Meet Colleen Allison, author of Fresh Vintage, where she shares the vintage finds that she scores at yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores.
We’ve asked her some questions, and here is what she has to say!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Philly, raised in Southern New Jersey and married a nice boy named Chris from Washington state. We live in Avondale, PA with our two kids, Finn & Maeve. Chris puts up with my obsessive yard-saling and rarely complains that our cars will never see the inside of our two-car garage. And now that antique-dealing has officially become our family business, he is not allowed to complain at all. In March 2012, we opened a shop called freshvintage at Highland Orchards in West Chester. Chris works at the shop, and I have a full-time job at a software company. We both love the hunt, so we spend our free time at flea markets, auctions and estate sales.
What is your blog about?
I share the vintage finds that I score at yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores. I try to add a little humor to the traditionally boring topic of antiques. At the same time, I attempt to educate readers (and myself) about the junk that I find: the history, value and selling potential.
So many people are intimidated by the idea of decorating with vintage, especially new homeowners. I like to make antiques more accessible, and encourage people to start with one or two vintage accents to their home — maybe a cool 1940s-era desk lamp or a pull-down school map in a child’s room or a card catalog for wine storage. Mixing unique old pieces with your existing store-bought decor makes for a great conversation-starter, too.
Is there a story behind your blog name?
I named my antique-selling hobby “freshvintage” around ten years ago, and I used the same name when I started my blog in 2006. I wanted to give antiques a more modern, fresher approach. Also, the name reflects that we sell both old stuff (“vintage”) and a little bit of new stuff (“fresh”). In fact, the price tags in our shop have two little check boxes, one for fresh and one for vintage, so customers can easily distinguish between real vintage and reproductions.
What is your favorite social network and why?
Facebook, because I find it easier to share photos, links and events. It is easier for me to keep track of reader responses than Twitter.
What is your biggest claim to fame?
Among the readers of my blog, I am known as “that girl who writes about vintage sex stuff”. I collect old sex education, hygiene and etiquette books, and I love to share excerpts with my readers. Mostly because they are so inappropriate, politically incorrect and hysterically funny.
My collection of vintage gag gifts is also growing — I have a few peter heaters, including one that was owned by my husband’s grandfather. (Don’t worry — I don’t think it was used.) Time Magazine even found my blog and asked to borrow from my collection for a yet-to-be-published story on sex education throughout history.
What subject would you like to blog about but won’t?
I used to give itemized breakdowns of the cost of my vintage finds on my blog. But now that I have a shop and sell at local markets, I don’t think that customers want to know that I paid two dollars for something they just bought from me for thirty. Some people don’t take into consideration that I probably went to 30 yard sales to find that one thing for two dollars! So, even though I know that most of my readers want to know what I paid for my antiques, I usually don’t give out that information any more.
What is your favorite blog or blogger that is not your own, and why?
When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in second grade, I wanted to be a nun. I’m so glad that Sister Antonia’s brainwashing didn’t work!
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