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Annie Austen reinvents herself as a KC jeweler without tarnishing her mark of influence

To remodel it 2020 “blas et sentiments ”, social media lifestyle influencer Annie austen picked up a pair of pliers. she had collected jewelry making kits for years – but never committed to putting together the jump rings, clasps, charms and other parts.

Annie Austen and her brother, Matthew Callicotte

A Etsy shop launched with her younger brother, Matthew, changed everything, as the two began to channel their creative energy into making and selling stylish chains to attach to face masks.

“Making little chains of masks was such a cute way to feel a little more like me during a very strange time,” Austen said of the origins behind Annie Austen Shop, a dull, hypoallergenic jewelry and accessories company.

Austen built her background in social media and influencer marketing through personal blogging and freelance projects – first a side activity after graduating from the University of Central Missouri in 2013 with degrees in psychology. and sociology, and worked for six years at Cerner.

Subconsciously, Austen said, she had always integrated into the Kansas City designer scene. Years ago, she attended the independent craft fair, Strawberry Swing, to talk about it on her blog and Instagram. Her efforts caught the attention of founder Katie van Dieren, and Austen said she was asked to do her first Instagram takeover for the show.

My god, did I feel like I made it, ”Austen said.

Annie austen

Another formative experience for Austen was to partner with EB et Cie.‘s Emily Bordner, whom she met on previous social media projects. Austen designed her own line of jewelry for the boutique and, along the way, learned more about how small product businesses work in addition to what she already knew about how to make money by doing it. as an influencer.

Since launching the Etsy store in November 2020, Austen has moved further away from her own Instagram to delve into the jewelry business with her brother. Matthew is an expert in stringing beads and seed beads and making his ideas come true, she said. Other members of her family also play an important role: her sister, who has sensitive ears, helps test each piece, and her husband makes displays, manages finances, and experiments with new jewelry designs.

“I like to focus my energy on creating things that people are going to wear,” Austen said. But she added that she has yet to realize that she inspires the style of others. “The coolest thing is going somewhere and bumping into someone who’s been on a pop-up or bought something and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m wearing your necklace.’ It’s totally wild for me.

Click on here to shop Annie Austen.

Still in the early stages of building the business, Austen and his brother plan for future growth. They want to do more community-oriented projects, like the Cafe Cà Phê collection who collected money for the brick and mortar location of Vietnamese coffee. And attending events – like the Strawberry Swing and the Holiday Boutique – is also a mainstay, as they can build brand awareness by selling their styles, meeting fans, and repairing people’s jewelry locally.

Between spending time with her husband, four cats and two dogs, listening to Dungeons & Dragons podcasts, beating Nintendo games, hiking the city, picking cherries with her mother and fishing with her uncle, Austen commits to this mission. times for jewelry crafts.

“When things start to fall into place like all of this, you just need to lean into it,” Austen said. “I feel so much more satisfied with what I’m doing now and feel a lot more comfortable since I started to keep pace and seize opportunities as they arise.”

In addition to the website, a selection of Annie Austen jewelry is available at Shop Local KC, the brand new Babe Standard boutique in the Plaza, and on First Friday weekends at Bella Patina in the West Bottoms.

This story is possible thanks to the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, non-partisan foundation that works with the education and entrepreneurship communities to create unusual solutions and empower people to shape their futures and succeed.

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