It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with JUST B SMILING‘s phone cases, and the audible chorus of ooh‘s and aah‘s when anyone lays eyes on them is certainly a testament to this fact. Beautiful and functional, each flower in Britt Stillie’s line of phone accessories is plucked from her own backyard (even the case tags are made of seeds, ready to be planted!), making each colorful piece truly one-of-a-kind and a perfect gift for any occasion. As part of our Behind the Goods series, BRIKA chatted with Britt about starting her own business and the creative process that goes into putting together these works of art.
Where did you come up with the idea for pressed flower phone cases?
To be honest, this all kind of happened organically. JUST B SMILING was created out of my own personal needs. For years, I’ve had an iPhone but never a case. The cases that were available to me in the current market didn’t really “woo” me. However, after many slippery finger incidents and cracked screens, my friends convinced me to get one. So, I purchased a clear case and still wasn’t satisfied. I thought about how I could make something work for myself and remembered the art of pressing flowers. My mother used to press flowers when I was young and make these beautiful, intricate cards. So, after many trials and tribulations and a little intuition, I made my own. My friends initially saw and loved it, so I started spreading the love, and well, here we are today. JUST B SMILING just had her first birthday and she’s a full time gig.
What’s the best part of working with your hands?
Oh, that’s a new one. I’d have to say the ability they allow me to create these magical things I think of in my head. The idea that I get to create something in my mind and then make it a reality with my hands is really cool. I love that everything I do is done by hand. All of my flowers are planted with my hands, their petals are plucked with my hands, pressed with my hands and later designed with my hands. Even gift tags are put on by moi!
What has been the biggest challenge in this endeavor?
I don’t think there has been one thing that sticks out and I’m like “Yup, that was a doozy,” but the whole journey in itself. I’ve never run a business, so there’s a lot that’s being thrown at you and you just figure it out. I’m grateful for my ability to stay true to what I’m doing, and what I want for my customers, and I think that’s what keeps me grounded. There’s always a challenge with balance between life and work, and that’s still something I’m working on. However, I’ve come a long way since the days of putting myself into full drive. I know when it’s time to step back and call it a day. Without balance, all the working components of JUST B SMILING just wouldn’t be.
Where’s your favorite spot in Vancouver to get inspired?
Vancouver has been home forever and I am so grateful for all the love its gives me and the Mother Nature that surrounds it. You can go in any direction and find some piece of it. I love to be inspired when I’m walking the hidden streets in my neighborhood with sprawling gardens. I’m really feeling it when I’m strolling solo, headphones in, studying the flowers. It’s the flowers that inspire me most.
Which BRIKA product is on your wish list?
That’s a tough one. But I think the STAK Ceramics Bloom Phone Vases are pretty rad.