Our Expert Q&A series is back in the most fabulous way! Today the spotlight is on my dear friend, Paige Minear, and we’ve picked her brain on all things antiquing and estate sales. Paige is a frequent collaborator of mine and you’ll probably recognize her from several of the past tables we’ve styled together…everything from Easter to The Masters to fun destination shoots (Palm Beach, Charleston, and at home in Nashville). In addition to running her lifestyle platform, The Pink Clutch, she also has a business sourcing and selling vintage treasures – check it out at @ShopPinkClutch. Clearly, antiquing is one of her big passions and with all things grandmillennial and vintage so popular right now, she’s the perfect person to share wisdom about finding estate sales, incorporating antique pieces into your home, and more. I love this lady so much and hope y’all enjoy our chat below. Thank you, Paige!
1. You’re always off on fabulous antiquing adventures! How do you find the best antique stores and estate sales? Are there websites or Instagram accounts that update you on where to go?
I love an adventure, and any time I can source while traveling it’s even better. When shopping estate sales, I use an amazing website and app called Estatesales.net. It shows you all the estate sales for the next 7 to 10 days and then you can plan around those if you’re traveling. It also allows you to “favorite” sales and items in a sale so you know what to look for when you arrive. So far all of our shopping travels since the shop opened have been to a place where I know someone…what better resource than to ask you friends for the best shops?! I’m planning a trip next month and for that one I’ve Googled and read reviews and looked at images. It’s always a toss-up as to what will be worth it and what won’t, but most times you just go for it and find something incredible.
2. I love how seamlessly you incorporate vintage finds into your home. What are some of your tips for mixing modern/new pieces with antiques?
Don’t overthink it. I buy what I love and then mix it in where I like it the most. I don’t abide by any rules and I think that’s what makes it work – if you always buy and collect what you love, then it just goes together. I love antique Staffordshire, tobacco jars, needlepoint pillows, blue and white porcelain, and so many oil paintings. I just marry them as if they were always meant to fall in love and then just don’t overthink it.
3. I’ve noticed that you’ll often find furniture to paint, swap hardware, reupholster, etc. How do you know if something is a good candidate for that kind of refresh? It’s also sometimes hard to know whether that will end up being more expensive than buying something new.
I think it is most definitely always more expensive than buying new, however it has way more charm. I find pieces with great bones that are classic and then just decide to give them a makeover. Sometimes it’s just new knobs and wallpaper in the back, but anything that makes it more “you,” or more fun, is always worth it. Buying new may be the least expensive route but most times finding an older piece means it is made well and will stand up over time, since it clearly has already lived a life.
4. What trends are you noticing these days vis a vis vintage goods? Are there certain items that have become impossible to find? I want punch bowls to make a comeback!
Punch bowls give me life!!! Blue and white is always a sure thing, but you have to pick the right pieces. Bar monkeys are hard to find and always go so fast; the same with tobacco jars. Cheeky needlepoint pillows are great sellers and are hard to find. Sterling will always be hot, but prices have gone up so scouring the best pieces can be tough. There are a few antique china patterns that are very collectible and are hard to find, but worth it when you do! I have a great punch bowl coming up for sale next month that I know will be amazing: it’s silver plate and has all the amazing, silver plate-handled punch cups to go with it. For me I buy what I like, but also I know what my customers love and ask for, so I try to balance it well.
5. On a similar note, the grandmillennial aesthetic has taken over. For those who love that look, what pieces should we be looking for that scream “I’m 80 years old at heart but still trendy”?
Grandmillennial is hot! For me that means anything with a bow, needlepoint, chintz, fabric lamp shades, great taper candles, silver dresser jars, amazing table linens, anything Laura Ashley, and most definitely, anything cheeky!!
6. Do you haggle prices? Is there etiquette around this? It can be so uncomfortable!
I always ask! If you are polite and kind most people will always respond in the same manner. I always say – “Is this your best price on this piece?” – and then let them tell you what they think. Recently I wanted a chest; the price was $650 and it was the next to last day. I asked for the best price really wanting to get it for about half. It was in perfect condition and perfect for the spot I had. The seller asked me for my best price, which I said $325, and she countered at $375. It lives with me now and we love it.
7. How do you stop yourself from buying too much? (I’m so guilty of this!) Give us ideas on how to strategize so you really hone in on what you need – you seem to have a very practical approach.
I have not figured this out yet, I have a major problem in this area. The best tip is to not go out if you have too much, which is what I am doing now. If I go out, I know I’ll find items and then I have too much. I try to make a budget for the day, but a lot of times I find something I know will sell and I blow that budget. I do my best and then adjust when I do, but not shopping is truly my only trick.
8. You’ve started a business, @ShopPinkClutch, where you curate vintage finds and sell them on Instagram. Tell us more about how that works. Can people hire you to look for specific things?
Yes, the shop is so fun!! I source goods and then clean them, research them, and list them online twice a week. I try to share sneak peeks on the day of the sale and usually items will sell out from these sneaks. I have a lot of regular customers who I adore and try my best to provide them excellent customer service. I have a list of “wish items” for most of my customers that I look for regularly. When I find something, I will send photos and then purchase when they confirm. My shop is my favorite thing at the moment, but it’s a ton of work with the growth it’s seen in the 10 months it’s been live. I am truly so grateful for every single moment.
9. What are your favorite antique finds to date?
The chest I mentioned above for sure, some darling Staffordshire lamps, my new bow pillows on my bed, a painting that I just hung in our breakfast room, and a number of sterling pieces we have found and kept.
10. On the flip side, what are your top dream acquisitions?
I would love to find a full set of Vista Alegre Ruban Blue dishes, a lovely set of monogrammed sterling, and most definitely a fabulous bow rug!