Saturday, June 18, 2016

"There was a period when I believed

stuff meant something. I thought that if you had matching side chairs and a sofa that harmonized and some beautiful lamps to light them you would have a home, that elegance signaled happiness.”  
~Anna Quindlen

      I have been in the antique/vintage business now for 26 years.  Like Quindlen's quote, I know there are those who have perfectly matched homes, but I notice the new generation is a different breed.  I had a millennial use a unique word to describe this style...curated...that was interesting...the curated look as opposed to the Ethan Allen look as he called it.  Now I got hung up over the winter on the book on the right...tidying up...and I have been working on that because I am not a "tidier"; but then I saw the book on the left, and I had to have it!  The counterpoint!  I am going to try to find a happy medium...Tidy up some of that sh*t but not to the point where you lose your joy!  

I remember when people would collect things to bring them happiness.  I have had customers who wanted one of every piece of pottery in a McCoy price guide or every dish in a certain pattern. 

But, I have discovered something quite interesting in my tidying.  I have been taking things to the local thrift shops, and, although I do frequent those shops for my chick lit reading and clothes, I have not paid attention to the "stuff" since I am trying to "tidy up" as it were.  What I discovered was pricing that is higher than most comparable things in my shop or even in other shops that I have been to recently.  I hear the "on ebay" refrain...or even see listings for similar items on ebay printed out.  Now, seriously, at this point, we all know that if someone is desperate for something, ebay is there, but that does not mean that everything pictured there sells at that price or that you can command that price in a "thrift" shop.

Thrift shops are - or at least I think they are - supposed to be thrifty.  Everything is donated so it costs them nothing, and I understand wanting to make money for the charity, but, is it not better to price things to move...and to price them lower than sale prices at box stores or even Amazon?  There is a point where it is just stuff, and it needs to go even in a fine boutique.

In my shop, most old books like these are $2 or $3, but I have seen older books in the $5-$10 range in some thrift shops.
Maybe the fear is that a "dealer" or someone who resells will buy something and mark it up.  Well, so be it...welcome to capitalism...make America great.  Those of us in the antique/vintage world sell to other dealers all the time...who knows what the final price will be on a $5.00 item that I sell to a dealer, but, if I have made money, I do not care...it is retail...it is gone, and I can buy more.  In the case of a thrift shop, they do not have to buy more...it just comes through the door.

I appreciate that many thrift shops have a department store feel to them, but I do wonder about department store prices.  There are things that I would just buy new because the price point is not significant, but what about the person who really could feel better about buying a designer outfit or a pretty lamp but cannot even afford it in a thrift shop.
So, just some random thoughts as I try to create joy for me and you!

“At the end, all that's left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that's why I've never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that's why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.”
― Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

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