Kate Sancer, The Devoted Thrifty Native from Los Angeles


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Kate Sancer can teach you a few things on the Los Angeles secondhand scene.

Kate Sancer can teach you a few things on the Los Angeles secondhand scene.

Christmas in Los Angeles isn’t so much about ice skating or knitted scarves so our sunny-weather friends find other ways to get into the spirit. For Krrb member Kate Sancer, who is a California native and retail maven, her holiday plans revolve around what goes around on tree and in the stocking. Finster Studio, her shop in Cypress Hills will be providing the vintage spirit for many homes in LA and beyond. Aside from gifting, Kate will also celebrate the yule tide by spending time with the family and donating gifts to those less fortunate. Read on to find out more about this Angelino and how she’s going to celebrate her shop’s one year anniversary.

Something about Finster Studios feels right at home.

Something about Finster Studios feels right at home.

Hi there! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I am a native Angelino. Born and raised. I have lived elsewhere for extended periods but I’m always drawn back to my beloved home town. I currently reside in Cypress Park and can and do often walk to my store.

What is the most awesome thing in or about your neighborhood?
The people! I love how down to earth, artistic, and supportive everyone is. Okay, and Footsies! It’s awesome being right next door to one of the best bars in L.A.

List the top 5 places you go locally to discover hidden treasures.
St.Vincents, Revival Vintage, Sun Beam Vintage, Sniveling Sibling, and of course any Out of the Closet branch. I’m really conscientious about where I spend my money and what businesses I’m supporting. I love knowing I’m helping support funding for AIDS research and patients.
Some of Kate's finds collected over the years.

Did you go to garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores as a kid?
Uh, hell yeah. In utero. I’m not kidding. My mom was addicted and we stopped any and everywhere a find might be had. Dumpster diving was even on the table. Now, of course, I’m so thankful I have her gene for it. For obvious reasons. But also because I’m passionate about landfill diversion and any part I can play in making sure that happens. And I’m still not above the occasional dive.

How often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.?
When it was just my hobby, it used to be at least once a week. Now that I am making a living doing what I love, I try to get out there every day I can.

Any personal tips you’d like to share?
Here’s a great one: Look for containers you like in and of themselves, and gather your collections in there. You end up with your goods and the storage item. If it has wheels, all the better. Oh, and watch your cart like a hawk. If you have “the eye,” fellow shoppers will take note and try to swoop in on your finds and won’t hesitate to dig stuff out of your cart.

Don't you just want to put your feet up and relax in this room?

Don’t you just want to put your feet up and relax in this room?

Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
If I had to choose one, then hoarder. But I’m constantly keeping myself in check. I’ve made myself sit through many episodes of Hoarders to remind myself not to accidentally bury my cat amongst my crap.

What blogs (design and otherwise) do you read right now?
Apartment Therapy. And I SO, SO miss Domino Magazine! Huffington Post, too.

What is your most cherished handcrafted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess?
Most cherished? That’s a tough one. The one I’m getting a lot of pleasure out of right now?… A graphic needlepoint baby kaka green flower in a black velvet lined square frame. Very early ’70s. It’s not that hard to determine my aesthetic is heavily influenced by the decor of the ’60s and ’70s.

What’s the story behind it?
Found it at a thrift store as I was breaking up the boyfriend I had been living with. I was looking forward to moving into my solo place and being able to decorate it entirely how I wanted. That was one of my “new” pieces that inspired my new direction for my fresh start.

A little corner inside Finsters.

A little corner inside Finsters.

What are you working on these days?
Finster Studio, Finster Studio, Finster Studio, Finster Studio, Finster Studio–an all-consuming endeavor. In addition to sales, we are part of Northeast Los Angeles Arts Organization. Every second Saturday we feature a new artist. And just recently we’ve added “Crappy Open Mic Night” every second and fourth Friday nights. We created a kind of a backyard BBQ, let’s entertain each other, no one looks stupid, let’s just have fun vibe. I am also the newly elected treasurer for Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council (GCPNC). I’m looking forward to being able to affect more positive changes in my ‘hood.

Oh, on the by and by, do you have a day job?
Running Finster Studio–I went all in starting this store! If I had other obligations I really don’t think it would have been possible to be going on our one year anniversary on December 10th.

Thanks Kate and Happy Anniversary!

The Short List

Finster Studio
2638 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles
St.Vincent de Paul Thrift Store
210 North Ave 21, Los Angeles
Revival Vintage
7403 Beverly Bulevard, Los Angeles
Sunbeam Vintage
Sniveling Sibling
5028 Eagle Rock Bulevard, Los Angeles
Out of the Closet

2640 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles

Apartment Therapy
Domino Magazine
Huffington Post

Kate Online
Finster Studio


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