From time to time we like to bring you profiles of people in the Twin Cities who are doing unique things. Bird Industries is a company that we recently came across on the internet and learned that they make their specialty products (including cycling utility belts and garters) right here in Minneapolis.
We sat down with Amanda the creative and labor force behind Bird Industries for a quick interview.
CTC: Where in the Twin Cities are you located?
Amanda: Ideas and production started at the dining room table in my S. Mpls apartment. I work on my grandmother’s 1940s antique Singer sewing machine. A year and a half ago, I was lucky enough to find a great house in N. Mpls, and now I have a “workroom” dedicated to creating Bird Industries’ products.
CTC: Does Bird Industries keep you working full-time or do you have another job to supplement?
Amanda: I work full time in the graphic design department of an art museum. I would love to design and produce bike gear and accessories as a full-time job. But for now, I’ll enjoy doing it as my second shift.
CTC: All of your products are quite unique, where did you get the idea for each of them?
Amanda: Each product I’ve made so far has been born out of a need/want I’ve had. I had one skirt especially that drove me crazy when it flew up while I was riding. I figured there had to be an easier way to deal with it than riding one-handed – the skirt garter was born. In the development phase of each new product I make, I first use it for a while, make tweaks, give them out for friends to use, get feedback, make tweaks, and so on. I try to improve things and love feedback and ideas for new products from other riders. Right now I sell skirt garters, hooded scarves, and utility belts. I have shrugs and waistbands in the “development” phase.
CTC: Which of them would you say is your top seller?
Amanda: Skirt garters. They’re unique, easy to have on hand, inexpensive, and great as little gifts.
CTC: Is there anyplace in the Twin Cities where are readers could go to see your product?
Amanda: The Wedge Co-op’s Health and Body Section, the Museum Shop at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the gift shop I Like You in NE Minneapolis. I just started shopping things around to some bike shops in town. Feel free to request Bird Industries products at your local shop! Of course you can always find me on my Etsy shop at birdindustries.etsy.com or on Pedalr.com. I like to deliver my Etsy or Pedalr orders to the post office by bike too.
CTC: Who do you envision using one of your products?
Amanda: I’m a commuter, so that’s who I originally envisioned using my products. I think they’d be great for whoever wants to ride their bike somewhere without looking like they just stepped out of a time trial.
CTC: Do you have a favorite Twin Cities Cycling event?
Amanda: The Bike Film Festival has been my favorite for years. I know it’s not an exclusively Twin Cities thing, but I think we make its Minneapolis stop uniquely Minnesotan with the great events that happen surrounding it.
Amanda: The Twin Cities cycling scene is great because you see all different kinds of people enjoying bikes. You have those riding the Greenway on the weekend with the kids; racers training; messengers; farmer’s market goers; year-round commuters; and people riding SS, fixed, vintage cruisers, top-of-the-line carbon frame multi-speeds, garage sale bikes, tricked out neon, basic black, and combos of all of the above. Anyone who wants to ride is a part of this “scene.” No membership card required!
Thanks Amanda, no membership card required, we like that.