Hi Autumn and AnnMarie! We are so excited to learn more about the two of you!
My name is Autumn Moore (pictured right) and I was born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland but moved to Austin a little over 3 years ago. After teaching high school social studies for almost 5 years, I decided I was in need of a career change and out popped AnnMarie! I had posted my resume and background a couple times in the “Girls New to Austin Jobs Page” on Facebook with no luck, until I opened my email one day last summer to a very long, very lovely email from AnnMarie introducing herself, Heron and how she’d love to have me onboard as her first full time employee! Because it’s just the two of us, we are obviously at the point of not just employer and employee, but we are friends with a deep trusting relationship. How many people are ever lucky enough to experience that in the workplace?
I’m a bit of an introvert so I do love exploring Austin with my friends especially the restaurants, but I really enjoy a good book or show. I just got finished binging Love is Blind and It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover is next on my reading list! Recently I read a book called Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid and it’s become my new, relatable favorite!
My name is AnnMarie Wakely (pictured left) and I was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. I moved to Austin in 2018 from Richmond, Virginia where I lived for three years after graduating from Washington and Lee University. Before moving to Austin, I worked in investment management recommending companies located in emerging markets for my firm’s international fund. I loved Richmond, but moved to Austin to reunite with my (now) fiancé who had taken a job here. During the move I took a few months off before beginning to look for work and found my calling before I could even apply for jobs. I worked by myself for a year before finding Autumn and the rest was history!
I have a lot of interests, maybe too many, but on a weekly basis I enjoy walks and hiking, cheering on my favorite sports teams, trying to attend as many of Austin’s events as possible, and volunteering with the Junior League of Austin.
It’s great to meet both of you! Can you tell us a bit more about Heron?
We rent and deliver (for free) anything you don’t use enough to buy – from movie night bundles and giant games to travel cribs and carpet cleaners. We are a one stop shop for everyone’s needs!
Everyone’s response when we explain Heron is often “Oh, so you’re an event rental company?” To which we respond, “we are not an event rental company,” followed by “we make renting products easier than buying them on Amazon.” Our customers love our service for small gatherings, fun backyard activities, family/friend accommodations and most importantly, for providing fast and easy solutions to everyday inconveniences.
Heron started two years ago with the goal to minimize the stress of everyday situations while mitigating over consumption. We are in Austin’s Circular Economy and we’re even registered as Austin Green Leaders. Every time you rent a product from us, you contribute to our goal: Change consumption patterns away from single ownership and increase participation in the shared economy.
Where do you see Heron in the next 5 years?
Definitely a larger warehouse, several delivery vans, a couple more employees and brand recognition throughout the city! When people think of Heron they will think of us as an extension of their home, closet, or garage. A reliable and cost-effective place to rent items they don’t use enough to buy.
What do you love about having a business in Austin?
We’re consistently blown away by the amount of support and opportunity from the city of Austin, particularly the divisions we’ve spent the most time with, the circular economy and green business divisions. We feel like the city wants us to succeed and that is such a comforting starting point. Equally shocking and heart-warming is the amount of support from other small businesses. Almost everyone we meet is always so ready and willing to lend a helping hand, start a partnership, advertise with you, advertise for you to their customers. The first time it happened we thought we had just encountered an exceptionally kind person, but every interaction with other small business owners is as wonderful and supportive as the last and it’s just so refreshing. We couldn’t be more thankful.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing with Heron?
The biggest challenge facing Heron is continuing to get our name out in the community! We launched just before the pandemic started and have had to deal with Covid, supply chain issues, extreme weather, and now general economic uncertainty. It isn’t the best time to introduce an entirely new business concept, but we’re really appreciative of our wonderful customers, especially our customers who have made us such a big part of their life for keeping us going through such difficult times.
What are your best time-saving tips/resources as a small business owner?
One of our most important rules is that we don’t spend time solving a problem we haven’t encountered yet. The constant challenges of running a small business make you yearn for security and assuredness. As a result, it is very easy to fall into the trap of making yourself feel prepared for the next big step by figuring out a solution to every potential future problem. The solutions make you feel ready but often the problems we expect aren’t the problems or issues we eventually have. Crossing each bridge when we come to it has saved us countless hours of wasted work and stress.
That’s great advice! What exciting things does Heron have coming up?
We’re working with the local toy lending library, Toybrary, to offer weekly toy deliveries, as well as party set ups and themed toy boxes to your homes. So definitely check that out on both Heron and Toybrary’s website!
We also have a partnership with Austin Humane Society to provide pet supply rentals; they’re perfect for the upcoming holidays, whether you’re fostering a pet short term or unexpectedly meeting your new family member, we’re super excited! You can also find those products on our website.
Let’s talk some Austin favorites.
-Kattitude Tattoo Studio
-Luv Fat’s Ice Cream
-Top Drawer Thrift
Favorite Coffee Spots:
-Ani’s Day and Night
Favorite Places to Grab a Drink:
-La Holly (mezcal bar)
-Central Machine Works
De Nada • Vespaio Ristorante • Ramen Tastu-ya • Super Thai • Slab BBQ • Casa de Luz • Food Heads
What is something interesting about you that others may not know?
AnnMarie: All the native Texans will be happy to know I was actually born in Texas! My dad worked for Jiffy Lube in Houston before we moved to Savannah when I was one.
My grandmother single handedly moved my father and her seven other children from a town outside of London to Atlanta to reunite with my grandfather. My grandfather had been brought to the United States with 100 other British engineers and their families to work at Lockheed Martin in metro Atlanta. Most of my family still lives in Atlanta today.
I also have a file at the CDC in Atlanta because as a child I was hospitalized with a strain of rotavirus that would not show up on the routine hospital tests. The CDC came to take a sample once my doctors figured it out to add to their database.
Autumn: My history with Texas is a very short one. I had been trying to figure out where to move and landed on Austin however I had never been. My father had a wedding in San Antonio to attend and suggested I come with and drive over to Austin to check things out myself. I probably spent a total of 3 hours just walking around downtown before driving back to San Antonio and letting my dad know it was time for me to leave Maryland. I left that summer.