Friday, August 20, 2010

Pause

Sometimes we need space; time to take stock and to think...
Life is such a whirlwind these days for most of us; it can be hard to find a moment to count those blessings...
I feel very lucky to be doing what I enjoy every day - My children are almost grown, and although two have not yet flown the nest, I have more time to be me these days than I did, say just 5 years ago.

My days away from the shop usually lead me on a hunt for more stock; to find an elusive treasure or two, as well as scouting for pretty vintage fabrics and trims to recycle.

*

The two photographs here were taken around 7 years ago when I had my first shop, which I trialled for a year. At that time I was looking out for the very same things that I aim to find these days...It wasn't easy, but was a little easier than it is today, despite me usually having at least one of my girls in tow! That was a good reason to put my dreams on hold at the time, as juggling did not make me happy - Happy girls meant a happy Mum.

**
Yesterday I had a lovely lady and her daughter in my shop. They were holidaying in Somerset and had travelled down from the Yorkshire area. Mum was heavily into vintage, even having a stand herself at some of her local fairs...She said she had been on the lookout for items whilst on holiday, but was surprised by the prices 'down south'. She said she had trawled several charity shops, but the only items she had found, were more expensive than she would be prepared to charge on her stall...

I know that problem myself all too well. Having a shop in a town such as Shepton Mallet means that I need to keep my prices competitive, so buying well in the first place is a major priority...

I'm thankful that I am able to hand make some of my own stock, as this helps relieve the pressure of always finding suitable items, but the downside is never really realising a fair price for my time...

Having had the shop now for almost 7 months, its been fun to learn how people react to it. Most enjoy having a look around, many have returned more than once, which is encouraging...What is funny though, is the question I am very regularly asked, usually at least twice a day...
It is 'Where do you find all your stock?'

Now being asked that so often, straight out like that, used to take me aback a little, as I wasn't too sure as to how best to reply.

For obvious reasons, I don't need any more competition than I already have, but I also didn't want to appear rude.

But I have come to the conclusion that people are just genuinely interested when they see so much 'stuff' in one place, all of which they can relate to, as they have seen these things in their past.

'Oh, Granny, or Auntie Mabel had one of those' is something that is told to me everyday. We often share reminisces about brooches dear old Nan would wear, or of photos of Grandad in the war, and baby gowns worn at Christenings over several generations...

Many visitors to my shop are not regular visitors to antique or vintage outlets...For them it is not the norm, so I should be less surprised than I am by their reaction, and be more ready to understand that for some, they are seeing these things for the first time again, after many years.

What a privilege that is, to be trusted and to share the memories that they wish to pass on to me.

(Here, we share so many things on our blogs, that it is easy to forget that for some this is a hidden world and they do not know of the abundance to be found with a few clicks of a mouse.)

I've found men in particular are fascinated by old photographs and they enjoy collecting them. Some find them a little creepy, some just sad that these portraits are no longer within a family line.

Women love the pretty china and glass, as well as the handmade products, and will sometimes remark on some of the fabrics I have used - often these are Sanderson prints, which they remember seeing as curtains in the home years ago.
Young girls are always attracted to the vintage costume jewellery and the clothes. Its always a pleasure to see a teenager try on a vintage dress and for her eyes to light up when its a perfect fit - the fact that her friends will not have anything like it in their wardrobes, seems to be an added thrill. I love the thought that another generation is starting out on the vintage journey...later in life they are sure to buy the china and other treasures, once they've been bitten by the bug!

Yesterday a vintage mini dress left my shop with a young girl...today she came in beaming, wearing the natty little number and looking fabulous!

Finding the perfect home for the items I have discovered and offered for sale, makes it all worthwhile...

And makes giving them up a little easier to do!

Having taken photos of a lot of my finds over the years, I am reminded of the past pieces, some of which are now with new owners...

And some are things that I couldn't bare to part with! ;-))

Some I've had to own for a little while, and then have later let them go...

Others, if they still pull at me heartstrings, I know I am meant to keep them! ;-))
Thank you for indulging me this short pause in my blog...there are no new photos, all have been posted at one time or another over the years, but I just wanted to look back at some of my 'flea finds', all of which have been a joy to discover.
**
On the Market Place in Shepton Mallet, 'Wall to Wall' have been working hard on the transformations of the shops, for the final BBC programme of the series (filming begins again tomorrow). They have reached the 1970's and although I do not know the format of this edition, it is evident by the signs above the doors, that this was an era which changed the face of the high street in a big way...and in a way where things would never be the same again.

There looks as if there will be a discount store, where customers can get their 'bargain fix' with bulk/discount savings.
I find it quite sad really; that for some, quality and a unique product are no longer important... merchandise that is disposable or replaceable within a short time seems to be what's required.

I am grateful for my little piece of escapism. To be surrounded by pretty things that are being offered a second chance of life, is what keeps me going. To have my shop, with at least a small flavour of how things once were, is wonderful.

It may not be for everyone, but for everyone who walks through my doors, they are at least offered that option...
Have a lovely weekend,
Niki x

21 comments:

  1. Hi Niki, I so enjoyed looking at your lovely pics. Isn't it strange that people ask you where you get your stock? I think they're being a bit cheeky really. I used to sell old dolls before I was ill, and I was often asked the same thing. I'm hoping to start up again soon, and I'm still trying to think up a friendly way to tell folks to mind their own business! Good luck and I hope you continue to find such gorgeous treasures for your shop. I only wish I lived a bit nearer and could pop in and have a natter and a browse. SueXXX

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  2. Oh what a beautiful Post, most of my treasures are found at local Estate and Yard Sales, the thrift Shops have become way to over priced to make any kind of profit these days. But years ago I would find so many treasures at my Local Thrift Shops. oxox, Diane

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  3. We've not indulged you at all, Niki, that was both a really interesting and gorgeous to look at post, thanks. You have some beautiful things. The blue stripey eidy with the flowers in the last photo, that has to be my fave. Truly scrumptious!
    Have a good weekend.
    Hen x

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  4. I so loved reading this post Niki, thank you. You have beautifully expressed many of the emotions that I have experienced over many years of collecting as well as selling antiques and vintage treasures. Your photos are so exquisite that I delighted in buying two of your lovely calendars last year. My great regret is that I haven't yet managed to visit your shop - but still time before Christmas!

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  5. wonderful to see all those photos Niki a real pleasure to look through them

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  6. Claudette7:32 pm

    Niki,
    Say yah-boo-sucks to the naysaysers or those who just don't get it. As a rather jaded London girl (who thinks she has seen it all), your shop is the best! Since I returned to work, all and sundry asked about my trip to Somerset and are rather bemused that it was "just" an outing to Nostalgia. I cock a snook at them and rather pity them...they shall never know of these gorgeous things. Your shop is the "wardrobe" (as in The Lion, the Witch...)to another fantastic world. See you in November. X

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  7. Oh, I so want to come and visit your shop! Everything is so pretty, so rosy, so perfectly lovely!! I want it all........

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  8. As everyone has already said...but I'm going to reiterate it anyway...I wish I could come and visit your shop. I am sooo jealous of you for being surrounded buy all these beautiful things all the time! Hopefully I will get there one day (still a student at the mo!) xxx

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  9. Hi Niki ... Your place is magical ! My only regret is that I am not on your side of the deep blue, to make a visit possible. I visit your blog daily,just to see what's new. Honestly, having recently gone thru a painful divorce, I think my visits to your lovely shop have been my escape from reality. I also enjoy visiting the different locales you photograph during your time away from the shop. I wish you much happiness & continued success in your endeavors ! Sue XOXO

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  10. oh my goodness!! you have captured the pure essence of vintage. such lovely treasures you have.
    blessings
    marie

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  11. Niki, I believe that people are really just amazed at the collection of fabulous things you have all in one wonderful little shop! Some people might be prying, but most are truly enthralled--you have the best eye for vintage, and we all wish we could live in your world just for a little while! Thanks again for all the beauty you bring us!--Cheryl

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  12. I loved reading this post. It was so reflective.

    It's funny that people say and react exactly the same on the other side of the world. I hear the question of "where do you get your stuff" constantly. I have no problem telling them, emphasizing how much work it is and how hard it is to find. Besides, they're not likely to go to the trouble I do.

    And thrift store prices, even our estate sales, are often more than I would charge, yet I see people snapping up the things they could get cheaper, but pass up, in my shop. I'm always so tempted to get snarky and tell them. But I don't. ;-)

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  13. What a great post Niki. I too would have been taken by surprise if someone asked me where I got something - actually, some people ask me how I make something or what I used, or where I bought something... and it's difficult to say without being rude. But I like your conclusion that people genuinely are interested, because the antiques and collectables all have a history.
    Hmmmm we're up to the 70s? ick....

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  14. Oh how I wish I could hop a plane and fly overseas and come right to your store. There are few stores or antique shops that carry the amount of quality and quantity as you do here in the states.

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  15. Hi Niki!
    These pictures are wonderful, I have seen objects that are now here with me! What a pleasure! ;o))
    This walk on your blog fills me with "nostalgia" ... see you soon, Maria.
    (with translator)

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  16. Your photographs and things are gorgeous. I wouldn't dream of asking where things were found, that is all part of the adventure is to seek out the shops whether they be antique shops or charity shops.
    Julie xxxxx

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  17. Niki,

    What a lovely post, I can imagine that alot of people ask where you get your stock but I think thats becaue it is all so wonderful, they can't imgine where you'd get such a collection. It's all from the past :) Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photographs

    All things nice...

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  18. Lovely post Niki and as i scrolled down i noticed more and more things that i had bought from you over the years, including that gorgeous blue and white china wall pocket.

    The throw away society may have arrived in shepton mallot in the form of the 70's but rest assured all the lovely vintage items found in your shop from the past, now and in the future will remain treasured.

    best wishes as always Ginny x

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  19. Hi Niki,
    I too am asked constantly 'where do you get all your stuff from?' I simply reply, 'Well, it's all out there and you only have to go looking for it'. I find it a bit impertinent at times that someone thinks that I'm going to reveal my sources after so much effort has gone into finding everything, but like you say, I also think that most customers are genuinely interested in seeing all the vintage stuff because they are simply not immersed in this world like we are. And what a joy it is to be a part of, and to perhaps be an influence on others to alter their future buying habits.
    Hope to see you soon,
    Christine x

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  20. Great photos! I had fun looking at all the textures, colors and sparkles!
    Thanks for being a fabulous collector of everything we love!
    ~Sadie Lou

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  21. Wise words, lovely reflective thoughts Niki. I am often asked the same question about my stock at fairs. My usual answer these days is that "it seems to find me"... as I never seem to have much problem in finding interesting items, long may it continue as I love it! Have a good week. xx

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Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx