Jan 24, 2011

Member Spotlight: Bird in Hand

With a variety of different styles, from shabby chic, to industrial, to mid century modern, Bird in Hand is an Etsy shop offering home décor with a little clothing, upcycled, and supplies thrown in. We recently spoke with Laurie, who runs Bird in Hand.

Q. How did you come up with the name for your shop?

Well, the Geico commercial wasn’t out yet, but I’m always getting comments about it. I think most “Etsians” know me as “birdie1,” which was my off-the-top-of-my-head user name when I first became a customer on Etsy and before I opened my shop in spring of 2008. My shop name, Bird.in.Hand, comes from my love of birds, my pet bird Maisy, and Psalm 145. The message is “the time to buy vintage is when you see it!”

Vintage paper cutter

I love being able to offer high-quality vintage items and also show new and innovative ways to incorporate them into the way we live today. There’s nothing like original, authentic vintage accents to add personality and warmth to your surroundings. Bird.in.Hand strives to offer an ever-changing selection at reasonable prices so you don’t have to be afraid of taking a creative risk. It’s important to keep it fun.

Q. What is the very first vintage item that you remember buying for yourself? Do you still have it?

My first ever vintage purchase was a mail-order 1941 Mercury dime from The Littleton Coin Company when I was 11 years old. Up until that time, my coin collection consisted of found pocket change stuffed into too-small, coin-shaped slots in my Whitman cardboard folders. I regularly popped them out upon hearing the ice-cream truck approach our house.

Yes, I still have the dime and my childhood coin collection. Somehow, the old coins failed to thrill me as much as, say an old rusty farm funnel repurposed into a candlestick or an old clock factory wood drawer with cool hardware repurposed into a bookcase or shadowbox.

Vintage specimen desk organizer

Q. Tell us what you do in your day job, and how you balance that with your Etsy shop. What else do you do for fun?

In my previous career life I was a clinical dietitian at a Chicago hospital and then a sales rep for “the-age-of-getting-things-done” drug (rhymes with Niagara), among others. After I got laid off (blessing in disguise) I began substitute teaching in my local school district, working on Habitat houses and started Bird.in.Hand. Our income isn’t what it used to be, but I’ve adjusted to being content with less stuff (unless it’s vintage stuff).

Vintage alarm clock from Germany

When I’m not digging in dead people’s basements and shoveling Midwest snow, I’m a member of the Elgin Men’s Garden Club (they’re letting women in now) and enjoy distance cycling, wine, kayaking, bird watching—lately bald eagles on the river—and, did I mention, wine? I’m interested in almost anything related to science. I’d stay home to watch “Fringe” if the DVR broke and “24” if only it were still on. My husband is just like Jack Bauer only he’s thinner, less violent, and a science teacher. He enjoys most of the above activities unless anything sports-related is available.


TheFancyLamb said...

Great interview! I've always loved Laurie's shop and it's great to learn more about her!

Nachokitty said...

This is a great interview!! It made me chuckle. I'm off to look at Bird in Hand's shop now!

Bird-in-Hand, Laurie said...

Thanks so much! You make Esty such a nice place to be :) Thanks to Susan as well for the feature!