Weekly Alibi: Just to get this out of the way, I'm a fan. How did you decide to be Two Stoned Betties?
Mansfield: We used to live together so that was a roommate moment on the couch, painting things.
Romãn: We started making jewelry together because we needed to pay our bills. Two Stoned Betties came together in a moment on the couch, making crafts. "We're Betties!" [The word Betty, colloquially, is a modern-day queen.]
Mansfield and Romãn : “You're a betty, no you're a Betty, We're just two stoned Betties!"
Romãn: And then we both agreed that that was a really good name.
So your name comes from a place of empowerment. That's not surprising, seeing y'all’s work and on social media, it's obvious that y'all love each other.
Mansfield: Yeah, we fight a lot but we love each other way more than we fight.
Romãn: We see versions of ourselves every time we set up. The camaraderie that we have definitely plays into why our brand is accepted and celebrated the way it is, because they know that it's two chicks who are best friends doing it together. It's important to us to represent our brand. Because it is a counterculture, because it is, you know, something that is not represented in the counterculture very well. Lady stoners ...
Mansfield [interjecting]: Yeah, they're not represented. Certainly not as productive people.
Romãn: That's what I was saying. The way we're doing it is from this place where you don't have to be a lazy stoner pothead. You can be a fierce female entrepreneur and still be okay and proud that this is the substance you chose. Trying to flip it and break through that stereotype. I think we do a pretty good job, it's been really cool and it's been very rare that we've had anyone come to our shop upset. We don't have people scoff at it; it makes people smile.
One of the distinct elements of your brand is your logo. How did that come into existence?
Romãn: Well we kind of brainstormed it together ...
Mansfield: I had a vision of two just two smiling faces ...
Romãn: And Kayla had been working on pin-up characters. We'd had a lot of jewelry with pin-up [art] in it and it was a goal that we should do our own pin-up art. KK [Mansfield is a] super-skilled, awesome painter and drawer, she'd been playing with these cute little lady figures.
Mansfield: They're betties!
Romãn: We went to vend with Felix Y Los Gatos in Hatch, [N.M.] and we were sharing a hotel room. When we were brainstorming what we wanted it to look like, and KK showed us this sketch, and we were like "That's good. That's it" and we were really luck to be friends with Michael Wieclaw of Metal the Brand [metalthebrand.com] and he took that drawing that Kayla did and turned it into a logo us for a seafood dinner. [They both laugh.] The Two Stoned Betties font is a custom font just for us, and he [Wieclaw] worked to make our art a functional logo.
Mansfleld: Other people were working on it, but we decided it should be us and we should represent.
The layers of Burqueness in this aren't surprising, but, wow, this really started with being broke and hanging out?
Romãn: Yeah! The way people have supported us from the very beginning, we had a lot of local support. But we also had to prove ourselves in a lot of arenas, as well.
Mansfield: We are our own flow. That is what matters most. That's what set us apart. [We decided] okay, if we're not in the cool club, then we're going to go do our own thing.
Romãn: And I think there is no denying our hustle and our grind. We are hardworking girls who put ourselves in a lot of different places. We put a lot of pride in our merchandizing, that's been a labor of love. Our suits have become synonymous with our brand, and people are impressed with them, but we're really impressed with them, too. Every time we set up, "That looks so good!” Every single time we sit back and enjoy, even though it looks like it did last week. We really are super-proud of everything we do on a weekly basis.
Doing what you want to do well enough to be proud of yourself and also appreciated by others sounds empowering.
Romãn: We're lucky that Albuquerque and the Southwest has received us the way that they have. They like the stuff that we're doing and they like us the way that they do.
I mean look at her [Mansfield's] earrings! They have King Kong on them! They're big bold designs. Something that we do that's so rewarding, is we'll get people who come to the table that are a little intimidated by our designs and they do seem like that they're so big, but they're attractive and the aesthetic is so there that people want to rock them even if they feel like they can't. Those are the sales that we're like F-Yes! That person overcame a little bit of fear. Chances are they're going to get a thousand compliments and they're going to want to wear them and feel great.
Living in The Land of Enchantment has obviously influenced your work.
Romãn: I think all of our designs are a reflection of who we are individually, who we are together and who we are differently and together, as Burqueñas and New Mexicans. This is our culture; it's going to come out in our art. Even with the stoner and counterculture thing in general, we make nerdy nostalgic stuff that makes us happy. We're just lucky other people like it, too.