Inside Atlanta: Amy Leavell Bransford, founder of eco-spa Aviary

The salon owner and eco-living activist shares her favorite spots in Atlanta

Inside Atlanta: Amy Leavell Bransford, founder of eco-spa Aviary

We're back with our series Inside Atlanta—each week, we sit down with influential locals to talk about what Atlanta means to them. Today we’re chatting with Amy Leavell Bransford, founder of Aviary, a beauty and wellness collective located in the Old Fourth Ward (you might remember Aviary from our guide to the city’s best spas). The daughter of a musician father and wardrobe stylist mother, Bransford grew up with a keen sense of style, and sustainability—her parents were named the American Forest Foundation’s Tree Farmers of the Year in 1999.

She’s brought of those elements to Aviary, which offers hair, massage, waxing, and other beauty services with eco-friendly products from brands such as Coola, an organic suncare company, and OWAY, the first professional organic hair color line. Today we get a tour of The Big Peach lead by Bransford herself.

I live in… “Decatur—specifically in Lenox Place, a neighborhood between Dekalb Avenue and Ponce de Leon. Six years ago my husband and a friend began a documentary on the late gardener Ryan Gainey who lived in Decatur. He would come home with stories about how magical Ryan’s garden would be throughout the year. Two years ago when we decided to move, we ironically wound up in the house across the street from Ryan. Having him as a neighbor has been one of the highlights of my life, and we really miss having him around sharing his wisdom about plants.

But Decatur has it all: walkability, great schools, interesting neighbors, great food and shopping.”

I Wish People Knew… “how many trees are in the city of Atlanta. Atlanta is known for being a city inside of a forest, and I think we should brag on that. We live in one of the greenest major cities on the planet! We have nearly 350 public parks, gardens, trails and public green spaces.”  

You Can Find Me… “at the Aviary working, on the soccer field sidelines watching my kids play for the InterCity FC Blues, on my porch or sitting at a campfire in my back yard, or on the Beltline walking with a friend.”  

It’s Dinner Time, I’m headed to… “my porch. My life is pretty hectic so I am a big homebody when I can be. I would much rather host dinner with friends than meet at a restaurant. But one of my favorite places to eat out as of late is Bread & Butterfly. It’s small and cozy and they nailed the vibe. It’s the perfect restaurant to pretend you are a tourist, take a book, get a glass of wine and watch people walk by.”  

Clock strikes 5 o’clock, I’m drinking… “either a La Croix or a Pina Verde (fave green juice from Nature’s Garden inside of Krog Street Market), as I am usually still at work. If at home, I like to mix it up, so gin and La Croix or Pina Verde green juice with Tequila.”

If I Had to Stay in a Hotel, I’d check into… “the soon to be built O4W Hotel that is going in front of Studioplex in the next two years. I am super excited about all that is happening in Old Fourth Ward…it feels like the epicenter of everything in Atlanta. I had the opportunity to meet the visionary couple paving the way for this boutique hotel recently and I feel their enthusiasm for local economy and small business. Their guests will travel from all over the world and get to experience some of the best local shops, restaurants and businesses in the city.”  

Atlanta’s Best Kept Secret Is… “the formula for Coca-Cola.”  

When I’m Playing Tourist, I go to… “the Beltline or Ponce City Market. Last weekend we took some friends from LA to the rooftop and they were like, “THIS is cool!” If going out of the city, I love Sweetwater Creek and Arabia Mountain for nature walks.”  

I Get My Sweat On… “at FitWit in Decatur/Kirkwood. It’s a challenging workout but with great coaching and a warm and supportive community. I look forward to going.”

I Love Spending My Money… “at the Garden Center at Intown Ace Hardware on Scott Boulevard. Thanks to my dad, I have developed a little bit of an addiction to bird feeders. I have 10 currently. He had 19 at last count.”