Photo Shoot Prep: Thrift Shopping & Plants

ADVENTURES IN THRIFT SHOPPING

We’ll be shooting our Fall/Winter ’17 collection this month so we’ve been out and about collecting props and accessories for our shoot.

We went to our 2 favorite thrift stores located in the southside of Richmond, VA. We can usually count on these spots to find some vintage treasures. Before starting Rare Bird Designs, I was a vintage seller and spent a lot of time frequenting all the city’s thrift shops. I don’t have as much time nowadays, but it’s fun going back to all my old haunts every now and then.

What to look for when thrift shopping:

ART:

This art wall was pretty amazing. Always look for art in thrift store, you can find the most interesting pieces.

FURNITURE: There are some great mid century, retro pieces out there. You may have to do some repairing or refinishing, but it’s worth it for the right piece. Or you just live with them and call them broken-in or aged. 😉

DISHWARE: I have a soft spot for vintage dishware. I always look for quirky mugs, thick glasses, and artisan made wooden things.

CONTAINERS & VESSELS: Brass and silver metals and glass pieces for days. These knick knack type items are usually in abundant supply at thrift stores and you can almost always find something unique if you are willing to dig. Baskets are also ubiquitous, which is great, you just gotta keep eye for just the right styles.

And finally, here are a few of our own thrifted finds from our treasure hunting, all for under $30. Definitely feeling the earthy, rustic, vintage vibe with these guys. The perfect accessories to give balance to Rare Bird’s more minimalist design aesthetic.

A note about second hand shopping:

I think there’s something really special about shopping second hand. My second hand possesions feel so different than my store bought finds. Not only is there a previous history that goes along with them, but there’s also that new history that you bring to it as well. There’s the experience of rummaging and finding these items on your own. There’s just something so cool about finding and owning this piece of history that only you have.

Then there’s also the whole, where you spend you money lends to what you support. Instead of supporting the questionable manufacturing practices that goes along with mass produced items, you are instead supporting the recycling an item, giving it a new life and purpose and saving it from the landfill. When you buy handmade or through small business, you are supporting an artist and ethical business practices. I know we can’t be perfect with all our purchases, but being more thoughtful about your buying behavior always helps.

PLANTS!

We also needed some new plants for our photo shoot, so we went to The Great Big Greenhouse for some lush green beauties. A few pops of foliage here and there can really add some life to photos.

Special thanks to my girl Jenn with Nature Composed for hooking a sister up with some plants and giving me access to her collection as well.

Plant friends!

Things are coming along, can’t wait to put some of these things together for our upcoming shoot.

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Studio Space Tour

I’ve been meaning to share some shots of my studio space. We took these work space shots during the for our Spring/Summer ’17 collection shoot. I must admit that we had the studio extra tidy for the photo shoot, I can’t say that my studio looks this way very often, but I do try to keep things organized. I find it really helps my productivity and motivation just to have a nice, clean space to work in.

My studio is attached to my living room in my home. When we bought this house a few years ago, this room was a walled off dining room. I knew this little light filled room would be a perfect studio space for me. We immediately took out a wall to open the space up. Being a work from home mom of 2 little ones, this set up works great for me. I can be with my family while still tinkering around in my office. Also, being a one woman run business, it’s nice to be able to work around others, instead of being holed up somewhere alone.

My favorite part of this studio space is the light, it’s amazing. I thrive in a bright space, so it’s a requirement of mine. Also, the afternoon light in this room is perfect for photography, which is a huge part of running an online business.

A studio pegboard wall is a must for storing all the wire, chains and tools.

Pretty trays at arms reach, filled with gemstones and laser cut metal parts for making jewelry.

This midcentury hutch and buffet set is one of my favorite Craigslist finds. It was a steal. It’s perfect for storing supplies and looking pretty, ha.

I made this display using a cheap large poster frame from a craft store. Just remove the plexiglass, cover the backing with linen fabric and stick in some nails for an easy peasy jewelry display.

S/S ’17 Collection all laid out for the shoot.

Hey, that’s me! I love to put a face to a name – well this is mine :). I think it’s important for everyone that interacts with my business, whether its a customer, vendor, or peer, to know that there is an actual person behind this business. Nice to meet you!

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Stay connected by signing up to our email list below and follow us for more at @rarebirddesigns.

photography by Meagan Abell Photography

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Handmade Business: Etsy to Ecommerce Website

We did it! The website is complete and live!

I am so happy to annouce the arrival our our new stand alone e-commerce website. After 4 years on Etsy, more than 4,000 orders and numerous wholesale orders, we have finally decided it was time to get our own site.  We’ll still be selling on Etsy, they’ve been so good to us and we’ve gotten so many fans and followers there, that I still really value it as a great business tool.

I started my handmade business, Rare Bird, on Etsy in 2011. I had been running a vintage shop on Ebay & Etsy, but really wanted the opportunity to use my own creativity to express my own design perspective. I had always been interested in sewing and was taking some textile arts classes, so I decided to start there.

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After getting some recognition on social media and Etsy, my shop got very busy very fast. I was also taking some jewelry making classes and decided to start selling some of my jewelry designs too. People were very receptive to my jewelry designs, so I decided to focus more on those. I also learned that I liked the jewelry making process. Developing new designs is so much fun and then the everyday production can be so meditative and relaxing. This felt right and thankfully people felt the same. Here we are, 4,659 Etsy orders later and I’ve reached the point where I’m ready to have more ownership of my shop and business.

I went into it thinking I would hire someone to create my website, but in my classic DIY fashion, I decided I could go at it alone. Working with WordPress, Woocommerce and their numerous plugins, this semi-tech savy gal built this cool little space. I’m really happy with the result and proud to call it my own.

We welcome you to check out our Etsy shop! We were camped out there so long and it’s been such a crucial part of our business. See our sales, reviews, and get an all around idea of where we started and where we’ve been.

So excited to be here on this new platform and can’t wait to get acquainted with this new chapter in our business.