Business of the Month: Alana Clumeck

 Artist, Entrepreneur and Mother of Two - Alana Clumeck   Photo by Brittany Taylor Photography   

Artist, Entrepreneur and Mother of Two - Alana Clumeck   Photo by Brittany Taylor Photography  

Business of the Month: Alana Clumeck

Inspired by our recent trip to the Santa Ynez Valley we have a new Business of the Month! We were honored to interview our favorite artist a Mother of 2 and entrepreneur: Alana Clumeck. Her story is truly inspirational and her art is one of a kind. The minute you see her work you will always know when you see an Alana Clumeck. 


How long have you been painting? 

 Write here…

Write here…

I began painting 4 years ago when pregnant with my second child. I never expected ‘artist’ to be my career path, yet I look back at the past 4 years and I pinch myself at how life has unfolded. While pregnant with my son, River, I suffered from antenatal depression. From somewhere deep within I had an overbearing desire to be creative. So I purchased some art supplies, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. It became my therapy, time stood still, and I’d lose myself in my paintings for hours on end. Once River arrived, painting took on a different therapeutic role as my ‘mommy time’ away from the busy life of raising 2 young children.

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Your paintings are all so full of life and color, where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration definitely comes from things of "God made" beauty. I know that is broad, however when I look at nature, landscapes, animals, even humans... I am usually planning (in my head) how I can portray that beautiful thing in a delicate way on the canvas. 

What medium or mediums do you use? What would you consider your style of painting?

Typically I paint acrylic on canvas, I enjoy the way the paint mixes easily on the canvas and it is quick to dry. I also like to dabble in oil and water color. Since I am completely self taught I am always looking for other mediums to try and master. I would say my style of painting is contemporary realism... I like to paint my subjects to look realistic but include some sort of twist to the painting. 

  Brittany Taylor Photography    

 Brittany Taylor Photography   

What is your creative process like?

Most of the time an idea might pop into my head and I will put it into the queue with my other ideas until i find the time to get to it. I work from photographs, so, while I am preparing to "birth" my idea, I am usually snapping photographs and collecting a pile of images to use as reference for my paintings. I have come to realize (after many failed paintings) that every good painting must begin with a good plan. Once I have planned out my idea and drawn out the painting on the canvas I start to paint it... I rarely deviate from the idea that I had concocted in my head.  

Do you paint in a studio or outdoor more often?

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Since I am "mom" first, and then artist, I usually paint from my home studio so I can keep an eye of the kids as they play. This can be challenging at times to keep my creative tangent focused on my painting. However, I feel wonderfully blessed that I am able to work from home whilst juggling motherhood. On the rare occasion, (usually when the kids are at school) I am able to paint en plein air, and I find that to be a real refreshing treat!

What are your favorite subjects to paint?

Its so hard to pin point my favorite subject, as there is a certain amount of satisfaction gained from painting all subjects. That being said I am really enjoying my wallpaper series that I am currently working on. This is a mash-up of masculine meets feminine ( see my painting "wonder" as an example), this way I can pick all my favorite subjects and put them into one painting. 

 Artist, Entrepreneur and Mother of Two - Alana Clumeck   Photo by Brittany Taylor Photography   

Artist, Entrepreneur and Mother of Two - Alana Clumeck   Photo by Brittany Taylor Photography  

Living in the Santa Ynez valley, do you pull inspiration from your surroundings?

Yes, absolutely. I definitely draw inspiration from my country roots and the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. Having grown up in rural Western Australia, wildlife, nature and the outdoors bring a certain amount of nostalgia to me. I love the simple beauty of what God has created and I try to portray it in colorful and vibrant ways, and there is no shortage of that type inspiration in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Do you do custom paintings?

I do! I really enjoy working with my clients to see their vision realized on the canvas. I currently have a 6 deep waiting list, so if you have something in mind, don't wait to get your name on the list. 

What do you love most about what you do?

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I grew up in an artist family; my parents owned a pottery for 20 years, which was attached to our house, so there was never a moment in my childhood where they weren’t throwing pots, decorating, or working on other artistic ventures. My mother also painted beautiful, vibrant, and abstract oil paintings. I have memories of her being lost in her paintings for days on end, and now I can relate! I was born to be a maker / creator, and what I love most about being an artist is living out a career that I was born to do. I feel extremely blessed! And... I am not going to lie, my kids talk A LOT, painting allows my brain to be quiet for hours on end, which gives this momma the mental downtime that I need!




To see more of Alana's work or purchase or request your own (recommended!)  go to:

instagram / facebook : @alanaclumeckart


 Photo credit: Brittany Taylor Photography  




Business of the Month: Santa Barbara Dog Jog

 Laina, Pack Leader, left

Laina, Pack Leader, left

Business of the Month: Santa Barbara Dog Jog

 Lucky, Macaroni, and Trouble on 60 minute trail walk around More Mesa  #sbdogjog   #luckysbdj  #macaronisbdj   #troublesbdj   #moremesa

Lucky, Macaroni, and Trouble on 60 minute trail walk around More Mesa #sbdogjog #luckysbdj#macaronisbdj #troublesbdj #moremesa

We have a new an exciting Business of the Month for you all this April! We interviewed Laina Malm, owner of SB Dog Jog. As you may have noticed, we are both self proclaimed DOG people, naturally we wanted to highlight Laina's wonderful dog walking business with a twist. At SB Dog Jog you can get your fur baby their own fitness plan whether it be a walk, jog, or hike in the beautiful mountains of Santa Barbara. Laina herself is an avid runner, hiker, and race athlete, and can often be seen putting in miles down on the waterfront bike path or in the Santa Barbara hills, hiking with her two dogs, Macaroni and Trouble. 

Since moving to Santa Barbara she has been on the Board of Directors at DAWG, the local no-kill shelter, and has been active in fostering and finding homes for dogs in need. 

How long has SB Dog jog been in business?

I started Santa Barbara Dog Jog in April of 2015 with my partner Gillian Conway. She has since left, but I've been in business for three wonderful years. 

How did you come up with this business concept?

    That smile says it ALL!  #sbdogjog   #sagesbdj  


That smile says it ALL! #sbdogjog #sagesbdj 

I grew up with dogs, my parents were breeders, and have often volunteered at local dog shelters in the various places I’ve lived over the years. After I had my son I had some free time while he was at daycare and decided to combine my love of running with my affection and adoration of dogs. 

What makes SB Dog Jog different from other dog walking services in town?

Most dog walkers offer just that - walks! We are so much more in that we offer K9 fitness. If your puppy is acting up and needs to get it’s run on, we’ll take him/her for a 6 mile run or a 90 minute hike. We believe a tired dog is a good dog. We definitely offer shorter walks as well but feel that the health benefits from fitness for all creatures adds to a longer and healthier life. We’re also a one-on-one service where your dog will receive individualized attention and will never get lost in the crowd. 

 Hank and jogger Charlotte spent 45 minutes on More Mesa yesterday. Happy smiles!  #sbdogjog  #hanksbdj   #dogsofsantabarbara

Hank and jogger Charlotte spent 45 minutes on More Mesa yesterday. Happy smiles! #sbdogjog#hanksbdj #dogsofsantabarbara

How many dog joggers do you currently have available for K9 fitness?

Right now it’s myself and a group of 4 auxiliary joggers who I can call if I can’t fit the jog into my schedule. We also offer house/dog sitting and that’s where I usually utilize my employees. 

What areas do you service?

We offer our services in Santa Barbara and the surrounding towns of Goleta, Summerland, and Carpinteria. Another aspect that sets us aside is that your dog’s hour doesn’t start until we get to the beach or trailhead. Travel time is not included! 

What is your favorite part about what you do?

My favorite part of my job is when I can make a difference in a dog’s behavior. A lot of time people think they need trainers to whip their dog into shape and correct destructive behaviors. However I believe that through exercise many of those behaviors will subside on their own. I often feel like I’m part dog. Occasionally I have to pinch myself when I’m hiking on a beautiful day with a client and know that this is the career I’ve created for myself.  

FOLLOW SB DOG JOG on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM! They create hashtags specific to your fur child so you can follow and share all of your pet's wonderful adventures with SB DOG JOG.

WE HAVE A GIFT FOR YOU! Receive $5.00 off your first walk when you mention Hitchcock + Associates! 




Recovery Project SB



Last week we had the pleasure of helping out at the Recovery Project SB Free Store in the Montecito Country Mart. It's a cause near and dear to our hearts that is allowing people who are victims of the Thomas Fire or Montecito Mudslides to go in and shop for free. We were completely overwhelmed at the amount of donations that has been given to this amazing organization.  Although they do have a lot of women's and mens clothing items, not to mention brand new shoes donated by a shoe company IMPO, they still need volunteers daily as well as teen items and furniture. 

We want to say a big thank you to the owner of the Montecito Country Mart, James Rosenfield for generously donating this space to such a worthy cause. 

See below for how to volunteer or where to make donations both items or monetary. If you are a victim of either the Thomas Fire or the Montecito Mudslides we encourage you to go shop and enjoy a comfortable, professional boutique environment with high quality options for you to look through and wonderful ladies to help. 




Their Story:

The Recovery Project is a community action effort by neighbors for neighbors in response to the Thomas Fire and the Montecito Mud and Debris Slide.

It was founded by Berna Kieler as long time resident of our little village who started re-covering people from her own closet and then reached out to her neighbors and friends for the shirts off the backs.  

The responce has become a Tsunami of giving.  She was joined by Cathy Link, Heather Sage and Susan St. John who partnered

in her effort to create a dedicated Montecito space as home for a Recovery Free Store, where people affected by this specific

double header tragedy could come and find wardrobe replacements  and  meet the volunteers who provided clothing from their own closets. 

James Rosenfield, owner of the Montecito Country Mart ,  stepped up and donated a beautiful retail space in his center for the month of March.  The volunteers are working feverishly to create a stylish setting where they can personally attend to the needs of people who have lost all or most of their wardrobes.

Organic Soup Kitchen, another local grassroots organization has joined in the effort supplying, volunteers, organizing expertise, and wholesome organic soup in the store for entire month.

The Recovery Free Store in the Montecito Country Mart,  store hours 11-7 daily.

Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments for wardrobe consulting can be made on the facebook page .  

Store closing , March 31  will be a spirited neighborhood event featuring food provided by the Organic Soup Kitchen, music and celebration honoring the volunteers and guest of honor James Rosenfield.


The store is open every day from 11-7pm until March 31st at the Montecito Country Mart - 1016 Village Road, Montecito, CA 93108  across from the entrance of VONS Market

Volunteers - WE NEED YOU!

To help woman/man the shop, please sign up at:

We also need your help in OUTREACH. Please send this/post this/share it with our community.


Facebook Page:

A few facebook pages have been started please search for “Recovery Project SB" or







Berkshire Hathaway Innovation 2018

Berkshire Hathaway Innovation 2018

Had a wonderful time at the Berkshire Hathaway Innovation 2018! Innovation is Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Sales annual convention, this year it was held in picturesque downtown San Antonio, Texas, along the banks of the alluring River Walk, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center hosts the top companies in the world and their more than 500,000 sq. ft. facility showcases modern art, innovative design and cutting-edge technology.

We headed to Freeman Coliseum for a true Texas experience – for Rock On Rodeo! It was an evening of unbridled fun featuring exciting rodeo, great music and yummy southern food.

Grammy-winning country artists Little Big Town also performed after the Rock On Rodeo! 

To top it off our office here in Santa Barbara/Montecito was awarded 2nd office in the nation!  



Business of the Month: Richie's Barber Shop

Business of the Month: Richie's Barber Shop

 Richie's Barber Shop

Richie's Barber Shop

March business of the Month we are with Richie Ramirez owner of Richie’s Barber Shop on Coast Village Road in Montecito. Richie has made major changes to the definition of what a barber shop should be. He's not only the owner but he is a long time barber himself and the identity of the brand that is Richie's. He is quoted by the Santa Barbara Young Professionals as "someone who is involved in giving back to our community and helping other small local businesses thrive." He was one of many businesses during the recent mudslide that was effected, but had the optimism and strong support from clientele and their following to get through that rough time. Here is our interview with him:

How long have you open?
The shop has been open for 7 1/2 years.

How did Richie’s come to be, what was your initial reason for opening Richie’s Barber Shop?
The whole thing was that I wanted my own business, and where I was cutting at before I felt like it wasn’t….I wanted to do something bigger. I felt like where I was at was kind of stagnant. I felt like the people there were never going to grow. So, in order for me to build Richie’s Barber Shop I had to go off on my own and start it. 

There was a level of service you wanted to provide your customers that you felt wasn’t at the previous barber shops you have worked at, which leads me to my next question, what sets Richie’s apart from other barber shops?
Everything. The service, the haircuts, everything we provide is full service. Everything from the music that we play, down to what is on the television is all thought out. I have been doing this for 20 years now and I worked at shops before this and saw what could have been better, and what could be improved on so I took all of that and I built this. ( Richie’s ) 

That’s great! Have you always been at this location on Coast Village Road?

 Master Barber Richie Ramirez

Master Barber Richie Ramirez

What do you love most about owning this business? 
I like the sense of community. You make so many friends, and coming into work every day it’s not like coming to work. You get to hang out, I am watching sports on the TV, cutting my buddies hair, I have got a great team. I built this for that reason. I can come to work every day and be happy, and the other people enjoy it so it’s very rewarding. Every day it’s like I am hosting a super bowl party. 

I know you are really involved in the community, so tell us more about some organizations or things you are involved in that you enjoy giving back to.
We get involved in a little bit of everything. From Toys for Tots to the Teddy Bear Foundation, and we do as much as we can. One of the girls who works from me coordinates that stuff for us. 

 Accepting the Young Professional of the Year Award 

Accepting the Young Professional of the Year Award 

So I also know you recently received the Young Professional of the Year Award, how was that?
I wasn’t expecting it. There was a lot of stiff competition, I figured there was no way I would win so when I received it I was really excited. I want to use it as a platform for small businesses. 

Well it’s well deserved, you are more than barber shop it sounds like. 
Richie’s is more than just a barbershop, it’s a brand. 

How long have you been involved in young professionals?
2 years.

 Richie with Jamie Slone Wines 

Richie with Jamie Slone Wines 

What was it like for you as a small business during the recent natural disasters? 
It was rough, it was a hard spot. But we did have so many people who came to help us like our clients and we opened a pop-up shop so we were still able to take care of our clients. We have so many faithful and loyal clients that they made that time way easier. 

That’s fantastic, where was your pop-up shop?
We did one at Jamie Slone Wines on Anacapa, it was a perfect location, we were there for a week and were able to tend to a lot of our clients. 


Visit Richie's Barber Shop next to the new Juice Ranch on Coast Village Road or online at / instagram @richiesbarbershop /




3  🛏   2.5  🛁  🗝 CHARMING SAN ROQUE HOME

It was wonderful to help our clients achieve their real estate goals by selling their home quickly and efficiently in order for them to purchase a new home in Santa Barbara.  If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell, please keep us in mind. Your referrals are our priority.




Business of the Month: Tax Edition


This February business of the month we wanted to not only have a featured business but, businesses that can give you advice this tax season. We all know taxes can cause a headache if you don't have the right person assisting you in your filing, so, we asked 3 of our top CPA's "What is your best advice for everyone this tax season?" Find their answers and contact information below.


Certified Public Accountant
Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co., LLP

Best Advice: Keep calm and trust your tax advisor! Not only are taxpayers dealing with filing their 2017 tax returns right now, they are also trying to understand the new tax law effective January 1, 2018 and how it will impact them. Contact your CPA, or engage a CPA if you do not have one, to take the anxiety out of the situation and to help guide you in making tax-efficient decisions for yourself, your family, and your business. We are here to help every step of the way.

You can contact Elena at: 

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Tax Senior Accountant
Barlett, Pringle & Wolff,LLP

Best Advice:  My biggest piece of advice for everyone this tax season is to get their information to their tax professional sooner than later. There are several reasons why taxes aren’t something to procrastinate until the last minute. By filing early, or providing you information early, it will give you a head start on determining if additional forms or other information is needed. Additionally, it allows you to plan payments accordingly. Many people forget that on top of your income tax due on April 15, the first quarter estimate for 2018 is also due. Furthermore, we have recently seen a surge in identity theft involving fraudulent tax returns and one of the best ways to combat that is to file your return before someone else can file it for you. Finally, this past December Congress passed major tax reform. Providing your information early allows your tax professional to start planning ahead for 2018.

You can reach Abel at:
 (805) 963-7811

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Certified Personal Accountant
Dennis Clark, CPA

Best Advice: Get your information to your accountant as soon as possible! Yes, the deadline is April 17 this year. But, the closer it gets to this date, the longer you will have to wait to get your return from your accountant (and your refund from the government!). And, if you end up owing tax, you don't have to pay it until the due date, and it is better to know about the payment sooner rather than later. So, only good things happen from getting all your info in early!

You can reach Dennis at: 
 (805) 963-2470






 It was an honor to represent our wonderful clients on the sale of their beautifully remodeled Goleta home.
+ Exceptional location backing up to Blueberry Hill Greenbelt
+ Carrara Marble Counters
+ Custom Cabinetry
+ Stainless Appliances
+ Open Floor Plan
+ Abundant Natural Light
+ Built-in Speakers
+ Brand New Professionally Landscaped Yard
+ New Driveway
+ Avocado Tree

OFFERED AT $1,015,000
SOLD FOR $1,023,500

If you have anyone looking to relocate to any of our beautiful neighborhoods please keep us in mind. Your referrals are our priority.



Business of the Month: Central Coast Brush Clearing and Consulting



So Chris I know you have a background in the fire fighting industry, tell us how this idea came about?

I began my fire career in 2009 at the Allan Hancock Fire Academy. Upon graduation I spent my first two seasons on Crew 7, a hand-crew based out of the Santa Lucia District Ranger’s Office in Santa Maria. I’ve spend my six season career with the US Forest Service on crews, engines and a helicopter fighting fire across the western United States. 

There are Federal, State, County and City agencies. USFS is federal, CalFire is state, Santa Barbara County is county and Santa Barbara City is city (municipal). The main difference is that the USFS is primarily concerned with Wildland Fire where as CalFire, County and City are all risk meaning they respond to fire, medical, car accidents, hazmat, etc.

I love the thrill and excitement of fighting fire. However, as a career path I’d like to dedicate my time to various entrepreneurial endeavors. I want to carve out my own niche and start my own business that I feel brings much needed attention and value to fire prevention.  I’m currently involved with the Wildland Residents Association (NOTE: - great link to information plus lots of radio shows to tune into w/good local info.) and the San Marcos Pass Volunteer Fire Department teaching fire behavior, fuels, defensible space and other topics I’m trained in.

Having been on numerous fires throughout the state I’ve noticed a lack in Defensible Space and began to wonder why this is an issue. I researched educational material and found plenty. Every fire department I’ve looked at has good information and will even assess properties for free if requested. My next step was to figure out how to get the work gets done. I contacted local tree services companies and asked about defensible space as if I were a homeowner. I quickly realized that although they provide and advertise Defensible Space Clearing on their websites, many were not able to convince me they understood fire behavior and why the work needs to be done other than to remove brush. This is why I started Central Coast Brush Clearing - a Wildfire Defensible Space company ran by firefighters.

I want to be out there educating homeowners the basics of fire behavior and the logic behind Defensible Space. Hopefully I can alleviate the burden of “expensive yard work” and further define and explain the “why” behind the work


 How did you join forces with Chris Willingham from Santa Barbara Tree Care?

Chris Willingham, owner of Santa Barbara Tree Care, was very receptive to my initial line of questioning and was quite knowledgable on Defensible Space. Having 20+ years as a professional arborist I knew this would be a great partnership opportunity. 

Santa Barbara Tree Care is capable of Defensible Space and Fire Clearance services but it isn’t their expertise. Our partnership provides the best of both worlds, Central Coast Brush Clearing has the Fire Clearance and Defensible Space expertise and Santa Barbara Tree Care has the tree care and arborist and tree care expertise. Together we are able to provide our clients a service backed by experience and the know-how to get the job done safely and quickly. 

My goal is to work with Real Estate and Insurance Companies to educate homeowners and implement proper Defensible Space. We focus on properties with large hillsides, homes up and down the 154, Camino Cielo, Mission Canyon, Toro Canyon, Carpinteria to name a few. Where there’s a hill and a house there’s a need.

As of right now we are a crew of four Wildland Firefighters with three to twelve seasons of experience and training in fire behavior, fuel characteristics and first-hand experience fighting fire. Together we bring over twenty years of experience to the job and love every hard working minute of it.


Do you just service Santa Barbara county?

Right now we are growing, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez are where most of our calls are coming from. I named the company Central Coast Brush Clearing with the intention of serving the central coast from Paso Robles down into Ventura. I spent college years in San Luis Obispo and have plenty of firefighter connections in those areas. With seasonal firefighters all over the Central Coast we are able to provide exceptional service everywhere. 

Would all homes benefit from defensible space or just homes in high fire areas?

There’s always something that can be done to a home. Car accidents happen, power lines fall and there is no shortage of dry combustible fuel around homes in city limits. Defensible Space is as much providing a safe working environment for responding firefighters as it is defending your home. Keeping weak tree branches from extending over access roads, driveways, roofs, chimneys, etc. “Hardening” ( homes is a very important part of Defensible Space. As far as value, our efforts are most effective doing what we have been trained to do quickly and safely on fires - cut fire line and remove vegetation with chainsaws and hard work. 

What’s the process, how can someone hire you and what are the costs?

Anyone can hire us by going to our website ( or messaging us through our facebook page ( Our phone number is listed and I respond to emails, texts, messages, calls and just about any medium people use these days.  Part of our mission is education as well and we are happy to give free assessments for homeowners interested in the conversation. Should they decide to hire us we are very flexible with pricing and work that cater to each project’s needs. Typically a crew of us four, fully self-sufficient, licensed and insured, ready to go ranges from $1,200 - $1,400 per day depending on travel or special needs. Some homeowners just want us to cut and other’s would like everything done. We’re here to fill in the gaps and work within their budget!

What’s the most important reason why home owners shouldn’t wait until fire season?

It’s too hot and typically we are out of town fighting fire! Take advantage of cool winter weather and lower temperatures. We run all kinds of machinery and these engines get hot. Obviously starting a fire is extremely counter-productive and we will actually limit summer working hours or will not work at all on days that are just too hot. Our employees are active and former firefighters so many of us are just too busy to be available during the fire season months of May - November.






Business of the Month: Bea Furnishings

Business of the Month: Bea Furnishings

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So tell us about your background? How did this all begin?

I am from the 805. I grew up in Solvang, and got my AA here at SBCC in interior design. Then I transferred to San Francisco State University and graduated with a BS in Interior Design. After, I explored trades, interior design wasn’t for me. I found it to be a lot of purchase orders and busy work. That was a time where you would turn on TV and there were designers painting walls and chopping wood: things that really don’t exist as an interior designer. I believe I pursued interior design to create uniqueness, and for the actual production of it all. ID was good in the sense that it made me able to do renderings and I those detailed assignments, it was also good for me to learn the architectural background of it all and start to be familiar with measurements.

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SO after college I explored trades and I did some metal sculpture work and some wood work. I loved it all but I found it not to be my calling either. Then I moved back to Santa Barbara with hope that SOMETHING was going to come and workout but I didn’t know what that was. I got a job off of Craiglists, because with these trade jobs, there’s no LinkedIn or proper way of finding the jobs - other than to roam. So on Craiglist I found a job - Todd Gutshall the number one  upholstery shop here in Santa Barbara was looking for an upholsterer, but I responded to the ad asking if I could be an apprentice. To start, he had me doing tear downs which is essentially the bottom position of an upholstery shop. All you’re doing all day long is removing staples. It’s not exciting to say least, but I had fallen in love!- I was STOKED. My mind just went off!

In order for me to learn all the proper things in this trade I was either going to work for somebody else, who had say or control over how much or how fast I learned. In this day and age you hold on to those lower laborers who can shut up and do their job and do it fast. I needed for myself to have control of my learning curve.  And so, I moved to High Point, North Carolina the once furniture capital of the world. I went out the as they had a local technical community college- which is a rare thing- they had a certificate program to get a degree. It was a DIY person’s dream. There was infinite amount of scrap, everyone had their own sewing machines, and you could make anything and everything you wanted. We had bare frames, and there was someone there to answer every question you had, to show you what you should be looking for, the ideal teaching situation really. 

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In North Carolina I got a job with Stickley which is a very renowned furniture maker. They are the creme de la creme of American Made furniture. I was this Jewish California girl with  tattoos just TOTAL opposite of the south, so at first it was a little bit rough. I made the most of it! After that experience I moved to Brooklyn New York because I wanted to experience living the dream in New York, then I escaped New York for Colorado, and I was there for about three and a half years working for some guys who did custom work so I could learn about producing custom frames, and how to make a skeleton of a frame come to life based on a picture or design. Then I worked at a place that does old antique style furniture which was kind of like my master degree program, that was literally a year ago. 

Bea Furnishings 3.jpg

Now I feel like I am ready to learn the business aspect of it. I think I did about 6 or 7 years of learning this trade and I still have a lot to learn. I am proud of the work I do now and it speaks for itself. I have nothing to show but the work that I do. 

This trade consists of predominantly men - and they have been typically doing  upholstery since before I was even alive. A lot of these guys I met, didn’t want to initially become upholsterers, they fell back on the trade. For the most part who I was and what I was doing was a turn off to most people I’ve worked with. I was an educated woman, who was passionate and excited about something majority saw as labor  with little to know enthusiasm in the work.

You obviously do upholstery, but you also do fabric curation and design furniture. Can you tell me a little more about about that?

So right now it exists mainly as re-upholstery, because I don’t have a wood shop of my own or a carpenter quite yet. How we exist now is just a step towards what I hope it will become. 

Bea Furnishings 2.jpg

Right now at the typical upholstery shop it’s “okay what do you want, okay here’s what it costs.” You’re in you’re out. I would like to think Bea is a place that you can create character, I love what I do. I want my shop to be inviting. I want people to get into each piece, and have imagination. 

I hope in time I can be able to make some custom pieces I have been dreaming about since I first started working in this trade. I think furniture is way more important than what we make it out to be. Everybody has furniture whether you’re wealthy or you’re sharing a flat with a bunch of people. Everybody has a sofa and everybody sits on that thing. We have all these priorities like car we’re driving…having an appreciation for what furniture we have will slow people down more and make them appreciate their living room more. Right now we have our eyes in our screens but we should pull it in more.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Ooo, definitely other artists, I like to think I am going into this world of design with an expertise. I know that my game is upholstery and to see people work their trade whether it be metal or wood it’s amazing. When I see how well they can do- and how I could maybe put a cherry on top with a tufted cushion in the back. Thats exciting to me. I do hope to have custom furniture very shortly. But I want to make sure that I collaborate. Kind of how we’re working together- you’re taking the time with me I want to take the time with you. It’s a win win. I want to be a team with everybody. 


How does it work if someone wants to work with you? 

I want people when they think of me that maybe they have a chair that needs to be redone of course and they want “cool” I want them to think of me as innovative. I want them to think “Grandpa is turning 70 and he loves boats. Lets make him a boat inspired sofa.”

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I want people to challenge me.  It’s hard to do those things but I love it. I love the learning process. Anybody and everybody can go to my website which I have made super convenient. They can go to that inquiry form and can submit their photo with their ideas and I can get back to them. For now since it’s just me myself and I. I try to do innovative upholstery and challenging projects. There’s infinite possibilities. 

I would ideally like to tailor myself to designers and people with more daring and flamboyant taste. With plans to create my own designs someday, the more I can work with people who are like minded in style, the more I can showcase my work.



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Business of the Month: Direct Relief


Business of the Month: Direct Relief

We were honored to visit Direct Relief headquarters today with their Associate Director of Partnerships and Philanthropy, Dean Axelrod. With all of the natural disasters that have taken place this year, we knew the relevance of fully understanding what it is they do, how they do it, why they do it, and wanted to help spread the awareness of their importance and impact, based right out of our own community. 

Since we got the grand tour, we decided to do Business of the Month a little differently this time. So here is some background on Direct Relief and where the organization came from because it really puts what they are doing today into perspective - as told to us by Dean: 


The organization was founded in 1948 right here in Santa Barbara, by an Estonian immigrant named William Zimdin. He had come to the United States to escape the Nazis during the second world war, and settled in Santa Barbara. He was a successful businessman and philanthropist that could be thought of as the 1948 equivalent of someone like Bill Gates. At the end of the war he wanted to help people who needed assistance rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of the war, and formed a charitable foundation that became Direct Relief. With the help of his business associate, Dennis Karzag, the humanitarian organization began by sending a broad range of relief supplies to those in need, and eventually focused exclusively on medical equipment, healthcare supplies and medicines. The organization began by responding to those in need because of the war, before long Direct Relief extended its humanitarian reach to those affected by natural disasters, and those in need of medical resources every day.

Today that is still the mission of Direct Relief. The organization improves the health and lives of millions of people who are affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing medical resources seeded for their care, for free.  Direct Relief responds to this need by delivering medicines and medical supplies to local healthcare facilities in resource-poor communities in all 50 states and worldwide. By strengthening healthcare infrastructure at the local level, Direct Relief helps communities care for their most vulnerable people. 

Staying true to its roots as an organization founded by successful businessmen, Direct Relief has a tradition of identifying and implementing the best business practices, tools, and technology in order to accomplish its charitable mission.  A business principle that was implemented from the beginning and which continues to make Direct Relief successful is the use of leverage. 

Leverage money with in-kind gifts - William Zimdin funded the foundation with his own money. Realizing that if the organization’s relief work was paid for with those funds alone, it wouldn’t last very long. Even with additional donated money, a charity with an international reach addressing great needs would not be able to efficiently achieve its mission. So, instead of using cash to buy medicines and medical supplies the organization stretched its financial resources by getting donations of medicines and supplies to provide for as much of the need as possible. Today most of the aid Direct Relief delivers has been received in the form of in-kind donations. Last year they delivered about $1 billion (wholesale value) of medicines and supplies all over the world and almost all of that was donated. Cash is then used strategically to buy some medicines and supplies, to pay for shipping costs beyond what FedEx donates, and to pay to run its domestic and international relief programs.


Leverage relationships by creating lasting partnerships – The idea is to work with trusted organizations and individuals that have a long-term commitment to the communities where they live and work, and to Direct Relief’s mission. Downstream on the customer side of the humanitarian supply chain Direct Relief builds relationships with healthcare facilities and community organizations that help identify specific needs. Direct Relief operates like a business would, by identifying, measuring, analyzing data about health and healthcare need, and then offering solutions to those needs precisely and efficiently.  Upstream on the philanthropic supplier side of the humanitarian supply chain, Direct Relief identifies partners who make the needed products very efficiently and at high quality, and who want to help. Direct Relief provides the middle links in the humanitarian supply chain by identifying those who need resources but can’t access them, and then identifying those who have resources but don’t have an effective and efficient way to mobilize the resources. Direct Relief fills that gap and delivers those resources where they are needed.

As we entered the Direct Relief warehouse, Dean paused to show us a display case showing each and every wholesale pharmaceutical distributor license they have - in all 50 states. Acquiring and maintaining these licenses is important and something to be proud of. Direct Relief is the ONLY charitable pharmaceutical program that is licensed in all 50 states. The initiative to get licensed to distribute wholesale medicines and supplies on a charitable basis for free in all 50 states started with Direct Relief’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Direct Relief had been primarily providing humanitarian relief outside of the United States. After Hurricane Katrina devastated so many communities, Direct Relief identified community health facilities that needed support to care for the large number of people who were displaced. When they went to offer help, they realized that they would need a pharmaceutical wholesale distributor license for each state where there were clinics that needed medicines. That was their wake-up call. They saw that there were no charitable medicine providers that were licensed in all 50 states. It was clear that there was a need, and Direct Relief stepped up to fill the gap.


They are also the only non-profit to receive V.A.W.D Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor designation from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. VAWD is an accreditation program for wholesale drug distributors that was developed to help protect the public from contaminated, diverted, or counterfeited drugs. Even though Direct Relief delivers medicines free of charge it operates at the highest commercial standards, and that is what VAWD accreditation represents. Some states require VAWD accreditation in order for a commercial or charitable pharmaceutical wholesale distributor to be licensed.  


Dean went on to show us their warehouse which was operating like a well-oiled machine when we walked in. Workers working diligently to pack and ship the supplies internationally and nationally, using the newest technology, which reduces the risk of order fulfillment errors and improves time management, making Direct Relief even more efficient. They have expanded over the years on their capabilities by keeping up to this standard of operation which you would expect from a for-profit business. 


Almost all of the public and media attention Direct Relief receives is focused on its disaster response program, but most of what they do is on-going year-round support for the health facilities that they would be supporting during an emergency. What Direct Relief does after a natural disaster is the same thing they were doing the day before – delivering essential medicines to under-resourced communities to support their local healthcare system. The difference is that after the disaster they do it faster and at a higher volume. The reason Direct Relief is able to respond so quickly and so efficiently in an emergency is because they have that on-going relationship with their partners in the same communities before the emergency. 

Dean went on to tell us that in a disaster there can be a lot of relief supplies that starts arriving at an airport or shipping port serving the affected community. 

As we walked through the warehouse we saw palettes of supplies ready to be shipped, all easily identified and wrapped in clean bright colors and clearly labeled. Direct Relief packs and wraps deliveries so they will be easy to identify by their partners who receive them.  We saw a lot of neat and tidy color coordinated packaging, that’s for sure. 


Another important business principle that Direct Relief uses is standardization of things that are done repeatedly and predictably. When you establish a recognized and accepted standard, then you can scale up efficiently. One of the early examples of this is Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Packs. By analyzing data, the organization saw that hurricanes strike in more or less the same place, at more or less the same time of year within a range of months and within a geographic range, year after year.  

Working with healthcare facilities in hurricane-prone communities throughout the year, Direct Relief learned what supplies would be needed after a hurricane. So, they created standardized response packs full of essential medicines that could be prepositioned with any healthcare partner who requested them before hurricane season begins. Then, if the community is struck by a hurricane, an immediate supply of medicines will be on hand to hold them over for a few days until a needs assessment can be completed and additional supplies are delivered. 

Direct Relief even has their own hurricane relief map that they share online that actually shows you all the hurricane tracks from hurricanes going back 50 years and in real time. If there is a storm brewing somewhere, you can bet Direct Relief knows about it and is ready to aid those affected. 


As you can imagine, Direct Relief is at full operating capacity because of all the communities they support throughout the year, and with the continuing response to all the recent natural disasters. Direct Relief is there before a disaster happens, they are there when the disaster happens, and they are there often for years while communities rebuild after most people have forgotten about them.  Direct Relief will even be moving into a new, larger, state-of-the-art facility here in Santa Barbara to increase their capacity and continue helping those affected by poverty and natural disasters here at home, across the United States, and around the world. 

Wondering how you can help? We were too. The best ways you can help are with financial support and increasing awareness of what Direct Relief does to support community healthcare for people affected by poverty and emergency situations here in Santa Barbara, in all 50 states, and around the world. Direct Relief’s work is funded entirely by private donations – the organization does not ask for or receive government grants.

If you are an individual, own a business, or belong to a club or group and are interested in helping to raise money to support Direct Relief’s work, click here. Direct Relief has staff and online resources to help you plan a fun and successful fundraiser.

If you want to donate money directly click here

If you want to spread the word, “like” Direct Relief’s Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, share posts that you think are interesting, and click here to share this post with your friends.

We would love to partner up with those who are putting on a Direct Relief fundraiser or event. Just send an email to and we will get the word out!

Special thanks again to Dean Axelrod for our tour and in-depth knowledge of the Direct Relief facility. 

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