After following her beautiful feed on Instagram, we were pleasantly surprised to run into her Kristin Austin, the owner & designer of bird + beau, at the NC Blogger Buzz in March! We are excited to feature her as the very first interview on our newest series, Oak City Locals! Her jewelry is beautiful and she has fully immersed herself in the local show scene to market her jewelry and get to know the community. Please welcome Kristin to Under the Oaks!
What year did you start your business?
I started b+b in 2012, but relaunched my site just last year and have been putting greater focus on growing my brand since!
What was your first introduction into jewelry making?
Oh, wow… my mom maybe, being crafty herself and passing that on to me. Years ago I started making little pieces for myself or friends; it wasn’t until I was living in Wilmington on my own, did I first start taking it more seriously and trying to sell my work. I enrolled in metalsmithing classes and worked alongside a goldsmith for a few months as well.
When did you know you could do it for a living?
I interpret this question two ways: I know I can design jewelry for a living and never tire of it, so in that sense, I’ve known since day one and it’s been a longtime dream to make it happen. Knowing that I can make a living on my craft in a monetary this-is-my-main-gig sense, I’m still figuring out! I’d say for the past year and half, since I rebranded and have put way more into bird + beau, I’ve known that I can make something out of b+b, but it takes a lot of work and it’s not yet my full-time “real job.”
Best moment of your career so far?
This one is tough! I’m going to summarize this spring as the best time for b+b so far… I was accepted into a lot of shows that I was over the moon to get into, like Rock & Shop and The Handmade Market. These are shows I love to go to myself and consider the artists to be among the best around, so to be included is incredibly exciting and encouraging.
Any advice for those looking to start doing their own thing?
I truly believe you get out of something what you put in, so it’s important to commit and go in wholeheartedly. I am still learning as I go, but I will say that having a strong brand (logo, website, etc.) and carrying it out in all that you do is extremely vital.
Where are you from? How long have you lived in Raleigh?
I grew up in Florida, moved to NC at age 8 to a little town an hour from here, Mt. Olive, before getting away to the beach again after high school. I moved to Raleigh from Wilmington about eight years ago. Admittedly, I missed the beach at first, but Raleigh has really claimed a piece of my heart over the years and it’s just an awesome city for so many reasons, including this fantastic and supportive art community we’ve got going on!
What’s you’re favorite thing about living in Raleigh?
Can I say all of it?! I love exploring downtown and discovering new places in the city. Raleigh has such a creatively diverse community with an appreciation for good music, art, and food; as an artist married to a musician, it’s especially great to live in a city with so much inspiration and opportunity. We just bought our first home here last year, which has brought a whole new level of excitement to living in Raleigh — like it’s officially home now!
Describe your perfect Raleigh day.
Coffee from one of my fave spots (Sola uptown, Joule downtown), a trip to the art museum because I could spend all day there, with a quick visit to the flea market perhaps… then a late brunch and bloody Marys somewhere (Relish, Nofo, PieBird, + PieBird have my favorite Marys). In my perfect day, it’d be sunny and there would be a festival of some sort happening downtown, which we would most certainly enjoy before heading to dinner at either Poole’s or Caffe Luna. Then, out for some live music + fun with friends. There is really so much to do here!
Anything you’d like to see or do in Raleigh that isn’t available?
Raleigh really has a whole lot going on, so even the things I’m thinking I’d like, we probably actually have. I mean, we even have a beer trolley!
Advice for someone traveling to Raleigh and the Triangle?
Stay downtown and walk or take the rickshaws to really submerse yourself in this little city of ours. Pop your head into the shops and say hi to people. There’s a lot to discover and so many cool people here. Be adventurous and try out as many of Raleigh’s restaurants and craft beers as you can… and then call a rickshaw to take you back to your hotel again!
Check out more products on the bird + beau website: www.birdandbeau.com. Also connect with Kristin on social media: instagram.com/birdandbeau | facebook.com/birdandbeau | twitter.com/birdandbeau | pinterest.com/birdandbeau
(If you’d like to be featured on Oak City Locals, please contact us at hello [at] undertheoaks [dot] com!)