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Meet Donna von Hoesslin-Pu’u of Betty Belts in Ventura

Today we’d like to introduce you to Donna von Hoesslin-Pu’u.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2002, after 17 years abroad (Berlin), I returned to California. You see, I had recently taken up surfing and discovered a deep desire to start a life by the sea. I started my company in 2003 with the intent to create a product that keeps people connected to the ocean. Starting with boho style hand beaded shell belts, then adding jewelry a year later, I then coined the term “ocean inspired accessories” to describe my product.

Today Betty Belts is most known for our high quality handmade sterling silver jewelry, most notably pieces we make with sea glass, upcycled surfboard resin and, of course, our many wave designs.

I opened the retail shop in 2007 tucked away on a quiet side street in downtown Ventura. We just celebrated 10 years of Brick & Mortar Betty. The shop has become immensely popular amongst ocean lovers from all over Southern California and beyond.

My brand is currently experiencing a swell of popularity in Japan as well after my first pop up shop there this past April.

We opened the Ocean Room Gallery with our expansion into the space next door in 2016, featuring the photography of my husband David Pu’u, an icon in ocean wave photography.

Here is a little video David put together featuring more than a decade of Betty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEwePAh-jEI

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The recession in 2007 forced me to take a hard look at the manufacturing/wholesale model I had adopted as I saw many of our retailers close their doors… and make the decision to open to the public and sell direct to consumers.

Lots of hard work and determination, consistency and a phenomenal level of customer service got us where we are today.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Betty Belts – what should we know?
Being in the business of making things that make people happy that is immensely gratifying. For me. And for my customers.

The shop in Ventura is a happy place and we have the best customers ever.

We are grateful for that!

People love what we do because it is something truly unique that keeps them connected to the ocean. Made with dignity means no bad vibes. A lot of good energy goes into each and every piece.

For example, a piece of sea glass, shaped by the ocean over decades, found on the beach, then lovingly bezel set into a ring by one of our talented silver smiths. That ring brings joy to the wearer in many ways.

See much more on our blog:

NEWS

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My husband David Pu’u… Always inspiring me along the way.

My amazing team on Bali the best ever!

My staff here in Ventura!

And especially my customers. I listen to their feedback and hear what excites them.

We are continually striving to improve.

And always Mother Ocean, the greatest inspiration of them all.

Pricing:

  • Sterling Sea glass rings start at $42 and range to around $100.
  • Wave jewelry starts at $18 for our classic skinny wave ring.
  • We have an extensive line of wave, resin and sea glass jewelry in the $18-28 range.
  • We make an exclusive collection of red carpet necklaces starting at $400.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
David Pu’u

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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