Ballad of the Bird Dog has been open for a little over a year now and it’s time to look back and look onward. As a local customer and friend, I wanted to ask shop owners Jared Anderson and Kathleen Matthews a few questions to celebrate a year of being open in Brenham. Happy Birthday Ballad!
Photos by Lauren Marek (@laurenmarek), Interview by Carra Sykes (@carrasykes)
Y’all are one year into making this thing happen, how’s it going?:
Jared - We are constantly surprised at people’s positive reaction about finding us in such a small town and I am even more surprised how great business is doing. More people are finding us in Brenham and letting people know about this little getaway town makes it constantly challenging to keep the experience fresh. We are as excited as ever for the next year and seeing what we can do to continue to bring great products to our customers and also bring customers to Brenham to experience the small town revival.
I feel like y’all have come so far, and I love seeing what’s new every time we come into the shop. What’s something y’all want to see happen in the shop a year from now or sooner?
Jared - Improve our communication and feedback to and from customers. We want to hear more about what people want but also to keep surprising customers with great new small brands.
Kat - Continue to support our favorite makers, but we love to find new small brands to support, and based on customer feedback we can try to fill in some gaps we may be missing.
What is neat about building a business in a town like Brenham?
Jared - 1. Seeing the face of unexpectedness of finding the class of store and product in a small off the beaten path. 2. The amount that the city and other business owners do to support each other and bring visitors to the city.
Kat - Meeting other small business owners and becoming a part of that community of people. We just want to support each other as much as we can.
What would you like the community to know about Ballad of the Bird Dog?
Kat - There is actually a song, Ballad of the Bird Dog that one of Jared’s friend Paul Brunner wrote for us.
Jared - Yes, what she said!
What was the most exciting thing you got to see the Bird Dog logo on this year? I personally LOVE the neon signs y’all have in the shop:
Jared - Texas Monthly Top 10 list.
Kat - Definitely seeing us highlighted in Texas Monthly.
Were there any moments when y’all realized a goal had happened for the shop after taking a step back and looking at how much the shop has grown? What was that?
Jared & Kat - Being in the Texas Monthly Top 10 stores of 2018 article.
What brand are you most excited about saying yes to being in the shop?
Jared - Jenni Earle - she is the best. I love all our brands though!
Kat - Nina Berenato! She was one of the first people we reached out to, I met her years ago when she was working out of her airstream and knew I needed to have her jewelry in the shop. Not only is she a creative and talented maker but she is an inspiration to female business owners. We’ve watched her grow from that airstream to a store front and love continuing to support that growth and passion for what she does!
What sparked the idea to have Mescalito within Ballad, we are huge fans of having our favorite coffee in town:
Jared - Can’t work without coffee. Literally.
Kat - We love coffee. The shop tells a story of how we got here, a collection of our favorite makers, brands, people- coffee had to have a spotlight too!
I love how y’all make things happen. Backroom at the Bird Dog is such an interesting concept. Anything brewing for the shop we should know about?
Kat - One of our favorite barbers, Joe, from Houston has signed up for a consistent monthly spotlight in the backroom. We’re also hoping to continue some workshops like we did with the guys of Twisted Arrow Goods.
Jared - Workshops.
I wanted to say that I love how y’all work with local people to really make the community around Ballad grow. Y’all have created a special place that is bringing people together and we are so thankful for this! What do you think about that, huh?
Jared - Its the best part of the whole shop. Seeing our business grow and for us to give back to the community when we can and see them support us back is an extremely rewarding feeling. The best part of building a business is building connections with the community around certain ideals and goals. The more we connect and help each other out, the more small businesses like us will be able to succeed in small towns, and that means building an awesome experience for citizens and visitors.
Kat - We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the community. It was one of the main things that stuck out to us when we were looking to move here.
One last pressing question; do you think people come for the goods and coffee but secretly stay for the dogs?
Jared - I think sometimes people only come for the pups.
Kat - People definitely come for the dogs...
Start date (birthday): June 30, 2018
How many separate buildings had Ballad occupied: 4
Current number of shop dogs: 2 + 3
Favorite shop hat: Bird Dog Baseball Hat
Favorite coffee drink: Vanilla Flat White with an espressso. (Jared), Southern Weather on drip (Kat)
Favorite Ballad Tee: Roadrunner
Best song to listen to in the shop: My Mind is Ramblin - The Black Keys.
ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY RECAP
Parties are always fun at the shop, but this one was extra special considering we were celebrating the first year! We started off the morning right with Jax for brunch and then sampled all of the Desert Door Texas Sotol drinks, provided by 1844 Fine Liquors. After that, we had to get some coffee from Mescalito to fuel us through the rest of the day.
Lauren Marek set up a photobooth in the Backroom at the Bird Dog where we got a few takers! Howler Brother’s and Nina Berenato were present as the featured brands of the celebration. The shop was filled throughout the day with new customers and regulars stopping by to say hello or to grab a drink and see the new goods. We can’t wait to see what year two brings, congrats y’all!