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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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!

Photographer Spotlight: Colin Gordon

A few weeks ago, I talked about my love of photography.  Recently, I’ve been very blessed to work with some extremely talented local photographers.  Instead of just compiling some of the photos in a random blog post, I wanted to really showcase these amazing camera magicians.

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The first photographer that I’m going to feature is Colin Gordon.  I’ve known Colin for a few months now, and he is such a genuinely nice person who has a true passion for his craft.  I shot with him a couple weeks ago on an extremely cold and windy day in Allentown, and although the weather conditions were a little rough, the photos turned out phenomenal!

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I asked Colin a few questions about his business and life in Buffalo…here’s what he had to say!

How long have you been a professional photographer?
I have been a professional photographer for about a year and a half.

What do you love most about photography?
There are so many things I love about photography that it’s hard to narrow down to just one! First and foremost, I love to create. Secondly, I love technology and computers. Being a photographer lets me justify buying new gadgets haha. Thirdly, making people happy with the images I create is an amazing experience. Not only am I doing what I love, I get to create something special for someone that can never be recreated and that will last forever. It’s honestly pretty surreal sometimes. Also, I love that photography forces me out of my comfort zone. It makes me explore new places and meet new people.

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Do you have a favorite location where you like to shoot?
My favorite location is the spot where I have yet to shoot! But on the realz Italy was amazing…

What’s your most memorable experience as a photographer?
There have been countless memorable experiences as a photographer. In the past year, I would have to say shooting the Shakey Graves concert at Canalside was a highlight. They’re one of my favorite bands and to be able to combine live music and photography is amazing. Two of my favorite things at once!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
There are many sources that I draw my inspiration from: local and national photographers, tv shows, and my friends and family.

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What do you love most about living and working in Buffalo?
I love living and working in Buffalo because you can feel the energy and excitement of the next generation of businesses and entrepreneurs. All I remember hearing when I was growing up was how terrible things are in Buffalo. Now, things are finally starting to turn around and it’s cool to watch it happen. It gives me hope for the future.

Favorite local restaurant and/or bar?
Too hard to pick only one haha. Here’s my top 5: Saigon Cafe, La Divina, Black Sheep, Mothers, and LLoyd (trucks and factory).

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Are there any locations in Buffalo where you would love to shoot but haven’t yet?
Yes! I want to shoot on top of one of the grain elevators. I’ve explored so many of them but have yet to get to the roof. I’ve seen other local photogs do it so there must be a way!

What’s on your playlist- what do you listen to while you are editing photos?
My taste in music is all over the place. I love house and techno but I also listen to a smorgasbord of bands. My most recently played bands on Spotify are: The Decemberists, The Head and the Heart, Odesza, Pinegrove, Ugly Casanova, Modest Mouse, Shakey Graves, Alt-j, and Vampire Weekend.


Thank you SO MUCH Colin for shooting with me!  I had a blast!!  Make sure to follow Colin on Instagram for your daily dose of gorgeous photography inspiration.

Nickel City Gritty: Hertel Avenue

By now, you’ve (hopefully!) read two of the interviews in my Nickel City Gritty series…if not, go ahead and click the link, I’ll give you some time.

Now that you have made yourself familiar with this project that is near and dear to my heart, let me present to you the very first Nickel City Gritty video!

This video was made possible by the incredible duo Brandon & Josh at Buffalo Above. I’ve been working with these guys for a few months now and from our first meeting I knew that we had something special. After hashing out a few ideas on where to take this series, we quickly decided to focus on the one thing that inspires me every day- Buffalo. This city, its neighborhoods and its people are a HUGE inspiration to me, so why not showcase it?

For the first video, I wanted to talk about my neighborhood- Hertel Avenue. I have never felt more at home than where I am now. In this video, I talk about why I love Hertel so much, I touch on my personal style, and you’ll see some gorgeous shots of the street and its businesses.

Big props to my husband for being a good sport and agreeing to be part of this project. He’s an avid cyclist who also has a passion for Buffalo and its culture, so it was only fitting that he would be the first subject. Also, I know that it was difficult for him to describe his personal style, but everyone has a style identity, even if you’ve never thought about it!

The team at Buffalo Above and I have a few more projects in the works, so stay tuned!  Where will Nickel City Gritty be showing up next?

Let’s Talk About Photo Shoots

All of the photos in this post were shot by the amazing Ryan Kell.  Dress is from Nasty Gal.

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Photo shoots are an interesting thing.  Sure, they seem simple at first.  You have the person taking the photo and the subject, but then all of these added factors come into play- equipment, lighting, weather, background, photographer’s skills, etc.  So what initially seems like a simple thing turns into something much more complicated.

Running a blog has made me appreciate photography so much more.  Sure, I still use my iPhone for quick shots, but there’s nothing like an incredibly crisp and detailed photo to really brighten up a post and give it life.

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I remember my first “big” photo shoot for my senior pictures.  I was SO excited to wear different outfits and do my makeup and hair all fancy.  My favorite outfit of the bunch was a one-shoulder leopard print top with a pair of sassy black pants and I stood in front of this faux brick wall backdrop in the photo studio.  I thought I looked SO badass and I was so proud of those photos.  I was like, “Oh my god, this is what it must feel like to be a celebrity!”

From that moment on, I was hooked.  The thing is, I wasn’t hooked on the sole idea of having photos of myself taken…don’t get me wrong, having some professional shots of yourself is a pretty cool thing, but I was actually hooked on the process itself- picking out the outfits, deciding on what types of photos I wanted to get, thinking about what the final images will look like, doing my hair and makeup, working on posing in the bathroom mirror…all of that is SO much fun to me.

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My second shoot after that was when I turned 18. My mother always told me, “You’ll never be as beautiful as you are when you are 18 years old.” Which, while I may have believed her then (I thought I was so bomb), I will have to respectfully disagree with her now. Thanks to a lot of practice with contour and highlighting and growing out my sperm eyebrows, I think I’ve blossomed from ugly duckling to swan over the course of 15 years (and wow, I’m old.)

This coming-of-age photo shoot was SO extra, and I’m laughing just thinking about it. It was in the same photo studio as my senior portraits, but this time, they had me laying on this cloud-like thing next to a white column, with a strapless bra on so it looked like I was topless, with angel wings on and a feather boa, and I was actually holding a real live dove. Yes, angel wings and a bird. I can’t make this up. I need to find these photos.

The main thing is that I was SO happy! Again, the process of having my photo taken was so exciting…but I’m not going to lie, I think the wings definitely helped.

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Flash forward to post-angel wings Lindsay and my photo shoot history is much more diverse. I’ve been so fortunate to work with some incredible photographers in my blogging career thus far. I know that a lot of bloggers, especially fashion bloggers, shoot with one photographer and one photographer only. Where’s the fun in that? There are SO many different styles of photography, so why not play around with exploring this amazing art form?

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So, back to my original point…wait, what was my original point?

Ah, yes. My point is that if you have an opportunity to work with a photographer, or just want to hire a photographer to take non-selfie shots of you, then DO IT!  It’s an amazing experience and you’ll get to practice your Tyra Banks smizing poses in the mirror at home.  Seriously though, I’ve found that no matter how many times I’ve practiced a pose or a facial expression, it NEVER turns out the way that I imagined it.  I’ve noticed that the most amazing photos happen when they aren’t rehearsed or too thought out.  Have fun and love the process.

And remember, if you’re feeling up to it, there’s always angel wings.

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A super huge thank you to my friend Ryan Kell for taking these photos.  You are awesome!  Seriously, people, contact him if you need photos taken or design work done.  He’s legit.

Personal Style: Bodysuit Love

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I think the last time I wore a bodysuit I was about 5 years old in dance class.  I’m pretty sure it was an obnoxious bright red and covered in sequins.

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Now days, bodysuits are much more fashionable than the spandex nightmares of my childhood.  I was a little bit nervous with the deep V on this bad boy, but a little bit of fashion tape and it stayed in place all night.  I think this has marked the start of my love of the modern bodysuit.  This one is from Express.

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Curious about this awesome brick walled hallway?  A few of my friends threw a studio party at their art studio downtown this past weekend.  I luckily remembered to snap a few photos that night…their new space looks amazing!

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Personal Style: Casual Lace

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I’m normally not into lace…it’s just to stuffy and fussy for me.  But lace cutouts mixed with a comfy sweatshirt?  Now we are talking.

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I found this awesome sweatshirt recently at JC Penney, and initially on the hanger it didn’t look like much, but I completely fell in love with it when I tried it on!  Funny how that works sometimes.  Also funny how I look totally normal in these photos but in reality my teeth were chattering because it was SO COLD outside.  The things we do for a good photo!

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On a more colorful note, this beautiful background is brought to you by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  This piece is located behind the gallery and it one of my favorite pieces on the grounds.  Liam Gillick’s “Stacked Revision Structure” is a twelve-foot cube fabricated from powder-coated aluminum that was created specifically for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

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I know pretty much all of the pieces on my Buffalo Public Art page are murals, but I’ll be adding this beauty for my fellow art-lovers!