BSF... A Love Story
By Jerry Brownstein
The flowing fashions of Beatrice San Francisco (BSF) have become emblematic of the style of Ibiza: casual yet chic; simple yet sexy; natural yet exotic. This unique mixture of structure and freedom is a reflection of Beatrice’s creative style that blends intuition and inspiration with joy and imagination. Working together with her husband Francisco, the BSF brand has grown from humble beginnings to great acclaim. But this is more than just a story about a successful fashion business. It’s a story about how the power of love can express itself in so many beautiful ways...
The story begins in Germany with a young girl watching her grandmother turn balls of yarn into beautiful clothing. Knitting seemed like magic, and Beatrice wanted to spin some spells of her own, so Grandma taught her how to knit and the spark of her creativity was ignited. This natural feeling for fashion eventually led Beatrice to enrol in the Berlin School of Design, where her talent continued to blossom – culminating in the school’s Prize for Best Designer. Her next move was to the fashion capital of Milan where she worked with designers and as a journalist. Beatrice was on the fast track to a career in the fashion industry... but something was missing.
Searching for that missing link in her life she began to travel and finally wound up on Ibiza in 1997. With her two year old daughter to support and no connections to the Ibiza fashion scene, she relied on other talents to make ends meet. Dancing, singing and playing the guitar were fun for awhile, but her passion for fashion drew her back to knitting. No longer working for others, Beatrice was free to experiment with her own designs, and she began to develop a reputation with the boutiques of Ibiza... but something was still missing.
Around the same time that Beatrice moved to Ibiza, a young man from Málaga also found his way to the White Island. Francisco had been working with his family in the construction business and life was OK... but he began to feel that he was outgrowing his old friends... outgrowing the life that seemed destined for him. On a whim he decided to try something new, and took a trip to Ibiza that was meant to last only two weeks. He quickly discovered that living on Ibiza suited him really well, and he had no desire to return home. Francisco easily found work and settled comfortably into the Ibiza scene... but his life was soon to take another important turn.
Do you believe in ‘love at first sight’? Beatrice went to a drumming party one day, and there she saw a man who made her heart skip a beat... she almost fainted. It was Francisco... and she knew at that moment that this was ‘her guy’ and that they were meant to be together. Francisco was instantly attracted to Beatrice and soon realized that his true happiness lay with this wonderful woman who had captured his heart. They moved in together and Francisco began to watch Beatrice working day and night on her one small knitting machine. He knew absolutely nothing about fashion or knitting, but had always been incredibly talented with any kind of machinery. He quickly picked up the ability to knit and now they had four hands working to make their clothing.
The business began to grow as local boutiques started to order more, but it was hard to keep up with the demand making individual designs on this one machine... so a bit of magic was needed. One day while walking through an empty field together Francisco felt something hard under his foot. He started to dig at that spot and it became apparent that some sort of machine was buried there. Francisco loves machines so he kept digging and finally uncovered an old, rusty and broken piece of equipment... a knitting machine! It was larger than the one they had, but totally useless... until Francisco went to work on it. The rust and dirt were cleaned away; new parts were ordered from the factory; and the old machine was brought to life.
Now they could both work at the same time and were able to make enough clothes to meet the ever-increasing demand for Beatrice’s designs. In 2001 Las Dalias opened their large market area, and this extra exposure led to a flood of orders that even the two machines working full time could not keep up with. Eventually they were able to connect with an excellent factory in Barcelona that would faithfully reproduce their creations with the right quality. Business has continued to boom, spurred by the BSF collection being displayed at many shows – particularly Ibiza’s annual Moda Adlib. Francisco has also become a designer, imprinting his own style on the fast-growing BSF men’s line, and this year they have opened a beautiful boutique right on the Vara de Rey.
Fortunately, success has not changed their special energy, and design sessions at BSF still feel more like parties than work. Singing, dancing, playing and laughing are the main ingredients of the BSF creative process. This is a natural result of the love that they share for each other and also their love of music. Francisco has been one of the renowned Benirràs drummers since 2001, and Beatrice has returned to singing and playing guitar at beautiful ‘Kirtan’ mantra singing sessions which she co-hosts with Marc Osmo. Finding time to enjoy these pleasures was not easy with the business continuing to grow... so more help was needed... and it turned out that the perfect person for this job was hiding right in plain sight.
Daughter Djamila had started on a fashion career, but after a couple of years working at it in Germany she felt unfulfilled and made her way to Asia to discover a more spiritual life. She studied massage and Ayurvedics, but after a while she began to realize that fashion, family and Ibiza were the things that truly made her heart sing. So she returned home to work in the family business, and her ability to quickly learn everything about the operation was astounding. Beatrice and Francisco gradually gave her more and more responsibility, and now, at the age of 21, she is an important part of every aspect of the business: design, sales, invoices, marketing... everything. Djamila also shares the family’s feeling for music as she loves to sing and play the guitar.
BSF is truly a family affair, and the love that they share is reflected in the beauty of their fashions, the music in their hearts and the sweetness of their smiles. This successful blending of love, joy and family is likely to expand even more as 15 year old daughter Dalaia plans to join the business when she finishes school.
Twenty years ago both Beatrice and Francisco were searching for the missing link in their lives. They found it here on Ibiza when they discovered each other... and this love story continues to flourish with their beautiful daughters adding to the magic that makes BSF fashion so special. •