Saturday, June 28, 2014

Shop Talk with Lost & Found

I wanted to do a regular series on my blog, something unique that hasn't been done before. I came up with an idea to feature small shops, that are located throughout the country. So, every Friday you can stop by and check out a new shop, and at the same time meet the owner. Some weeks, I will be sharing some wonderful vendors that set up at vintage style shows. I am hoping that this series will introduce you to some shops and shows, that you might not already know about, and better yet, they might be in driving distance for you, wouldn't that be nice? This week it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Melanie @Lost & Found. After reading Melanie's post, I discovered that we have a lot in common. When my baby girl was six months old, I quit my full time job, so I could stay at home with my girls. For four years, I did in-home childcare for several of our friends children. Then after that, I worked for a major greeting card company. That job was part-time, and since I was able to work while they were in school, it really was a perfect job. Along came the idea of being a vendor at a local antique mall, and then I was hooked. I also did several decorating jobs at some local beach condos. So Melanie, it looks like we are two peas in a pod! Now, grab a tall glass of ice tea and let's go shopping at Lost & Found.

Hi everyone! I am really excited to be featured on Linda's Shop Talk today and so grateful for her invitation to share about my business, Lost & Found. A little bit about me first . . . I'm a stay-at-home mom to three little boys, ages 7, 5, and 2 (yes, it's crazy around here). My husband is a pastor at a church in our North Texas area, and also my partner in junk-hunting. DSC08708 Over the course of our 10 years of marriage, I have tried to generate some extra income through several different side businesses, ranging from in-home childcare, to home staging, to cake decorating. It seemed like every 6 months I had an idea for trying something new, but each business would just kind of sputter out without really taking off. About two and a half years ago though, an opportunity came up to rent a small booth space at my favorite place to shop, Antique Company Mall in McKinney, Texas. DSC07662I had dabbled in flea market selling a few years prior, and already had several years experience hunting down deals on vintage decor and furnishings for our home. I was 6 months pregnant though with my third child when the booth spot opened up, so it seemed like a crazy step to take! But my husband and I agreed to give it a go for at least a year and see what would happen. So in February of 2012 I moved into my little upstairs spot, which I always say was about the size of a jacuzzi bathtub.IMG_0145(sorry for the dark cell phone picture!) Steadily, my inventory grew and I learned more and more places to go to dig for vintage finds. At the end of my year lease, I was told that per square foot booth size, I was one of the top sellers in the mall and was invited to move into a larger space downstairs, near the front of the mall. Holy cow! I was having so much fun treasure hunting and the space offered was fantastic, so I signed another year lease and moved on down.DSC03602It takes a lot more time maintaining a larger space, but over the past 18 months I have gotten into the groove of knowing how to keep my space stocked and fresh. My kids know that "Mommy works hard" up at my space, and they know that the income I make goes towards our family fun things. It's been a good way to help teach them the value of hard work since I deal in tangible things they can see and understand.DSC08637Another great opportunity that came from moving into a larger space was the ability to sell more remade furniture. I have been refinishing and painting furniture for our own home for quite some time, but it's been so much fun getting to express my creativity on more and more pieces.DSC09001

DSC05175As you can probably see from the pictures, I like to try a lot of different things with my furniture makeovers. Some dealers prefer to stick to only painting things a few neutral colors, finding that pieces sell a little faster and more predictably. I have tried to discipline myself into that idea, but I just can't! I get bored doing the same thing, so to keep it fun for me I try something new with each piece I work on. The great thing is that my customers seem to like the variety of what I have available, things still sell! So my takeaway is to find what works for you and what you enjoy the most, and stick to it even if it seems like other people are doing it differently.IMG_2800I also like to stock great found antique furniture pieces, like this super cool pink cast iron bed and 1930's wooden cradle. If it's unique, I want it in my space!DSC00054Filling in with my painted and found furniture are lots of "smalls". I always keep in stock old silver plate, and the more tarnished it is, the better.DSC02717

DSC03024My booth space is pretty eclectic . . . along with the silver I have some plain, rusty, junk.DSC00079

DSC00083I try to keep my space connected to the seasons, at least in one vignette or area.DSC04576





IMG_2709I don't think I have really mastered the art of the great display yet, but I'm taking notes from what I see around me and trying to get more creative in how my booth is set-up. There are some real masters of The Display in my mall, so the bar is set high! Lastly, I try to put in my space things that you won't see anywhere else. I have learned to go with my gut when I'm out shopping, and sometimes take a risk on an item that has that certain "wow" factor, even if it may be a little strange.DSC00070


DSC05161I started my blog, as another way to publicize my remade furniture and connect with other "junkies" out there. The blog has proven to be a great advertising tool and has brought in a good bit of local business as well as custom work.DSC00073I am by no means the master of the antique dealer world, but I'm learning and growing in my craft a little bit more each season. Most of all though, I'm having fun and enjoying the people I'm meeting and items I'm producing. It feels wonderful to help someone find that perfect piece for their home at an affordable price! It's looking like this might finally be the little side business that sticks around :) Thanks so much for visiting Lost & Found today! Please come see me again and have a fantastic weekend!


Melanie, said...

Thank you so much Linda for having me today!! I think we are "two peas in a pod" :) I am a southern girl at heart and appreciate the invitation to ice tea.

Tamara said...

It was nice to meet, Melanie and though I live in Az., it was fun to "visit" her shop online. And what a nice idea to feature and support others! Thank you.

Have a beautiful day,

Jackie See said...

What a great booth, her displays are so neat, clean and unique. They are also gorgeous! I'm hopping on over to her blog to see Melanie's blog!

chateau chic said...

I love your wonderful finds for your booth, Melanie! This business gets in your blood, so I'm sure you'll have many productive and fun years ahead.
I really enjoyed this post!
Mary Alice

helenabelle said...

I love the pictures of Melanie's booth and only wish I lived closer(Georgia). I too am a dealer and have been for years and years but always love to shop other booth spaces. I agree with Chateau Chic, this business does get in your blood! Always have fun and enjoy your business and it will be a success!

Cecilia said...

What a great booth! Wonderful displays and loads of interesting things! Thanks for introducing us!

Sharon @ Blue Willow House said...

I found Melanie's blog recently and love her style. Wish I could head on over to Texas to visit her booth!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing Melanie's shop story, Linda. It's great that she has been able to add to her family's income in such a creative way. Adorable boys! I'm off to visit her blog. Wishing you and all your American readers a Happy 4th. This is our long weekend with Canada Day on July 1st.

Creations By Cindy said...

Oh I enjoyed this visit so much! So interesting to hear others stories. Thanks Linda for sharing with everyone and I love your idea of interviewing others. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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