Industry Influencers: Scott Shirey at Finders Keepers Vintage

Interviewing Scott at Finders Keepers!

Interviewing Scott at Finders Keepers!

A little over a month ago, I met Scott from Finders Keepers Vintage at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I was at his booth, utterly impressed with all of the genuinely cool stuff he was selling. I ended up buying a chair from him, and we got to talking. He told me he found everything by picking. Yes, like American Pickers picking. I was intrigued. A picker? Based in California? I knew he had to be the next influencer interview!

The chair that started our conversation! Scott picked it from a farm in SoCal.

The chair that started it all! Scott picked it from a farm in SoCal.

Luckily, he was happy to sit down with me. Once Spring Break hit, I visited his store in Murietta, CA. It was awesome! Like the Rose Bowl on steroids. There were signs, tins, little finds, big finds, manniquens, an amazing arcade bowling game… pretty much anything you could imagine finding on a pick.

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The window is just a preview of the treasures you’re gonna find in the shop!

Here’s what he had to say:

RR: How did you get started buying?

Scott: My grandparents were big flea market and swap meet people and I would always be the tag along. And, of course, when you’re young, 4 and 5 years old, you’re always asking for money because you find something. So they’d give me five bucks and I’d go out and look around and have a blast. My whole life, it has always been flea markets and swap meets, you name it…. I love trying to find that hidden treasure. It may be hidden away for years and you find it and bring it back to life.

RR: How did you get started selling?

Scott: In 2012, I was transitioning jobs and my wife encouraged me to follow my passion and look into opening the store.

RR: Do you really only find things picking?

Scott: We aquire all of our stuff through picking. I don’t do estate sales, I don’t do garage sales (you have to go to 50 garage sales to find a couple of cool items, estate sales, at least out here, they charge more than I do in my store.) I put ads out, people call me, now that I have the store, people come in here every day trying to sell me items.

I’ve been as far as the Midwest picking. I’ve been to Iowa. You walk into a barn, and it is just full of rustic items and just oozes America and it’s really cool. Sometimes it just gives you goose bumps when you walk in… you just think you walked into the holy grail of picking.

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Just by this wall, you can tell Scott has been picking in some really cool places!

RR: How do you approach people to pick? Do you call ahead? Do you ever knock on doors like the show American Pickers?

Scott: I’ve been picking as far as Iowa. There’s very little door knocking. I don’t like to invade people’s privacy. Generally, I’ll have something set up already. I’ll do ads or we call to set it up. When we went to Iowa, we only had one pick set up. Through word of mouth, we ended up scheduling so many picks that we had to cancel our trip to see the American Pickers store. I had to remember that we were there for business first! One day I’ll go back and go to the store.

RR: How do you decide which items are in the store and what you take to the flea market?

Scott: I kind of cross everything over. I try to take eye catchers from the store. In addition to the store, I have a 3,000 square foot barn filled with stuff. The goal is to stand out at events. I bring some things from the barn, but I also bring things from the store.

I got these from Finders Keepers at the Rose Bowl.

I got these from Finders Keepers at the Rose Bowl.

RR: Do you have any tips for negotiating?

Scott: My goal is to find the right home for items. I’d rather someone take an item and appreciate it and enjoy it than just throw it in their garage. I don’t change the price whether the item is in the store or at the flea market and I’m always willing to negotiate. If I can tell that someone really loves something but they are feeling shy about negotiating (especially in the store), I may tell them to make me an offer or offer them a lower price to at least get the ball rolling. If you really love something, just ask.

I love the colors on this bread box and the canisters! (I have a thing for canisters lately!)

I love the colors on this bread box and the canisters! (I clearly have a thing for canisters lately.)

RR: How do you clean up items?

Scott: It’s funny you ask. At first I would wipe everything down, but then people would say, “no, no, no, I want it how you found it!” Now, if an item is really needing some attention, we’ll wipe down the outside but leave dust and the dirt and the cobwebs inside so people can see where it came from.

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RR: What is your dream find?

Scott: A split window VW bus would be my dream buy.

I think my dream buy changed when I saw these awesome bikes!

I think my dream buy changed when I saw these awesome bikes!

Let's talk about the original ad with the matching bike... now that is awesome!

Let’s talk about the original ad with the matching bike… now that is awesome!

RR: What’s your favorite find to date?

Scott: Any time I see Disney, I try to buy it. To me, Disney is America. Disney represents that creativity, that drive, passion, and vision.

I love finding porcelain gas station items, advertising signs, and vintage toys because those are the things I am passionate about and collect myself.

This Circus Nut Warmer is one of Scott's favorite items in the store.

This Circus Nut Warmer is one of Scott’s favorite items in the store.

RR: Is there a “find that got away?”

Scott: I can’t tell you how many items that I’ve wanted or had my eye on. A 12 foot A&W neon that said “All American Foods” and, you know, timing is everything. I went to look at it, and I loved it and didn’t have my trailer with me. Then I got too busy to call the guy, and when I called him the next week, it was long gone.

RR: Any disasters?

Scott: I bought this vintage bear trap. My emotions got the best of me and I ended up paying $1000 for it, and it sold for about $750.

RR: Where all can we find you?

Scott: We started permanent residences at the Rose Bowl and Long Beach Flea Markets and will be there every month. We’re aiming to pick up at least one other event each month so we’ll be doing three flea markets a month. This month is Junk Bonanza in San Diego on March 20, 21, 22. We are on Facebook and Ebay. Also, we are starting to rent out items for weddings and events.

With a Japanese sword from WWII.

With a Japanese sword from WWII.

I had so much fun talking to Scott! He finds such cool stuff and I love that his finds are a piece of Americana. He loves it, and he wants other people to love it, too. He’s so clearly passionate about what he does, and that shines through in the quality of his merchandise. Definitely go and see him at the flea markets or check out his shop at 25285 Madison Ave #111 Murrieta, Ca 92562.

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Weekend Warrior: Antique Edition

Sometimes I feel like my entire weekend revolves around finding that perfect antique. I’ve been to random parts of town, swap meets, flea markets, and crazy apartments that have items listed on Craigslist. I’ve endured many a sunburn and mastered the art of digging in my purse for cash, negotiating, and holding an umbrella during rainy flea market trips.

This weekend, I was victorious. Saturday, though not feeling well, I made it out to an awesome combined estate sale. I ended up with the perfect chair (called a Chinese Yumu, according to my sources) and saw a lot of really cool stuff.

My Chinese Yumu Chair. I wasn't sure how it would fit into my home, but I just had to have it.

My Chinese Yumu Chair. I wasn’t sure how it would fit into my home, but I just had to have it.

Sunday was the Rose Bowl. It was hot this weekend in LA. I wore a shirt that covered my shoulders and wore SPF 60 because I learned from my last hot Rose Bowl experience. I still got a little crispy on my chest, and my farmers tan is oh so pretty but I did end up with some great stuff!

My flea market finds. Yesterday I was all about the wood! I love the unique shapes. In the back is a German pitcher and a dansk hot plate. I love the funky ice bucket. I have a thing for vintage bar stuff lately.

My flea market finds. Yesterday I was all about the wood! I love the unique shapes.
In the back is a German pitcher and a dansk hot plate. I love the funky ice bucket. I have a thing for vintage bar stuff lately.

Hand Made Stamped Linen Napkins

photo 4 copyI got the idea for making hand stamped napkins because I’ve been seeing a lot of fabrics with geometric patterns lately, and everything I’ve been liking has been out of my budget.

Like any good rehabber, that just means a DIY project is on the horizon.

 

I found this article from Apartment Therapy on how to make the napkins. I got half a yard of linen from the local fabric store. Then I washed the linen to pre-shrink. After that, I got to cutting. The only difference from the tutorial is that I couldn’t get my linen to rip (it was 100% so I don’t know why) so I ended up cutting it and then just fraying the edges myself.

I remembered an article about using fruit and veggie stamps from Parents magazine. I cut a triangle out of a potato and got to working.

The potato stamp with paint.

The potato stamp with paint.

I got two colors of fabric paint and mixed them to the grey that I wanted. Then painted it onto the potato for even distribution. A couple of times, I dropped the brush or the potato or moved it around a bit, so there are imperfections. I think that just adds character.

I wanted to play with the patterns and ended up making all of the napkins different.

The finished napkins (I still need to pull the threads out of one.)

The finished napkins (I still need to pull the threads out of one.)

I think they ended up pretty good, don’t you?

*note: be sure to put something under the fabric you are stamping. You don’t want the paint to bleed through and stain your work surface!

You Win Some, You Lose Some: Long Beach Flea Market

This weekend, I wandered over to Long Beach to check out the flea market that happens once a month. When I went before, I was impressed because I say so much good stuff and it was so much cheaper than Rose Bowl. It has been a while, and I think Long Beach must be more popular than ever because I feel like prices skyrocketed.

Flea Markets are hit or miss, and where Rose Bowl this month was a major win for me, this trip was a miss. Everything I wanted to buy was priced a little too high for me. I was obsessed with these wooden cannisters, but the vendor was asking $70 for the set, and that just felt like too much.

The $70 canisters just seemed a little too expensive.

The $70 canisters just seemed a little too expensive.

I did end up buying a set of glasses with midcentury looking wooden sleeves and a matching tray, but I came home feeling like I got ripped off. The guy told me that they were “Eames,” and while I didn’t believe him (no markings, no stickers, I’d never heard of a set like this), I was hoping they were a knock off  of something else. After a ton of searching after bringing them home, I can’t find much on them.

Here’s what happened: I went over to negotiate and another lady started looking at them. I got so caught up in someone else wanting them and “winning” the score that I told the guy I would take them outright. I was so upset about it, I haven’t been able to bring myself to take a photo yet. I guess the best way to learn is to make mistakes, and this has been one of those “learning experiences.” Don’t get me wrong, it is a cool set, but I think I just paid too much for it. I’ll show you guys a photo later this week when I get it cleaned up.

That being said, I did see some cool stuff at the LB Flea:

I loved this colorful stove. The guy had stoves in pink, red, blue, and classic white.

I loved this colorful stove. The guy had stoves in pink, red, blue, and classic white.

This light fixture was really cool, and was actually a good deal at $325.

This light fixture was really cool, and was actually a good deal at $325.

I liked the finish on this table.

I liked the finish on this table.

Funny, freaky figures. I didn't get a price, but they were pretty cool. They were really big, so I'm not quite sure what someone would use them for...

Funny, freaky figures. I didn’t get a price, but they were pretty cool. They were really big, so I’m not quite sure what someone would use them for…

 

Flea Market Finds at the Rose Bowl

Last Sunday was probably one of the best times I’ve ever had at the Rose Bowl (well, other than the time we filmed Flea Market Flip!)

It was like all of the vendors brought their A-game to make up for the rain the month before. I’m absolutely in LOVE with everything I got!

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I loved all of these midcentury candle holders. The tins are so pretty and are brightening up my kitchen counter right now!

craftsman

This Craftsman toolbox really represents Roadside Rehab to me. I can see it on display in my office one day. It looks a little roached out, but it still has some mileage because its got good bones and is so beautiful!

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I bought this chair for my house. It was picked at a farm in CA, and they said they think its from around the 1930s. The leather cushion is stuffed with horsehair.

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This was my FAVORITE cup when I was a little kid, so I couldn’t pass it up.

I was in love with this Royal Crown soda cooler. It was so pretty. My parents grew up near the RC Cola factory in Columbus, GA so this piece made me nostalgic.

I was in love with this Royal Crown soda cooler. It was so pretty. My parents grew up near the RC Cola factory in Columbus, GA so this piece made me nostalgic.

vintage projector

I just had to snap a photo of this vintage projector. I love the green (Kelly green is a personal favorite) and the fact that the plaque says “Hollywood.”

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So happy after a long day of hoarding junkin’.

$10 Side Table Transformation

Recently a friend gave me a couple of things for helping her pick out some new furniture pieces for her house.
Among them was this side table.

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It was in awful condition– it was super scratched up and had even been stored outside for awhile. Not necessarily the shape or style I would normally choose, I decided to jazz it up with a bright electric blue paint and a fun knob from Anthropologie.

The first knob I tried didn't quite work.

The first knob I tried didn’t quite work.

The second knob was much better!

The second knob was much better!

Here's the finished product. Pretty fun, huh? I could totally see this jazzing up a room!

Here’s the finished product. Pretty fun, huh? I could totally see this jazzing up a room!

I’m saying this cost about $10 because the knob was $7 and I didn’t even use half a can of paint or primer. It was a totally simple fix, so before you throw away that piece that’s been bugging you, try painting it and giving it a new life!

Future Flea Market Finds

Doing a little research for my thesis today, and came across this quote from Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in their book The New Digital Age and thought I’d share:

“Eventually, the accoutrements of technologies we marvel at today will be sold in flea markets as antiques, like rotary phones before them.”

I thought that was such an interesting thought, think about buying an iPhone 6 at the flea market like we would buy a record player or a typewriter today. It is kind of funny to think about how different technology today looks… I feel like the old stuff has much more character. I wonder if people will think that about our “modern technology.”

Do you really think someone would want to put an iPhone in their space as a decorative piece or conversation starter?