Unable to sleep at 4 a.m., I turn on my phone and a blog post comes across my news feed. The story was about how young people in this day and age are just not into antiques. Well, I still consider myself young- cause 40 is the new thirty, right? I grew up in a family of avid antique collectors- my grandparents owned a World War I museum.
I spent many years as a child riding around in real WWI military tanks and in the process, learning through osmosis about vintage and antique items. While spending weekends and summers at their house- I saw so many amazing things. I even worked in their restaurant, taking orders and flipping the occasional hamburger. I often wonder if it was the environment that I grew up in that spawned my love and appreciation of all things old?
But of that I am not sure. ( As I was the only one of three children that stayed in the “family” business). I can admit that interior design was my first calling- not so much my love for vintage or antiques. Several years of college and two babies (both born after I had decided to go back and finish school) prevented me from completing college. But the second time around my love for vintage and antique items flourished, largely due to my study of architecture and this helped me to get more in touch with my artistic self. That was all it took. My creative side increased exponentially- while space in my house became non existent.
I love the stuff. I love finding the stuff. I love getting a deal on the stuff. Its as easy as that. As a child, I picked with all my family members. My dad collected pedal cars and antique toys. My mom collected antique dolls, linens, and vintage items. My grandparents had everything war related and then some. My maternal grandfather had been an architect in Long Island, NY and had been collecting since the 1940s. I grew up picking with my family back in the 1970’s ( yes my age is being revealed).
The first pick that I remember being on was when I bought something at the Greyhound Park Swap Meet in my home town of Tucson, Arizona. It was all vintage and antiques. It was a mecca for great stuff! I remember seeing a teddy bear on a blanket. I got it for 10 cents! (Yes-those days are long gone) I have had Lulu for many years. And to find out that Lulu is a Steiff… ahhh…. that is the stuff that gets me. Attracts me. Reals me….and others like me IN….
Well, back to the subject. I believe young people are into antiques. They are into Vintage. They are into Mid Century Modern. They are into re-purposing and collecting. They are into DIY. They want a piece of history. They want to be unique and share their tastes and display relics of the past along with the new items that they have purchased. They may pick up a piece of furniture off a selling site or on a curb alert, paint it and fix it up, bringing it back to life. They get the pure joy and accomplishment of making something whole again…to create a treasure in its own right. More than ever- men and women want to express themselves where they live, work and relax. Men have caves. Women have studios. Steampunk aficionados create one of a kind pieces, using old scraps of machinery; and musical instruments are turned into mind blowing lamps. Some people make jewelry out of Victorian buttons…the list goes on and on! And did I mention fashion? I think you get my point.
But I think the mode in which they obtain these pieces of the past has DEFINITELY changed. It used to be the norm to get antiques and vintage items at an antique mall. Or on a rare occasion- you usually knew someone who knew someone else- a phone call would be made and you would hit the road to get your treasure! But with the invention of the internet- and sites like eBay and Craigslist in 1995, as well as other newer online selling sites and apps (hint, hint ie…Got Good Bones™ ) it has evolved even much more into an extremely open market- which has affected prices. Greater supply lowers demand and therefore price. Items that were hard to find are now easily purchased online, shipped out the next day and delivered to your doorstep! (Talk about taking all the fun out of something!)
Also, every show on TV is about pickers out picking. They educate the eager fans about the history of an item that they have purchased and let them know what money they paid for it and what its worth is! That is so enticing!! Dollar bill signs are flashing before their eyes and they too want a piece of the action! So that is why you see so many people out and about, scouring thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, and antique malls looking for deals. They want to get a deal at a great price. So they will patiently wait to find their own treasures- and bypass the ones that they see that are marked at full retail. I can’t blame them. I do it. Everyone does it.
I love antique malls- and I have been a vendor for several years and I know how tough it is to make it. Malls are great places to still find stuff and especially those one of a kinds- or the must have piece that will complete a collection. They have great sales too! But what malls did not have in the past that they have now is the myriad of competition that other venues (online and yard sales, flea markets, swap meets, and thrift stores) have created.
In the old days- flea markets and swap meets were mostly for the avid collector or antique dealer. Now Suzy homemaker is out shopping and in tow, has her three kids scouring the tables for Gooseberry Pyrex and enamelware! And Suzy’s mom and best friend are in different cities looking in their areas for items for her to add to her collection too. Its a crazy and changed market out there!
I applaud mall and other small business owners who stay with the times and create many outlets for their items to seen and bought. They will be the ones who make it in this tough market. Many use Got Good Bones™ sites to help get their names out there and will post items to bring traffic into their stores!! I am all for that!!
I recently wrote a blog about a trunk I found. I was able to trace back its owners history to the late 1800’s. I paid pennies in comparison to what it is worth- as the history that it brings to the young people, who are reading my blog on their smart phone, while their significant other is out catching Pokemon- is priceless. They are out there…it may take a few years for the creative or decorative side to come through….but it will. And they too will become addicted like the rest of us… but maybe just maybe they won’t…and that will mean more for those who of us who have the itch.
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