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our 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 style, heart, aesthetic, love of nature, desire to explore, learn and connect with the community. It is no surprise then, that two years after opening, Rare Bird attracted Erica’s best match, her boyfriend and fellow artist Matt of Makbuilt.

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. Five 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.