Talk­ing Shop

After sell­ing their cus­tom-built light­ing on­line, a cou­ple starts their own brick-and-mor­tar vin­tage shop.

Flea Market Décor - - Sources - BY KRISTIN DOWD­ING PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNY ROLAPP

For more on Cal­i­for­nia Redis­cov­ered or to shop some of their vin­tage finds, visit cal­i­for­niare­dis­cov­ered.com.

IT TAKES PA­TIENCE, PAS­SION AND PER­SIS­TENCE TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE, and that’s ex­actly the com­bi­na­tion that helped shop own­ers Al­li­son and Tom Sch­midt suc­cess­fully start their own busi­ness. Sell­ing a cu­rated mix of vin­tage and eclec­tic finds, fur­ni­ture, hand­made goods and more, their shop, Cal­i­for­nia Redis­cov­ered, has some­thing for ev­ery­one. “Whether a cus­tomer is look­ing to fur­nish a home or just look­ing for a unique gift, our store is the place to find it,” say the Sch­midts.

Cal­i­for­nia Redis­cov­ered was not al­ways the brick-and-mor­tar shop it is to­day. They be­gan as an on­line store in 2010, sell­ing light­ing and even­tu­ally ex­pand­ing to cus­tom-built fur­ni­ture, vin­tage finds, hand­made art and home goods. “Tom built all the light­ing for our home from scav­enged pieces, and we had some ex­tras,” Al­li­son says. “We thought we would see what would hap­pen if we put them on­line.” Their suc­cess even­tu­ally led them to want to sell in per­son, and while wait­ing for a build­ing to be­come avail­able, the Sch­midts par­tic­i­pated in an­tiques and de­sign shows through­out the state to gain ex­pe­ri­ence. After eight years, they fi­nally opened their shop.

To keep their space filled with unique trea­sures, Al­li­son and Tom make trips from Sacra­mento to Los An­ge­les, stop­ping at vin­tage stores, swap meets, es­tate sales and oc­ca­sion­ally a clos­ing busi­ness to look for wares. “We’ve even pulled over a few times and knocked on doors while driv­ing past in­ter­est­ing-look­ing prop­er­ties,” they say. They sell ev­ery­thing from one-of-a-kind trea­sures to art and odd­i­ties. "From jewelry and

jams to pot­tery, vin­tage cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture and light­ing, we like to think we have some­thing for ev­ery­one.”

With the va­ri­ety they sell, the Sch­midts stick to a theme to keep the shop co­he­sive. “We lean to­wards a vin­tage in­dus­trial look, but with a re­fined and soft fin­ish,” they say. “Reimag­in­ing how vin­tage ob­jects can be used in mod­ern homes is a pas­sion of ours.” Al­li­son en­joys re­ar­rang­ing the space daily to keep things fresh and make sure their reg­u­lar cus­tomers con­stantly find some­thing new. “Maybe one day an old shoeshine box would hold some books on a shelf and the next day it will be a sil­ver­ware caddy,” she says.

The best ad­vice the Sch­midts can give to aspir­ing shop own­ers is to start small. “Test­ing the brick-and-mor­tar waters with an on­line busi­ness and sell­ing at vin­tage mar­kets and mak­ers fairs al­lowed us to zone in on a fairly use­ful busi­ness plan that al­lowed us to un­der­stand our cus­tomers,” they say. Stop by and visit Cal­i­for­nia Redis­cov­ered at 2116 Pico Blvd, Santa Mon­ica, CA. (424) 252-9806.

"From jewelry and jams to pot­tery, vin­tage cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture and

we like light­ing, to think we have some­thing for ev­ery­one.”

AFTER EIGHT YEARS of sell­ing their cus­tom-built pieces on­line, Al­li­son and Tom fi­nally have a brick-and­mor­tar shop to call their own, filled with vin­tage finds, hand­made trea­sures and home goods.

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