Sometimes you just have to go for it.
“As a regular patron at local art festivals and exhibits on the weekends, I thought it would be fun to have my own booth,” Rachel Brand said.
I applied for one at a local fall festival so I made enough pieces to sell, mostly from antiques and knickknacks that I had hoarded over the years. After a surprisingly successful event, I quickly expanded my line by creating an Etsy site, applying to other festivals and contacting boutiques to sell my wears.”
It was this spark of spontaneity that launched the Byrdie jewelry line. In retrospect, Brand seemed to be prepping all her life to start a business that combined her interest in naturalism and in collecting. As a little girl, the Byrdie designer would catch insects and use them to create elaborate wall displays. Also, you could find her in the attic sorting through her grandmother’s costume jewelry. Not much has changed as Brand is always on the hunt for natural and tossed objects that she can transform into art.
“I’m always gathering beads, stones, feathers, leather scraps, charms and antique finds,” Brand said. I usually don’t know exactly how I’ll use them until I experiment with ways to incorporate them in my work. I also keep a sketchbook of my raw jewelry designs. I’ve been known to resort to napkins, tissues, anything I can get my hands on if an idea comes to me when I don’t have my book.”
The Bohemian inspired designer has a home studio set-up. But, she much prefers working on the her dining room table.
“Nature and fashion are my muses,” Brand said. I have oodles of homemade boards and binders, filled with clippings from books and magazines of things that make me tick. The latest clippings include an old yellow Mini Cooper, a white-painted brick wall and a speckled hen feathers. I also just love making pieces that I can wear with almost any outfit.”
Beyond jewelry production, Brand is constantly working on tons of administrative work, including art show applications, order fulfillment and packaging, social media upkeep, inventory maintenance and accounting. You can find her at an art festival every weekend, especially from spring through the end of the year.There is no doubt that Brand has an adornment for working with salvaged finds. She allows her upcylced findings to shine by pairing them with simple charms.
“I was placing an order at a coffee shop in Hampden,” Brand said. shortly after, I started my line when I noticed that the barista was wearing one of my necklaces. I didn’t say anything but was absolutely tickled to see my work on someone else. Selling it to someone is one thing, but to see it on someone who’s out and about is a special feeling.”
The jewelry designer has piles of vintage photos and advertisement prints that she can’t wait to transform into rings as well as pendants. With every new creation, Brand never distracts from the essence of the upcycled objects themselves. Hence, the magic of Byrdie Jewelry.