Buffalo Girls Salvage expanding jewelry, home decor empire – The Spokesman Review (registration)

Left to right, employee Brandi Asan, owner Ginger Lyons, owner Tamra Brannon, and employee Emma Marshall of Buffalo Girls Salvage jewelry store make and sell repurposed vintage jewelry as well as home decore and artwork. COLIN MULVANY colinm@spokesman.com
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Upcoming events

Buffalo Girls Salvage will be a vendor at the Lucky Fall Festival on Saturday at the Lucky Detour shop, 1930 S. Inland Empire Way in Spokane. The business will also be at the To Market Shop in Riverpark Square, from Nov. 20 to December 24.

Small patches of glitter shimmer in the grass near the old wooden steps of 3103 N. Monroe, a hint at what’s inside.

Surrounded by a white picket fence, the timeworn house is home to Buffalo Girls Salvage, a local business that carries several lines of handmade jewelry crafted from salvaged metal, sparkly home décor and girly-girl treasures.

Inside, Tamra Brannon and Ginger Lyons, two 30-something mommas who each have two children about the same ages, are busy creating custom jewelry.

“We take raw pieces of metal and letter by letter we stamp words or a quote using a hammer and a steel block. We love that it’s so old school,” Ginger Lyons said, adding that it means no two pieces are identical.

Both women are military veterans, both are married to law enforcement officers, and they live blocks apart in Northwest Spokane.

In 2010, Lyons and Brannon began by selling painted vintage furniture and anything salvaged that would sit still long enough to be decorated, repurposed or restored.

The women soon discovered they were most passionate about designing and creating jewelry from salvaged pieces of metal, old pennies and vintage jewelry.

Before opening the 900-square-foot retail space on North Monroe last February, the two best friends worked from their respective homes in Northwest Spokane, and very briefly had a tiny shop in Airway Heights.

Today Buffalo Girls carries several lines of jewelry, including salvaged metal necklaces adorned with charms and hand-stamped with words or quotes, and souvenir pennies rescued from estate sales, stamped with custom designs.

Shoppers can pick and choose vintage charms from a large tin wash bin filled with old jewelry in the center of the boutique.

“A lot of time people come to us and say, ‘My mother always used to say this to me … could you put it on a pendant?” They know what they want and we just turn it into a wearable piece of art,” Brannon said.

One of the newer Buffalo Girls lines is called Outlaw Woman, jewelry crafted from spent bullet casings pounded into stud earrings and pendants.

“Every one of these bullets was shot by someone in our family,” Lyons said proudly. “It’s a family thing. Some husbands spoil their wives with flowers. Ours show up with bags of spent casings from the shooting range.”

The shop features a wedding line complete with painted crowns for flower girls, home décor like burlap pillows festooned with cutouts of every state, and vintage salt and pepper shakers filled with glitter.

With straight faces they claim one never knows when one is going to need to shake out some glitter. Then come the gales of laughter.

In addition to the retail location and private jewelry parties, the women sell their creative wares at local vintage shows like the Farm Chicks Antique Show. Online they have an Etsy shop, and the store wholesales to a few shops around Spokane as well as one in Texas.

Buffalo Girls Salvage currently employs two other women and several volunteers who work with them at vintage shows.

Soon they will be adding many more wholesale accounts, they said.

Lyons said the business is thriving.

Buffalo Girls exhibited at the Seattle Gift Show in August and was a big hit, she said.

“We picked up a dozen new retailers in Oregon and Washington,” Lyons said. “We had so many businesses we had to turn some away.”

While in Seattle they hired a Portland company to represent them in the Northwest, shopping their line to various boutiques.

The rep has been bringing in one to two wholesale accounts every week, which delights them both.

“We’ve had the opportunity to create whatever world we wanted to create,” Lyons said. “And have it go in whatever direction we wanted it to. We’re still making decisions based on the fact that we’re doing what we love; we’re having fun here and we’re fulfilling our passion. So we just keep moving in directions that we think are enjoyable.”