Today we're interviewing the gal who started it all. Susan is sharing the story behind Cottage Grove Vintage Market as well as her top tips for using vintage in your space, bringing new life to old pieces, and making your house a home.
KB: What’s the story behind Cottage Grove Vintage Market? How did it all get started?
SD: This was not ever on my list of things to do, not a dream or a goal, but I’ve always loved vintage furniture, antiques, and things that were a little different or that needed a little attention. Whether it was refinishing, repainting, gluing, or reupholstering, I could see the potential a piece had. I started refinishing pieces because that’s what I could afford and new things didn’t appeal to me.
When chalk paint first came on the market several years ago, I started painting some of my vintage pieces and my friends and family commented on them, asking if I had thought about painting for other people. At that point I was just doing it for myself, but I started selling a few pieces, and then I started finding pieces and painting and selling them.
My husband suggested I look for a retail space, which scared me to death! But I started looking. I didn’t really have a plan, but my vision originally was always vintage, local, and somehow including moms in the business because moms have so much creativity but a small amount of time. Three years later, we’re operating with those three things in place.
After a year of being in business and doing my own buying and selling, I met the Julie and Missy from Found and Sue from Four Corner Finds and asked if they would be interested in renting a space in the shop. It took a couple of months of talking and convincing them because they had never sold in a brick and mortar store, but I convinced them to come on board and rent some space from me. I met Katie of Syd&Lou and Ryan of Grey Street Market 8 or 9 months later, so they moved in the next year. Lawrie of Crazy Daisy Designs and Jeff and Kim of Yorick & Co. joined us last fall when we expanded our space. Everybody has the same feel, we just each have a little added personality to what we carry in our space.
KB: Has anything surprised you about owning the shop?
SD: I’ve been very surprised at how diverse the ages are that shop us. Teenage girls, young moms just starting out, and people who have had homes for years all love our shop. I’m also surprised at how much having a website and social media drives our business, even though we don’t sell online. That’s how the word gets out now.
KB: How would you describe your style?
SD: I would say neo-traditional or fresh traditional. My personal style is based on traditional core pieces and then changing out colors with accessories. The pieces I carry in the shop are a mix of my personal style and what others will like. The other vendors and I have our finger on the pulse of not only current trends in home furnishings throughout the country, but also what is Southern and what is distinctly Greenville.
Whatever your cottage is--new, old, big, or small--everybody wants to feel warmth and the sense that your house can wrap you up and feel cozy, protective, and welcoming. That’s what we’re after.
KB: Are there any specific trends/pieces customers are loving right now? Is there a style or look that’s flying out of the shop?
SD: Hollywood regency, painted faux bamboo, and white furniture are always popular choices among our customers.
KB: Any tips for styling with vintage?
SD: Vintage allows you to style on a dime. Pull out trays and large platters and corral a few pieces on your tray for a cohesive look. I also love the idea of collections. If you have a collection of old decanters or blue and white china, arrange and display the pieces all together.
Painting furniture that you already have is a real cost savings. A piece might be good quality and with the right scale, but you’re tired of the color or the wood finish. Painting gives you the freshness and the whimsy of a designer piece without much added cost.
The best thing about vintage is that it adds that feeling of whimsy, keeping your home from looking like a hotel room or a catalog. When you pair vintage pieces with your new pieces, that’s when warmth happens, giving that cozy, lived in feel, like the perfect old pair of jeans.
KB: What’s your favorite thing about owning the shop?
SD: The people. The sense of community from repeat customers, new customers, and new connections is hands down the best thing.