Rope Story

Every piece of Tula Blue is strung with love on our signature rope. Nautical grade and 100% spun by hand, our unique Tula Blue rope is waterproof and incredibly durable. Your Tula Blue jewelry isn’t like other jewelry— you don’t need to take it off for life’s adventures. Our Rope Collection is just as versatile as you. Go ahead and swim in your Tula. Travel in your Tula. Workout, hike, surf, do yoga. Shower and sleep. Live in your Tula. Crafted with freshwater pearls and genuine stones, Tula Blue’s minimalist beauty is ready for it all, from workday to date night and beyond.

2006-2008 - PRE-TULA BLUE

Our story begins in Austin, TX, during a classic summertime quarter-life crisis. Let me catch you up real quick. I met my future husband working on St John in the USVI. We moved to Oregon together so I could pursue a graduate degree in Environmental Economics. He started helicopter training. I quickly realized a masters in econ wasn’t for me. Sitting in an office all day running regressions on a computer… just not my thing! So I quit. We moved to Hawaii so he could pursue his helicopter pilot dreams. But I still had no idea what to do with my life. Hello, crisis. That summer, I was home in Austin for a couple of months, wondering what was for me? My step-mom encouraged me to get creative and make some earrings for the gift shop inside our family’s restaurant, Hickory St Bar & Grill. One trip to a bead store, lots of experimenting, and a rack of (hideous) Swarovski crystal earrings (that surprisingly sold over the summer) later— I was hooked. After returning to the Big Island, I phoned home and asked my father if I could borrow $500 to pursue this new passion. Before long, I paid off the only jewelry debt I’ve ever had, quit my accounting job, and was selling jewelry at the Kailua-Kona Market five days a week. ROPE hadn’t entered the picture yet, but my wire and chain pieces introduced me to the artisan/market life, and I was never going back.

 

2008-2013 - BIG ISLAND TO OAHU

In 2008, we moved from the Big Island to Oahu for Drew’s first helicopter pilot job after completing training. Our firstborn, Wyatt, arrived a couple of months later, and I put jewelry on the back-burner. I spent the next six years as a stay-at-home mom. In 2009, we were married on the North Shore with Wyatt as our best man. Our son Cody Kai arrived the next year. Our favorite family night was Thursdays, when we would head down to the Kailua Farmers’ Market for fun, food, and community. After a couple more blissful years in Hawaii, we decided it was time to get back to Texas to be with family. We moved to Austin, but with Drew working in the Philippines and commuting, it was complicated. When we learned we were expecting our third son, we decided Drew should take a job somewhere we could all be together, every night. We ended up in Dothan, Alabama for a year. Just enough time for our sweet Paxton to be born there in 2012. In 2013, following an opportunity for Drew to fly for Halo Flight in Corpus Christi, TX, we landed on North Padre Island. We couldn’t stay away from island life for too long.

2014 - TULA BLUE IS BORN

Well...kind of. I started making metal jewelry again, my bedroom doubling as my workshop. I attended my first market at the annual Padre Island Art Walk. It felt great to be back creating, but I wanted to expand my collection and add a truly waterproof rope necklace to my designs. Inspired by Polynesian bone-carving necklaces, Drew and I started experimenting. It turns out… transforming the idea of durable rope jewelry into Tula’s signature ROPE collection wasn’t as easy as it sounded. We spent the better part of a year tracking down the perfect nautical-grade material and then mastering a method to spin that material into ROPE. Originally, I planned on adding one ROPE piece, a single pearl necklace, to my tables of chain and wire designs. But ROPE took off and took over. Before long, I phased out silver and gold, focusing on my metal-free ROPE collection. The start of something new.

 

2015 - A NEW NAME!

Tula Blue really became Tula Blue in 2015. I was at a yoga class, listening to the instructor speak about the importance of balance. Balance not just in yoga, but in your everyday life. As an overwhelmed mother of three little ones, I was struck. I’d been looking for a name for my reborn business for months, and balance was the key. It’s always been the goal. Balance with my boys, with my marriage, with my work. After class, I met my husband and our youngest at the beach. I sat down and looked up the Sanskrit word for balance. Tula. I knew that was it. I had found our name. The second half, “Blue,” signifies the waterproof nature of our ROPE collection. And blue for all my boys, of course.

I spent the year working out of my house, and, whenever I could, at local coffee shop Island Joe’s. It was the year of the hustle. I re-opened my Etsy shop and attended events all over Corpus Christi and Austin. Monthly art walks, pop-ups at friends’ houses, the Downtown Farmers’ Market. Packing up from one of the downtown markets, my friend Kelli and I wondered, “Why don’t we start our own Island Market?”

 

2016 - ISLAND FARMERS’ & ART MARKET

I co-founded the Island Farmers’ & Art Market to build a community event for our Island, and to expand Tula’s reach. It didn’t take long for Tula Blue’s signature ROPE collection to become a wardrobe staple throughout the Coastal Bend. At first, I set up and worked the booth solo. It quickly became apparent I was going to need some help, so I would bring in friends to work checkout. Other highlights of 2016: the beginning of wholesale! Tula blue started showing up in local shops. I also launched the first “12 Days of a Tula Blue Christmas” sale on Etsy. It started on kind of a whim, but my family had to eat picnic-style in the living room for a month while the kitchen turned into a production and packaging center. So I’d say it was a success. When orders started rolling in, I asked my good friend Sara to come help. Best decision I’ve ever made and we’re not letting her go!

 

2017 - THE YEAR OF THE TULA TRIBE

Tula Blue hired our first employee in 2017, quickly followed by a few more. We were still working out of/taking over my house. To keep up with demand at the Island Market, we needed seven, eight, even nine girls working to sell, customize, and resize pieces at our four hour event every other Thursday. Tula won its first Local’s List awards by the Bend Magazine for Best Handcrafted Product and Best Farmers’ Market Vendor. Tula also started to give back. We raised $5,000 for school districts affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Coastal Bend by selling our now-bestselling Turquoise Tula for Texas necklace. It felt good.

 

2018 - BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

We finally moved into a house on the Island with dedicated space for Tula Blue. Two rooms! Within 18 months, we outgrew that space. But for the moment, it was perfect. The Tula Tribe had organically grown into an amazing group of women, mostly mothers of young children ready to work again. Everyone was a friend or a friend of a friend. Photographers, jewelry makers, rope spinners, graphic designers, social media managers. One of our Tribe was an exercise instructor, and she would lead Tula workouts in my driveway. We started getting calls/complaints to the HOA because of the number of cars parked outside my house every day. To top off a crazy amazing year, Tula Blue won Business of the Year from the Padre Island Business Association for our community involvement.

 

2019 - TWO TEXAS TULA TOWNS

2019 was the year of cementing Tula’s place in the Coastal Bend community. We experienced growth in our online sales, sales at in-person events, and with our wholesale accounts, too. The Tula Tribe finally moved out of my house and into an official commercial workspace on the Island. It’s not a storefront, nor is it open to customers. But it’s a place for our Tribe to make all the Tula magic happen. We won the Bend Magazine’s Local’s List Best Handcrafted Product and Best Farmers’ Market Vendor awards again!

2019 was also the year that we moved back to my hometown when Drew was offered his dream job flying for StarFlight in Austin. Don't worry, Corpus Christi remains the forever home for Tula Blue's first workshop and the dedicated Tula Crew.

2020 - Hopeful & Hustling

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we had to close our Island workshop, cancel our events, and shrink operations from our team of 20+ women to a skeleton crew of 3. Year after year of setting goals and growing beyond our wildest dreams and we were back to kitchens and spare bedrooms in Austin, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio. We went from planning our biggest year yet to scrambling to stay afloat. We had 3 months of our infamous (to us, at least!) Mystery Bag sales. We also made sure to give back with our Health Hero and Tula for Teachers promos. Times may be unprecedented, but you can always count on Tula Blue and our amazing community to spread love and gratitude. 

Lockdown gave us all of the time (and none of the excuses) to do those things we’ve always put on the back burner. We started building 2 websites from scratch, one for wholesale and one for retail. We broke ground on a second Tula Blue workshop in Austin. Basically, we made sure we’d be able to hit the ground running as soon as it was safe to take our hustle out of the house. There is no doubt it was a challenging year but it was also inspiring and in some ways brought us all “together.” It’s difficult to express the love and gratitude I feel for the Tula Blue crew and community, so I’ll just say thank you. Thank you for showing up and helping keep this dream afloat.