Purpose Profile: Etta + Billie

Etta_Billie_Grapefruit_Cardamom_Body_Scrub_Natural This guest post is by Abby Kerr of The Voice Bureau



In today’s spotlight we have Etta + Billie, a collection of Locally Inspired Natural Bath & Body Products. Handcrafted in San Francisco, CA, each product is made in small batches, allowing for exquisite attention to ingredients.

Full disclosure: I am utterly gaga for this line after first discovering it on Pinterest via this very pin via Design for Mankind’s (and Minikind’s) and Clementine Daily’s Erin Loechner. Of course, I immediately went into internet stalk mode, following Etta + Billie proprietress Alana Rivera on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. A couple months later, I placed my first order. It arrived promptly and . . . oh, heavens. A fan was born.

Etta + Billie (named after Rivera’s grandmothers) creates lavishly scented, organically-sourced, all natural beauty and bath products from soaps to body oils to bath scrubs in fragrances like Geranium Patchouli, Grapefruit Cardamom (have it, love it), and Horchata (which I’ll soon be procuring a bar of for my dog sitter . . . shh, don’t tell her). One of their newest soap scents is Vendetta IPA, made with the “hoppy citrusy” ale from Speakeasy Brewery.


On her About Us page, Rivera shares how her youthful passion for sudsy smell-goods led to this focused purpose: “making [my] own products enabled [me] to feed [my] bath + body addiction while giving [me] creative freedom and control over the health of [my] routine.” Clearly, all-natural, irritant-free, and planet-friendly are high on this brand’s list of values.

Inspired by her grandmothers, she says that the line is committed to honoring “selflessness, tenacity, support + courage of all women.” In kind, her blog is focused on sharing stories of the (largely female) retail boutique owners who carry her line, along with natural recipes and good causes that have caught her eye. She maintains an active social media presence across multiple platforms, and her love for the local community, for her stockists, and for the work of other indie handmade designers is evident. In addition, Etta + Billie offers a regularly sent e-newsletter featuring the latest products, snippets from Rivera’s life and travels, and occasional sales and specials, which you can subscribe to from the site.


Etta + Billie’s product line smacks of story. If you’re a branding nerd like me, when you use (or wear) a well-named product, a piece of your soul gets to live inside that vision for a little while. That’s how I feel after a shower, when I smooth my favorite Clary Sage Black Pepper Body Oil into my skin. Her fragrance profiles -- which, at the time of publication, include Floral, Citrus, Herbal, Minty, Woody, and Gourmand -- are accompanied by shortlisted ingredient benefits. The Ritual Roasters Coffee Soap, for instance, is said to be antioxidant, toning, and smoothing. My favorite body oil is said to be an aphrodisiac. (Ooh la la!)

The site’s visual brand is clean with a vintage-modern aesthetic and a balanced palette of warm and cool tones. Excellent, interesting, catalog-quality product photography befits the high end yet organic feel of the line. The site copy reads as personable, graceful, and infused with intentionality. There’s a textural, home-y (yet not homespun) accessibility to this line and it’s reflected throughout the brand’s visuals.


How do Etta + Billie’s values translate into making money?

They sell their goods from their own site, as well as from the Etta +Billie Etsy Shop, as well as from brick and mortar retail boutiques (and possibly from their websites, as well). This reflects what I perceive to be the brand’s focus on individuality, indie values, and indie handmade culture -- which thrives on community.

I’ve noticed, from my years of consulting with small designers and retailers on brand voice and content development, that it’s easy to fall into the “hey, look at this thing I’m selling” blog post template or social media update. After all, you’re a maker -- you make stuff. You need people to buy your stuff, so your stuff is what you end up blogging and posting about. Etta + Billie is a great example of going beyond the “hey, look at this” type of post. They create a world within a world for their buyers and potential buyers, inviting you in a little closer with each fragrance description and evocative photo.

I’m pretty sure Rivera is making a few new sudsy smell-goods addicts out of her customers -- and I know this one, at least, is happier for it (with softer skin).

I’d love to hear from you. What do you notice about Etta + Billie’s brand? What are they doing to create the feeling of a world you want to lather up in?