To Our Community:
It is with a heavy heart that we have come to the decision to dissolve the B.Yellowtail Collective.
The Collective was created in 2016, in effort to provide economic opportunities for our people. It was a place for Native artists to showcase and sell their beautiful, handmade work - all while being guided as to how to price their pieces based on their cost/labor and appropriate markups-based on true market value. For six years, the Collective consignment model enabled us to support 75+ Indigenous entrepreneurs from nearly 33 Native American and First Nations tribal communities. Since its inception, we have been able to pay over $850,000 to our Collective Artists.
With 70% of the sales going back into the pockets of Native people, the remaining 30% was used to cover the costs of photography, marketing, packaging, fulfillment, and shipping costs. It also provided a dedicated full-time staff member to support the needs of the Collective members. She too was an artist and former member of the Collective. In short, the Collective was never a revenue source for B.Yellowtail and there were many months where we did not break even. Making B.Yellowtail money was never the driving force behind this initiative. Instead, the value for us was nested in uplifting and honoring culture based artists - the storytellers of our people, in addition to providing income opportunities that may otherwise have not been available. It provided a tremendous opportunity for many and we could not be more honored to have supported many amazing members of the Native artist community.
The Collective model only works if all engage and promote the same uplifting and forward-thinking values it was built upon. Unfortunately, with the recent false allegations and slanderous statements made by a handful of Native individuals across social media, we have had to make the difficult decision to discontinue the Collective and close this chapter. The financial hardships brought on by the unwarranted actions of these individuals are the primary reason behind this decision.
Over the past three months, these lies have crippled our business. We have been forced to allocate all personal and financial resources to fight these claims in order to secure the integrity and longevity of our business. We are not a big corporation. We are a small (but mighty) Native Women owned and operated business with five full-time BIPOC employees. Our business is 100% direct to consumers and when our customers were hearing heinous lies surrounding our integrity and business practices, sales dropped drastically. We were forced to cut back our employees’ hours and benefits. It also heavily impaired our ability to provide give-back initiatives toward community-based solutions like our Rez Girls Fund. The financial aftermath has seized our ability to provide the structure and resources that have always been allocated to the Collective platform and the artists.
The individual(s) who initiated this in an attempt to tear me and my company down, instead, robbed income and opportunities from upright artists who are likely their neighbors and Indigenous relatives - this is the most heartbreaking part for me.
Yet through this grief, we have faith that our path moving forward will be beautiful and better than before. Who we are as the B.Yellowtail brand, and who I am as a Northern Cheyenne & Apsaalooke woman, will never be altered or defeated. While the Collective platform will end, we will continue to support our people with heart and integrity. We will always anchor our values in our community and culture, while making decisions with future generations in mind. This battle has brought me, my family, and my team much sorrow but from pain comes prosperity. We will take this opportunity to transform and grow.
Looking ahead, we have created a transition plan for our current Collective artists and look forward to our next chapter. We will officially dissolve the Collective platform on Aug 1, 2022. Until then, we encourage our community to continue supporting the Collective. The artists will continue to receive 70% of sales made through our website. Additionally, we ask that you connect with them directly and continue investing in their work and other Native artists and entrepreneurs well after the closure of the Collective. We want nothing more than for these Native artists and their families to continue to grow and prosper. We know this is not the end and we will re-imagine new ways we can continue to partner with these incredible entrepreneurs in the future.
Lastly, thank you to our community for standing by us, for believing in us and for uplifting us during this difficult season. We hope that our actions will always speak louder than the empty, spiteful words that have tried to break us down. We are small, but we are strong. Thank you for supporting our commitment to uplift our communities and share our authentic Indigenous designs with the world. Stay tuned for the next chapter.
Nea’ese / Aho,
Shock and awe.
Shocked that anyone would wage a campaign of hate against you but in awe of your strength and grace in handling it.
This is such a horrible situation but your resilience is real and you will come back better, stronger and even wiser.
Thank you for sharing so much incredible Native American talent with the world.
I wish you every success xx
I’m new to your site and had looked forward to watching the growth and purchasing options that you had available. I’m sad that I won’t be able to. Be well, be strong and shake those negative emotions! This was a beautiful opportunity that you created.
It is especially sad that native communities also “circle up and shoot” but it is rampant throughout this country and much of the world. Competitiveness, jealousy, lack of compassion – not sure what part of our nature causes us to begrudge others’ success. When will we ever learn? Hopefully the answer IS blowin’ in the wind.
I really wanna comment on the integrity of those that have come against you & your work but I will pray for them instead. Always remember that when God shuts one door he will open another one. So looking forward to something greater & powerful! Stay strong in the Lord & in the power of his might! You are a warrior woman God has prepared you for this battle & he will see you through. Not everyone is happy for those who are successful. You made a name for yourself & no one can take that away. Love ❤️ you from your Grandma
We are in disbelief appon reading this. Your journey shall continue to creat, make, and bring beauty to your plans, goals, and the world. We love every collection you have shared with us, we are greatful and humbled to know such a wonderful artist. We love you Bethany. 💙🐦
I know when something ends it’s this way, it’s difficult to see the upside of it. Know that this is ending to make room for something even better. Trust in the integrity you have to move your business and collaborators forward into a more prosperous endeavor. Much love and well wishes to all involved, even those that had a hand in terminating it. ❤️❤️❤️
I am so sorry that you are having to dissolve the collective. I am an artist myself and a collector of Native American art. I have enjoyed your emails and all the beautiful artwork that you have on your site. Your artist have amazing talent.I wish you the best of luck in your next chapter and to all your artists also
The reason for this is beyond heartbreaking. Enough to brave the negativity world outside of the community, but when it comes from within makes it all the more tragic.
Gutted to hear this. I love your work and support of creators. Kia kaha, be strong and keep being pono ki te kaupapa. Arohanui from Aotearoa.
Wow. How incredibly disappointing. I am so sad you have to shut such an amazing creation down. I will look forward to seeing your future endeavors and wish you all the look and good vibes going forward.
It’s a shame that our Native brothers and sisters can’t be happy for the successes we have. Instead they try to break their own peoples livelihood and spirit.
This saddens me on so many levels. I feel I have learned so much about your culture and peoples through your collective and the stories you share. I have purchased a few items through you and will continue to support in the future. You are an inspiration to all of us, native or not!
I am sorry to hear this and to learn that this is the end of this chapter. Bad medicine is best dealt with directly, which is what I see you doing, in a good way.
Your collective has impacted my life as an indigenous woman in so many ways. I know my power more, walk in my beauty confidently, and have better defined who I am as an indigenous woman.
Love you all. Prayers — of healing, of rest, of transformation, and of bravely walking into another part of the medicine wheel. “Wherever you are is where you are, for as long as you choose to be.”
Mo stinta, saamaks. Sep’keec’a for you.
This is so sad!! What a wonderful Company you created unselfishly to support Indigenous Artists & your Employees. Breaks my heart that some people hate & try to tear down others just trying to make a living as well as support many families. Shameful!!!! Unfortunately I am broke or would support your efforts financially even though it seems too late.
Please keep my email I would love to atleast be supportive & know how you will rise up & find new ways to continue to thrive. I have shared your posts all along (well recently since I discovered your site).
There is a Women traveling around currently showcasing Indeginous Artists (sorry cant think of her name) maybe she could work with you & all the artists you have so eloquently showcased going forward.
I wish you much success in your future endevors & hope to be kept in the loop by email until you announce some great new project.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I have total faith and confidence in your vision and integrity. Thank you for your words and I am sorry for the words and actions that have created such injuries to byellowtail.com. Keep speaking your truth and grow your dream in the years ahead. Thanks for straight speaking in the face of malicious lies.
I’m sorry to hear that you have had difficulties due to unscrupulous people. Your platform is an honorable one. I enjoyed purchasing items for myself and my children (they are of the HoChunk nation). I wish you the very best, along with a prosperous future.
Thank you for all you do.
Why do Natives always do this.whe. o e is doing g well the others tear them down. Best of luck, to you. Keep up the good fight.
My daughter and I have enjoyed your items. Thank you for all the hard work in creating this platform for us. I will never understand why we must always be our own worst enemies….tearing each other down when it seems one is getting somewhere. I am glad you will keep moving forward! You know more than anyone….REZ GIRLS CAN DO ANYTHING!!!
I am heartbroken to hear this. I was not aware of slanderous comments made about your business. It is a shame that people would be so intent on tearing down your business instead of using that energy to create their own. You are a positive light for the Indigenous community and I wish you well and hope that you are able to move on from this and be stronger. Remember this universal law- " as a person sows, that shall they reap". Continue to sow seeds of kindness and keep your integrity.
Best Wishes for the next step. A good heart and attitude created Yellowtail. Much appreciated. Our world needs more. Continue.
I am so sorry to hear that you are having to close the collective. You will continue to have courage and move forward. Much love
I am deeply sorry this has happened to the Collective, for the grief, hurt and betrayal inflicted.
I am praying for everyone’s heart and spirit healing and for new ventures even better than what was before.
May God bless you with his love and peace. Xoxo
I’m so sorry about your news. You gave me so many lovely choices to buy and give to my indigenous daughter-in-law. I’ll continue to follow you.
With love and hope,
Thank you for sharing this message. I am sorry you went through this. I believe in you and your brand, and will continue to support and other native artists.
Katherine Iyall Vasquez, Cowlitz Elder, retired Tribal Council Woman.
waking up this morning and reading this left my heart heavy. I am glad I bought the women activist print, and had it professionally framed. I am a elder and my heart breaks for all the pain and greed within our tribes/nations. this is not the way and what we are about, but, we learn from the white man, but we don’t have to be that way. Greed is Evil. I see it everyday within my tribe so I can speak first hand. our ancestors would not be proud of us and to say I have no pride in my tribe is pain. it comes from the beginning of our teachings. either you were taught right or you were never taught. its that simple. its who we are as native people of our land.
thanks for sharing your story.