Meet Kate. She took the plunge and found success, representing what so many of us want to do, but need the inspiration to make that final jump. After falling in love with California and finding that she could make a real go of vintage collecting and selling, she packed up her calculator and hit the road. From Philly to The Bay, Kate has become a successful seller and homesteader. Check out Kate’s Krrb corner and read on for your own inspiration.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), treasure hunter, gardener, crocheter, knitter, hobby photographer and nature lover. I currently own and operate two Etsy shops: Story Tellers Vintage and Foothill Fibers N’ Photo where I sell both vintage and handmade designs. And obviously, I have my Krrb corner.
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I’m originally an East Coast native and lived in the Philadelphia, PA where I went to school and worked as an accountant. I fell in love with the wilds of California on visits here, then packed up and drove cross country two years ago to begin a new adventure in my life.
What is the most awesome thing in or about your neighborhood?
There are two things really that I love: the people and the landscape. Everyone in town is super friendly; loves to laugh and our neighbors are always there when you need a hand. After living in and near a major city for over 20 years, my breath is taken away each day by the foothills, rivers and sunsets here in California. I’m forever in love!
List the top 5 places you go locally to discover hidden treasures.
My all time favorite has to be church rummage sales. Everyone is super friendly and you can find the best bargains there. My favorite shop is probably Cherry Records, here in downtown Auburn. It’s my first stop when I need a vintage vinyl fix. The music is always blasting and I can spend hours in there looking for a new LP for my personal collection.
What blogs or websites do you visit regularly?
Oh So Lovely Vintage is run by super sweet Canadian ladies with an awesome orange mobile trailer shop. Rackk and Ruin is my go-to blog for a fashion fix. My newest obsession is a UK-based vintage fashion blog called Life Vintage Magazine.
As a kid, were any of your toys and clothes hand-me-downs?
I grew up as an only child, so my hand-me-downs came when I was a little older. Right before high school is when I started raiding my Mom and Dad’s suitcases of clothes from the 70s. All I can say is I wish I could have lived through the 70s and I had some of the sweetest Halloween costumes as a kid!
Today, how often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? What is your modus operandi? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
I go to yard sales, estate sales and any other sale that’s going on in my area on a weekly basis. Being the left-brained, numbers girl that I am, I make a schedule of sales and map them out the night before. I hit the road with my dog Ace, coffee and reusable shopping totes in hand. My personal yard and estate sale tip: don’t be afraid to try and negotiate a lower price if you’re picking up more than a few items or if something you like has a major flaw. However, if an item is decently priced and in perfect condition, give ‘em a break and pay the asking price.
Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street or dumpster? If so, what was it? And where is it now?
So many times I can’t even count! Let’s see…two of my living room end tables, many ceramic planter pots…and random odds and ends. They’re still with me today in California! I love finding old furniture pieces and sanding them down to repaint or stain. If you’re looking for curb side treasures, go to the nearest college town at the end of the school year and drive around a few blocks to spot items the kids just don’t want the trouble hauling away.
Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
In theory I’m a minimalist…however I find my boyfriend asking me every so often: “How long are you going to leave this here, Kate?”
What is your most cherished thrifted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess? What’s the story behind it?
I have one of my Dad’s US Army shirts from the 1970’s with our last name on the lapel. This will be with me forever. And, yes, it was a previous Halloween costume of mine, that I still rock every once and a while. My second most cherished item is my ‘new’ 1975 GMC mint green Suburban. While it’s only been with me for 6 months, it’s a new favorite of mine, perfect for my road trips to San Francisco! It’s an absolute beast that I hope to fully restore one day.
Do you make things? What are you working on these days?
I’ve loved art ever since I was a child and break out my supply of paints, pastels and pencils every once in a while to add to my walls. I’ve also been crocheting since I was 8 years old and am a self-taught knitter of over two years now. I love coming up with new patterns or ways to make functional crochet pieces. So when I’m not out treasure hunting or in my garden, you’ll find me crocheting and snapping pics to add to my handmade shop.
Oh, by the way, what’s your day job?
I am currently self-employed, handling a number of tax and accounting clients with my CPA license, treasure hunting and creating as well. I worked as a full-time accountant for a number of years and just realized I didn’t want to spend my life in an office. So, I’ve taken the plunge and am working hard toward my own success.