from San Antonio Current 5/6/2009
Fiesta meant a particularly successful week for a new Southtown boutique, B.Link, open on South St. Mary’s across from El Mirador since December. The Fiesta focus on neighborhood events like Beethoven Gartenfest and King William Fair meant strong sales and new customers for Brandy Garcia, B.Link’s owner. A new customer myself, I checked in on the creative entrepreneur to see how it all began.
This is Garcia’s first retail venture, but she has been working with her hands as a crafter for the past decade. After high school, she says, “I saw a guy making hemp jewelry on the Santa Monica pier, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’”
Working at Nomadic Notions in Austin for three years allowed Garcia to learn jewelry-making techniques and appreciate a creative environment.
“In college I was an engineering major,” she says, “but rather than studying, I was usually making a necklace, or trying to make a new book bag.” She gravitated toward art history and architecture classes, but Garcia’s math skills were not forgotten. “I like symmetry. Even when I am trying for something random, I’ll make a pattern.”
B.Link features jewelry lines by Garcia and friend Rosie Guerra. Garcia describes her style as minimalist, and the simple lines of her pieces speak for themselves. Garcia works primarily in sterling silver and 14k gold, semi-precious stones, and pearls. Even so, the bracelets and necklaces especially are bold and colorful, reflecting the inspiration she finds in nightclubs and at parties. “I always look at what people are wearing!” she laughs.
In addition to jewelry, the shop is devoted to locally made, quality handcrafted items ranging from clothing and accessories to home décor and fine art. She sources local artists through friends and family, paying attention to neighbors at Blue Star and other galleries. B.Link carries everything from decadent organza and silk saris by Sharon Williams to photography by Marciela Mendez, a cinematography student just accepted to film school in Los Angeles.
“Since everything is handmade locally, everything is essentially linked together, to one another,” Garcia explains. Add her first initial to “link” and a new brand was born.
Perhaps not close geographically, another major artist featured in the shop is Garcia’s sister, a graphic designer in San Francisco who suggested the shop’s name and designed the shop’s logo, exquisite item tags, handmade books, and some photos and letterpress work. Family is a big influence for Garcia — her father picked out the shop’s location.
Garcia’s other passion is environmental awareness. The vintage bike she uses to run errands is parked in the front window, and the furniture and fixtures in the shop are recycled, vintage, or made in an environmentally responsible manner.
“By carrying locally made items, I’m not aiding in the extra use of petroleum gas for shipping and at the same time, supporting my local economy,” she says.
Garcia used low Voltalie Organic Compound paint and natural homemade cleaning products in the boutique, and even the silver she uses in her jewelry is recycled. It’s made from something called precious-metal clay — silver shards, reclaimed from everything from cars to computers, embedded in clay. When fired, the clay dissolves and leaves solid silver behind.
Garcia also knits and designs clothing and handbags, something she’s hoping to do more of in the future. She prefers to recycle fabric from old garments, transforming it into something completely new. Not surprisingly, her style is inspired by the early ’60s mod movement: A-lines, big, bold graphics, and neutral colors. She names Betsy Johnson and Heatherette as her favorite modern designers. Garcia also maintains an etsy shop and is a member of the fledgling Alamo etsy Street Team.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering: Is it pronounced blink? or B-link? “I like them both,” Garcia laughs. How accommodating!
Mother of pearl and leather bracelet by Brandy Garcia: $14
La Boca del Infierno letterpress: $30
Blue print pashmina: $29
Where to get it
707 S. St. Mary’s
707 S. St. Mary’s