We had the good fortune of connecting with Austin Black and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Austin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was less of a “thought process” and more of a sudden switching-of-gears and a leap of faith. I lost my job in 2019 when the business I had been working at closed, forcing me to figure out my next move. My biggest hobby at the time was refinishing and flipping furniture, but I only had a handful of pieces under my belt. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and the thought of using my Business degree to find a run-of-the-mill desk job sounded excruciating. So, in the span of a couple weeks, I decided to start a furniture refinishing business, came up with the name (Styled by Austin), created my website, filed all the paperwork, and leased a warehouse space to use as my workshop. I jumped in head first and haven’t looked back since!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One thing I want readers to know is that I’ve always been passionate about sustainability. Knowing that I can divert a solid, vintage piece of furniture from going to a landfill, refinish it, and give it a new life is so rewarding to me. Putting even a tiny dent in the mass production of cheaply-made, forest-obliterating furniture manufacturing makes me feel like I’ve done my part. I hope that we can all make steps in the right direction together by seeking out local tradespeople like furniture refinishers, reupholsterers, and decorators who focus on sustainability, so that the market shifts a little bit more toward using what we already have rather than buying a replacement for everything.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Denver is an amazing city to visit and explore. As a nature lover, one of my favorite places to check out is the Denver Botanical Gardens, any time of year! You also can’t go wrong by taking a stroll around Sloan’s Lake, riding bikes down the Platte river, or running the stairs at Red Rocks. If you’re into a more chill vibe, doing some brewery hopping down Larimer street in LoDo is always fun, as is checking out the Styled by Austin showroom 😉
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have the best parents in the world (yes, I know I’m biased), and we did all sorts of DIY projects and crafts all the time while I was growing up. We were constantly updating the house, making art, redecorating our bedrooms, painting, rearranging, gardening, building things… you get the idea. I’m so thankful that they passed that go-getter, adventurous, independent spirit on to me. Without their support and guidance, none of my success would have been possible.