Interview by The DIME Store, Photos by Infinite Blue Bird
If you’ve been in the DIME Store this month, odds are you might have spent a long time lingering at the featured artist table, admiring the eclectic jewelry collection from the giggly gals at Infinite Blue Bird. Wooden findings, leather bits, and vintage gems come together in new and exciting ways when “the Birds” get their hands on 'em. Read on to learn why they work great together and why they’re “the Birds” in the first place.
First of all, what’s the story behind the name “Infinite Blue Bird”?
Allison started an Etsy shop after her wedding to sell some of her vintage blue glass and miscellaneous wedding items; hence the “blue”. She also has a blog called Infinite Sunshine and thought she would continue the name in case they ever went hand in hand. So there is the “infinite”. As far as the bird, anyone who knows Allison knows she has a things for birds - cue the Portlandia video “Put a Bird on it”. Once Allison and Marilyn started making jewelry, they thought they would just utilize the already established shop to sell their jewelry. It has turned out to be a unique name that we are definitely both associated with now. Besides, it gives good reason to make bird calls to your friends without being viewed as crazy….right?
What got you interested in the DIY scene?
We both have a degree in Interior Design from UNT and enjoy creating outside of Infinite Blue Bird. We are always in ‘design’ mode. We are constantly DIY’ing items in our homes, making gifts for friends or artwork for each other. We both have that creative OCD gene, so it works well!
How did you get into jewelry making?
We definitely like to wear pretty things, and one day we talked to each other about some pieces we saw online that were inspiring us. Sadly, neither of us are millionaires so we thought we could create our own unique (and affordable) pieces to wear. Allison wore one of our originals to work one day and had several compliments and an offer to buy the necklace off her body! That’s when we knew we were creating things that not only the two of us loved. That was definitely the spark that got us amped up to create more and open up a shop.
How did you two decide to do business together?
We have been friends for eight years and met while working at UNT as students. Through working together we found we had scarily similar personalities and interests. We have a tendency to say the same things at the same time and we find it’s always a good idea to call each other before a night out to make sure we don’t match, which usually never fails! Along with that, we are both always honest with each other and knew that a business partnership would be successful.
What does each of you bring to the table?
We have names for each other when it comes to certain tasks relating to business. Marilyn is cordially known as PR! She is great at communicating with clients, purchasers, and anyone else interested in our business. Allison is happily known as Techie. She works on managing the money and websites, while handling the marketing as well. As far as the designs, ideas, and creation of the product, we work side by side; equally coming up with new design ideas and getting cramps in our hands from cutting and assembling.
You both work 9 - 5 day jobs outside of your successful creative business. How do you balance it?
It is definitely a challenge to balance our full time jobs, have time to run Infinite Blue Bird on the side, and a social life. We like having the creative outlet, so it isn’t too hard to want to sit down and create. We accomplish most of our creating on the weekends or in the evenings in the studio at Allison’s house. We are usually hanging out together anyway, so it’s a nice way to socialize and be profitable! Two infinite blue birds, one stone! Ha ha ha.
How did you become involved with DIME?
We first encountered DIME while applying to be a part of the Summer Bazaar show in 2012. We were accepted and since then have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the ladies of DIME. We always look forward to working with them and are so proud to be a part of such a great organization. Denton needed a creative group like this, and the response around town has been ecstatic.
If you’re not hanging out up at the DIME Store, what are you favorite places to be around town?
We frequent Oak Street Draft House; it doesn’t get much better than a beer in their beer garden. Prost! We enjoy seeing live music at venues like Banter and Abbey Underground. Indulging in sushi at Uncommon Grounds is on the list too! And yes, we generally do these things together.
Aside from the DIME Store, where can we purchase your work?
You can shop our stuff on Etsy of course. We also have things available at a cute bakery called Crickles & Co. on the south side of town and for any Oklahoma travelers; we have items available in a store called Made: the Indie Emporium Shop in Tulsa.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Etsy sellers?
It’s definitely important to be flexible in working with your customers. Sometimes they have a slightly different vision for one of your products and as long as your shop is capable of the alteration, we think it’s important to try to fit the request. It may sometimes require a bit more time and brain power, but in the end it’s always worth it. Also, keep in mind what sells in your shop and what doesn’t when creating. Just because you are in love with a design doesn’t mean it will be beneficial to your business if it’s not selling. Use that as a reason to further develop other designs and concepts to keep your product fresh.
The DIME Store is a shop and artist collective in downtown Denton, featuring art, craft, and vintage from 40+ local makers. Rachel Aughtry and Shelley Christner act as the "curators and purveyors" of the shop. When they're not at DIME, you'll find them behind their sewing machines or enjoying a margarita at Greenhouse.