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Third Time’s the Charm

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Amy Young, founder of Thirds, a curated online marketplace for handmade home goods from U.S. artisans, celebrates her business’ first anniversary this month.

By Mikaila Rushing, Photos by Paige Newton and Adrienne Denver

Every Sunday morning, Amy Young grabs all the print magazines that have been delivered to her throughout the week and sits down with a cup of coffee to spend a few hours reading. A couple publications, Women’s Health magazine and Nylon magazine, always catch her eye. They’re a reminder of a past career, a time when she once worked in New York City.

Young, 31, is the founder of Thirds, an Austin-based online shop that sells artistically and naturally made textiles, kitchenware and other home goods. The artisan-driven marketplace made its debut in December 2016.

Young grew up in Houston and graduated from Texas State University with a degree in mass communications and a specialization in advertising. Not long after the pomp and circumstance of her graduation ceremony had come to a halt, she was recruited to be a sales assistant at the newly launched Women’s Health magazine in New York City. Without question, Young packed up everything she could, sold everything she couldn’t and was off to the Big Apple.

“I’m big on the if-not-now-then-when mentality,” Young says.

While in New York, she also had the opportunity to work at one of her dream publications, Nylon, a trendy fashion and culture magazine, as a marketing manager. To this day, Young says she considers many of the people she worked with close friends, even family.

She had so much love and passion for the craft that, for a long time, she couldn’t imagine herself leaving the print industry. But after organizing multiple brand partnerships for the magazine, she landed a job at Alice + Olivia, a designer women’s clothing brand, a position that found her surrounded by a sea of powerful female role models who, she says, still inspire her to this day.

Young continued to climb the corporate ladder and never sat still for too long, a drive that eventually led her to work as the overseer of North American retail marketing for Coach.

Needless to say, Young’s diverse job experience throughout her eight and a half years in New York City allowed her quite a bit of traveling and shaking hands with many talented individuals. The more she traveled, though, the more she found she wanted her house to feel more like home, a place that truly reflected her personality. This, Young says, was the inspiration she harnessed to start her first business, Thirds.

Always on the move, Young began to make some changes. She realized that while she loved New York, she didn’t feel comfortable calling it home anymore. When she came back from her travels, she felt a weight on her shoulders instead of the relief that comes with the comfort and familiarity of home.

“I was running a race to get to a finish line I didn’t want,” Young explains of her life in the big city.

Young began her online shop, Thirds, in late 2016, and in February 2016, Young decided to move back to Texas, choosing to plant her roots in Austin and start anew.

In creating the store, Young wanted to choose products that paid tribute to the process of making art, and the more naturalistic elements of home design. She wants the items in her shop to reflect how people should view others. Her goal is to have a shop that reflects a very genuine process, something people can look at and immediately see and feel the work behind.

“Thirds celebrates a pared-down process,” Young says. “It all goes back to that connection with the artists, learning to appreciate the process just as much as the final result, whether that be your plate, your dinner mug or your relationships.”

Young partners with a variety of artists throughout the U.S., such as Len Carella and The Monday Project Co., to create handcrafted textiles and stoneware, including everything from plates and planters to quilts and apothecary items.

At the moment, Thirds remains an online-only marketplace. Young says before she builds her own retail space, she wants to be confident she can give people a unique shopping experience. In the meantime, fans can often find her hosting pop-up shops in hot spots throughout Austin, including at Las Cruxes, Esperos and the South Congress Hotel.

Austinites have been welcoming of her concept, Young says, adding that her favorite memories from the past year have been connecting with the various artists and powerful women entrepreneurs in Austin.

Young stresses it’s important for communities to support and acknowledge the value of small businesses.

“I think it’s important that everyone have the chance to do something for themselves, express themselves,” Young says. “This is what makes me feel creative. This is my outlet.”

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