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Inspiring Conversations with Christine Castellani and Hillary Boyd of Bette

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Castellani and Hillary Boyd. They and their team share their story with us below:

Bette is a coastal lifestyle brand with Southern California roots founded by us – two local Encinitas moms, Christine Castellani & Hillary Boyd. We make colorful, easy-to-wear beach cover-ups, caftans, and accessories. Every style is designed to make you feel carefree, confident, and glamorous. Our love of the beach and casual coastal lifestyle brought us together back in 2016 when we met in a kindergarten classroom as our firstborns were starting school. Living in Encinitas, we spent many beach days watching our kids play in the surf and enjoying countless San Diego sunsets – we ❤️ a good sunset! We were both feeling a lack of creativity and inspiration in our current careers and often discussed the idea of starting our own business together. We went through so many different ideas (over so many spicy margaritas), and then, in 2018, while we were schlepping our kids to and from the beach, we started dreaming up a cute lifestyle brand that embodied the beauty of living on the coast. Colorful patterns, easy-to-wear styles, and lightweight fabrics that bring a little glamor and elegance without being too serious. 

But what would we call it? We wanted to come up with a name that had meaning, and Bette was Hillary’s grandmother’s name. She believed in living the good life. She loved vacations, relaxing, connecting, and just having fun with her family and friends. Bette believed in balance. She saw the humor in things and allowed herself to have fun!!! This resonated with us so much – we are all Bette (or can be). So hit pause and breathe deep. Look around to see the beautiful colors and feel the breeze. Just like you do on vacation, take a moment to soak it all in every day. And so, Bette began… 

Although we both have over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, this was our first shot at building our own brand. We met with anyone who offered to give us advice and tried to soak in as much information as possible. We didn’t quite know where to start, so after coming up with a few designs, we did our first photoshoot at our local beach, and we hired our babysitters to model for us. They were such good sports (and beautiful too!) We’ve been lucky enough to have amazingly supportive and talented friends to help us out along the way to build the brand we envisioned. 

You can check out all of our styles 24/7 on shopbette.com or find us in local boutiques throughout Southern California and across the country. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Well, COVID certainly brought the largest challenge to our business, and the day the world shut down definitely had us second-guessing ourselves. Who was going to want to wear resort wear when they were locked down in their homes?!? At that time, we were only about 18 months into our business and had just started to gain momentum selling to boutiques across the country. Suddenly orders were canceled, manufacturing had been halted, and we really weren’t sure we could weather the storm. But we were very fortunate to be able to continue to sell online, and we had already built an amazing group of loyal customers who really supported us through those tough times. Eventually, businesses slowly opened back up, and we began building back to where we had left off. Lucky for us, everyone was excited to go on vacation again, and we were able to get back on track. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We are obsessed with color, and our designs are inspired by the beautiful coastlines that we adore. Whether it’s the turquoise Caribbean water or a gorgeous cotton-candy San Diego sunset, we are constantly gathering inspiration all around us. We have a saying – “I’m nicer when I like my outfit” – it’s on all of our hang tags- because it’s true! Wearing that perfect shade of pink to give you a healthy glow, or a blue that makes your eyes pop, just makes us feel more confident and brings a big smile to our face. It makes you feel good, and when you feel good about yourself you are a happier person. 

We work with artists all over the world to fabricate our designs. Our current Santa Barbara Collection is made in India using remnant fabrics which not only makes our bags bright and colorful but eco-chic too. We hope to continue to bring more eco-conscious designs to our line. 

Bette isn’t just a lifestyle brand; it’s a way of life. We love the sand in our toes – the breeze in our hair – big belly laughs – time with people we love – life in San Diego, and never taking ourselves too seriously. We try to embody this feeling in everything we do at Bette. 

Any big plans?
While we have a great following here in San Diego, we are excited to continue growing our business through boutiques and resorts across the country. Currently, most of our styles are designed for warm weather but we are planning to expand into some cozier styles you can wear throughout the year. Whatever Bette style you choose, our goal is to bring a big smile to your face and make you feel gorgeous and confident! 

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Flavio Scorsato
Equinox Photo
Solifoto

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