Buffalo Boss Babe: Melissa A. Swiatek-Odien
Today’s Buffalo Boss Babe is Melissa A. Swiatek-Odien is the owner behind DIY BFLO. DIY BFLO is a curated inventory of second hand and salvaged goods for artists, crafters, DIY'ers, vintage enthusiasts and creative people. Melissa’s education in fine art, art history and her passion for historical and environmental preservation led her to start DIY BFLO. We chatted with Melissa to talk about her business and eco friendly views of the world.
What made you start or brought you to where you are today? Tell us your story and what makes you a Buffalo Boss Babe?
My education in fine art, art history and my passion for historical and environmental preservation led me to start DIY BFLO, a curated inventory of second hand and salvaged supplies for artists, crafters, DIY'ers, vintage enthusiasts and creative people. As an artist and environmentalist, I grappled with the fact that my art would only add more "stuff" to a world that already had an overabundance of human made commodities and waste. To satisfy my need to create and accommodate my desire for sustainability , I gravitated toward using salvaged and second hand goods as my art materials and was drawn toward DIY "flipping" of furniture and other items to give them a new style or purpose. Buffalo has an active community of artists and is a region that appreciates object history as it relates to our sense of place. I started DIY BFLO to make it easier and more convenient for people to access a unique, sustainable and more economical path to making, decorating and collecting than is offered by impersonal big box stores and online sellers.
Who are your favorite people to follow?
I follow a lot of local artists and businesses on Instagram. I love everything posted by @britsmat, her drawings and polymer clay sculptures are so cute and imaginative. I also follow a lot of amateur quad skaters to get ideas for tricks to try out at the skate park.
What are your favorite things to do in the area (Buffalo and greater WNY)?
I love outdoor activities. During the warmer months I like visiting the Olmsted and other regional parks and I usually get out for the Buffalo Garden Walk. When it gets colder I enjoy snowboarding, spending time at the Botanical Gardens and watching the Queen City Roller Girls play roller derby.
Tell me about your favorite collaborations or a dream collaboration?
For this year’s Buffalo Infringement Festival I hosted a costumed, glam rock themed roller skating party called “Glam Jam Thank You Ma’am”. New Skateland in Buffalo allowed us to host the event in their space, local vinyl DJ Nick Reid kept everyone dancing with all of the right tunes and there were performances by Hell’s Harlots Burlesque and Brass Pro marching band. Each of the different elements was an important part in creating the total unique experience; it’s something that I’d love to do it again with more performances, surprises and ways for attendees to participate.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world who would it be?
My best friend. If she’s not available, then Paul McCartney; he’s been interviewed so many times that I wouldn’t feel any need to ask him questions that he’s probably already answered before. We could really just talk about whatever and I could hang out with a Beatle.
What are your hopes, dreams, goals? Big or Small.
Eventually I would love to have a solo show of my artwork at a local gallery. I’m slowly building up a body of work and trying to take advantage of more opportunities that come my way.
A dream project for me would be to create an installation and art space out of a rehabbed Buffalo Victorian home. The original architecture of the house would be preserved as much as possible with some rooms being collections of antiques, vintage items and original artwork that are in keeping with the room’s original function. These rooms would be curated by artists and would change on a regular basis. Other rooms would be used for more dramatic, non-domestic installation works, shows and performances. I would want to create an environment with a really cool, comfortable, art-café vibe where people could come into the space and feel as though they were in a friend’s home, get comfortable, use the furniture, enjoy a drink, coffee or snack from the café; which would also be included in the experience, all while they enjoy the surroundings and art, chat with a friend, read a book and hang out.
Tell us about your family a bit ( 2 or 4 legged ) ?
I live with and am loved by my husband and our two dogs; Toki, a miniature Australian Shepard and Mani, a Red Heeler mix, both of whom I train in canine agility.
Feel Good Five
Food: Pizza: authentic Italian, Buffalo and NY styles
Super Power: I’m a good listener.
Animal: Coyote/ Deer
Season of the year: I love them all. I can envision a “perfect” day in any season
You can check out Melissa and DIY BFLO online @DIYBFLO or visit their location on North Hampton St in Buffalo. We cant wait to see what the future holds for DIYBFLO.
Until next time babes!
Buffalo Boss Babes is a woman run blog series featuring women in and around the city of Buffalo N.Y.
If you know someone doing amazing things for our community, past and present, young and old..... send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
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