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our story back up

Erica nurtures rare bird’s growth and evolution the way a gardener tends to a growing flower. She is the buyer for Rare Bird, filling the space with vintage treasures, hand crafted creations by local artists, and carefully selected additions from ethical companies. Erica curates all of the art shows, teaches classes, and merchandises the space as if it were her canvas. Erica’s personal creations of jewelry, terrariums, sun catchers and more, create Rare Bird’s magical environment.
builder & all around craftsman
Matt is Rare Bird’s builder and crafter who makes the store infrastructure visually beautiful, functional and cool. Matt built our classroom, new cash wrap, crafts beautiful signage, fixes just about anything and dreams up new crazy cool ideas and solutions for the shop. He also cameos as the men’s clothing buyer as well as graphic designer for our postcards and flyers. Matt is an artist born & raised in Oakland, creator of MAKBUILT funk-tional designs & those sweet retro luggage “Boxes of Boom” we have in the shop. Check out his work at
Alexandria is Rare Bird’s super star Jane of all trades! She is a bright shining light and tall drink of water! Alexandria brings her positive energy and enthusiastic nature into all of her interactions, creating great relationships with customers and artists.  
sales associate & assistant gallery curator
Elise was welcomed to Rare Bird as a featured artist, and quickly became a fast friend and member of our team. Elise brings her creative spirit and friendly nature to the shop as a sales associate befriending every furry friend that walks through the door, and dazzles their owner just the same. As a painter she brings her keen eye and experience to the table, assisting as one of the curators for our art gallery space.
sales associate
Stephanie is the newest member of our team! She brings her fun, spirited personality, great style and love of fashion! Stephanie reminds us that shopping is fun, playing dress up with the girls can lead to bouts of laughter, and team spirit is cool. Plus, she’s quickly becoming Rare Bird’s favorite model.

Rare Bird's Story

Rare Bird is the brainchild of Erica Skone-Rees and began as a sparkle in her eye at the age of 8 or maybe 10. That sparkle was born in November 2010 in a humble space on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.

Erica dreamt up Rare Bird as an artist wanting a forum to share her works of art and a space that celebrates the creativity of the community and provides its customers with the opportunity to buy beautifully crafted pieces – new, old, found, and re-designed – a “lifestyle” store that focuses on local artists and well crafted vintage treasures.

Erica’s vision for the space led to her largest creative project yet; ripping out two layers of flooring to uncover the original rust colored concrete, building new walls and window boxes, tearing down a stained cork ceiling and replacing it with faux tin tiles, constructing wooden shelving and displays made from vintage auditorium benches, and finishing every detail with reclaimed wood and corrugated tin from barn yards, local lumbar yards and rubbage piles.

In the true spirit of Rare Bird, all materials used to create the space are salvaged, reclaimed, reused, recycled. Next came the fun part. Every piece of furniture and floor display was hand picked and refurbished from flea markets, estate sales, urban ore, omega salvage, yard sales and more.

Erica’s shop is a reflection of her own style, aesthetic, love of nature, desire to explore, learn and connect, and her heart. It is no surprise then, that two years after opening, Rare Bird attracted Erica’s best match, her boyfriend and fellow artist Matt Kalkstein.

Matt has brought his master carpentry skills and creative eye to Rare Bird and has helped transform and evolve the space ever since.  Together this dream team fuels the shop with creative energy, grand ideas and they pour their hearts into its evolution.

Rare Bird is a space to shop, create, be inspired, and inspire others, to grow, dream, and share. The space is always progressing and evolving. Four years later Erica still takes great pride and pleasure in re-designing the shop, adding new products and artists, teaching classes and keeping its magic alive.