A Dealer is Born
Guest Blogger Lisa Gerber, owner of Burning Bird Studio Vintage is helping Stacey Thompson out this week.
I am a professional hoarder of vintage clothing, hats, accessories, kitchen items, furniture and just about anything quirky that catches my eye. I honestly watch the television show “Hoarders” just to remind myself that I do not want my children to be rolling their eyes on camera as they tell my story of how it all started, while the lens pans over to me cowering in the corner sobbing because my family wants to take my hat collection to the thrift store.
I can remember as far back as five years old, rummaging through my Grandmother’s closet in search of the old photos that lived in the red and white box. The decades of pictures of women in hats with big feather plums, high laced boots and jewelry that seemed to sparkle even in black and white and the men dressed in wool suits, sporting spats, not much of a smile, but always with a dapper hat left its imprint on my ever forming vintage soul.
As I grew older my family began to notice my love of old things and the collections began. Hats in boxes, antique dresses, sparkly jewelry, creepy mime figurines, furniture, old dusty books, tea pots and tea cups. These items, along with new collections moved with me from Ohio, to Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California and back to Pennsylvania. I decorated all my homes with an eclectic mix of old and new finds. I often was sent on buying missions for friends and family. I am smiling as I write this.
Fast forward to 2009, I was helping a friend categorize and find prices for her parent's Antiques. I took her to an Antique store where she could possibly consign her items and make more money than taking her chances at auction. A woman with a Suzanne Pleshette voice was eavesdropping on our conversation and commanded me to stop. She said, “You should be doing this, you need to become a dealer.” I laughed and said, “Someday.” Something in her Marlboro voice got my wheels spinning and before I knew it I signed a lease for a space in the shop and walked out a dealer of all things vintage.
I have sold my wares in many brick and mortar stores and am happy to say that I am a merchant at Morgantown Market, sell on EBay, Etsy and occasionally the yard sale groups on Facebook. I also junk metal, flip my finds at auction and send buying mistakes back to thrift stores, and only occasionally can be found cowering in a corner.