In collaboration with FELIZ, we’re highlighting five of the designers who will be showcasing their wares at the biannual pop up market happening on December 9th. Get to know the makers and their journey with entrepreneurship before visiting them at the sale in December!
For the next interview in our series, we chatted with Alexia Brown, founder of Byron & Blue.
Using her background in social media and experience with makers markets, Alexia launched Byron & Blue where she thoughtfully curates wares like ethically sourced pillows, blankets, and other home goods from around the world.
As the curators of FELIZ tell us, “Alexia’s Mexican blankets are ideal to keep in your car for impromptu picnics or swim breaks and her new porcelain goods are something we haven’t seen yet in our ceramicists. Sherbet-colored and glazed on the interior with a matte finish. Somehow childlike and minimal.”
Below, she shares a little about her background, why she opened her own business, and where she finds inspiration.
Tell us about your background. What were you doing before Byron & Blue, and what led you to start the business?
Back in Chicago, I was the social media manager for a small company and was organizing and planning makers’ markets.
When I moved to Austin in 2013, I realized that I wanted to start my own business. I knew I wanted to create a space to showcase and promote artists and makers and Ioved the idea of an event space and retail shop focused on home goods. Byron & Blue was a brick-and-mortar from 2014 until the fall of 2017 when it transitioned to an online shop.
What has been the most unexpected part about owning a business?
When you’re your own boss, it’s easy to second guess yourself. I’m always wondering if I’m going in the best direction for my business or what I can be doing differently.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different. I’ve been trying to start the day with a run or a walk around the neighborhood with my dog. Sometimes I’ll spend the day packing orders, taking photos of product, editing photos and listing products on the website.
Other days, I’ll be ordering and researching items, answering emails and planning for upcoming pop-ups. In addition to Byron & Blue, I do social media for a few other small businesses, so I’ll spend time focusing on that. And the day (hopefully) ends making dinner with my partner and snuggling the dog.
As a shop owner and curator, where do you go for inspiration? What fuels your creativity?
I try to meet up with other creative women as much as I can. I think the best ideas come from talking with others. I have a few ladies that I meet up with and I always walk away feeling motivated and inspired. And of course, scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest always sparks ideas.
How do you think markets like FELIZ play a role in the small business community?
Markets can be invaluable to small businesses. It can be difficult to be seen in a sea of other creatives, but markets like FELIZ create a space that allows artists to showcase their work and meet their customers and other artists.
And I think what FELIZ does is something very special. FELIZ has always been an experience. I never go to just shop; I hang out, have a drink, chat with vendors, run into 20 people I know and end up spending the whole afternoon there. Putting on a market where people will spend the better part of their day, requires so much work and they always seem to create the kind of environment that appeals to so many people.
Is there anything you’re currently reading or listening to that’s been an inspiration for you or your business?
I often refer to the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. It has taught me to be more open and curious, to be less judgmental of myself and others, and to see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. I began to view my business and myself in a different way after reading the book and I can’t recommend it enough.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to start a creative business?
Find people who are doing what you want to do and ask them a million questions. Be open to honest feedback, and then just start.
Images by Andrew Genitempo (1, 3) and Leah Muse Photography (2, 4, 5)