About BETTY AND BETTS

Every time you buy a beautiful Betty product you continue the story of two English girls who met in Bangalore. Overwhelmed by the poverty around them they hatched a dream, to build a future for people who have been forgotten.

We are moving!

Betties everywhere!

Just a quick notice to say we are moving, but not far away. Simply round the corner to our website. That means you can get the most of all thats available on one door step rather than moving from one street to the other! The blog will be found under ‘News’ at http://www.bettyandbetts.com. Your subscription will simply be moved over so that don’t miss out on any of the latest Betty news. See you at the new place!

Much love The Betties

Honour thy mother

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She’s wiped your nose and your tears, seen your highs and your lows and been right just once too often. Go all out and love mama with these super-stylish gifts from Betty & Betts this Mothers Day -

Choose our upright tote, add a matching wallet  and finish it off with a classic id card holder, all in vibrant emerald or cognac tan. 

Made from the highest quality buttery leather, finely top-stitched and finished with beautifully printed cotton linings, we are proud that all of our goods are made by certified fair trade suppliers in India.

Now whose mother couldn’t see the good in that?

Sneak peek – The Betties SS14 photo shoot

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of a real-life fashion shoot? Surrounded by fly-away balloons and beautifully bright leather bags in the grounds of an English country house,  Betty & Betts reveal exclusive behind-the-scenes shots to show how it’s done. We also caught up with founder Tanya Clarke to ask her how the SS14 campaign  came together.

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Where was the shoot?

At a beautiful country house in Tring, Berkhamstead. It is owned by a lovely couple who are the trustees for an amazing charity called Glo in Burundi.

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Who took part?

Neil Raja of New Road Collective was our ace photographer and beautiful model Eva Marie-Kung showed off our bags. Gemma Grace was our make-up artist and did a great job. Altogether, a brilliant team!

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What inspired the shoot? 

The anticipation of coming into summer with picnics and outdoor party days ahead! And my love for the countryside – I’m a country bumpkin at heart!

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What was the highlight?

Being in a beautiful house with a gorgeous great dane called Bella and exploring the huge property for our shoot whilst trying not to get lost in the maze in the garden. Although we woke up on a very cold misty day, Eva did well keeping warm with a hot water bottle stuffed up her clothes!

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Ah, the secrets of the trade!

You can see The Betties final SS14 lookbook here. 

SALE TIME! HAPPY DAYS!

The Christmas treats just keep coming. With up to 45% off special products these limited edition items are a great luxury at a great price!

Find the below and much more here at: http://www.bettyandbetts.com

Iphone Holder: WAS £25 NOW £14

Iphone Holder

Iphone HolderLarge Gunmetal Grey Satchel: WAS £249 NOW £145SatchelGorgeous Clutch: WAS £125 NOW £80
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Vulgar and perverse…..and misunderstood.

When he first launched his collection in 1904 his critics accused him of being perverse, vulgar and grotesque! However he produced the most radical and inspiring of paintings of his time. You can find yourself stood in front of them and smiling, being overwhelmed by a calm and a light happiness that makes you feel like you are in front of the most exhilarating and passionate paintings of your life.

This great man was Henri Matisse. Exhibiting at the Albertina in Vienna this collection is an amazing treat. Matisse encompasses all the desires when he said:

‘What I dream of is an art of balance, purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or disturbing subject matter, an art that could be a sooting, calming influence on the mind, something like a good arm chair that provides relaxation from physical fatigue.’ 1908

Nothing vulgar about that! This is a collection you can really chill out to….and he likes animals!

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Henri Matisse and his Cat

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From SVP to Photography – in the slums and palaces of India continued……

Continuing the conversation with the lovely Julie, as we delve deeper into her love for furries and photography…

7. What was your most exciting location to shoot and why ?

Some of my favourite shoots have not necessarily been in exciting locations. I recently shot a piece at an animal welfare society in Penang, Malaysia, where 250 stray and rescued dogs live in a fixer upper house on the outskirts of the city, cared for by a retired German expat, Barbara Janssen, and a couple of helpers. The dogs live alone or in packs in one the many rooms, each looking for a small space to call their own: the front of house, half open to the elements, and with access to the outdoors; the main enclosed living area, complete with giant flat screen TV, antique furniture, and sofas destroyed by chewing and digging; the back open kitchen, with washing machine, pots and pans, dining tables, and food prep area, usually all sat upon by dozens of dogs. Not one space is left unclaimed by canines. This shoot was challenging emotionally, physically and mentally but at the same time, exciting, and the results were so much more than I could ever have expected from when I first arrived there.

8. Who or what would be your dream shoot be?

Living in India, every day is like a dream shoot. Just stepping out onto the streets provides a myriad of opportunities to capture life in all its gritty detail. I’m soon heading to the Golden Temple in Amritsar which I know will be stunning to shoot, but I’m also looking forward to general street shooting there. That said, if a very fancy chain of hotels was to ask me to shoot their global locations over the next year or so, I’d be very happy to accept!

9. What’s the most favourite photo you have taken and why?

I’ve taken literally thousands of photos and my favorites change constantly. I’m currently in love with one of the majestic hounds I shot at the shelter in Penang: he was posed perfectly and the light streaming in just made him look so regal. He really was the king of the house and in my view the photo portrays that perfectly.

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10. How do you want people to respond to your work?

I want my photographs to provoke a response of some kind from people. Whether they love it or hate it, that’s fine, as long as it’s given them something to think about and generated a reaction.

11. You have done a few shoots with Betty & betts on location. What is it about Betty and betts that made you decide to work with them?

I love the philosophy of the Betties and their commitment to ethically produced products. Plus it’s always going to be a fun shoot, whether we’re in a Bangalore slum or a palace in Rajasthan. The colorful products and patterns make them a joy to shoot wherever you are.

12. What is your most favourite betty product and why?

I have many Betty notebooks that always travel with me when I’m shooting. Next to my camera, a notebook is the most important thing for jotting down ideas, inspirations, and, as I’m getting older, things I need to remember!

13. You met Sausage in India, fulfilled some puppy sitting duties for her where she got very spoiled with gourmet food. Do you have any dogs?

We have three wonderful dachshunds: A female Mitzie, who’s turning six this December, Monty, an easy going five year old wire haired male, and Minnie, our latest addition who’s around 18 months old and trying to take the spot of alpha female! They are a joy to have and provide hours of happiness to us. We may need to get a bigger bed though as all three like to snuggle up at night like the part of the family that they are.

Find more of Julie’s amazing photographs at: http://www.juliemcguire.com

In the thick of it – SS13 photo shoot in Bangalore Flower Market!

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Buy Betty products at: http://www.bettyandbetts.com

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From SVP to Photography – in the slums and palaces of India.

During my time living in India I met the most amazing people. One of whom is Julie, a northern Leeds lass who used live in the US and now resides in bonkers Bangalore. Aside from sharing our love for fine cheeses, dog sitting Sausage and sharing her amazing Christmas dinners in the indian heat, Julie became a great friend and the Betty photographer.

What made working with Julie so amazing was that she didn’t care where the photo shoot was, or what it was, she gave it more than 100% to capture the Betty range in all its beauty! Our first shoot was in a slum with open gutters, humming smells, domestic goats everywhere and a trail of inquisitive kids who would follow us like the pied piper! The results were fantastic!

The Betties caught up with Julie in between her international photography conferences and photo shoots to find out more about why she ended up in bonkers Bangalore and why she is so bonkers about photography!

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1. You were glamourously working in New York for a number of years. What brought you all the way to India?

I was working as a Senior Vice President at a consumer PR agency in NYC when my husband was offered a position in Bangalore, India. It was a great opportunity for him professionally and for me personally to pursue my other passion of photography. We initially came for a couple of years, but eight years in we are still here and have never looked back.
2. You have lived in India for 8 years now, so you are pretty settled but what were your first impressions when you arrived in India?
India can be an assault on the senses! We came in blind, never having visited the country before, and were struck by the sheer amount of people! Whilst NYC is a busy place, nothing can match an Indian city in rush hour: traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, auto rickshaws, buses, cows, you name it, you see it. The noise can be deafening: nothing says India like a car, or 100, honking down the street!
3. India is unlike any other culture in the world. What do you love and hate about the place?
I love the fact that you never know what you will get with India. It is a land of sheer extremes, from extreme wealth to extreme poverty, from extreme over crowding to extremely isolated locations, from extreme pollution to extreme beauty. It is a challenging place to live for many reasons but once you settle in, you learn to navigate India’s idiosyncracies and make it work for you. I’ve seen many people struggle with living here, people who are trying too hard to change the system based on their previous experiences of other countries; some things can work, but for the most part, you need to remember that you are small cog in a giant wheel that, albeit slowly, moves forward – with or without you!
4. What got you into photography?
I became interested in photography in my teens and dabbled with film photography and developing my own images. It wasn’t til later in life that I started to become more serious, but work always got in the way! The move to India gave me the time I needed and provided the backdrop to really hone my skills and take it to the next level.
5. What in your mind makes a good photograph?
To me, many things make a good photograph — the composition, the color, the light, the subject — but most important is the emotional connection. What is the photograph saying to you? Does it grab your attention and sustain it? What was the photographer trying to convey to you? If the photography raises more questions than it answers, I think that’s a good thing.
6. What inspires you when you take photos?
I take pictures of things that I care about, things that inspire me, surprise me, delight me, or even confuse and perplex me! It comes back to the emotional connection: unless I have one with the subject when I shoot, I can’t expect anyone to have one when they view my work.
Follow the rest of Julie’s interview, coming soon.

The Home That People Forgot…Until Now.

It was down a lonely leafy quiet lane, off the busy hectic main road that a boys home was discovered that most locals didn’t believe could exist. Hidden from society these boys were locked away and forgotten until only 5 years ago.

Whilst living in India I became involved in volunteering with a small group of people who were taking a few hours out of their busy week to spend time in this most deprived and forgotten orphanage I have ever seen. Such was the state of the accommodation of these boys home that many of us had to debrief after seeing them. Covered in scabies, with open wounds, half clothed, some undernourished, lice ridden and abandoned these lonely boys were treated with no dignity of life. It was awful. However, since I left, these volunteers have never seen this home as a hopeless cause but as an opportunity to make these boys dreams a living reality.

Ajit Sivaram, the co-founder and director of what is now the charity U&I, has been making some serious waves in India since I left. The Betties caught up with Ajit and decided to get to the heart of how it all began and what those waves of change are doing in this home for the forgotten people.

1.  You have started a charity that has 5.5k followers on FB and now 500 of volunteers. Your growth has been phenomenal. You first went to the orphanage 5 years ago, what was it like when you first got there?

When we first visited the Home for Boys with Special Needs, it was shocking to see the way they were living. Eighty five boys who had been abandoned by their families because of their mental health conditions. The boys were housed in a state run institution which was over populated and understaffed. Built to house 40 boys the institution had 85 in there. For children with special needs in a residential facility, the child to cared ratio is meant to be 4:1. When we first got here, we noticed there were 2-3 carers for 85 boys. That’s a 40:1 ratio! The place was a right mess. These are kids who haven’t been shown love all their life.  I personally felt that I couldn’t turn back. I had to do something about it. They deserved so much better.

2.  What has been you greatest success at the orphanage?

I think our greatest success is having built an amazing team and seeing that we are meeting our targets every month. We’ve come a long way from where we started. We now have an amazing team of 9 staff who work in the state home. We have 4 nurses, 3 assistant carers, a physiotherapist and a manager who work six days a week providing care and rehabilitation to the boys!

The nurses provide wound care, grooming and assist in vocational therapy. The assistant carers take care of the hygiene and grooming of the boys. They also ensure that the campus (orphanage) is clean. The physiotherapist works with 15 boys in need of physiotherapy and has seen some great results in the past few months.

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3. What is a typical voluntary day at the orphanage look like? 

Sunday is volunteer day, and the team always has specific activities planned out for the kids. The kids are divided into 3 groups consisting of the mild moderate and severally challenged. Different volunteers spend time with each group and have tailor-made activities that are both fun and help them with their specific sensory and motor needs as well. A typical day usually ends with dancing, it’s the one thing the boys enjoy the most.

4. What have been your biggest challenges? Describe some of the issues.

The biggest challenge has been working alongside the state system. Things don’t always happen as fast and effectively as we would like. Also the attitude of the state staff towards change and wanting better systems and processes has been challenging. We love these kids so much so it’s something we are willing to bear with.

5.  The needs of the home make it a tough place to be. How do you keep positive, what motivates and inspires you?

The boys inspire and motivate us everyday. It’s amazing to see how the simplest things make them smile and that makes us want to keep doing what we are doing.

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6. Some people see a situation like the orphanage and think ‘this problem is too big, there is too much corruption, what difference will I make’? What would you say to them?

I wouldn’t say anything. I would have them spend an hour with the kids. When you see how happy you can make them by just hanging out with them, dancing with them or playing a game, you will realize how much of a difference you can make.

7.  Some people say ‘well I can’t see the problem, it’s not my responsibility’. What would you say to these comments? 

Again, I would have them spend an hour with the kids. They can say more in their silence than I can in all my talking.

8What’s your favourite moment at the boys orphanage?

We have a boy at the home named Basava. His father is in prison and his mom is no more. My favorite moment of all time was when we were able to take Basava to visit his dad at prison. It was incredible to see the father and son again. His dad was overjoyed and proudly introduced all his friends to Basava. It was amazing to see them reunite.

9.  Who is your greatest hero and why? 

Ironman maybe :) my heroes would be the team I work with – both staff and volunteers because they give so much of themselves for the kids on a daily basis.

10.  Are you looking for more volunteers? What skills do you need specifically to work in the orphanage? 

We have 50 volunteers at the moment. We will recruit more if we have drop outs. We are looking for some skilled volunteers at the moment – like doctors, special needs teachers etc.

We’ve had doctors, dentists, dermatologists do medical camps with the boys. They’ve been very useful and the nurses have carried forward the necessary treatment. 

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11. What is your big audacious dream for the orphanage? 

Our dream is to see this become the model home for all other homes. We want this home to set the standard for other institutions to provide each child with specialised individual care.

12. Describe the transformation of the orphans from the day to arrived to now? 

It almost doesn’t seem like the same place. The kids were a mess, they hadn’t showered in the longest time, they were lying in their own crap. Today they have a shower every day, they are clean and the place is so much more lively and colorful. You can feel that positive energy when you walk in. It’s no longer a sad place to visit. Its full of joy and happiness.

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New Stock Available Now!

Hot off the sewing machines are the some of our new collection. Beautiful Upright Totes/Satchels in Cognac and Gold available NOW to buy online.

https://www.bettyandbetts.com/product-category/bags/upright-tote-bags/

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