Hi, I'm Beth and this is my partner Randy and our little dog Chachy...
...Together we're the creators and makers at Speakeasy Travel Supply.
------->>> Made for travelers, by travelers!<<<-------
It was my day job that led me to create our Speakeasy Hidden Pocket Travel scarves. Believe it or not, we were full time travel bloggers before we became full time makers!
Long story, short:
We saved all our money, quit our jobs, created our travel blog BeersandBeans.com over eight years ago to travel around the world full time. In the process, Beers & Beans became our full time job (insane!) and over the years through hard work and dedication we've been fortunate enough to work with amazing travel brands, magazines and destinations.
Being on the road constantly meant I always needed a secure pocket for my phone, money and passport. I refused to buy a money belt (just couldn't) and hated always having a purse with me when I traveled. However I always traveled with at least two scarves and one day the lightbulb went off - I wished my scarf had a secret pocket in it! I could stash my important items in there and no one would ever know! It would be safe, secure and dual function - the perfect travel item!
So I hand stitched the first one on our living room floor, made a few more, started traveling with them, LOVED them and could never travel without them again, started giving some to other traveling friends who also LOVED them and never traveled without them and wouldn't you know - the Speakeasy Hidden Pocket Travel Scarf was created! I named it Speakeasy because at the time I was really into the prohibition era and I used to also stash a flask in it for fun and thought the pocket was like a hidden speakeasy bar (yes, you can also do this with yours too - kind of perfect for festivals, sporting events, etc)!
Two months after launching our Etsy store, our scarves were featured on Buzzfeed and the rest as they say, is history. Since then they've been featured on Mashable, Hello Giggles, Conde Nast, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Airfare Watchdog, Eagle Creek, SmarterTravel, Buzzfeed 5x's and more! It's been a wild, wild and amazing ride.
Quality is of the upmost importance to us. We're travelers, we know what other travelers need and we have a strict quality control system in place to make sure that your scarf is perfect when you receive it. Our scarves are created to help you travel safer and easier and look good while you do it. Each one is hand crafted in the USA!
Please read about our process to learn more about our fabrics and what goes into each of our scarves to make them fit for the road!
I created the Speakeasy hidden pocket scarf to protect the valuables of travelers everywhere. The pocket is truly hidden and accessible only by a zipper. Our zippers stay closed until they are opened so you will never have to worry about anything falling out. The pockets are also double stitched or serged for extra strength and are appx 9"x9". They fit a variety of items from passports, phones, wallets, sunglasses, memory cards, camera filters, chapstick, money, maps, keys and notebooks making them perfect for your days sightseeing, nights out in the city or any time you need to keep your items safe, secure and easily accessible while you still look fantastic. They are also large enough to fit a flask in them - I call this the Prohibition Scarf - a scarf your grandparents would've loved. You might like it for sneaking items into festivals or other events.
Our scarves are made for travelers by travelers and because we think the only thing on your mind should be enjoying new experiences we make sure that each one can stand up to the rigors of a life on the road.
Try one - you will love it. They make traveling a breeze (pop your boarding tickets in there and you'll cruise through the airport) and are perfect for day to day life at home too.
Where will your Speakeasy scarf take you?
Catch up with us on social media:
Instagram ~ Plenty of fantastic travel photos, new product pics & discounts
Facebook ~ Sneak peeks on our newest products, behind the scenes at Speakeasy and travel photos!
Twitter ~ What's happening in our lives, travel tips & highlights.
Pinterest ~ Our travel boards have over 8 Million followers. Come join in on the fun, especially Wed. nights at 7pm EST where we host a live travel chat with major travel brands on our Pin-Up Live! board.
Bethany x Randy
Now if you want to know the whole enchilada of who we are and how we got here...here's the full story.
Beers And Beans Days
I was a photographer by trade and Randy was a journalist by trade when we met 10 years ago in San Diego. We created BeersandBeans.com about 8 years ago to chronicle our dream of traveling the world. After a lot of penny pinching (we even lived on a sailboat and in a tent to save money!) we quit our jobs, sold our stuff and embarked upon an open ended adventure around the world. People said we were crazy.
When we started blogging it was not something anyone did for money, it was something you only did out of passion. No one took bloggers seriously, in fact Randy didn't even want to blog for the first year because he didn't want to taint his journalistic integrity - no real journalist would even consider blogging back then. When Beers & Beans was born, it was my entire world. I actually created it when I was recovering from surgery for thyroid cancer. I was 31 and at a really low point in my life after my diagnosis so I pretty much threw all of my energy into it, it saved my sanity in return and started me down a path to a life I never could've imagined.
I had no idea it would turn into a business but after a couple of years that's exactly what happened.
Beers & Beans became ridiculously popular and won dozens of awards (I was most blown away when we were mentioned alongside Anthony Bourdain and when some of my work was published alongside Henri Cartier-Bresson) and we've had the good fortune of working with some truly amazing travel brands - Conde Nast, AFAR Magazine, Mens Journal and National Geographic to name just a few. We've been flown around the world over and over again to photograph, learn and write about unique and jaw dropping destinations. Honestly when I stop and think about it, it completely blows my mind. I still pinch myself.
Up until I created the Speakeasy Scarf, which was a tangible item, my father could not understand what we really did or how we even made money. Most people couldn't - it was too bizarre to think that traveling could actually be a job. My dad is an adventurer at heart and although he could never wrap his mind around what we had created or how it worked (the man has never had an email account), when the work load and stress of being self employed was getting to be overwhelming his advice to me was simple: Never Stop.
The thing most people don't know about professional travelers is that we work a lot. ALL THE TIME. It's the rollercoaster nature of being self employed combined with living a life on the road. It's like living in the chiaroscuro of a Caravaggio painting - intense lights and intense darks. The stunning beauty of the world punctuated by complete exhaustion. At one point I asked my dad for advice and he said, "You've managed to figure out a way to get paid to travel. You've seen more places in a couple years than most people will see in their entire lifetimes. I don't know how you did it but never stop."
So I kept going.
We took a huge risk and we followed our passion. It required a tremendous amount of work and dedication but ultimately it led us to where we are today and I couldn't be more grateful. When I decided I wanted to change my life and travel the world, I never could've imagined the adventure it would become. It's been a blessing, a pure gift. And very humbling to say the least.
Pin-Up Live! Nights:
A few years after the creation of Beers & Beans I created Pin-Up Live! which is a live travel chat on Pinterest. If you're into travel and Pinterest then there's a good chance you've been to one of our live chats!
I started Pin-Up Live! to give travelers a great way to chat directly with amazing destinations and travel brands all while providing great travel tips/advice and a stunning amount of eye candy to help plan your next trip. The whole chat is visual and takes place on Pinterest and is always a lot of fun.
We've since partnered with AFAR Magazine on our PUL chats and have hosted brands such as Kate Spade, REI, Paul Gauguin Cruises, ExOfficio, Skype, New Belgium Brewing and destinations like Tourism Australia, Telluride and St. Vincent & The Grenadines on our chats. Not only do you get a serious dose of wanderlust during our live chats but additionally all of our hosts give away a gift at each chat and given the brands I mentioned, these gifts are pretty awesome. It's always made me so excited that we've been able to bring travelers and travel brands together to chat live all about travel on such a fun platform like Pinterest.
I wouldn't have been able to create Pin-Up Live! without the help of my sister Bridgette (creator of Earmark Social Goods) who is a crazy talented designer and huge Pinterest fanatic. She handles all the design and branding for the chats and has over 1.6M followers on Pinterest which means that all of our chats and really fun and full of new and returning faces.
We used to host the chat each Wed. at 7pm EST but since Speakeasy was created we've scaled back a bit and we now host them periodically. If you'd like to come to one of our chats simply visit our Pin-Up Live! board and follow along so - we always announce them there. We are currently in talks with a large hotel booking site for our next one!
Speakeasy - The Wild Child Takes Over
A couple of years after creating Pin-Up Live! I founded Speakeasy Travel Supply. As the saying goes - Invention Is the Mother Of Necessity - and that couldn't have been more true in this case. Traveling full time with everything you own on your back has one big set back - security. I am kind of crazy about keeping my valuables safe on the road. At any given time we would have about 10k worth of equipment with us when traveling - laptops, cameras, lenses, hard drives, etc.
If we had a hotel room it was easy to lock up our goods with our PacSafe bag but what if we were camping or staying in a hostel? Believe it or not, we had to carry it all with us. It was just part of the job - a necessary evil. Carrying equipment is one thing but carrying your passport, phone and money is another. These are things you need at the ready, not stuffed and hidden away in a bag but they still need to be safe and secure. And ladies, you know how much the pocket situation sucks in women's clothing and let's face it, long travel days call for yoga pants - no pockets in sight!
Every time I traveled there was always two constants - I always had a need for a secure pocket to stash my passport, phone and money and I always traveled with at least 2 scarves. Scarves are probably one of the most useful items you can have on the road - they warm you up in airports, cover you up when you want to show less skin, dress up your travel outfits, hide food stains on the clothes you never wash enough on the road and cover up the few pounds you gained guzzling beer at Oktoberfest. Scarves for everything!
I couldn't stand the idea of a money belt and through all of my travels I never purchased one. I just couldn't allow myself to go down that road. Instead I would sew pockets into the interior of my pants, which was safe yet super inconvenient and often times uncomfortable. One day I realized that my scarf would be the perfect place for a secret pocket. Even if you fall asleep on a train in a foreign country no one will ever suspect you have anything IN your scarf! Thus Speakeasy was born.
I made my first Speakeasy scarf by piecing it together on the floor of my sister's living room (remember, I had no real home of my own) and I hand sewed the entire thing, even the zipper (took forever and looked atrocious)! And after fiddling with the design and testing out my scarves on the road, I realized they were the most amazing thing I had ever traveled with. They solved all my problems! So I decided to start selling them on Etsy so other travelers could use them as well.
Speakeasy Travel Supply was born out of necessity and our scarves became hugely popular after being featured on Buzzfeed a couple months after I opened our Etsy shop. From there the snowball kept on rolling and it's been a mind-blowing 2.5 years since we've launched our scarves. We've been featured on Buzzfeed (5 times & counting) Mashable, Hello Giggles, Conde Nast, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Airfare Watchdog, Eagle Creek, SmarterTravel and more.
If I'm being honest, it's been INSANE. I had no idea these scarves would take off like they have and it's been a tremendous blessing for us and our family in so many ways. We've been running on a 1-2 month back order for the past two years since I personally sewed 99.9% of the scarves we sold. It was only this year that we were able to catch up and that was due to the help of a creative and quality driven small run sewing company that we partnered with. It took a couple of years, 3 factories and several independent seamstresses to find someone that cared about the quality of the end product but it has been a tremendous relief for us.
It's also enabled us to grow - over the past two years I've been forced into turning down some amazing opportunities because I simply could not fulfill the orders on my own. Like the time I had to turn down a slot on The View because they wanted 3,000 - 5,000 scarves - that hurt! I also have a serious case of carpel tunnel due to the excessive 60+ hours/week of sewing and I wake up with numb hands every day. So the help is something that we desperately needed.
I am still currently sewing about 75% of the scarves we ship but I now have time to do other things to grow our business - taking our customer service to the next level, creating partnerships with stores, bloggers and travel brands, finishing our website and manning our social media accounts, selling at gift shows around the country and hopefully even a little traveling! We still do travel for work and fun when the right opportunity arises and in the past year have been to Italy, The Netherlands, Ireland, Honduras, Mexico, Belize and New Orleans.
I like to say I have four kids: Chachy (my furry baby), Beers & Beans, Pin Up Live! and now Speakeasy Travel Supply is my fourth, most wild child of them all.
Travel changes everything. It has the power to change your viewpoints and the path of your life entirely. It's shown me a world I only dreamt about and put me in the path of amazing people and experiences that have shifted the core of my being. It's given me everything and I couldn't have imagined any of this when I started writing my first post for Beers & Beans so many years ago. It's truly mind blowing.
Part of being a good traveler is being a stewart for those to come and doing what you can to create something better for those around you. Some of my favorite places in the world are among the poorest. It's always been my intent to use Speakeasy as a fuel to help make a small dent in this big, wide globe we call home.
Some of our upcoming goals:
1. Source locally crafted fabrics from developing countries.
This is in progress, we have recently purchased an amazing array of handwoven fabrics from a women's cooperative in Guatemala, a country we dearly love. They are gorgeous! I can't wait to launch them over the summer and I hope you all love them as much as I do so I can continue working with them. I also have a small batch of fabric from Jordan that I purchased when I was there a couple of years ago and a very limited supply of fabric from Thailand a blogger friend bought me when she was there a few months ago.
2. Give back.
I want Speakeasy to be like Tom's shoes and provide for people less fortunate. I'm not sure people in need would be as excited as you or me to receive a scarf with a hidden pocket in it but I'm thinking of partnering with other companies as a way to give back - perhaps a meal for someone in need for every scarf that is purchased. Do you have a charity that inspires you? Drop us a line and let us know! I'm also thinking of doing a new charity each month.
3. Create more useful travel products.
As much as I love our Speakeasy scarf I know there are more travel items we can create to make the lives of travelers easier. I've been working on an RFID blocking passport wallet and hope to bring it to market next month. It's made of sustainable cork, has enough room for two passports and tons of pockets for cards, money, receipts and transportation cards. It also has a slot for a pen- no more borrowing a pesky pen from the flight attendant to fill out your customs forms! And it's fully lined in silver to protect all your data from thieves! I've got other ideas too - in particular a head scarf style Speakeasy for Middle Eastern travels.
4. Launch a Globetrotter At Home line.
I love textiles and so many times when we traveled I saw things I wanted to buy but never did because I had nowhere to put them. Now that I'm home more than on the road I still want that same sense of adventure - I plan to sew travel inspired pillows, blankets and create home goods that bring the wanderlust into our living spaces. I'm hoping to co-create a line with my sister Bridgette.
Thank you so much for reading this. You clearly have the patience of a saint and your reward is 10% off your order. Just use this code at check out: IHEARTSPEAKEASY10
Want to learn more? Drop us a line! In Boston? Let's meet up for coffee and travel chat. We'd love to meet you and thank you in person for checking out our website and products.