Let’s talk about the word ‘vintage’.
When we decided to take the {slightly crazy} plunge and open up a vintage shop we knew what we wanted to create. We just weren’t sure what to call it.

What we wanted: a shop full of vintage and antique things for the home. Some furniture. Lots of chalk paint. Maybe some new things if they fit the look and feel.

We wanted to support reuse and handmade over buying new. We wanted to find things that are pretty while being useful.

And sometimes just pretty.

So how to describe what we wanted? ‘Antiques’ convey either well-oiled, high end decor or jumbled piles in booths in antique malls. ‘Vintage’ feels closer but also conveys mid-century, Pyrex and full circle skirts.

Don’t get us wrong, we love mid-century, but at The Snugbug Mercantile we’re more likely to dig mid-nineteenth century.

[Except when it comes to dresses. Long-time Snugbug readers KNOW how much Patty loves a good 50’s silhouette!]

While we tend to use ‘vintage’ a lot when describing our vibe,  when folks come into the shop and ask us “Where do you get all your stuff?” or “Is this all old or new?” We like to say it’s pre-loved.

So where do find our stuff? Well, here’s our current top sources (ranked from ‘meh’ to ‘yeah!’)

{#5} One-on-One Transactions

Whether it’s want-ads, craigslist or a guy off the street, we have gotten some things through 1/1 transactions. As we’re open longer and get to know more folks we expect we’ll see more of this!

{#4} Yard Sales

Yard sales can’t be beat for great prices. The problem with yard sales? The ratio of sales that are all kid-stuff to all cool-stuff is not condusive to effective time management. Or put into other words… we have to hit a LOT of sales to get enough of those well-priced items to make it worth our while.

{#3} Auctions

We’re auction-newbies, so our take on it is evolving. So far, auctions are a LOT like yard sales in terms of time-investment to good stuff. What we’ve gotten has been at great price-points, but we were at the auction for a long, long time. The upside to auctions (that doesn’t apply to yard sales) is that it’s easy to tell who knows what’s worth what, so the people-watching was a great education experience!

{#2} Flea Markets

Flea markets are a little loosey-goosey for us. Some ‘flea markets’ are just antique malls calling themselves flea markets. Some are too full of dollar store socks and home-party dealer tables. But some can be a treasure-trove of cool, cheap stuff!

{#1} Antique Malls

Here’s the surprising one… taking into account the prices that we can find AND the time it takes to get a good haul, our best luck has been at plain, old-fashioned antique malls. We try to keep our eye out for whole-booth sales where everything is marked down 20-50%. But even if we’re just picking through the booths at the marked prices, we’ve had great luck in finding things that are perfect for our particular look and feel.

So what’s YOUR secret for finding vintage and antiques?


PS – this post was the feature article in last week’s newsletter. If you’d like to be included – sign up here!

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