Why I Started Beautifully Tarnished?


I am so excited you found Beautifully Tarnished.

Many people have asked me what this company is all about. My simple response is, raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. This can be a pretty heavy subject for a lot of people, and it is for me as well. My goal is to build Beautifully Tarnished into an icon that represents an opening for positive mental health conversations everywhere.

You may be wondering why I have such a drive to bring awareness to this topic. My family, especially myself, has battled with a lot of mental turmoil throughout our lives. The most significant time for myself, was living through my mom's battle with breast cancer for years. If you haven't had someone close to you go through late stage cancer treatments, then you may be thinking it's a physical battle for the most part. I too thought this, but came to find out, through my mom's battle, that cancer is the most mentally destructive disease I have ever seen. The major issue being the prescriptions patients are given to try and deal with all of the side effects of the treatments and the side effects of other medications. 

My beautiful mom was pretty much unrecognizable to me after her battle with the horrible disease. The medication took ahold of her mind, body and soul. She changed in so many ways, it was heart breaking. On June 8th, 2016 my mom was so depressed and had cut off so many people, that she decided her only option was to take her own life. That was a dark day for so many people and completely rocked my world.

Depression has been a big battle of mine throughout my life and my mom's suicide truly brought it back in full force. When someone close to you takes their own life, it hurts you to your core. It will make you think differently than you ever have before, and go to some pretty dark places. I often sat thinking to myself how much mental and physical pain she expressed she was in, but I didn't know how to help. My mom kept up such a good facade to those closest to her, that no one could help her. She never let anyone truly understand how much she was struggling. She was afraid of what others might think of her situation and did not want to look weak. This is where I started to think, 'how the hell can we fix this?'. Somebody has got to be doing something to bring mental health issues to light. Sometimes, when I think hard on something for long enough, I end up attracting something that simply guides me in the right direction.

Two months after my mom's passing, my friend Tanya Brown asked my sister and me to speak at an event on the topic of prescription addiction. It was at this event I watched what others were doing to bring awareness to mental health support.  This got my wheels turning on how I can turn my pain into something productive.

Quite a few months went by and ideas were continuously rolling through my head, until one day, it just clicked. My therapy through grieving has been succulent gardening and envisioning pottery designs. After I gathered my thoughts, I spoke to my wife about how we can start raising awareness through simple pottery designs my dad and I can create. I want these creations to become a centerpiece for starting the conversations. Beautifully Tarnished is my focus, ambition, therapy, and tool to help accomplish my goals of creating waves to prevent suicide and help those dealing with these dark times know they are not alone.


24 comments


  • Joe Bezaire

    I too lost the closest friend I ever had to addiction and suicide. He, like your mom, had cancer but it was curable. He just didn’t want to go through the treatment. When I spoke with the coroner about his death and she agreed with me that it was probably suicide but she had to go by the evidence and rule it accidental.


  • joe bezaire

    Hi, I hit the wrong button. I just wanted to tell you that if I can be of any help, don’t hesitant to ask.


  • Joe Bezaire

    Hello, I am a student at Cypress College studying addiction. I hope to become a counselor soon and help the addict who still suffers. Having come from a good life, a great carrier and wife of 37 yes I can tell you first hand that addiction has no boundaries. It ruined every aspect of my life. Even in sobriety, it has claimed many of close friends. I hate this disease!!! And want to help in any way I can.
    Mental illness also has a big part of the


  • Stephanie Chandler

    What a beautiful way to pay tribute to your mom and raise awareness for an important cause. I lost my husband to suicide three years ago and ending the stigma is one of my greatest personal missions. I am going to share your link with some friends in the survivor community and order some of these as gifts. Keep up the great work!


  • Geoff Larson

    Austin & Sammi,
    This is an awesome endeavor on behalf of your Mom & a tremendous task by creating awareness towards the struggle that millions of people battle daily.
    I have bought two air plants thus far for my Mom and Mother in law. They both loved the plants and the passion you have towards helping others. I will continue to spread the good word about Beautifully Tarnished. Well wished to the both of you!!


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