It is hard to not feel invited into a storefront that has a crisp Kelly green door that is always open, warm twinkly lights strung, cupcakes set out and southern voices carrying laughter and joy in conversation throughout the studio. From the worn floorboards to the stories behind each custom piece of jewelry, Perch hints at a rich history from the moment that you walk in and see hands gathering around the long farmhouse table creating their own piece.
One evening after Barbara and James Birdsong had recently moved in town, they were eating dinner at Amsterdam Café off of Gay Street. While they were walking to their car, Barbara spotted a storefront that was for sale just two doors down. She immediately looked at her husband and said that space would make the perfect jewelry shop.
Prior to this evening, Barbara had been creating jewelry out of her home and selling it at trunk shows with her friend in Atlanta. This space spoke to her before her business even existed. It was only a week later that she and James were drafting the business plan while on a road trip to Florida. Three words that kept on coming to her mind as the foundation and bones for this space and business were create, collaborate and inspire.
“I like to think that this place is somewhat serendipitous. It has become something special to so many people without me ever trying for it to become that way,” says Barbara.
At any given hour, one could walk into Perch jewelry shop and find high school aged girls giggling at the long table while making friendship bracelets and the next you can find a mother and daughter duo, looking for a new accessory after their lunch date to Amsterdam Café.
Perch is stationed in the heart of the hustle and bustle, from Mama Mochas Coffee shop next door to people on walks down Gay Street, it is hard to miss and resist the lights draped outside the door, beckoning people in.
Logan Andrews an employee at Perch since May 2015 explains the vibe of Perch as one that smells like natural air because the doors are always open, mixed with a honeysuckle candle that is always burning.
“I think that every day is different, but the best is when I am able to get to know a customer further than surface level and be able to create a custom piece that represents their personality or someone who they are making it for,” says Andrews.
Perch is a place of gathering, or to reference back to Barbara’s key phrase, collaborating. Something quaint about Auburn is the way that despite the academia of this town, it also fosters an incredibly creative community. People desire to shop local, make things with their two hands, and seek the meaning behind the things that they purchase. Perch does all of these things. Their weekly workshops where they offer cupcakes, wine, and even the occasional cheese board once again enforces the mission that Perch is so much more than a place to buy a product, but rather it is a place to experience belonging.
Just as things in nature are imperfect, but cause awe, the jewelry created here is certainly non-professional but it stops people in their tracks because of the sentiment behind each piece.
From sparkly jewels to embossed initials and phrases- the most frilly woman to the most simplistic can find aspects and accessories in the studio that represents them. Barbara even had the opportunity to design and create a customer’s engagement ring this past summer. The young woman had been a frequent browser and customer of Perch where Barbara and she had fostered a friendship over kindred interests. Her soon to be fiancé knew how special Perch was to her, and so when it came time to pick out a ring, he asked Barbara to create a one of a kind ring for his future wife.
Perch is so much more than a small storefront. It is a place of telling narratives through jewels and charms and representing love and friendship through the people that give them. It helps people celebrate life’s big and small moments and creates lasting reminders for people to carry around on their neck or wrist. Those that have the opportunity to step through Perch’s threshold and onto their worn floorboards, will soon find a special brand of magic that honors the past, relishes in restoration and evokes winsome thoughts.