Tarica Navarro is the founder of Kettle & Brine, a gorgeous shop nestled in the city of Austin. Based on the store’s thoughtful aesthetics, it’s no surprise that Tarica has an interior design background with experience in high-end residential and hospitality design. Tarica grew up in Thailand, where food was the connector in virtually every social context. Creating memorable experiences has always been her goal whether it’s through design or food, and now she is seamlessly blending both.
Hi, Tarica! How would you describe Kettle and Brine? What made you see a need for this kind of store in Austin specifically?
Kettle & Brine strives to foster a dialogue around food by empowering people to cook more and eat together more regardless of their level of experience. Through exposure to the right tools, inspiring design, and the narrative behind the process, we hope to build a culture that honors food, is self-reliant, and socially responsible. Our tagline is Goods For Feasts and Gatherings because we focus on what brings people together.
I didn’t see anything like it that would serve my personal needs for thoughtfully designed, high functioning, socially responsible made goods. A hub that cultivates a concept rather than a pure product. To be able to walk into a space and know that every object you see has been hand-selected, tested, and considered for its functional purpose and timeless aesthetic for the longevity of the piece. I would have wanted something like this when I was stocking my kitchen.
Your store is beautiful. What was your inspiration for the interior design, style and overall aesthetic?
Our brand identity was formed by our values rooted in slow living and inspired gatherings. Rather than chase after passing trends, we chose to emphasize a timeless aesthetic that would age with grace through time, much like our goods. It is my belief that when things are designed with intention, they hold up longer both functionally and design relevance, making them stand up to the test of time. I designed the interiors myself as I have a background in residential and hospitality interior design. I intentionally designed the space to reflect a residential layout to encourage people to move through the space as if they were in someone’s home. The space is very tactile, and everything about the customer experience has been thought out to communicate our brand cohesiveness.
What are some of your favorite brands and products that Kettle and Brine carries? How do you find such unique products?
I have so many because they all come from such a personal perspective. One of my current favorites is our Japanese cast iron pan, which does not rust, sears a mean steak, and can transfer beautifully from stove top to oven, to table. Now that’s what I call form meets function.
One of my all time favorite lines is Era Ceramics (formally Foxwares). She is local, a dear friend, and consistently produces beautiful work. We love to collaborate with our makers to create one-of-a-kind pieces that celebrate both our aesthetic and theirs.
We don’t source by geographic region, but rather by shared values. Our producers come from all around the world as well as here in Austin. Instagram has been a great way to see more of what our potential collaborators are making. We source from personal experience, word of mouth, and through social platforms such as Instagram.
With the holidays approaching, what’s your go-to gift? What products can’t you live without in your kitchen and what are some of your favorite recipes to cook for your family?
I tend to the think the best gifts are ones that people don’t always buy for themselves but is still functional, and aesthetically inspiring so that they want to share it with others.
I’m currently obsessed with all of our stoneware pieces by Jono Smart, Humble Ceramics, and Yuko Nishikawa. They are masters of organic form and texture. To hold one of their pieces in your hand is a very visceral feeling for me. It helps us to celebrate the everyday mundane things in life.
A good knife is an indispensable tool in the kitchen. It makes prep work go so smoothly. My all purpose enameled cast iron pans that are workhorses in the kitchen. Last but not least, inspiring hand carved wooden utensils of all shapes and sizes. With those three things alone, you can pretty much make any meal.
Kettle and Brine’s Instagram feed is lovely! How do you utilize social media to promote your business?
Instagram is a great way to develop our brand and values through images. We are a very visual brand, and so are most of our customers. I still shoot most of the photos myself, and it’s a way for me to engage with our user base directly for those who are not from town. We regularly have out of town visitors come by from having been long time Instagram followers.
We love that Kettle and Brine focus on quality, wellness, and design. What advice do you have for people desiring to incorporate these values in their everyday life?
Make every choice with intention. Even if it may not always be the right one, if we commit to a decision, we begin to live each and every day more thoughtfully and with more meaning. When making a purchase I usually ask myself if I can see this piece in my home for years to come. Is it a piece that would be a joy to use? Is it unique or timeless enough to last through changes in trend? Would I want to share this piece with others? Does it make me want to learn more about the craft, and inspire me to grow? It may sound loaded, but these are the questions we ask of ourselves for each and every piece we curate and bring into the store.