Tell us a little about AMradio.
I am compelled by artistry and find the visual beauty it brings to a space irresistible. I started my career by going to college and became an interior designer. For the past few years I have longed to get out from behind the desk and find a creative outlet which fulfilled my need to be more hands on. Etsy presented this door of opportunity to me.
This summer I opened my store AMradio to allow others to find both original and rescued vintage items to add to the personal story of their home. I believe decorating a space to be an intimate experience which tells others about who you are and where you have been. I choose vintage because I feel there is a unique, emotional connection for people to draw upon, such as childhood memories, the search for simplicity of life, and efforts to reuse and eliminate waste.
How long have you been collecting vintage pieces? Was there any person in particular that drew you to start?
For as long as I can remember I have been inspired by vintage. It provides me with a sense of familiarity, fondness and respect for the past.
Much of my inspiration for rescuing and repurposing vintage comes from my 99 year old grandmother who lived the hardships of the Depression era. She was taught early on in life to not waste and find ways to give an otherwise useless item new purpose. One of her trademarks was making quilts, pillows, and dolls from donated bags of used clothing. Something we now consider trendy, she has done for decades. I would like to think I could carry on her tradition.
How often do you shop for AMradio?
It's never challenging to find time to purchase for the store. I'm delighted to be out mingling with my fellow vintage loving shoppers. At least 2-3 tames a week I hit the abundance of estate sales, thrift stores, and flea markets here in the Midwest. I also make a point to be adventurous a few times a month and go on road trips to explore other communities in search of those hidden treasures.
What catches your eye as a good addition for AMradio while shopping? Are you drawn to certain colors / certain eras / certain types of goods?
I draw inspiration from the uniqueness, style, color, and possible story which exist behind each vintage piece. I stay conscious of cost as to keep pricing reasonable within the shop and try not to get caught up in the branding or whether they are antiques.
I am rather eclectic in my taste and feel this mindset is beneficial to the shop. Everyone has their own preferences in style and I try to provide products which offer a little something to all.
Do you collect anything for yourself - something we won't find in AMradio because it's staying with you?
There is no specific item I collect but I do have an infatuation for vintage reference books, clocks, desk lamps, gumball machines, maps, and chalkboards.
A few recent vintage finds have found their way into my collection. There is a compact Hermes Rocket Typewriter in a beautiful robin's egg blue and a 1904 lithograph by HM Ward on an aged parchment in muted colors. Both are kept with me in my studio. Although, I hesitate to say they will never be listed. I have a constant need for fresh looks and updating my decor so these could very well end up in the store someday.
Your styling and photographs help AMradio stand out from the large pool of vintage shops on Etsy. How do you come up with your styling ideas? Do you have ideas in mind when you start to photograph, or play around until you find something that works?
Great photography is the most critical part of marketing my Etsy shop. The visual experience is the first opportunity I have to make a positive impression with the Buyer and also gain exposure within the Etsy marketplace. I strive to best represent a product's potential through vignettes, grouping it with other props similar in style. This approach hopefully inspires creativity in the viewers and helps them see how it could work in the spaces of their home.
Most of the displays are very organically composed. I try not to assume how the item should look in the picture, but allow the item's presentation to develop through trial and error. I take multiple shots at various angles, always trying to better the picture by reworking the placement of objects. Sometimes I will even pull coordinating items from my store inventory to stage within the photo to increase the possibility of my items being viewed.
Don't you want to go out and decorate your whole home with vintage right now? Melissa is graciously giving away a charming piece to one lucky reader! The winner can choose between this super cute cat ring holder, or sophisticated red travel clock.
To enter, visit AMradio and come back to leave a comment of your choice! Tell us what your favorite vintage find is, what you think of Melissa's styling, or anything else on your mind. Giveaway open until Thursday, October 8 at 8pm EST. Open to everyone, including our international friends!