What inspired you to set up The Treasure Trove?
It was really a long awaited change in lifestyle that inspired me to set up The Treasure Trove. Having moved from London to Brighton in 2010 to be with my now husband, I suffered the commute back to the City for a couple of years and over that time, began planning the change in career from Office Manager, to running my own shabby chic furniture business.
Inspired by a love of vintage furniture and home interiors and years of rummaging car boot fairs and auctions around the country, it was time to make a weekend hobby a full-time reality. I attended painting courses and rented a local workshop in order to store the furniture we had started to acquire, and before I knew it, my City days were over and The Treasure Trove had begun!
What does a typical week look like for you?
Fortunately, no week is ever the same at The Treasure Trove, but you can usually find me attending antique fairs in and around the UK, or popping further afield to France or Belgium, sourcing beautiful new items for the website. Once I’ve found those special pieces, it’s time to get my paint brushes out and create a unique and individual look for each piece. I then photograph each piece at the workshop, upload the pictures and info onto our website and social media.
Aside from selling our furniture online, we also offer a ‘Furniture Sourcing Service’ for those customers looking for a specific piece of furniture for their home. After we’ve found it, we’ll custom paint it to our customer’s specific requirements, offering a free consultation to discuss colours and finishes in detail, then it’s ready to be shipped out.
What excites you about sourcing and up-styling furniture?
For me, it’s all about the transformation. I love the fact that each piece has its own history and once provided a function in a previous life, quite often as far back as the Victorian and Edwardian era! The quality and workmanship of these pieces really is incredible considering we are still able to use them today, it’s a true testament to those makers.
I love the creativity and freedom that upcycling gives you. It probably sounds strange, but when I look at a piece of furniture, it really tells me what’s going to enhance its look!
How would you like The Treasure Trove to develop?
The Treasure Trove is fortunately now in its 4th year, but as we’re still a fairly new business, you find you’re ever-evolving and developing, learning from good and bad decisions every day.
We’d love to develop our work helping interior designers and customers finding special items for their homes and projects.
More than anything, we’d still like The Treasure Trove to be providing beautifully bespoke shabby chic and vintage furniture well into the future!
What advice would you give to someone looking to change their lifestyle?
“Just do it!” I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier since realising my dream. It’s an incredible journey of personal learning and self-development which doesn’t seem to stop, and although it’s not all plain sailing, the rewards far outweigh any bad days. Even if things don’t work out, I always think it’s better to give something a go and have that experience … you never know, it could lead to another avenue you wouldn’t have thought of previously!
Based on your experience do you have any other advice for Little Brands just starting out?
With little brands, the more personal service you can offer the better! The likelihood is that ‘you are the brand’ and you’ll probably be dealing with your customers directly, so it’s important to maintain a high level of customer service and ensure you’re delivering quality products or services. Your customers will love you for it and probably won’t receive that ‘added value’ from the big boys!
As a little brand, you should be providing a service or product that is as unique as possible and stands out from the crowd, so it’s important to do your market research and find out what makes you different from everyone else. You’ll probably have to charge more than the larger companies, who simply have more capital, buying power and long-standing household reputations.
If you’ve done all this and still have a passion and enthusiasm for what you’re doing, then have patience … these things take time, money and huge amounts of effort, but success will come eventually I’m sure!
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