolk, plus so many more. I think Happy Soul Bowl is going to be on the menu a lot and did someone say “gelato”?

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