Editor’s note: Since Beth Bugdaycay and her husband Murat established Foundrae in 2015 the label has become one of the hottest in the jewelry world. The innumerable charm designs that Beth describes as “a tool of self-discovery” can be found in the collections of any number of celebrities including Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow and Emily Ratajkowski. Follow Foundrae on Instagram to learn more from Beth who has been posting videos to show styles for clients while the stay at home orders are in effect in New York City.
I love New York City. Both my husband and I feel that the City allowed us to grow in ways that we never could have had we stayed in our hometowns: Istanbul and Brownsville, Texas respectively. The pandemic has provided stark clarity about what makes this city what it is: the people. When I walk my dog through the empty streets, it’s like looking at a portrait that the face has been cut out with an X-acto knife.
I miss the daily interactions with a wide variety of people. I learn every single day and am moved by some remark, a glimpse into someone’s inner life. Just a few weeks before the isolation started, I took a taxi ride and had a beautiful conversation with the driver. He had real wisdom to offer. Now I’m relying more on my books. I have always been a voracious reader, but even more so now. It’s the perspective I need, the insight that I receive by getting out of my own head. For the last few days, I’ve been reading Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine by Joseph Campbell. Before that I read a book published by a friend of mine, Kisses Out of the Blue by Linda Gnat-Mullen. I typically see her weekly, but haven’t now for over six weeks. As I read each of her stories, I could hear her voice and learned more about her than I might have in a casual conversation. I’ve also had more conversations with customers than I typically do and have built real friendships. I find it amazing how you can get to know a person so quickly and deeply when two people are willing to speak honestly from their hearts.
And our team! I miss them. I miss their little quirks and humor, their candor. But the reality is they are still working very hard, just differently, and still contributing greatly. I think many of the people that are attracted to the City are resourceful—it’s not an easy place to live. For example, most people have space for just one pot that must to be able to serve every need in the kitchen. Luckily, those qualities have enabled us to be agile in developing new ways to communicate, create and produce: sending pieces from one home bench to another until all processes are completed, finding lobster claws from a new German resource that is still shipping, and page after page of Google sheets that are serving as the community pot of soup: everyone is contributing their special ingredient.
What people love about the City is that there is a real sense of belonging. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what makes your heart beat; you can find your people. The density and diversity of our population, part of the reason why this city has been hit so hard by Covid-19, is also its gift. For me, that sense of community and solidarity is stronger now even as we are separated. We find a way to reach out, to extend a (gloved) hand.
That feeling of solidarity led us to give 100% of the retail proceeds of our “Cor ad Cor” vestige crest to Heart to Heart International to support the distribution of “Stay Healthy” kits. We have just two, and tracking our diminishing inventory has given me even more empathy for the people that are tracking diminishing inventory of essential goods. We sold one the day that we posted our intention on Instagram and immediately transferred that money to Heart to Heart International. I’m sure we will sell the last one in the next few weeks. Every effort matters.