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Central Texas artist creates replicas of iconic Austin businesses

Kayla Kent's miniatures are replicas of Austin businesses, but they also double as functional objects.

AUSTIN, Texas — As Austin continues to grow, some feel that the city's essence is getting lost. The more successful the city becomes, the more the culture continues to change. 

But one Austin artist is highlighting the things that keep Austin unique.

Kayla Kent is the founder of Functional Miniatures. She took inspiration from an artist based in Los Angeles.

"He did all these miniatures of these little shops that you never would expect to have a miniature," she said. 

Now Kent is doing the same, recreating replicas of some of Austin's most famous stores. The first one she ever made was Big Top Candy Shop.

"They've been around for a long time," she said. 

Big Top's miniature doubles as a candy jar. 

"She came in to just show us, and my eyes lit up," said Cameron Goodrum, inventory manager for Big Top Candy Shop. "I saw it and I said, 'I want to sell it. I have to have this in my shop.'"

Goodrum said it's an honor that Big Top was considered. 

"It's humbling," he said. "It also ... shows what this store means to Austinites, to people, you know, in the surrounding areas. When you look up a candy store in Austin, we're the first thing that comes up."

But Kent's goal is more than to just to create a replica. She wants to teach small business owners to pay attention to detail.

"Big Top took great care into their branding and their design and everything for such a small shop," she said. "I admire that, and that's kind of the point. I want ... small shops to care about their branding."

Kent has also created a functional miniature for Antone's Record Shop, which doubles as a record holder, and a bookend for South Congress Books.

Kent is currently creating some other Austin replicas, but she's keeping those a secret to surprise the owners.

Right now, Big Top is selling the replicas. Kent is also working with Antone's and South Congress Books to get their replicas in stores.

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