In the Press: Ansel and Opie

By William Bartels

Thanks to Tiffany at Ansel and Opie for the feature!  

 Here's the full interview:

 How did Baleen start?

After working as a Graphic Designer for many years, Billy decided he really wanted to work with his hands and started a line of men's jewelry (Vim Beget) about 5 years ago.  At the same time I was starting my line of women's swimwear and online shop (Drifting Arrows).  We were very involved in each other's companies from the beginning and eventually we started collaborating on ideas for some women's jewelry pieces.  Then, just over a year ago we decided it would be really fun to do something as a team and at a price point that everyone can afford.  That was the birth of Baleen :)

Where did you come up with the name?

We just really liked the word Baleen and then realized it was a bit of a combo of both of our first names.  Baleen is a whale reference, and similar to some whale species we also "migrate", from our home in Seattle to Maui multiple times a year to get to the warmer waters.

I love that the pieces are handcrafted, did either of you go to school for jewelry design?

Neither of us went to school to study jewelry design, though Billy took some jewelry classes in college while studying Graphic Design, and we both played around a lot with making jewelry as kids.  Working with our hands is something we both really enjoy, and in addition to making jewelry, Billy loves to design and craft furniture and I love to design and make clothing.

Are there any plans to expand the Baleen brand?

Right now we are so happy to be able to work with such great stores, all around the country and beyond.  Eventually we would both really love to have our own brick and mortar location as well.

Where do you see the brand in 5, 10 years?

We'd love to become the go-to brand for people seeking high quality, hand-made, affordable jewelry.  Our goal is to source all our materials from the US and continue to make everything in-house.