Diary of a Picker: Brimfield 2013

Brimfield-Collage
I’m jumping in as a guest blogger today to share a little about my recent experience with Jeni at the Brimfield Antique Show.
When I started working for Jeni at Found Vintage Rentals back in 2010, I had visions of flea market shopping, antique stores, and fun buying trips. I imagined myself alongside Jeni finding beautiful and fun vintage pieces to add to the Found collection. I saw myself as a pretty good antiquer. Having grown up stopping at countless roadside “junk stores” on family trips, I thought I was a bit of an expert. I also fancy myself as one with pretty good taste. I’ve spent some time and thought on the decor in my home. I have a creative side. I can see possibilities in pieces others discard.
At least that’s what I thought. Even with my design experience, creativity, and willingness to get my hands dirty in the name of a good find, I had no idea what I was getting into. When it comes to pickin’, Jeni Maus is a force to be reckoned with.
Last week, after almost 3 years of working at Found, I had the privilege and joy of going on my first official buying trip with Jeni. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Jeni in action plenty of times. You can’t get in a car with her without pulling over multiple times to check out something she notices out of the corner of her eye. I’ve been flea marketing with Jeni and we’ve “shopped” inside the homes of hoarders together. You might even say she’s always pickin’. But this was my first time on a multi-day adventure with the master.
On this trip, I got to observe Jeni in her element. I’ve always known she lives for the thrill of the hunt but this was a sight to see. Up before dawn. No breaks. No food. No water. A broken boot heel didn’t stop her (at one point, she shopped for 4 hours with nails sticking into her foot…. yikes!). A “sold” tag doesn’t prevent her from finding the buyer to make an offer. It was a little bit superhuman to be honest.
In fact, my mom was also along for the ride in Brimfield. She kept asking me, “Did Jeni eat?” “Is she still shopping?” and “Did she lift that herself?” Jeni doesn’t mess around.
And she isn’t afraid of the hard work of pickin’. Sweat, blood, and hours go into every piece she acquires. She schleps, lugs, and carries her finds for miles. She packs, repacks, and hoists each piece into an oven-like container to get them home. She overfills her carry-on luggage to get that precious last find on the plane.
While I’ve always admired the variety of beautiful and unique pieces at Found, it wasn’t until this trip that I recognized the true singularity of the collection. Going to New England, I expected to see farm tables for miles, crates in each corner, and French bottles everywhere I looked. That was absolutely not the case. I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised at the scarcity of the really amazing pieces. Statement pieces like architectural elements, multiples of anything, and really quality items aren’t plentiful. Even among thousands of dealers and miles of antiques, you’ve got to “find” the great pieces. They are stashed in the back of trucks, hiding under tables, covered in mundanity. But Jeni sees them.
She’s hard to keep up with. I had to wear running shoes. She’s constantly scanning everywhere she looks. She’ll stop when all I see is junk. She reaches under, inside, and behind where I never would.
Lest you think that Jeni’s pickin’ is accidental, I will say that I have long-ago shed my dreams of shopping alongside her. I realized I don’t have the chops. Hers is an innate and acquired skill. It has taken years of practice, relationships, and savvy. Now, I can still find an accessory or two for my own house or catch a vision for a ceremony backdrop. But I’ve got nothing on Jeni. Her eye, her taste, her vision, her ability to anticipate set trends is astounding.
When people ask me if I get to buy things for Found, I usually smile and say “Jeni buys. I sell.” Little do they know that what they think is a dream job is full of blisters, pulled muscles, and the longest days you can imagine. I’ve had the easier task for sure. I just show people the incredible collection Jeni has curated, and it practically rents itself.
Pickin’ isn’t for the faint of heart. And if anyone has the heart, it is Jeni Maus.
~Allison

My Texas Buying Trip….

I thought it would be a great time to show a little bit of my recent buying trip to Texas since I will be on another pickin’ trip all week in Brimfield, MA. I have never shared many pictures from buying trips because I am usually alone, and moving too quickly to take pictures! This trip was a little different because my hubby, Joel, went with me and documented the trip (aside from when he was hauling furniture back to the truck with me).

We flew into Austin and spent the afternoon touring around the city….which I fell in love with immediately! Such a fun and hip city…can’t wait to go back! My sales manager, Lauren, loves Austin to pieces so she had a list of “must see” places, and even made reservations for Joel and I at an amazing sushi restaurant, Uchiko.

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-marketfound-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

Then it was off to our little cottage in Fayetteville, Texas.This first picture is from my iphone…sorry for the quality.

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-marketfound-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-americana-cottage

The view from our cottage…

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

Our 16 mile drive to Round Top every morning was serene….

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

And then we arrive to miles and miles of treasures in the fields of Round Top, Texas.

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-finds found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-mannequin found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-finds-ladder found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-silver-flatware found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-silver-pewter

I have been known to ask if I can look in the back of a dealers truck if it is not completely unloaded….and this is by far one of my favorite things to do!

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

This dealer even plugged in a light for me, and let me shop around a bit…

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

And my least favorite part….

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

I was very fortunate that Joel was up for shopping into the evening, or at least he kept himself busy taking pretty pictures while I shopped.These kinds of flea markets are the best because some dealers start selling at 4am and don’t quit until way after dark! I would have shopped through the night if it was up to me!

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-tent found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

The evenings were absolutely gorgeous…

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

Throughout the week, different fields and locations open in various areas. Lucky for us,  this parking lot was right around the corner from where we were staying in Fayetteville and dealers started setting up the second day we were there. I bought a few things, but I was over the moon about this globe. It was just sitting on the ground waiting for me to find it…and thankfully we were there early while the sellers were unloading. This is one of my favorite finds from the trip….

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-globe

This building was absolutely amazing. The structure itself was nothing special, but the finds inside were nothing short of spectacular.

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

Joel made a lot of new friends….

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-books-patina found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-zinc-seed-pot found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-olive-basket-patina found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-shutters found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-baskets

This sale below was fun. People started lining up at 5am even though the tarps don’t come off until 8am. When they do….people run for the pieces they want and tag them with sold stickers. Almost everything was sold within 10 minutes!

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

This was what I scored….

photo

The less glamorous part of buying trips is the loading of the container. There were 5 of us sharing this container, and although we have it down to a science…it is still not my favorite part. Every day of the trip we meet at the truck at 5p and load up our goodies. We load everything up against the left hand side of the container so there is still a path to get to the back of it. We all have our things marked with different color tape, so that when things are packed up all together, we can tell whose is whose. On the second to the last day, we start packing the truck really tight. It is a tetris game to say the least. I was so happy to have Joel there to help because he is so good at maximizing space and packing things well. And let me tell you, we filled every square inch of that 60′ container!

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-finds

11 days after we left Texas….the container arrived. Unloading it is MUCH more fun than loading it. It is like Christmas morning! There are always a few things that I have forgotten I bought and am always pleasantly surprised when I see them again!

found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-finds found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market-finds found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market found-vintage-rentals-studio-emp-jeni-maus-round-top-texas-flea-market

Well….there you have it. A start to finish of my buying trip to Texas. I am equally excited for this trip to Brimfield, MA. Check out my instagram feed  all week for updates :)

~jeni

 

Head over to the online gallery to check out many of my finds

Photography: Studio EMP