Artist Spotlight: Two Stoned Betties

One of the best things about starting this blog is being able to highlight various artists and crafters in Albuquerque. What an incredibly wonderful community of talented people! I love how diverse the art is – lots of one-of-a-kind art. I get bored with all the cookie cutter, “I’ve-seen-this-at-every-craft-show” art. With so many artists in Albuquerque, it’s nice to find folks that stand out.

Speaking of standing out, let’s talk about two women who are quite simply bad ass, Two Stoned Betties. These two have made a career out of making super cool, super hip jewelry. I bought my first pair of earrings from them several years ago. There is nothing better than wearing handmade earrings that make people stop you and ask, “Where did you get those?!”

I’ve known one of the “Betties”, Sara, since we were in a production of the The Vagina Monologues together! Something about that play bonded all the castmates for life! I have followed her art making since the beginning and it makes me so happy to see both of these young women make art for a living and doing it so well. It’s interesting to see how they got started, where they get inspiration, and where their art has taken them.

I hope these two gals inspire you the way that they have inspired me and I hope that you check out their work and you BUY SOMETHING FROM THEM! Let’s help them grow their business even more!

Have you always made art?
Yes. Both Kayla and I have always been artists. We were the little girls that were always coloring. Both of us dabble in quite a few mediums. I like to think of us as modern day Renaissance Women

Have you always made jewelry?
I’ve been making jewelry for about 14 years now. I began with beading necklaces. I worked for a local gem and bead shop where I fell in love with recognizing stones and learning about all their metaphysical properties. That’s when I was first inspired to create jewelry. 

Sandia Mountain Earrings

Where do you find inspiration?
I really just think of things that I love when I need to be inspired. Life inspires me everyday. My jewelry designs are inspired by so many facets of my life. We feature everything from photography of New Mexico skies and landscapes to pop icons on our jewelry. Most of our designs are inspired by things that are nostalgic to us. It’s super fun to see faces light up when they see earrings on our table that take them back in time. We inspire each other a lot as well. Our friendship is full of lots of colorful conversations that inspire us to create. For example, we started making earrings with our photography because of the runs we often take together. We were taking such beautiful photos on our runs and one day thought, “Dude, imagine that on an earring!”…those moments happen a lot for us.  

Kayla painting

Is this a full time business for you?
I am so proud to say yes to this question. Two Stoned Betties have been creating jewelry together now for about 5 years. I have officially been self employed for almost one year. In the beginning I waited tables to make ends meet and Betties was just extra money. Now, my art is paying the bills completely and I am so grateful and proud. Kayla is a full time Bettie as well. She also makes money with her face painting business. We are blessed and life is good. 

How hard was it to get started and where there hurdles you had to overcome?
Getting started wasn’t too hard for us. We’ve both been active in many art communities throughout the city for quite some time, so we had access to a lot of opportunities right away. The biggest hurdle in the beginning was finding the money to pay for markets and events. You have to spend money to make money and sometimes we’d pay more for a table then we made at the event. Learning which events are our best markets was very important. 

What part of making and selling your art has been easy? I don’t think any part of making and selling art is easy. Loving what you do is what makes it easy, but the process really is not. 

Two Stoned Betties display

How did you decide to display your work?
Merchandising has been an ongoing labor of love for us. I’ve always wanted sturdy displays that would protect our earrings so that we could keep them displayed during transport. I come from the work smarter not harder school of life and having to individually hang as many earrings as we usually offer at our table was taking too much time. My mother was going through my grandmothers stuff after her passing and she asked if I could use her old vintage suitcases for anything. A light bulb immediately went off and I started brainstorming how to hang earrings in a suitcase. I figured it out and we’ve been collecting vintage suitcases and filling them with our creations every since. The cases have become pretty synonymous with our brand at this point. 

What are your favorite ABQ shows and events?
All of them…We are forever loyal to and fond of The Downtown Growers Market for many reasons, but we owe much of our success to the exposure that we have gained from being present there for the past two years.It’s outside, it’s beautiful and we love it. First Fridays Downtown Artwalk has quickly become one of my favorite events. We just started showing up to these and are tickled pink by how our city is showing up. We love all the Summer Fests! Somos! Marigold Parade!  I’ll Drink to That! Moonstone Pop! Hemp fest! We are so blessed in Albuquerque. 

Any advice you would give to someone starting out?
Don’t be afraid to jump. Invest in yourself and your business. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Introduce yourself.  Book the gig. Get there early. Be present on social media. Talk to all your customers. Embody your brand. Be confident. Talk about your art. Talk about your process. Reward your customers with sweet deals. Do not undersell yourself. Don’t dwell on the things you don’t sell. Don’t ever be threatened by another artist’s hustle. Don’t ever let other artists intimidate you or stifle your creative flow. Make what you want. Always try to impress yourself. Give yourself props. Show the f up. 

What has been your biggest achievement?
Working for myself is my biggest achievement. I am beyond impressed that I pay my bills and my son and I live comfortably all because of the work I put into the art that I create. It is beyond stellar. Some highlights have been seeing my jewelry on TV and being voted Albuquerque’s #1 jewelry shop by Alibi readers. We are gaining so many fans all over the country. Every time I send earrings to anywhere outside Albuquerque, I feel a little bit beside myself. 

Do you have any great marketing suggestions? Be simple and appealing with your brand. Be present on social media and celebrate your customers there. 

Where do you sell your art? 
We are regular vendors at The Downtown Growers Market. We will be at Route 66 Summer Fest. Our designs can be found at Metal The Store at El Vado development, Brotique 505 at Green Jeans and Astro Zombies in Nob Hill.

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