This year has given us lots of extra time to update our space. Instead of running to your favorite department store, think unique! Meet the women who are out there pickin’ for your new favorite piece of home decor.
You may recognize Emily here as Danielle’s right hand on “American Pickers” and store manager for Antique Archaeology in LeClaire, Iowa. When she isn’t following up with leads for the crew, Emily is chasing her own! As a frequent estate sale and Facebook Marketplace picker, she hunts for rusty gold in the form of post-modern pieces, 80’s inspired items, or anything unique that sparks a nostalgic memory of her childhood.
“My parents owned an antique business, so growing up, our house was decorated with items that didn’t look like they belonged in that era,” explains Emily. “Plenty of primitive pieces, my dad’s antique decoy collection, the copper sinks and bathtub, Mom’s rehabbed and functional gas Roper stove…I could go on. I love antiques that spark that type of creativity.”
Growing up with a trained eyed and appreciation for the unique, the items that catch Emily’s eye are anything but mainstream.
“What makes picking such a passion of mine is that the pieces I find are all one-of-a-kind and tell a story. You can’t find my Karl Springer tessellated coffee table at West Elm or my Frederick Weinberg wire and mesh mannequin head display at Target. Using antiques as decor allows me to create a happy and inspiring space.”
If your home could use a refresh — think unique! Meet the women who not only run their own vintage shops but are out there pickin’ for your new favorite piece of home decor.
THE BRASS QUEEN
Jamie: The Sweetest Vintage Shop
Inspired by her childhood love for collecting little glass animals, Jamie’s boutique of rare, and eclectic brass items are all hand-picked by her to help add some extra shine in your home — something she has been training for since grade school.
“The principal wanted to create a showcase featuring student’s collections,” explains Jamie. “My glass animals were selected and displayed for the entire school. I was so proud to show them off! (I still have the dalmatian in my private collection!) Since then, I’ve graduated from school displays to a worldwide audience thanks to the age of Instagram.”
The social media outlet allows Jamie, to connect directly with other vintage store owners/experts as she carefully researches her inventory to make sure you get the best brass for your buck.
We admire Jamie’s honesty in more ways than one. Not only is she open about being a solo small business owner and picker, between inventory posts, she also talks openly about how her stage four colon cancer treatment is going — a battle she has been fighting since 2014.
“For the past three years I’ve been successfully running my antique shop on Instagram,” says Jamie. “Not only does this platform allow me to have flexibility with my health, but it also allows me to connect to new and returning customers. My favorite parts of the picking are passing down the stories attached to the item and then hearing a customer share how it has added joy to their home. Mission accomplished. ”
How to buy Jamie’s brass: Pay attention to her Instagram stories! This is where Jamie shares the release date of her sales and sneak peeks of the pieces that will be available.
THE OLD SOUL
Megan: Circa Antiques
From a young age, Megan grew up visiting her grandma at her Hyde Park brownstone home in Chicago. Megan says being in that house surrounded by her grandma’s antique furnishings and collection of vintage clothing she learned the true value of an item.
“Grandma would tell me things like, ‘Megan, you were born in 1990 — this photograph was taken in 1890. Hold it in your hand, appreciate it, and the story it has to tell. ‘To this day, that perspective still gives me chills and is the inspiration behind my vintage collection.”
Picking is in her blood. Not only did Megan’s parents run their own antique shop, but she also gained some early expierence working in the visuals department at auction houses.
“My collection has a homey and historical touch to it. The care and research my parents put into their inventory for their store is the same effort I make to ensure you have some understanding and authentication behind your antique. That way when someone walks into your home you can discuss it.”
Did we also mention on top of running her own online vintage shop Megan is a full-time second-grade teacher? The educating never stops!
How to shop for Megan’s collection: For the best selection, browse her Etsy shop daily for her freshest finds!
THE BOHO MAMA
Chi: Simplychi Vintage
Chi, a teacher turned online small business owner, dives into her local thrift and antique shops in search of earthy, vintage home decor.
“As a busy mother of four boys, the oldest being 11-years-old, I enjoy picking as a creative outlet for self-expression while at the same time helping feed these growing kids! We’re always together so I try to get them interested in what I do. The boys love going out with me treasure hunt. My oldest is developing an interest in photography so occasionally he’ll help me out with images online.”
You’ll notice, right out of the gate, that Chi has a green thumb. Inspired by her childhood spent around plants, her signature move is challenging herself, and customers, to see anything as a potential flower pot for their home.
“For me, picking is a rush of anticipation wondering what is waiting out there to be found. While it’s easy to get carried away in the process, I have a rule that I only pick up items that I wouldn’t mind keeping if they don’t sell. That’s how I know my inventory is authentically Chi.”
How Shop Chi’s collection: You can browse her collection on both her Instagram and Esty accounts. Chi does also takes requests for particular pieces.
Now that you’ve got new ideas for refreshing your home, we challenge you not only to support female-owned vintage shops but opt out of the frequent department store run in favor of a garage sale or thrift store instead for your new favorite vintage find!