You Can Find Her Bang Up Betty Jewelry & Apparel in Boutique Stores Across the Country! Meet Bang Up Betty Owner, Stacey Bowers
Bang-Up Betty started as a big mess in my living room floor in March of 2013. I’ve always been pretty crafty, and my first job was at my local bead store, so I knew quite a bit about making jewelry, though I didn’t possess too much finesse at the time. I wanted to make funny, cheeky jewelry for my sailor-mouthed friends, so I picked up a set of stamps, my dad’s old hammer and got to stamping. Five years, several smashed fingers, and a lot of tears later, Bang-Up Betty, Inc., ships handmade jewelry from Arkansas all over the United States and the world!
Q: For those in our audience not familiar with Bang Up Betty, can you tell us about it and how it started?
SB: One of my first jobs in high school was at my local bead store, Argenta Bead Company, so I’ve always had a background in jewelry making, but it was in winter about 7 years ago that I decided I wanted to make funny, curse-wordy stamped bracelets for my friends for Christmas. I wasn’t a big jewelry wearer because I couldn’t ever find much that really meant anything to me or was clever or funny, so I made my own. I taught myself how to stamp metal using some really rough tools on my apartment floor. People really liked the bracelets, so I kept making them, and the business grew slowly from that.
Q: What inspired you to name your business Bang Up Betty?
SB: “Bang-Up” was a pun about the hammer I used to stamp jewelry, and the “Betty” part came from my cat, Betty. He (yes, he!) crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2019, but he was a funny, quirky companion for 12 years. He even had his own Instagram account. I miss him dearly.
Q: Do you offer custom design jewelry to your customers?
SB: A lot of my work is custom jewelry. People come to me all the time with stories about their loved ones they want to make something special for or a time in their lives they want to commemorate, and we work together to make something unique. I love to stamp people’s inside jokes the most; it lets me into their secret funnies.
Q: What was your mission when you started?
SB: When I started Bang-Up Betty, I really just wanted to make jewelry that I liked and that my funny, quirky friends would love to wear. I wanted to make people laugh. That’s one of my favorite things about my work—when I’m at a craft show and someone comes into my booth and reads everything and starts laughing.
Q: Where do you see your business five years down the road?
SB: My main priorities are having fun and being true to myself and my values. Everything else follows. I see myself continuing to grow this business slowly, thoughtfully, and genuinely, so it’s always something I find joy in that has my creativity and signature in it. I’ll definitely always be learning new ways to create jewelry and implementing them in my work. Expect my work to change and grow just like I do.
Q: How has Covid-19 affected your business?
SB: Normally, you can shop my jewelry in person inside Stifft Station Gifts in Little Rock, but we’ve scaled back our hours and operations to ensure that our customers stay safe and we stay safe during the pandemic. For the foreseeable future, we’re operating online and in person by appointment only so that everyone feels comfortable and has space. I miss seeing my clients’ wonderful faces, and I also miss hosting creative classes and workshops at our store. We usually have fun crafting circles at least once a month that we’ve had to postpone.
Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?
SB: I attended Centenary College of Louisiana and studied communications, landing writing, and editing jobs at newspapers and magazines out of college before becoming the marketing director for an arts nonprofit for five years while I simultaneously grew Bang-Up Betty. I really thought I’d be writing editorial forever, and that’s what I loved to do. Then I fell in love with jewelry more.
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
SB: I think my very first job was a clerk at a used CD store, so I like to think I have great taste in music.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to purse their dream and start a business?
SB: From a creative business owner’s perspective, BE YOURSELF. Don’t be anyone else. Put your personality and your interests into your work. Do something new or different, not what someone else is doing.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
SB: Don’t be afraid to use your voice and your platform to do good and speak up for what’s right.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
SB: Joyce Elliott. She’s a former educator and state senator in Little Rock, a healthcare advocate and a now she’s a compassionate, experienced candidate for U.S. Congress. I admire her courage and dedication to public service.
Five Things About Stacey Bowers
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Queen Elizabeth I. She was such an interesting leader with a fascinating family history, and I never get enough books, podcasts, and stories about her.
2. What would be the first thing you do if you won the lottery?
Take my family to Hawaii after the pandemic.
3. If you were a superhero, what would your special powers be?
Being able to understand and speak every language fluently.
4. What app can’t you live without?
Instagram, but I’m sure limiting my time on it would be a healthy thing to do.
5. ideally, how would like to spend your Birthday?
On my 30th birthday, my close friends and I dressed up as Golden Girls characters and they sang “Thank You For Being a Friend” instead of “Happy Birthday.” Can I just repeat that party every year for the rest of my life?