Trebird Skateboard Jewelry

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Photos by  Ryan Kell

Jewelry made out of a skateboard.

Sounds crazy, right?

Well, it definitely doesn’t sound crazy to Katie, owner of Trebird Skateboard Jewelry! I first became aware of Trebird a few years ago at a local artisan show, and from that point on I was completely hooked.  Her pieces are so unique and fun and add a little pop of color to any outfit, which is perfect for people like me who pretty much only wear black.

What I love so much about her jewelry is that you can really tell just how much time she spends on each one.  No two pieces are the same, and that adds an awesome variety to her brand that makes you want to keep collecting more and more.

I recently asked Katie a few questions about her business and life in Buffalo and found out that what started out as a broken skateboard slowly transformed into her passion.

In this shoot, I’m wearing the Skateboard Necklace, FRED Pendant, and Skateboard Earrings c/o Trebird. 

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When did you start your business?

Trebird started back in May of 2013. We’re actually coming up on our 5th anniversary!

Have you always known that jewelry design was something that you wanted to pursue?

I took a metalsmithing class back in college and I fell in love with it. After my course, I tried getting into it again but due to lack of resources I started branching out into different mediums. I worked with wire for a while and I hated everything I was making. I tried working with sewing thread, bead-working, recycled paper, you name it. It actually wasn’t until I worked with scrap paper that I realized I really like the idea of transforming something old into something new. Kyle (my boyfriend at the time, now husband) came home from the skate park one day with a broken skateboard. I saw all the colors in the board and I was so excited to tear it apart. Once I started cutting into it, I made my first pair of earrings. After that I started doing some research, got all the equipment I needed and set up my bench in the basement.

To go back to your question, I don’t think it’s something I’ve always known I wanted to do, but as I continue to make jewelry I find myself mildly obsessed with jewelry making of all forms. I’m currently trying to get back into metalsmithing again so there will hopefully be a new line from Trebird in the future.

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How did you come up with the name Trebird for your brand?

Trebird came from living on the corner of Tremont and Bird in Buffalo. We were all brainstorming for a name one day and my friend Ryan suggested Trebird. I’ve got a lot of Buffalove in my heart so I thought it was the perfect fit. All of my boards come from skaters that skate the Buffalo streets so I thought it’d be neat to name all of our pieces after Buffalo streets too. (Potomac Pendant, Hoyt Pendant Earrings, Tremont Necklace, etc.)

What’s funny is that combining the street names have kind of turned into an overall branding for most of what I do. Our shop, Fred Handmade Wares, was named pretty much the same way. Franklin + Edward = Fred. Ha.

What do you love about owning your own business?

I can honestly say, my absolutely favorite part is seeing people wear my jewelry. I still get a little goofy every time I see someone wearing a piece of mine. Even if I don’t know who they are, I usually run right up to them and say, “Hey! I made that! You look awesome!”

My customers are awesome and they really are amazing looking people in general. I’m not just saying that. Haha.

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What are the challenges that come with owning your own business?

There are so many challenges to owning your own business but I can definitely say it’s worth it. I’m on Etsy so keeping up with updating the shop is a monster of it’s own. It takes hours to get all the photos together, uploaded, tagged, etc.

It’s also difficult to find a lot of jewelry suppliers in the area. I try my hardest to make sure all of my hardware is sourced from local vendors. I’m lucky that Bead Gallery on Sheridan is so close, otherwise I’d have to search throughout Etsy for hours finding the right pieces.

It’s also difficult to stay up to date on style changes. I think my biggest hurdle was getting people to wear Trebird at first because they didn’t really understand the idea behind it. Now I have a solid customer base that loves repping Trebird and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw a lot of my inspiration from my own personal style, which can be good and bad. I’m a very neutral person and don’t have much “pizazz” to my outfits. I make a lot of jewelry based on if I would wear it. But the downfall to that is a lot of people may not like my style or what I would make based on that. Instead I’ll think of events that people could wear my jewelry to and I start to imagine the type of people that would go to those events. Concerts, a night on the town, to the beach, snowboarding, etc.

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What do you love most about Buffalo?

There’s so much to love about Buffalo it’s hard to narrow it down. I would have to say the food though. I’m a sucker for a good meal and a good drink. And there’s SO many amazing places around here. Essex St. Pub might be the one place my husband and I go a little too much. Their BBQ game is just so on point!

What’s currently on your playlist?

Oh man, it’s different every day! Lately I’ve been really into Tame Impala, Alabama Shakes, Shakey Graves, Real Estate, Mac Demarco, and a little Bruno Mars sprinkled into a mix on the daily.

What are your plans for the future of your business?

I feel like I’ll always keep making new pieces for Trebird but I’m really going to start getting into metalsmithing. Depending on how that goes, there could be mix of new pieces in the future!

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Oxford Pennant Spring Pop-Up

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Okay, so I have a confession to make.

I’m kind of, sorta, completely, utterly obsessed with Oxford Pennant.  Seriously, this past year, EVERYONE received Oxford pennants from me as gifts.  Best. Ever.

Last year, Oxford created a pop-up shop called The Victory Gardens in December.  I actually wrote a blog post about it which you can find HERE.

For those of you who were able to attend their Holiday pop-up, you remember how incredible it was, right?  Such amazing pieces that were perfect for anyone on your gift list.

But hold up.  Next weekend, Oxford is REOPENING THE VICTORY GARDENS! *cue the heavenly music*  Their Spring pop-up grand re-opening is Saturday, May 20th from 6-9:30pm, and will be running through July 3rd.  I have a little bit of insider intel, and from what I hear, the shop is going to look absolutely beautiful!

Hope to see you there!

Let’s Go On A Mural Tour!

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All photography by Ryan Kell

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know just how obsessed I am with public art.  So much so that I have an entire page on my blog dedicated to public art in Buffalo and I list the locations & artists so you can check them out for yourself.  This is an ongoing project that I’m updating regularly so keep stopping by for more!

Last weekend, I had planned to do an Instagram story and Snapchat takeover about local murals for Step Out Buffalo, and coincidentally, two of my favorite humans in the world, Billy & Pat, had asked if I was free the same day as they were filming a video all about Buffalo public art.  With our forces combined, plus the sick photography skills of Ryan Kell, we set out on a day full of art adventure.

Peep on some of these great photos of our fun-filled day of urban exploration.  Because I love you, I’ll post the locations of these pieces on top of the photos, just in case you would like to visit and take some bomb ass selfies (make sure to tag me in any of those selfies on Instagram!)

1221 Main Street, Buffalo

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710 Main Street, Buffalo
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461 Ellicott Street, Buffalo
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Nacho Break at Deep South Taco!
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515 Main Street, Buffalo (side of building)
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515 Main Street, Buffalo (back of building)
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233 Allen Street, Buffalo
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245 Allen Street, Buffalo (side of building)
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Albright Knox Art Gallery
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72 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo
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45 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo
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I had SO much fun with these guys.  Make sure to check out Billy & Pat’s video below to follow along with our adventure!!

Nickel City Gritty: We Must Dash

How amazing would it to be to be able to travel across the world with some incredible people and have everything taken care of for you from tours to accommodations to transportation?  The definition of worry-free travel.

Well thanks to Brandon & Stephanie Zarbo, this dream is now a reality.  The husband and wife team own their own active travel business called We Must Dash, and they are doing some incredible things.  Brandon & Stephanie take care of absolutely everything that you could think of, and make sure that you will have the time of your life.  All that you need to do is show up and have a blast.

I recently sat down with the duo, and we chatted about travel, music, and everything in between.

This is Nickel City Gritty, and this is Brandon & Stephanie of We Must Dash.

Travel photos c/o We Must Dash

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Tell me a little bit about how you started your business.

B:  We were taking our honeymoon and we wanted to spend a good amount of time in Southeast Asia, and I had been doing research about companies such as Contiki and Intrepid Travel, and I was completely dumbfounded at how many people were traveling to Thailand, and we had really fallen in love with the area. Ever since the first time I had been there, I was trying to get people to come with me, and then me and her (Stephanie) went, and we had done about five months in Southeast Asia, and that morphed into us saying, “We’re having our honeymoon, why don’t we just bring a bunch of people to Thailand with us?” I think at the peak we had about 24 people. It went really well, and everyone was raving about it. so we said, let’s just organize it and put the website up, and that’s that!

Describe your style of personality to me.

B:  I am a challenger.  I think that everyone wants to do things, they just need the motivation to do it, so I’m constantly the one to challenge you to do it. Do it, you are gonna enjoy it.  Sometimes people need that little bit of a push. I would say, like, my style is more of a friendly challenge. It’s just the little bit of motivation that you need. I’m super outgoing, really an extrovert. I want everyone to get along with each other and have fun, and this was another reason why this was kind of like, just fell into our laps, I think.  She is very analytical, and that’s not in a negative way, and I’m just jumping off the cliff like let’s do it and we’ll learn as we go.  So mine is leap first then ask questions later.

S:  I think we both are really strong in the mentality of creating fun.  Always trying to find a reason to have fun in any situation you’re in. I feel like it’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can jump a little more than I used to because I’ve had a lot of loss in my family and learning that, and realizing that at no point is anything going to get worse.  There’s been things in my life that have been the worst situations, and I’ve been able to always come back out of them with growth and a new perspective.  I’m a little bit less scared than I used to be.  The fact that we’re freelancers, never in my life could I imagine this. I would have wanted some kind of safety net to fall back on.  At the end of the day, learning through all of this and the craziness to come out on the other end and say, “We’ll figure it out.”  We’re resourceful and passionate about this and I’d much rather throw my passion into something than wait ten years and go, “What the hell did we do?”

B:  I think that’s why we work well together.  Not just in this business but our relationship has been really strong because I’ve always been the one to be like, well *laughs* I guess peer pressure is a bad word, but in a positive way.  That’s why I say I’m more of a motivator and she’s the one to always take people aside and talk to them, and that’s why I said analytical.  She always more of the friend that you can confide in.  This has kind of been a push with our brand, because we’ve seen other travel companies that are like “Washboard abs! Boobs and butts and look at the beautiful travel!” and we really just want to radiate those friends that you can always confide in no matter what.  We want you to feel ultimately comfortable.  If you ever want to travel, just ask us questions. We just want people to get out there and experience the world.  A smile is the best currency that you can have.

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What is on your playlist?  What do you both love to listen to?

S:  We just started a We Must Dash Spotify actually! We are tailoring it specifically to certain moments in travel.  I’m a big closet EDM fan…that’s pretty much all I listen to.

B:  Yeah, we listen to a lot of Trop House and stuff like that.

S:  That’s the island thing, because immediately for us it’s like we’re back in a villa.  Also, right now, Lord Huron, we could listen to them all day, they’re just great, and easy to listen to.  Not too distracting and great background music.

B:  I just listen to such a wide variety of music.  I’m such a fan of corny 80’s music, though. It’s what I listen to all the time, and she hates it!  I also like to make playlists for every situation I’m in.  So, like, when I’m having some drinks around the fire, I’ll have a mood for that.  When I’m trying to get amped up to go out, I have a mood for that. And then I have one that’s silly when I’m trying to make her laugh.

S:  So yeah, I could listen to EDM at any moment on any day at any circumstance.   And that’s totally a post-cheerleading thing. I would make the mixes for cheerleading and yeah it’s bad sometimes.  Sometimes I’m like, “This makes no sense why I’m listening to this and how it fits this moment.” but it just works.

What is your most memorable or favorite concert you’ve ever been to?

S:  Mine was Edgefest 2006, and we were both in high school, Taking Back Sunday was playing and Anberlin, and it was like my mecca of high school bands, I was so excited.  And he goes, “We’re gonna go backstage!” and I’m like, “Get the hell out of here, who is this dude?” And we ended up watching the show backstage! He literally just walked backstage and was like, “Oh I’m here with the crew.” And they were like, “Okay!”

B:  I had played in bands for a while and all throughout high school, so you just know. It’s just confidence.

S:  So I was thinking, like, what is the worst that could happen? They are going to send me out into the crowd? That’s not even that big of a deal! What did you like, jingle your keys and pretend there was a pass on it?

B:  Yeah, I just grabbed my keys and was like, “Oh here” *waves keys quickly* And I did it so fast so they couldn’t actually see anything.

S:  Yes, we’ve been to some great shows but this was definitely the most memorable.

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What were you guys like in high school?

B:  I was a complete spaz.  Just Dr. Detention all the time.

S:  I was a pretty good student! So I was a weird one, because I was an art student, and president of band, and I was also the cheerleading captain.  I could never specialize in something, because I always had my hands in a million different things. And nothing’s changed, because I’m just used to trying a little bit of everything and never excelling at one thing, just always being moderately okay at a lot of things.

If there was a movie about your life, what actor would play the role of you?

S:  I’m trying to think of the person who I most identify with…Ellie Kemper from the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt…I feel like she’d do a good job for me.

B:  Vince Vaughn.  I don’t talk as fast as he does, though.  He’s just somebody who I identify with because he started out by writing his own movie and then he made his own way into the movie world. And he’s a Libertarian too, which I identify with…the only Libertarian in Hollywood pretty much.

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What is your spirit animal?

B:  Bald Mothafuckin’ Eagle. *laughs*

S:  You would say that.  I’m starting to think that my dog is.  In a past life I would have said something like a fennec fox, and I don’t really have a reason for that other than I just like them…they’re adorable.

B:  I would say a lion, but that sounds to conceited, so we’ll go with a mountain lion and/or a cougar.  Because I don’t want to call myself a lion, because that’s like, “I’m a fuckin’ lion” and it’s so big headed. It would definitely be a big cat of some sort, because there’s a certain amount of viciousness to them but only when it’s warranted, but then there’s gracefulness to them.

S:  So I think I would probably say a butterfly. I’m fascinated by the caterpillar to butterfly transformation, the whole thing…like I have a butterfly garden and keep the caterpillars and let them go.  And I love the idea that science doesn’t even know  why they shift and how that whole process happens, but they are becoming something else.  And the migration for monarchs blows my mind too, that they just instinctively know.

B:  Just born to travel!

What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?

S:  Our five month trip was out of this world.

B:  Yeah, we did so much in five months.

S:  That was life changing.  I know that for a lot of people that type of experience is not just something that they can do.  But, I shouldn’t even say that.  They think that it’s not possible.  But there are a lot of scenarios that a lot of people could make it work.  That trip just changed our lives.  We lived out of backpacks for five months and the people we met, the experiences we had, we stayed with families and to see how they live on a day to day, it’s just so polar opposite of what we do and the things that we worry about. And after I was overwhelmed just walking into a grocery store.  People don’t have these options.  It really opened my eyes that we have way more control in our lives than we think we do and it really comes down to prioritizing what’s most important.

B:  I think mine was this past trip with everyone, because we were taking such a leap and trying to expose people to something so different.  The Honeymoon trip.  We had a lot of people who meant a lot to us.  I had one of my best friends in my entire life who’s had a lot of shit happen to him and he took a chance to go on this trip, and just seeing how he changed from the first day to the end of the trip.  That happened to a few people.  And it was something coupled with us taking such a chance on kickstarting this business, and using something like our honeymoon, it was very personal, it’s like your time as a couple to go out and do what you want to do, and for us to take a chance and invite all these people.  It could have gone so horribly wrong, or so we thought.  And I think it opened our eyes that this could really work.  We were ready.  This does change people and it really does make people reevaluate themselves.

Where is your happy place?  Where do you go where you need to get away from the craziness?

S:  In a hammock.  It doesn’t even matter where the hammock is.  A house is not a home without a hammock.

B:  I would say the property.  We have property down in the Southern Tier and I could be mowing the lawn and just hang out and watch the dog run around.  Just hanging out and cooking shit over the fire and watching the sunset.  Super duper happy place.

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What is your favorite restaurant in the city?

B:  Currently, I’d say Kaydara.

S:  We really love it there.  It’s pho and it’s Vietnamese fusion, so it’s a mix of a bunch of different stuff, so we always go there.  It’s definitely pretty close to what we had in Vietnam.

B:  I would say that’s my favorite place right now. Either that or a fuckin’ taco place like Don Tequila’s or Cantina.  But Kaydara is the number one for now.

My last question that I always ask, because it’s very important.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

B:  I just want to be somebody who motivates people to be who they want to be.  That’s it. As long as I can do that, I just want to be somebody who makes it easier for people to achieve what they want to achieve.

S:  When I actually had to think about it when somebody asked me that after college and stuff, when I was asked what would be my dream job, it was something so lofty like, “Open a summer camp.” I think the about the happiest that I’ve ever been, and not to say summer camp was the end all be all, but as a general statement, all of the different things and activities and the people you are meeting, I think summer camp is a totally underrated thing that now, kids find a million reasons not to do that. That was such a defining part of growing up and learning to appreciate those things and trying stuff that you would never be able to do at home.  So I think we’re on the path for me getting to be what I wanted to be when I grow up…a camp counselor! But just in a very exaggerated form.

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Thank you SO MUCH Brandon & Stephanie for taking time out of your crazy schedules to meet with me.  It was a blast talking with you and I’ll definitely have to take a trip with you soon!

Are you thinking of doing a bit of adventure traveling but don’t know where to start?  Check out We Must Dash and you could find yourself on a trip that will change your life.

Buffalo State Runway 10

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This is the BIG YEAR for Buffalo State’s Runway Fashion Show!  Ten years is a huge milestone, and they are pulling out all of the stops for this one.

This year’s show is going to be held in the Sports Arena, a gigantic leap from their “smaller” shows of the past, and I’m so excited to see the designs this year.  Each year, the students have to design around a specific theme.  This year’s theme is Remember/Imagine.  This theme empowers the fashion students, both current and past, to remember where they’ve been and imagine what the future of fashion holds.  If you are curious about last year’s show, you can check out my post about Runway 9 HERE.

This year the Buffalo Blogging Network is the official sponsor of the Press Pit, and I am so thrilled to be working with the Runway 10 team!  We will have a bunch of bloggers from our network in the audience covering the show, so make sure to check out social media for a peek at the amazing designs!

Tickets are still available on their website, so make sure to get yours today and join us for a night of fun and fashion!

Bubbles & Berries Boudoir

What’s the first thing you think about when I say boudoir photography? Scary? That’s what I used to think…until now. Like a lot of women, I used to be intimidated by boudoir photography.  Generally speaking, stripping down to your underwear in front of a stranger sounds crazy, but then the stranger starts taking photos of you? Yikes.

Boudoir photography has come a LONG way, and believe me, there is nothing to be terrified of.  Recently I met with Robyn of Bubbles & Berries Boudoir to do a little session of my own and it was an amazing experience!  We met at her photography studio and from the moment I met her, she made me feel so relaxed and excited to start our session.  Robyn likes to do things a little different with her clients in order to make them feel as comfortable as possible with the process, as well as really get a feel for their personalities so that she can make the most of their photo session.  She asks her clients a number of questions ranging from what music they listen to, to what they like the most about their bodies.  This way, Robyn creates a super personal connection with her clients and can make sure that they have the best experience possible.  Also, one of the things that I loved most is that she has multiple sets in her studio, so you can switch up the vibes for all of your different sides!

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I sat down with Robyn and her new photographer addition Tessa before my session to ask them a few questions about Bubbles & Berries and about boudoir photography in general and here’s what they had to say!

How long have you been shooting boudoir professionally?

I started in 2010, so this is my seventh year doing it! I started because I read an article about it and I had no idea what it was, I read it in a professional photography magazine. I was working weddings with my husband already so I was already shooting professionally for a while.  So as soon as I read the article I was like, oh my gosh, I need to do this! Like, I didn’t even know it was a thing! So I just started to do my research and see what was out there, and there was nothing around here yet.  It was all pretty much on the West Coast or New York City.

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What drew you to boudoir? 

What it was mostly, at least from the article that I had read, was the takeaway that the women get from the experience.  So I knew right off the bat that it wasn’t so much about taking pretty pictures for people, it’s what they take away after their shoot for themselves.  That’s what made me want to try it and do it and really find a way for women to embody their inner sexy.  I feel like so many people shy away from that and they feel like they could never do that kind of thing and I was like “Yeah you can!”  That’s really what drove me to start this business.

Do you find that you get mostly brides as clients?

I think there’s a shift in the business.  Originally most of my clients were doing it as a groom’s gift or a significant other gift, but then I don’t know if it had to do something with my style, but there was a shift.  The clientele base started to become either new moms or people who just wanted to rekindle things in their relationship or just try something new.  Or people became more body aware and more comfortable with themselves to embrace that.  But now, with bringing Tessa on board, I want to shift it back into doing more brides as well, because I feel like I kind of got away from that.  I feel like it’s an ever-growing thing.

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What do you love most about what you do?

I love getting to meet the client for the first time, seeing how nervous they are, and just knowing that it’s gonna all be okay!  On top of that, when they leave here, seeing the excitement on their face and knowing that they had a really great time.  Obviously I love the positive feedback, but I just love to see how it makes them feel.  They are really doing it for themselves, and I don’t think people really get that until they do it and have that experience. Once the first few clicks of the camera are off, maybe five minutes in, they completely forget where they are and they are just enjoying themselves.  I love the transformation.

What is one of your most memorable experiences as a photographer?

The first one that comes to mind is that two years ago I did a Mother’s Day giveaway. The woman who won it, her baby was 9 months old when she came in, and all of our email conversations were pretty much her telling me that I had my work cut out for me and all that stuff. She came in and she was very nervous and felt very uncomfortable at first, but then she got her hair and makeup done and started getting into the session and after I had emailed her to tell her what I great time I had with her, and her response was basically that she got home and she cried because she didn’t feel like a frumpy new mom.  She couldn’t believe the amazing time she just had, and she hadn’t even seen her pictures yet! That was probably one of the most memorable experience that I’ve ever had.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

There’s a lot of photographers that I follow.  I like the Boudoir Divas, and it’s funny, I feel like my life path is sort of going in the direction that they went in. They are kind of branching off and doing something different and changing, so I find it interesting that I’m also in the changing process. I admire their business ethics and they model themselves and business women first and photographers second, which is extremely important to run a successful business. Also, my husband, honestly, and I know that sounds cheesy! He taught me everything I know from the beginning, I was not a photographer, I was a graphic designer. As Onion Studio was its own business and I was a graphic designer, I was looking for new jobs and I was like “Can I just work for us and make that happen?” So we both went full on board working for ourselves and he really inspired me to get educated and push myself and keep my eyes open.  He’s my biggest photography inspiration, and he’s a really hard worker!

Tessa:  One of the things also, as your inspiration, are your clients themselves. I think that’s an important part about what differentiates her boudoir business from others.  Getting to know the clients. So beforehand there’s a questionnaire, talking about style, music, what are your outfits going to be…kind of a dialogue to understand her client first, and then from there she adjusts the session to fit them.  It’s really unique, and a lot of inspiration comes from that. It’s a teamwork thing!

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What do you love most about living and having your business in Buffalo?

So I grew up in Akron, and my family was kind of timid into venturing out into the city. We really didn’t do much of that, so once I went to college and got a job out this way and started to explore, I was like “Why are they so worried about everything?” Now Buffalo is on the upswing of creativity and art and acceptance, it’s a really accepting place to live. I think that’s a major part of why I love this, especially with a business such as boudoir.  Also, the tight knit creative community that we have here. Even among photographers.

Tessa: Very friendly competition and wanting to bring everyone up instead of trying to stomp on someone or undercut them. Let’s make more business for everyone and help everybody out!

Do you have a favorite local bar or restaurant?

I like small local restaurants.  Mangia in Orchard Park has a good variety and a nice atmosphere and is family friendly.  I like any atmosphere that’s cool and relaxed. We aren’t really up to speed on the bar scene yet.  We are too focused on the business, I think.

What is currently on your playlist?

I like Portishead, also Bishop Briggs.  Beats Antique, one of their creators is a dancer, and she caters the music to dancers.  Since I’m a dancer I really appreciate this.  I’ve taken workshops with her and to see her journey and the process of everything is really cool.

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What are your plans for the future of your business?

A lot of growth! Bringing Tessa on this year has been huge. I’ve always been the one to hold myself accountable, and now I have someone else to help with that and to share and bounce off ideas and just have another person to have vision with. We also want to hit the bride scene hard this year and offer awesome opportunities for brides.  And also we want to launch couples shoots. I always want to learn and grow and offer new things to people. Also, we would like to have some events, possibly an open house or a bridal event.  We are offering hair and makeup as add-ons to photo shoots as well.  Lots of fun things!

What advice would you give to a woman who really wants to do pictures but is nervous about the process?

I would first ask why they want to do the pictures, because having the insight into the thought process of why they want the pictures is important. Are they doing it for someone else or are they doing it also because it’s pushing them out of their comfort zone? I would say that there’s really no reason not to do it! It’s a lot of fun and since we offer the opportunity for people to make it what they want, it’s not scary or intimidating. If they did want to do lingerie but they are nervous about it there are so many options out there for lingerie! We really try to get to know people first to make them comfortable.

Tessa: We always tell people to not underestimate themselves. We remind women of how beautiful they are and tell them that we are going to focus on something that they really like. So maybe they have a new bra that they brought that they really like.  We want them to be excited about the things that they are comfortable with.  We allow them to be themselves but also push them in a creative way, but only to the limit that they would choose.

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Thank you so much Robyn and Tessa for an amazing experience! I’m completely in love with these photos and you are both the sweetest! If you are looking for a local boudoir photographer, make sure to contact Robyn ASAP!

Once And For All Clothing

I started getting really interested in fashion four years ago when I started my blog and I bought into the trend-salad…I wanted EVERYTHING trendy and I wanted to wear all of it at once.  I look back on some of the photos and cringe because it sometimes looked like I was wearing a costume.  Now that I’m a little bit older and my style has evolved, I’m gravitating towards classic and well-made pieces.  Basic pieces that are elevated and expertly crafted.

I’ve been following Molly and her clothing brand Once And For All for a while now.  She’s a local designer who crafts stunning pieces that aren’t trendy, but completely classic and will last a lifetime.  Molly recently sent me the Nya II blouse and oh my god, can I just tell you how beautiful this top is!  I had to do this beautiful piece justice, and something about it totally inspired me to do an artistic photo shoot.  I collaborated with two of my best friends- Ryan Kell with his photography and Chuck Tingley with his artwork as the backdrop, and I think this turned out to be one of my favorite shoots to date!

I asked Molly a few questions about her business and her inspiration, and here’s what she had to say!

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When did you start your business?

I started by hand making and re-purposing vintage garments in 2011 under the name Once Vintage. I sold on consignment at local boutiques, at local markets and on Etsy. I switched gears and launched into manufactured wholesale product under the name Once And For All in 2014.

Have you always known that fashion design was something that you wanted to pursue?

I had always loved fashion since I was a kid but I did not think that it would not be the right fit for me as a person. I was more interested in art and business. My degrees are in Marketing and Graphic Design and I am an oil painter. I fully switched gears into fashion while I was working in the advertising field in New York where I fell in love with the fashion scene. In retrospect I had always had a preconceived notion that fashion was just fluff, but I came to realize that it really was art. I think that was the reason I opened up to the industry.

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How did you come up with the name Once And For All for your brand?

I was just looking for a segway name from Once Vintage, my previous business, that felt somehow related. I wasn’t sure where the businesses were going to go, or if I was going to keep doing both, so I wanted something to keep them together. I thought about using Once since it was the only word usable for the new concept and I thought about the phrase “Once And For All”. The name easily lent itself to a lifestyle brand, it sounded sure of itself, and it felt inclusive all of which fit my requirements. I then thought further about the connotations of the term “Once And For All” such as; an ending, a definitive decision, completion or something of conclusive in nature. This led me to think of the philosopher Seneca’s quote: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”. I am a Christian and my faith is very important to me, so it felt like there was an expression of my faith in that concept.

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What do you love about owning your own business?

I love the involvement in so many different areas. I am of a decidedly dual nature mixing the creative and business, so its vey fulfilling to utilize both sides. My day-to-day activities are varied and include: research and development, design, technical design, sourcing, fabric testing, pattern making, manufacturing, quality control, photo direction, creative direction, sales, graphic design, web design, e-commerce, marketing, social media, PR, accounting, customer service, and all of the organizational and administrative stuff I have to do daily. The design aspect is my favorite, but I often think that if I was only a designer I couldn’t do all these things I love to do and I would miss them.

What are the challenges that come with owning your own business?

Well, its really hard sometimes. It can be isolating, you can get down on yourself, and you can get in your own head a lot. Plus the self discipline of time management, creating and maintaining your timelines, and pushing yourself to grow can be really hard. I have to work really hard at staying balanced through self care and a positive mental attitude.

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Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I concept in depth each season like a sociologist on my subject matter. The inspiration is different each time and comes about organically through my current exposure to art, history, music, geography, current events. Wherever I am feeling inspired or compelled, I follow. I exhaustively research, write and pull photo references as I sketch my ideas. After I let myself be immersed in my concept, I source my fabrics and do my tech drawings and this is when start to edit down the big ideas to whats manufacturable and sellable.

What do you love most about Buffalo?

Truly, my family. Also the ability to go into the country or be on the water in various directions in 20 minutes.

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What’s currently on your playlist?

I am listening to my vinyl collection a lot at the moment, my next collection is very 70’s inspired so my listening habits are heavy on the singer songwriter babes of the 70’s.
Joni Mitchell – Blue
Carol King – Tapestry
Bonnie Raitt – Bonnie Raitt

What are your plans for the future of your business?

Currently I’m working on expanding my wholesale sales and e-commerce. I would like to make larger collections on a larger scale of production. Future expansions could possibly include a manufacturing facility or a retail location.

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Thank you so much, Molly, for answering my questions and this beautiful top! Make sure to check out her website Once And For All for more incredible designs!