Business Bad-ass Rebecca Saylor of OodleBaDoodle

Today's business bad-ass is Rebecca Saylor, founder, designer and creator of awesomely huggable pillows at OodleBaDoodle. On the side, Rebecca also runs an all-volunteer organization of 1600+ makers that is the powerhouse team known as SF Etsy. I'm never quite sure how she manages to pack so much into her days, all the while maintaining an incredible sense of calm and a great sense of humor.

1 - How did you get started with OodleBaDoodle?  

I'm sort of a backwards person, always thinking differently, so it makes sense that I began my business without a product - ha! After the start up I was working at closed, I knew I wanted to have a small business so I started with a business plan and then I created a few products that I felt like could sell. I tried a few things, but nothing was really sticking, so I went back to work in the corporate world. One of my coworkers was having a baby and I made him an owl pillow for the nursery. He is a very snappy dresser and so the owl had glasses, a bow tie and vest. He really loved it and I made some for a gallery show here in SF. I sold 25 owl pillows the first two weeks I was in business and I knew I had my product!

Since then, I seek out other things that inspire my designs, like sea creatures, huggable San Francisco and coming soon, the unicorn pillow!

2 - What is your top challenge in your business right now?

After 4 years of sewing constantly everyday, I feel like I am still in a constant backlog. My challenge now is production. Like a lot of makers, I truly enjoy the "making" part of my business and I am not ready to give that up, so I've been working on ways to make multiples of my pillows that still showcase my craftsmanship but also can be reproduced more efficiently. I'm using some new technology and I'm hoping to launch all my new things by the holiday season.  

3 - Before you had a business, you had another career. Was there anything from that experience that has helped you be an entrepreneur?

For 15 years I worked in the corporate world, primarily in the Human Resources and Recruiting departments for small and large companies. I loved my career and I was good at it! One of my favorite things was learning from the CEOs of the companies I worked for. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to be mentored by some amazing business leaders. I learned a lot about time management, business planning, project planning, resource management and working in a team environment. Even though I am an entrepreneur, I know the value of community and making connections. It's very important to have people around you that can help you navigate the world of small business and help you make connections to grow your business. 

4 - What do you do on a regular basis to maintain your sanity?

I've recently been taking some online Urban Sketching classes and I've really enjoyed exploring the city and then sketching some favorite spots. I love making clothes and spending time with my husband and my two Mainecoon cats, MaximusMilkshake and Matilda. 

5 - What is your favorite thing about running your own business?

Making all the decisions. As much as I loved working in the corporate world, I always wanted to break out and execute my own ideas. I love figuring out all the things that go with running a small business and I love making the decisions, even the bad ones :) 

Retailer Feature: Sarah Swell in Sausalito


Sarah Greenberg launched her brand Sarah Swell Jewelry in 2008. The result of years of study and practice, taking classes, working in the industry and a lifetime spent in pursuit of creative expression. In 2014 she, her husband, and their Husky pup ventured into Marin and opened her first retail shop in Downtown Sausalito. Sarah and I met 10 years ago in jewelry school shortly after we both moved to the Bay Area and I have loved watching her business grow and blossom over the years.

A photo posted by @sarahswelljewelry on

1 - Pretend you don't know me and tell me how you got started with your shop.

Opening the retail shop version of my brand Sarah Swell happened a bit accidentally. I always wanted to open a store someday, but the opportunity presented itself sooner than expected when I came across the perfect little retail space while searching for a new studio. I just couldn't let it pass me by. After being open for a year, I decided to bring in the work of other jewelry designers so that my clientele had a greater variety to choose from when searching for that special piece.

2 - What is your favorite place for lunch in the neighborhood?

I'd have to say lunch at Sushi Ran. It feels like an indulgence, but is a bargain compared to their dinner service. They really have some of the freshest and most inventive sushi in the Bay Area.

3 - Is there something that you are coveting for yourself at your shop but haven’t pulled the trigger on yet?

I'm already dreaming of your small spear earrings in gold...and they haven't even landed in our shop yet! [Editor's note: yup, she really said this about my earrings. I've got the proof in an email and they will be landing there in November in time for the Holidays.]

4 - Tell me a little about the people who work for you:

My husband has recently taken on the role of Operations Manager and helps to keep everything moving smoothly both in our wholesale business and in the shop. We mostly get along. I also have a wonderful employee, Allie, who works primarily on jewelry production but also helps out in the shop. I think it's so valuable to have everyone in the shop be versed in both jewelry making and selling. It's the only way you can correctly inform customers as to why each item is extra special.

5 - If you weren't a jewelry designer, what would you do?

I think I'd still be a designer of some sort. I'm also very interested in antiques and home furnishings and love the thrill of the search for that perfect piece. I'm not sure what the exact job title would be, so I'm going with antique decor treasure hunter :)

12 years of ❤️, 3 years of 👰 with my partner in crime @thetownlocal

A photo posted by @sarahswelljewelry on

Visit Sarah's shop and see a great collection of jewelry - from her, from a perfectly curated collection of independent designers and from her own collection of vintage and antique jewelry, as well as handcrafted goods like ceramics and leather bags. Located in Downtown Sausalito, one block off of the main road and just a 10-minute walk from the Sausalito Ferry Landing.

Sarah Swell Jewelry
215 Caledonia Street, Suite 102
Sausalito, CA 94965