MiVT: ABDCulture/Alixandra Barron Designs

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 1:49 PM EDT
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WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - There’s no denying that the jewelry at ABDCulture is intricately designed. But, the idea behind the brand is simple.

“I make jewelry out of bicycle inner tubes. It’s all laser cut and hand-drawn by myself,” owner Alixandra Klein said.

Klein figured out in college that jewelry was her calling, but she had some hesitations about jumping into the industry.

“I couldn’t consciously put another unconscious product into the marketplace with there just being so many products out there. I felt like I had to leave it better than I found it,” she explained.

Growing up, this Vermont gal had many hobbies: a love of skiing instilled by her father and horseback riding. As she got older, she realized just how expensive horses can be.

“And so I found the metal steed, which is mountain biking, and became an avid mountain biker,” she explained. “It’s like skiing in the summer. It’s fast, you have to be focused, it takes all of your concentration.”

That’s when she experienced what she calls a “beautiful synchronicity,” using her craftiness and eye for design to turn bicycle inner tubes into jewelry. At first, it was all hand-cut. Her first customers were a music festival crowd, but things soon started taking off.

Shortly after, Klein’s husband found a laser cutting class in Burlington. Klein took it and says it changed the game for her and her business.

“I remember this gentleman came up to me and was like, ‘So you make jewelry out of a laser cutter?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was like, ‘I really want to help you.’ And I was like, ‘OK,’” she laughed.

He bought the machine and set it up for her, and a few years later she bought it from him outright. Now, with the help of her pup, she crafts jewelry by hand in her Waterbury garage.

The inner tubes come from used bike tires snagged from shops locally and even out of state.

“We just walk into the bike shop, it’s a great ice breaker. Like, ‘Hey, do you guys have any inner tubes you’re trying to get rid of?’” she explained.

Klein says her fast thinking, fearlessness and focus have helped her grow to this point, attributing it to skiing with her father. Her love of the Earth and desire to re-use materials comes from her mom.

But the combination of the two can only come from ABDCulture, and can only be Made in Vermont.

“Being able to create art out of trash really fuels my passion to again make this world a better place. And leave my home better than I found it,” Klein said.

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