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FARMHOUSE CHIC

We have been so busy working on our new brick and mortar storefront here in Waco, TX. We rented a space from and next to Waco’s iconic Laverty’s. Pat Laverty has spent more than two decades building her brand from the old Holze Music Company building on the near North side of Waco, just north of Waco Dr. on 18th St. Not quite within walking distance from the television super star Magnolia Market and the Silos, but not that far either….. just a few blocks north of Magnolias warehouse that spends most days with a full staff fulfilling online orders.
Getting our doors open was not totally smooth, but relatively easy. Still have a few minor adjustments to make….. literally have to fix the old front door with a beveled full lite door, so heavy, it has pulled the top hinge loose from the jamb. We have been having a lot of fun with the front window vignettes – the south window now is sporting vintage swimwear and flags,southwindowswimwear

while the north window is showing off a recently repurposed office meeting table painted and stained top – flanked by vintage metal folding chairs – inspired by Roger and Chris Stout-Hazard. Perched on top are a pair of Victorian “painted lady” balloon back chairs with petite slipcovers on the seats. All creating a classic farmhouse style setting.

northwindowfarmtable
Our traffic varies from one day to the next. Waco has become a quasi international town with the popularity of locally acclaimed ‘Fixer Upper’ stars Chip and Joanna (JoJo) Gaines. It has definitely become a ‘national’ destination attraction thanks to this couples phenomenal success on the popular decorating channel HGTV. Customers greet us wearing #demoday and #shiplap t-shirts throughout the day. Which is why securing the location in Laverty’s building is such a great opportunity for us. Laverty’s is a frequent stop for the ‘shopping’ scenes on Fixer Upper, and because of that, generates a great deal of traffic from fans making a shopping ‘pilgrimage’ of the show. Not far from Laverty’s and now Junk Exchange, are several homes that have been episodes, but also just minutes away from Harp Design’s workshop and the first home featured on Fixer Upper.
Our style is evolving into updated farmhouse decor – American Classic to French Country. Our ruffled muslin and burlap shams are customer favorites. These have been sold at shows in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Florida. The natural 100% cotton muslin has roots here in the south, in Texas and here in Waco, in the heart of Texas. Waco is home to the Cotton Palace and a destination for cotton growers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Several of the cotton plantation homes have become historic designations. Back in the day, cotton was King here and celebrated for weeks on end.

We are transitioning the store from a typical “junk” store (but we have too much ‘junk’ right now) to a showroom that shows off our designs and re-imagined vintage items. We will be displaying all of the products we have made in the past, and add all the designs yet to be converted to actual products for sale. Patio seating, tables and lighting; new pillow lines; souvenir items; custom slipcovers and pillows…. just to mention a few. Hopefully, all of our fans new and old, will be excited to see what is on the near horizon.

 

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Knowledge is money in the collectible field

One of many passions in the antique and collectible field we have been drawn to, is art. From lithos and prints to watercolors and oil paintings. It started many years ago.
We were doing a show at the old Fair Park Womens Building. A cross section of the things we are drawn to at auctions and estate sales. There was a wonderful small water color of a chalet up in the Alps. An initial in one corner. Great attention to detail. Artist to this day remains unknown, but it is still in our collection. We had a mix of glass ware, advertising , jewelry and small furniture. Among that was a sweet simple pattern Lenox cake stand. The Lenox cream color with a simple gold band; marked under the pedestal.
A distinguished gentleman came into our booth and went straight to the cake stand. He was on a mission for an anniversary present for a friend. Picked it up – carefully checking for any possible damage. Saw the price sticker. Turned and handed it to us. We had it reasonably priced and he asked us to wrap it up. While we were finishing that and putting his purchase in a bag, he continued to look around the booth. He went for the small watercolor, and asked us if we had anything else like that. We told him about another slightly larger water color we had gotten at a yard sale. It was back at the house. We hadn’t done any research on the piece. Now for all of the younger people that may be reading this, it was prior to the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips now.
We were in Dallas at the time. To research art, we made many trips a week for a few hours at a time to the downtown public library. The fourth floor was where the Fine Art reference section was located. When we had a name to look up, we would scour the card catalog and gather all reference material we could carry. Went to one of the small tables and had our note book and stack of nickels to make copies of articles that were able to be copied.
We couldn’t remember the name of the artist exactly – the first name of the signature was difficult to read, but the last name was legible, and did remember that. When we described the water color to him and told him the name we thought was the artist, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a card. The image size was like 16 x 28. It was a landscape of sorts, with a rustic stand and covering at the top. We were later to learn this was a depiction of an Alaskan Eskimo cache, a recurring theme for this particular artist. Our customer, the soft spoken, distinguished gentleman, asked if he could call to make an appointment to take a look at it later. We said of course. The show was going to be over the next day, and we didn’t think much about this particular customer.
Until Monday morning that is. He called around 9am, and asked if he could come by later – he was going to be in Dallas and wanted to accomplish a couple other errands while there. We were on his list. So about an hour later, he was knocking at our door. We invited him in and had the piece handy for him to take a look. He pulled his loop out and gave it a good going over. Once he was satisfied, he asked us what we had planned to do with it. We hadn’t really thought about when, but told him we would probably be selling it. He made us an offer of $600. He had my complete attention with that offer – we had only paid a nominal amount at the yard sale. We explained we hadn’t really had a chance to do any research on it, and that we really liked it. He explained that on the weekends for many years, he and his wife travelled around Texas stopping at small shops on the many back Texas highways in search of art. It was a hobby, but now that he was retired, he had turned his collecting into a full time brokering business.
He offered to sell it on commission for us – charging us only 25% instead of his usual 33% fee. He explained he thought he had a buyer in California that would purchase the water color, but he would have to ship it to him and let him inspect it to authenticate it to his satisfaction. It was his way of saying it may take a few weeks to complete a transaction if he was successful. We signed his stock agreement and made ourselves busy with the other things we gathered to sell. Again, this was pre-internet, cell phones, google, etc.
About two weeks later, we received an evening call. He asked if we were sitting down. He had been in touch with the California dealer, and was calling to tell us they had made a deal, but that it would take a few days for the check to clear his account at his bank. He proceeded to tell us that his share of the sale was $1200.00. We were shocked and thrilled with that news. The dealer had several collectors in California for this particular artist and had it placed almost immediately. So we drove to Bedford – one of the mid cities between Dallas and Fort Worth a couple days later to pick up our check.
We have continued to buy and sell art ever since. One sale to a collector we know, provided the funds necessary for a down payment on our house. Knowledge is power and in most cases in the antique and collectible field, it also means money – especially when you know more about an item than the person or company selling it. Art is an incredibly broad field, but can provide a very good return on your investment, if you spend the time to develop your eye for quality.

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Follow up leads

As you know, we just finished doing the La Bahia show during antique week.  Now to follow up on all the leads we gathered during the show.

Going to work on all our orders first and then getting the work done for more orders.  It will be great to convert all these wonderful contacts into continuing orders for us.  It would mean doing just this show twice a year, instead of chasing all over the country promoting what our workshop is capable of doing.

We are also getting with our joint venture people to develop a better compensation package and design better displays and packaging for better results at the shows they do.  We are going to be working on an affiliate program for those that blog and have their own websites that like our style and our products.

So if you know of anyone or know of a store, please let us know the name and how to get in touch with them.  Or feel free to send them or tell them our info.

 

Thanks, Rod and Troy

 

 

 

 

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La Bahia Show during Antique Week in Texas

We survived our first show at the La Bahia venue in and around the old La Bahia Hall in Burton Texas.  It is a relatively small venue with around 100 spaces and 60 vendors.  First stop on your right as you enter Texas 237 off US290 arriving from Brenham from the east.

labahiaspring2016booth1001

Antique Week in Texas is a bit of a misnomer, as many of the fields have vendors selling their wares for over three weeks.  The shows stretch from just outside of Brenham along US 290, into Carmine (pronounce car- mean).  If you back up a little the main attractions are all along Texas State Highway 237 almost into LaGrange on the other end.

Now 237 is a small relatively un-traveled road except for commercial trucks and the local ranchers  Round Top and Warrenton boast a combined 100 residents give or take a few.  Residents of Fayette county, don’t even pass the 25,000 mark – except during the Spring and Fall Antique week.  During those two events the attendance of the shows can bring in 100,000 plus visitors and vendors.  We invade the beautiful Fayette County countryside like a swarm of locusts.

This La Bahia show was our first time to set up and the first time to even step foot on the grounds.  We have attended Antique Week festivities for over 15 years, but had never made it to this wonderful show.  The people we met here were warm, friendly and helpful – these were the other vendors and the show promoters Carol and Roy Schmidt and their daughter Courtney.

The customers that came to this field – some of whom have shopped with us in the other fields – almost to person vowed their allegiance to La Bahia, claiming it has always been their favorite and would never miss it.  And to my surprise, there were a large number of customers who were arriving to Antique Week for the very first time.  Customers came in from all around the US and many international visitors as well.

We had the best time and met great people – people we hope will come back to see us often.  Needless to say, but it has also become our favorite, and one we will never miss again.

 

Rod and Troy

 

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EVOKE Magazine French country living room decorating ideas

EVOKE magazine

We discovered this wonderful publication when a story about our friends from California were featured in the first issue. French country living room

Evoke_Cover

decorating ideas highlighted with professional, phenomenal pictures of French country living rooms and patios and bedrooms and staircases, and and and……..

This magazine, EVOKE,  is brimming with wonderful photos and well written articles. As the name implies, images that bring to life, thoughts that vintage life bring to mind. Great read for any decorator or individual that wants terrific tips and possibilities for implementing vintage with today’s lifestyle and decor. Thanks to Morgan Jane Miller and Bill Miller for putting this together for all of us to enjoy.

We can’t imagine anyone in the business we are in, that would hesitate to have a home like the one pictured above.  If you want to get info on how to do it, don’t forget to check them out in the links below!

 To get your hard copy HERE or if you are in a big hurry, you can get a digital version HERE !

If you have any questions, please go to the area below to ask, comment or suggest.

Thanks, Rod and Troy

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Refining our product line

Over the years, our first product – the one we could replicate – has been our reproduction post cards.  Old Victorian post cards that we mount on a 6×9″ board.  Old images. We have collected probably over a million, and saved digitally thousands of these wonderful old images.

postcardsindisplay

Many of our re-purposed items involved adding upholstery.  We have turned end tables and coffee tables into tufted benches.  We have taken small serving tables and chest on legs into entry benches.  Two of our customer favorites are old metal gliders and army cots.

army cot upgrade
army cot upgrade

 

glider upgrade
glider upgrade

These were the first type of furniture we did pillows and slip covers for.  One of a kind – in the biz we are in these are referred to as OOAK – that were designed for and around the piece we were working on.  Very few of the pillows and slipcovers that we did then were ever re-created.  There were similarities, but each piece of furniture inspired the design we came up with to re-purpose it.

Our goal should have been making money perhaps, but in reality was about creating.  As long as we were making enough money to pay the bills and buy food along the way, we were happy and satisfied with the results.  We started getting more serious about this a few years back when Troy finally decided to quit smoking.

The change of that habit and lack of good eating habits and little exercise, led to Type II diabetes for him.  It ran in his family as well as mine.  I was luckier.  When I quit 20 years earlier, my lifestyle at the time, allowed for eating healthier, and physical work that kept me from developing diabetes.  I was lucky.

Because fabric has been involved in so many of our early projects, it evolved into producing lampshades, pillow shams, and slip covers.  Our current best selling shams are the muslin and burlap shams – muslin base with a burlap patch.  We block print designs and sayings on the burlap patch.  The bee design was the very first design we made….. it didn’t turn out the way we wanted, but within a few hours, we realized how to make it work.  That was in the fall of 2009.

first design
first design

The bee design is a Victorian inspired theme.  That era used many designs inspired by plants and animals that were a part of every day life.

Our designs are vintage inspired.  We are adding to each style and line on a weekly basis.  Our OOAK line of Prairie Primitive , is a tea dyed, been in a cedar chest for 50+ years, one of a kind (sometimes pair, if we find matching vintage linens to use), look.

sample 1001
sample 1001

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We also have a line we call our scrapbook pillows – to mimic the enormous hobby of scrapbooking.

scrapbook samples scrapbook1021 scrapbook1013

And we have our line of Holiday throw pillows

Dancing Rabbits
Dancing Rabbits

and here is an example of a re-do on a pair of 8′ doors:

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beadboarddoors02

beadboarddoors03

 

beadboarddoors01

 

As always, if you have a question, comment or request, please leave us a comment below.

Thanks.

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What do you do now?

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country!”  How many times did I type that saying out when I was learning how to type by touch…… a lot of people probably don’t even remember that.  It fits though, whatever it is you are doing.. both the practice of it and the meaning.

Now – whatever you have set for your goal, now is the time to do something about it.  Now is all we have. Make the most of it.  We have to remind ourselves of that all the time.

Our goal is to reorganize our brick and mortar real time business.  To streamline it.  We have put in place a system of moving through our collected treasures, and exchange them for cash.  Each and every day, that is the current goal.  We also have in place, other companies to help us develop and manufacture our product designs to our specifications, so we can grow our company.  But right now, the mountain of stuff we have is in the way.

Over the next few days, next couple of weeks, we have to do what is necessary to sort, price and present to our customers a couple of years of stuff. Boxes and mounds.  A small to medium houseful. To be fair, there is market value in 80-90% of it.

If you have an idea to help liquidate our inventory – please leave us a comment below.  Thanks.

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Putting out fires – the antagonist of accomplishment

That title just came to me.. wonder if I read it somewhere and forgot?  The antagonist of accomplishment – putting out fires.

This is what I think is the most common problem with maintaining consistency in working for yourself. When you wake up, have your day lined out. Know what has to be done the next day, the night before. Start with the first six and prioritize. Do the thing that most people have a problem doing. Make a list. MAKE A LIST! It really is that important.

For me, what happens when I don’t make a list. Distraction. Anxiety. Stress. Anger. I tend to get really upset when what I had a desire to do, gets sidetracked to do something else. Something that I forgot to do. Something that family or friends deem more important – after all, you work for yourself. You should be able to have a ‘flexible’ schedule. Like everything else it is a balancing act.

We have a new partner now. The stress level has risen.

One of the things my partners and I experimented with this last year is having people sell our products at shows they are doing. Theoretically, it expands our market and gives us more time in the workshop to make more products – win win! It is working, but not as smoothly as we had hoped. We realize we have to lay out what we expect and see if the people we have asked to joint venture with us – is that still a current term? or is ‘network’ the new term?

When it was just two of us, assigning time to do this task or that task was not a big deal. But as the numbers of people we are including into our nest, time is becoming a much scarcer commodity.

 

my thoughts for today.  Rod

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junker or hoarder?

OMG, we are so over the stuff!  Have one more load to bring home from the estate in San Antonio……

New goal- clear the house, garage, garage apartment and storage.. we don’t even need all this stuff.  Have the show to do during Antique Week – setting up at La Bahia this time – and then it will be sort and clean.  Hope the peeps here in Waco, are READY for the garage sale of the year!

hoarder10001a

A good friend of ours gave us the 3 box system years ago to deal with the stuff, but haven’t taken advantage of that system until now. Before you start, choose where the boxes are going when full –  Trash is easy – take it to the trash can outside or the dumpster if you live in an apartment.  The donate boxes, load up in your vehicle when full before you have a chance to change your mind.  The keep and sell boxes present a little bit more of an opportunity.  If you are doing a yard sale, you can put them in a corner of your garage or storage, until the weather allows for a sale; or if you are junkers like us, then list them online or price them and take them to the store or mall you sell in.  The keep box – this gets a little trickier.  Ideally, you should put out these items for display and enjoyment.  If you can’t decide what to do, then you should probably price it and put it in the sell box.

What you do is start somewhere – one room or space.  Have 3 boxes ( we changed it to 4 boxes), one for trash, one for donate, one for keep (Sherry always tried to get us to make that a small box).  We added a ‘sell’ box.  So that’s the basics.  Stay in the room and sort.  When you fill a box, move it to the appropriate area.  If you use this system correctly and don’t spend a lot of time reminiscing about the individual items, you can move through the rooms in a hurry.

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Antique Week Round Top Texas

Antique Week Round Top Texas
Junk Exchange will be there!

Antique vendors became aware of this wonderful sleepy little area over 40 years ago. Emma Lee Turney, Founder of the first antiques show in the Round Top area in 1967, brought people together from all over the country and various parts of the world.  In 2000, Warrenton’s population was 65, and for some reason no census data for 2010. Round Top’s population was 80 in the 2010 census. Guesstimate for the traffic Antique Week brings to these normally quiet parts of Texas balloons to over 100,000, according to the magazine that caters to the shows during this time – The show daily

If you would rather have an aerial view, then take a look at this!

We have been showing at this event off and on for 20 years. The first time we set up down there was in the Bluebonnet Field with Carol and Travis. Wonderful people. We were amazed at the traffic that came to this sleepy little area, along Texas Highway 237. Warrenton Texas is about halfway along the stretch of 237 from LaGrange Texas to Carmine Texas, where Highway 237 joins up with US 290. Today, there are shows all along that route.

 

slipcovers and sham
slipcovers and sham

 

Over the course of these last 20 years, we have been in fields we really liked and did well at during the show. Then, as often is the case, life happens. Events occur that require change. That being the case, when we left the Blue Bonnet field, we came back to Antique Week at the newly set up Bar W field – great people there and had a great spot right up front along 237. But my fathers looming death one year, meant giving up the spot so we could visit him one last time. When we came back, we were able to set up at the relatively new show called Marburger Farm that John Saul had started. We stayed there for 3-4 shows. We had a lot of friends that were already there, and several others joined in during the time we were there. We met a lot of great people, some are still good friends today.

After that, friends that we met in our travels, who also set up at Marburger to promote the vendors they had in their antique mall – Hillcrest Antiques, along I35 in New Braunfels – ended up purchasing the Warrenton Inn. The name changed to Hillcrest Inn, a sought after B&B during the show, and also developed the area behind the Inn for vendors to set up. Though the eventual layout is a vast improvement to what was originally there, it fell short of the owner’s vision. When you have to put a pencil to cost vs. return, you sometimes have to change the vision. We applaud Pam and Robert Bryant for the changes they were able to provide – covered pavillions with concrete and decking, side tarps to protect from the frequent storms that blow through, lights, electricity, and fans. Also on site, are showers and a washer/dryer area to help vendors during the 10 day show.

Of course, Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic, has loved coming to Antique Week for many years, and has established a business for herself in Round Top – The Prairie .

This spring, another change has occured for us, and as luck would have it, we were able to get into the La Bahia show at the Carmine end of the Texas 237 route. Its in and around a wonderful old Dance Hall run by Carol and Roy Schmidt. This will be our first time showing there and we are very excited. We have friends that have been setting up there since the show first opened. It is on the east side of Round Top, and is one of the very first antique shows that you meet coming in from Brenham, just west of the split at US 290 and Texas 237. We invite you to stop by and experience this wonderful, relatively small show for the area. It has plenty of parking and more bang for the buck than most of the other shows during Antique Week, including the big ones in Round Top. Please let them know Junk Exchange invited you.

There are plenty of other sites to see and experience – for any fans of HGTV shows, the Junk Gypsy family is there in Round Top and Joanna Gaines of the Fixer Upper loves to come to Antique Week and shop.

 

Non-junker attractions include, but certainly are not limited to the two I am about to mention, are :

Royer’s Cafe – if you have a taste for good food and a sweet tooth, your visit won’t be complete without giving Bud and his family a chance.

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The International-Festival Institute at Round Top for the culture minded is worth the trip just in itself.  Amazing grounds and buildings host wonderful musical delights.

Festivalnstitute Poster
Festival lnstitute Poster