When I first visited The Vintage Marketplace, I was in awe of the gorgeous displays that the vendors had so majestically set up. It was like a portal into their creative minds, and inside the booths were filled with unique treasures. Each tells a special story about the curators and creators of the things they sell, and I’m very happy to introduce you now to two of lovely ladies who I really found to be “kindred spirits”, as Anne would say.
Sara and Abbey are a very talented daughter/mother team who bring both their creations and their vintage finds to their customers at shows and on their online store on Etsy through their small business, Sweet Magnolias Farm. I am very thankful that Sara was willing to take a moment to answer some questions for me about their company and their vision, so I can share their wonderful small business with you. I hope you will enjoy this question and answer post, and the photos of their recent boutique I took at The Vintage Marketplace!
What prompted you to start your business, Sweet Magnolias Farm?
Sweet Magnolias Farm became the culmination of a love handed down from Mother to Daugher..and the basic need of survival.
Abbey and I ..have always loved Vintage … And that love turned into a basic need of survival many years back when life was pretty tough for us… We began by asking a simple prayer .. “Lord Bless the Work of our Hands.”
Because we couldn’t afford to by high end collectibles and antiques …It caused us to see vintage and antique items in a new way ..we hunted for the cast-offs headed for the refuse pile before “dumpster diving” was a term .. We took old broken down beds and made signs from them before it became popular .. We stopped on the freeway for a few old chairs that had spindles in them but were broken from their fall because we saw the value in the spindles … Everything takes on new meaning and a new light when you need to survive .. and it causes growth .. Thus .. here we are many years later .. and we are still going..still growing .. still creating ..and still loving Vintage !
Where do you draw your inspiration? Is there a general theme or message behind most of your work or vintage finds?
Abbey and I draw inspiration from our Love of Old and Vintage Items .. and our Love of Farm Life. Both of us have always had a love for the country side .. for the farm.. and from learning over the years how to Make -do .
Our Theme is Farmhouse Style … to live simply.. to live comfortably … and to enjoy the small things in life. To create spaces inside and out that create a happy, warm and Loving Home that Friends and Family alike want to come.
What is your favorite element to use in making your creations?
For Myself (Sara) I am big on old textiles, old or new fabrics and Vintage Lace. Texture is a big thing for me ..it really makes my wheels turn and stirs up a desire to create and design with it..
For Abbey She Loves the textiles too … but her passion is working on Larger pieces .. she loves designing one of a kind Furniture pieces from found objects, salvage, and broken down pieces that need new life.
What do you enjoy the most about owning your own creative business?
We love the Freedom to design our own product .. the way we like it .. to be able to offer items that can’t be easily found on the market today but are desired. It’s really important to us that we can control the quality of our product and that we are a small enough business ( mom and pop style ) to have personal contact with our clients and make them all feel special and create lasting customers.
Other than Etsy, and The Vintage Marketplace shows you attend that you can share with us?
Etsy and TVM keep us really busy throughout the year. We do sell at Glitterfest twice a year .. however this year we won’t be at Glitterfest Fall because we have been so busy this summer with orders we are taking it off and getting our home back in order and having a big yard sale to clean house in another way.
Our Life our Love is our work .. we truly love and enjoy what we do which is an absolute Blessing. I have to admit we get pretty exhausted but we wouldn’t want any other job out there at this time in our lives so it’s worth all the tired days we experience.
Your displays at your show really make you feel like you’ve traveled into a little wonderland you’ve created. Can you tell us more about the creative process behind creating your booth displays?
Our booth displays are equally important to Abbey and I as our product. Over the years as we have grown the one thing that always rang true is our favorite places to shop always drew us in because of their stunning displays. They just didn’t set out there wares ..but they incorporated them into a wonderful and what we would say “over the top” theme or style. And that very thing is what made us remember them and what made us want to keep going back. Also it’s just in us .. a sort of our being to want to challenge ourselves to see what we can create and design and how far we can take it on the small scale of a 10 x 20 or 10 x 10 pop up tent. Thinking how can we transform this space and yet do it all in a one day set up time and be able to tear it down in just a few hours time before the end of the day darkness sets upon us. We usually find something that inspires .. a thought or theme that an item we have or find inspires in us and then we both tend to mull it over for a few weeks time. We then exchange our individual ideas on how we want it to look and then start figuring how we can achieve them with ease so it can actually be done with ease and quickness. I have to admit we are usually running way behind and 99% of the time Our displays are done within the last 5 to 7 days leading up to a market .. The pressure is on and I guess we perform well under pressure. Our displays are never about outdoing ..They are all about challenging ourselves to grow and get better at what we do and the pay off is ..when our clients smile and tell us they love what we do !
What are the vintage finds that you’re on the hunt for the most?
Oh gosh … I can’t say there are is any one thing we search out most .. we offer such a variety of things. Really it’s anything we love or see potential in.
Can you share one of your favorite experiences you’ve had while finding vintage items?
I think one of our more fun experiences was a 9 week Estate sale we atteneded . It was an old thrift shop that had been closed for over 20 years. It was an old building and well near or over 2000 sq. ft. plus a basement that was loaded and a big bus barn that was loaded too. All the items inside dated back to the 70′s and earlier . The Place was dark and dank .. No lighting and full of rat droppings and inches of dust that had settled over the years onto everything. WE don’t mind getting dirty so it was alot of fun to us. We went every week and came home with truck loads. And we came home filthy ..hot and sweaty ..but it was so much fun . It was so far the most memorable experience we have had and yes we still have product we bought there that we haven’t even gotten to yet.
What are your personal favorites you offer in your line right now? What are your top sellers?
Our favorite items we offer are our Farmhouse Flour Sack Towels. We love that they are as Useful as they are cute and that they are an affordable item for everyone to purchase. Are Top sellers right now are our “Sweet Tea & Jesus” Towels and coordinating products and Our “I love you Like Biscuits and Gravy” Towels and coordinating products.
Are there any inspiring words of advice or a message you’d like to share with us?
Well it’s rather Cliche but I would say if you can “do what you love” . Rather you are a Dr. or a Janitor … you sell vintage .. or work as a cashier at the local market .. No job is a bad job if you love what you do. Sometimes we don’t have a choice in jobs ..and I have had a few jobs I wasn’t thrilled over and I decided to find things I did love about them so I could endure. However if you have a choice do what you love ..
Also try and be yourself. There’s alot of people out there that see styles or designs that are popular and try to imitate them and don’t succeed .. I think being yourself .. putting your own touch .. your own twist ..or design style on something is what makes you unique and makes people love what you do. So be you the Beautiful Unique person God created you to be.
And one last thing .. Running a small business is a “TON” of work. It’s not all fun.. it’s not all easy !!! It takes hours of dedication and when you feel like your hitting a brick wall and you have little to no sales you still keep going. You cry ..you wipe the tears away and you keep on going . Success doesn’t happen overnight to the majority of people or businesses. That only happens to a rare few in this world. Most of us put our entire lives and beings into the success of our business alot hard work, sweat, tears and a Whole lot of prayer. And the biggest thing of all a Ton of patience because it takes time to get found and to build clients and to hit on the right products.
Thanks so much Lauren for interviewing us .. we are so grateful to you for sharing us with your followers. May God Bless the work of your hands .
Sara and Abbey
Sweet Magnolias Farm
I want to thank Sara so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you really loved this little Q&A with Sweet Magnolias Farm.
** Disclaimer: This interview was done by me personally to share a company and individuals I admire. I was in no way compensated for doing this interview, and all questions and information posted here are my true and honest opinions.**