Living Local :: Shive Design

Have you been to Shive? Shive Design Sign & Salvage is a great little shop in downtown Birmingham's theater district full of vintage signs, salvaged goods, and treasures from days past. I first discovered Shive on a walk through downtown. I loved peeking through their storefront windows as they prepared to open, admiring all of the vintage treasures, eager for their opening day. Located below the Whitmire Lofts, and next door to the new Relevator Coffee, this area is going to be the next big thing for Birmingham. On my first visit to Shive I met Ted, show owner/graphic designer/Shive curator, and had to know his story. 

So, what's your story? How did Shive get started?
After graduating from Spring Hill College in Mobile in 2003, I didn't want to move back to my hometown of New Orleans. I have family in Birmingham so I decided to move here. This was 2 years before Katrina, and around the time I was contemplating moving back, the storm hit and I figured it was a sign to stay in Birmingham. I am glad I did. 
I read an article about a guy who rehabs houses in Avondale and remembered him saying that Birmingham only had a few outlets for used, original/salvage building materials. It really stood out at me, so soon after I started reaching out to folks in the field about the possibility of opening a place like Shive. When I told Kyle about the idea, he liked it so much that he suggested we try it in the Whitmire Lofts space.

What exactly does "Shive" mean?
"Shive" is New Orleans slang for cool. I first heard it in middle school - a few of us would say it and it just stuck. It appears in a rap song but besides that, its not really known outside of the city.

Describe the "Shive" aesthetic in 5 words or less:
Patina, rust, dented, aged, character 

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Shive?
The name! Some folks don't understand it and mispronounce it as 'shive,' as in "he was shived in prison by a fellow inmate." It's New Orleans slang that really isn't said that much anymore even in NOLA, so its just a matter of telling the back story and then everything is fine.

What have you found most surprising since launching Shive?
I would say the love and support of fellow businesses and customers alike. I hoped we would get a good response from folks, but these days with online shopping, its tough to gauge how a brick & mortar shop would succeed. Luckily we have an assortment of original and custom items that you don't see everyday, so the word is getting out and new folks are coming in everyday and giving us great feedback. We couldn't be happier!

How do you see Shive contributing to the Birmingham design community?
We hope to connect artists with buyers - folks are always looking for original artwork to put on their walls or shelves, in their home or office. They love the idea of supporting Alabama-based artists, so we want to give those artists and makers a place to show their work and get more recognition and audience. Graphic designers, interior designers and furniture designers, as well are artists of all trades and medias are welcome.

What's your advice to a small business looking to launch in downtown birmingham?
If you are going to open a business, do it because you love it. If you don't love what you do, it will show and you just won't succeed. Simple as that. Know your product and know your customers. Location is everything, as well. Know where there is foot traffic. Also know how you are going to sell yourself. How will you market yourself? You have to wear many hats when you are starting a business - manager, merchandiser, marketing manager, customer service, and even janitorial. Its a lot of fun and rewarding if you put the proper time and heart into it.

What do you see for the future of this area in downtown?
With the Lyric Theatre renovation, the Pizitz building and the Thomas Jefferson hotel projects underway, people and industry are coming Downtown and we couldn't be more excited! Its taken a lot of time and work, but I think Downtown will flourish beyond anyone's expectations.

Anything else you'd like for people to know?
We hope to grow and prosper in 2015 - to provide great service for you, the customers. We couldn't do it without you - thank you for the love and support. 
Check it our for yourself! Shive is open 11:30 - 5:30 Tuesday thru Saturday and is located at 1826 3rd Ave North, Suite 102 Birmingham, Alabama 
// all images via Shive Design Sign & Salvage Facebook Page //
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  1. Love that shop! They have some really cool stuff and the owner, Ted, was so friendly when I was there! Awesome!

  2. Just found your blog! Love Shive and the interview!



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