Monday through Friday, Kate and Ronnie from StayingVintage?auto=format run a computer business out of their home near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. But on the weekends, this couple gets off line and spends hours hunting through garage-sale for their vintage, secondhand furniture and collectables business. When this scavenging team isn’t searching high and low for secondhand finds, they’re in their own garage refinishing and repairing fixer uppers. Kate shares some of her tricks of the trade and tips on running a vintage business.
Hi Kate! Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kate and my boyfriend Ronnie and I created StayingVintage?auto=format in 2011.
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
We are from Oklahoma City and live in Bethany, Oklahoma. We are just a hop, skip and jump away from Lake Overholser, and its beautiful sunsets and great paths give us inspiration to create and paint.
Where do you go locally to discover hidden treasures?
About two years ago in the outskirts of downtown Oklahoma City, they opened a Goodwill by-the-pound store which is a Goodwill they send all the left overs from other Goodwills to. Very few people knew about it so we got the best finds in town! It only took about six months for others to catch on so we had to move on. Our favorite place to find goodies now is garage sales.
Any personal tips you’d like to share?
The early bird catches the worm so we are up bright and early to find the good stuff. We don’t jump to estate sales until the last day of their running which is Sundays when they most likely will have 50 to 80 percent discounts.
We make an effort to go to garage sales every weekend. It’s summer now and when the winter hits in October, garage sales don’t come back until April. We get going while the going is hot. When we first started out a few years ago we focused on everything vintage. We have now learned to narrow down our searching to a specific niche in vintage like vintage danish furniture and vintage abstract art. That way we aren’t over-loaded with more than we can fix up and sell. We also set a limit and don’t pay more then $100 for pieces. We also are very careful about what we refinish and what we keep original. We have to take into consideration who we are targeting. The majority of people like the original but we offer to refinish if needed for just a minimal price.
What blogs or websites do you visit regularly?
We love getting inspiration from Etsy photos and our favorite blog to visit is Freshome. They have fresh funky design ideas which we love! We also enjoy the white attic’s online presence. They don’t have a website but they have a Facebook page. We feel we fall in the same vintage Danish modern design category as them but are half the price.
As a kid, were any of your toys and clothes hand-me-downs? Stories please!
My mother was and still is an avid deal finder. She loves vintage and repurposes anything and everything she can get her hands on. As a little girl I looked forward to Saturday mornings at 6 am going to “garage sale time” with my mom. I wasn’t in to clothes but I was in to little vintage toys and modern toys that would now be considered vintage, like troll dolls and biking shorts. Ronnie is a lover of vintage cars and vintage art. We both grew up as hand-me-down kids, me being a middle child and Ronnie being the youngest. We grew an appreciation for the reusable and found it to just be part of our lives.
Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street or dumpster? If so, what was it? And where is it now?
We love big trash day! We like to hit the nice neighborhoods and can’t believe when people through away something because it has a hinge missing or a leg that wobbles. We found an old vintage tiki mask that was really dirty and chipping. We took it home stripped it, sanded it down, got rid of the jute that smelled like cat pee and it looked brand new. We have it hanging in our hall way. You would never figure out where we got it. We have a vintage carved wood totem pole that we found at a backyard estate sale in Nichols Hills. We bought it for $10 and found out its worth to be over $300. We battled with ourselves on whether we should keep or sell it and we decided to keep it. We cherish it and keep it on our nightstand.
By the way, what’s your day job?
We do StayingVintage?auto=format part-time. We both work from home running an internet marketing/multimedia and design/mobile apps business. On the weekends we take a break from our full-time business and focus on our StayingVintage?auto=format business. We have been moving away from big furniture items and have been focusing on smaller vintage collectables that are unique. We love creating! Weather it be on our computers in Photoshop or out in the garage with our paint brushes, sand paper and saws.