Jenna, then a music publicist, was in town for work. Ethan was in town because he lived there, and for work, but Jenna didn’t know either of these things, or Ethan.
Jenna: “I had just ordered, was fidgeting through my bag for cash when suddenly I realized I had none. And there were easily 60 people behind me in line, and I had no idea where an ATM was, and suddenly, this voice behind me says, “Perdóname, señor, por favor pon los tacos de la señora en mi orden, yo pagaré por los dos.” I turned around to see whose semi-stilted Spanish it was, and saw this handsome, crooked-smiling, definitively Texan looking dude – not like Austin hipster Texan, but with more of a legit cowboy vibe, with boots that had actually seen horses and ranches, looking both completely at home in this scenario and utterly satisfied with himself but also kind of shy. “
She insisted on paying him back. “Well ma’am, if you insist…” and handed her a beautifully letterpressed business card. When she asked what he did, he responded with a one-word, “that.” And then he was gone. Into the night, tall, booted, and suddenly missing.
Later, post-tacos, with her wits about her and kicking herself for slipping into shoptalk, Jenna googled Ethan. Found out he’d graduated top of his law school class from UT Austin, worked for some big Dallas firm for several years, and then, 2 years prior, quit law and took up running a print shop started by his grandfather. Jenna was in town for SXSW for work (PR), but had a few free days and decided to go sleuthing.
“The first thing I noticed when I stepped in the door was the smell – printing ink has a very distinct aroma, and if you’ve ever smelled it and paid attention, you’d remember. It’s somehow very nostalgic – not like newsprint but similar – and it somehow smells warm. Second thing was how totally masculine the space was – three big presses, one linotype, two letterpress, and 4 guys listening to Miles Davis in the afternoon sun. If I hadn’t gone there on a mission to repay my taco-savior I might easily have begun one right then – and then Ethan stepped out.
Jenna was not used to being called ma’am. Or having someone insist on giving her change when she had already been the recipient of random goodwill. Or a great deal of other things. She was intrigued – enough to figure out a way to stay in town a couple of extra days (oh the luck of having clients in the same city) and enough to ask him out. He said yes. They talked music and tacos and ink and why he’d quit law and why she was doing pr because it really seemed more like she wanted to write, and no there was nothing wrong with music journalism or really, really it sounded like she wanted to do an MFA (she did, but things hadn’t worked out that way or at least not yet) and clearly certain kinds of print weren’t dead because he was making a successful turn ‘reviving’ something that his family had plugged along with for 80 years previously and suddenly going back to LA and putting in 95 hours a week at Universal wasn’t the most important thing in the world and yet… she was wary. She flew back to LA the next morning, convinced that, in real life, handsome, charming, well-educated cowboy types do not magically appear offering tacos and then listen to you without interrupting and instead offer encouragement.
She was wrong.
The following Monday a postcard arrives from Austin. A correspondence begins. It continued. Months later, a small package arrives, enclosed within was a necklace from which hung an arrow-shaped bar engraved with the phrase “WRITE YOUR OWN WAY,” and a one word note for explanation: “REMINDER.” It was from Ethan. Jenna was charmed that he had sent something effectively from California (given that Waxing Poetic is based in the Santa Barbara area) and sent it from Texas.
“There was no request, there was no beguilement, there was no real indication of flirting…there was just this really sincere-feeling expression of encouragement. I think I fell for real right then, though truthfully I had no idea what would happen next,” Jenna remembers, “I just felt like there was a very singular, very certain semi stranger several states away cheering me on, and I was like why the hell not?”
And so, it happened. Of course there are missing details here. Of course there may or may not be 2 coasts involved (3 if you count the gulf coast), long expensive phone calls because someone only had a landline in their 1930’s style studio setup, and there may or may not be miles of story and camping and flights and trips abroad and careers retooled and confidence rediscovered and all of that yes, is true, but…we’re talking about Jenna and Ethan NOW.
When Jenna’s sister (a stylist in LA) put on her radar that Waxing Poetic was launching a men’s line, it seemed a strangely appropriate way to affirm the past few years – if, that is, it was wearable.
“When I saw the pieces my sister had sent me, I was almost speechless: here was the jewelry that Ethan WOULD wear. It’s not’s like Ethan is without style, but there’s a kind tendency in most men’s jewelry to either go too flashy, too religious in symbolism (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but one thing I’ve grown to find really sexy is that Ethan doesn’t advertise his spirituality), or too, TOO kind of Lizard King of the desert weird character jewelry – maybe that’s regional, but…POET doesn’t do any of that. It’s perfect.
Ethan’s favorites from Jenna’s poet haul:
REDOUTABLE LATCH CUFF BRACELET:
“Ethan loves the oxidized metal finish, and the hinge detail.” – Jenna
“I’ve worn cuffs for years, but usually leather ones – at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like how it felt, but there’s something perfect about it.” – Ethan
“This is something I can wear, really, almost every day. I’ve never been a necklace guy but I like the weight of the chain and the simplicity of the leather tag – it reminds me of a lot of ‘sacred’ jewelry I’ve seen but it’s also really masculine and clean.” – Ethan
“Jenna gave this to me pretty recently – we had gone down to visit some friends of ours who just built a house in Marfa, and when we got there, we realized that since they also had just had a baby, their guest room was missing and we ended up spending the night in this insane safari tent with a skylight window. We talked all night; we kept getting distracted by the sky.”
“The next night, I found a tiny bag on my pillow and this was inside, along with something along the lines of ‘tonight I promise you can sleep,’ and I loved it. I think it may be my favorite piece now, my favorite out of my whole 2 necklace collection.” – Ethan