We've seen each other a few times, we've spoken on the phone, I've sent you emails, and you've bought and worn my handbags... But I think its about time we got to know each other a little better! I'll start.
I'm Rebecca. Founder, creative director, product designer, and head of marketing at TWIG & PEARL. I love my job.
I spend my 7am-4pm monday-friday working in our (tiny -- but awesome) design studio, late nights at home on my couch editing images & accounting while watching netflix, and most Saturday's shooting product and marketing images...
In 2014 I left my Job of three years, designing custom women's wear and bridal gowns, to build something that I believed in. I spent months soul-searching, learning new skills, and scribbling down ideas, sketches, and plans for what on earth I would do next with my life.
I developed my first few prototypes (Early versions of the current Ashley tote, Mona Minibag, and Liza Clutch), and launched TWIG & PEARL in December 2015 with a pile of ideas, very little marketing and business know-how, raw and completely un-refined bag making skills, and 5 big goals: 1.) To build a fashion brand that would celebrate the things I love so dearly about Belizean life
2.) To create a waste-free small batch production process based entirely around sustainability and our value of the environment
3.) To use a minimum of 70% natural materials in the construction of each of our pieces
4.) To build in-house production by training & employing Belizean women 5.) to build and launch a chic e-commerce store, catering for both local and international sales.
I'm excited because less than three years later, I've begun to see my five goals, one-by-one, reached.
We've launched our line in our own online shop, trained and now employ two amazing young artisan women, and we produce all our pieces in-house from natural locally sourced leather, hardwood, and hand-printed cotton.
One of the main thing's that I'm proud of though, is the studio-culture that we are building here at TWIG & PEARL. I believe strongly in self-care, the importance of relationships, and truly LIVING life. I didn't want to work in a basic 8-5 job, with little to no daylight hours to spend "enjoying" life. So why would I build a company that handed that schedule and lifestyle to the girls I work alongside? I wanted to do things differently, create time and opportunity for LIFE and adventure to happen, and make our workplace as enjoyable --and yes, FUN as I could.
So, we work hard and we work early, from 7:30 -3:30, with a short lunch-break -- giving us time in the afternoons / evenings to spend adventuring and building connections with our families and friends, learning new things, and exploring other interests. We work to a consistent beat of great background music in the studio, we take birthday's very seriously, eat lunch together daily, and take extra time out to cook lunch together at my house as a team on Wednesdays for our planning meetings.. We have a good time, and aren't shy to admit that we watch/ listen to spanish novellas most afternoons while working on production, listen to TED talks some mornings, blast country music some days, or plan to work late so we can watch a new movie together over lunch break. We enjoy our jobs, each other's company, and the "culture" that has become a norm for us in the workplace.
Over the last year working every day in this environment we've created, I've seen so much growth in each of us individually, and as a team. I've learned the right timing for being a "boss" and the right times to be a friend, confidant, and co-worker.. The girls have learned to focus on their areas of strength, take steps to improve on their weaknesses, and tackle new skills with ease.
I've learned most importantly though, that as the founder and "leader" of this brand.. Its my full-time job to facilitate growth. Making an effort to create opportunities for growth for my team members: At the beginning of last year, we went on our first outdoor "adventure" as a team. We bonded so much and had such a great time kayaking up a flooded creek into a lagoon together..... that we decided to make it a "thing" we do twice a year together as a team -- a new adventure that pushes us a little. In our every-day studio routine, we make an effort to talk about things like saving & investing, reationships & family dynamics, and we take time out of our regular production schedule to be creative, as well as to stop and grow.. building new skills, trying a new tool that we aren't "comfortable" using, or take on a new element of the production process that we don't feel we are good at -- and because of it we've all become better at our jobs, and more confident in ourselves.
Making room for personal growth : How can I lead with clear direction and vision for the future, if I personally am not growing? So about 6 months ago, I started seeing a life-coach. My coach (Melanie) has helped me to take my 5 year goal, and break it down into bite-sized chunks that I can handle, face some of my weaknesses and fears. and create effective keys to help me move forward in areas of my personal life and business that were making me feel "stuck". In my quest for growth, I began exercising regularly, reading more, and putting in extra hours of practice and learning to expand my skill set, as well as experimenting with art photography and film as a hobby -- lots of stepping outside my comfort zone, but last time I checked, growth lives outside our comfort zones! Regardless of the challenges, disappointments, and positive opportunities that have popped up in business over the last few months, I've been able to handle them and lead with grace -- as a result of the work I've put into my personal growth.
I've been fortunate enough to have met so many amazing people over the last three years that love and believe in us and our handbags.. I still do a happy dance every time I spot one of our bags out in the wild!
I honestly couldn't be more proud of everything this little company is becoming, the workplace culture we are creating, the little milestones we are reaching, and the value and concept behind each of our handbags. Dreams and goals don't accomplish themselves overnight. But people who work hard and have a purpose and vision behind their dreams and goals, do accomplish them over time.. All my love, X Rebecca Stirm
Ps: If you're feeling inspired and driven towards some personal or business growth, sitting down with a life coach is honestly the best decision you will make. I've learned and grown so much over the last few months, and I want that growth for you too! I highly suggest that you head over to www.coachingwithmelanie.com , get in contact with her, and start your journey!