Announcing..."As Luck Would Have It" -- the Website!

FINALLY! The "As Luck Would Have It" Website has launched! Now, in addition to the offerings at Home Store Manassas, my carefully edited collection of vintage treasures are available thru Be sure to check it out daily, as there are many more pieces of inventory to be posted. And tell ALL your friends, family, co-workers, strangers you meet in bars....Trust me, they'll thank you for it! At least I will...!

Friday, November 12, 2010

This is How We FLEA!

It was quite a weekend!  As heralded by my previous post, the latest-and-greatest DC Big Flea was held last weekend.  And, as exhausting and feet-numbing as it was, I nonetheless was thrilled for As Luck Would Have It to be included!  This being my third experience in four months on the seller-side, I feel like I’m fast-tracked to becoming a regular.  And Bianca the Van has the battle scars to prove it!

Although Bianca had already been loaded weeks prior with the more ‘substantial’ (read: heaviest) pieces, thanks to the help of my perennial assistant Andrew, there was much work to be done in the days/nights/hours prior to Set-up Day on Friday.  And, as usual, the packing of the last-minute items took the most time and energy: the extraordinarily large and delicate lampshades, the ornate (and unbending) wooden picture frames, and the gargantuan Stiffel lamp that rode shotgun, safely strapped into the van’s front seat.  

Finally, with everything packed as tightly and carefully as possible, Bianca and I set out at 7:30 AM bound for the Dulles Expo Center.  After a brief stop at the Falls Church warehouse to load the almost-forgotten dolley (Andrew threatened me with bodily harm if I forgot this key piece of moving equipment), I proceeded to sit in the typically torturous traffic-laden trip to Chantilly.  Once Assistant Andrew arrived, began our ritualistic unloading of the van, piling the smaller items into the bed and cab of his pick-up.  When the doors to the Expo Center’s South Building were finally opened for the vendors at 10 AM, we were ready and rarin’ to go.

English Cabinet Desk (open)
The cacophony during Set-up is quite energizing.  As long as you can avoid being hit by oncoming trucks and vans, and side-step the porters and vendors pushing and pulling sometimes unwieldy carts, the constant activity takes on the frenzy of a rock concert/circus.  It’s fun to reunite with vendors I’ve come to know from previous Fleas, and see the wares they’ve brought for the current show.  There’s a lot of pre-show shopping that takes place on Set-up Day!  Items that start in one booth often end up being offered by a vendor across the aisles!

English Cabinet Desk (closed)
After unloading the biggest, bulkiest, HEAVIEST piece of furniture – a most interesting mid-century/British-made/Danish-modern style desk which folds into one compact cabinet – I proceeded to agonize on the precise placement of the satin drapes for my booth’s backdrop, while Andrew unloaded the remaining items from Bianca.  (Amazingly, I completed my decorating task just as he brought in the last bin….Such timing!)   From that point on, the unpacking and placement of furniture and accessories went quite smoothly.  By 2 PM, I sent my most helpful assistant on his way; I, however, spent the next five hours carefully unwrapping and fretfully placing my Russel Wright ‘American Modern’ dinnerware.  Since my collection had expanded since the September show – now to include several important pieces in Chartreuse and Chutney – the table space dedicated to this mid-century icon almost doubled, requiring hours of undo and redo to achieve the display I’d envisioned.  And behold, in this video:  As Luck Would Have It presents, “Exotica: 20th Century Eclecticism”!

The next two days were a whirlwind….The foot traffic was brisk, and the attendees were most enthusiastic and appreciative of both my booth décor and its offerings.  I reveled in the attention given to the aforementioned British/Danish desk, and even had one observer iPhone video my “how-to-fold-into-a-cabinet” demonstration (might it be YouTube bound?!?).  But by far the biggest hit for ALWHI at this show:  Russel Wright!  I had such fun educating ‘newbies’ to the glories of ‘American Modern’, and discussing the collection with other afficionados.  Some folks purchased an item or two to initiate their collection, while others carefully selected pieces to accompany treasures passed down through generations.  I’m so thrilled to be able to offer the largest group of Russel Wright at the DC Big Flea, and hope to continue provisioning new and established collectors alike.

Many thanks to my friends who stopped by to lend their support (and provide coverage for restroom breaks!), including BFF Diana the Lady D, dear friend Jeri, and my new pal and ‘treasure finder’ Misha, with whom I share a love of all that is funky mid-century (BTW, this particular relationship all started with a Russel Wright chartreuse creamer featured on CraigsList….How fortuitous!).  I also had the distinct pleasure to finally meet Carol Paulsen, the most helpful and energetic office manager of D’Amore Promotions, which produces the DC Big Flea.  (Many, many thanks go to Carol for all her assistance!)

And here we are, days later, and I’m still recovering.  You see, I’m not one of those vendors who set up their wares and then sit back to more passively assist those who wander into their assigned booth space.  Oh no, honey, I can WORK. A. SHOW!  With an enthusiasm and intensity that’s part circus barker/part streetwalker (minus the tawdry outfits and well, illegal behaviors), I’m in constant motion during from start to finish.   Consequently, by the end of the show, I’m physically and mentally exhausted (not to mention hoarse!).  But alas, after the last attendee has left the building, there’s the dreaded end-of-show break-down (no, not the emotional kind…that’s usually a few hours later).  Everything that was not claimed during the show must be reloaded into the awaiting vans.  Thus, you have the same frenzied activity displayed on Set-up morning in reverse, except now it’s Sunday evening, everyone is much more drained and – depending on their respective success – somewhere between post-show elation and distress.

Finally arriving home feeling a bit battered and worn, yet satiated by a much-needed meal of Taco Bell, ALWHI’s third Flea had come to an end.  On the return trip (yes, once again in the ever-present Northern Virginia traffic), I had time to begin planning for the next Flea, January 8-9….2011 .  Where did the year go?!?  For me, I know a great deal of 2010 was spent collecting/moving/storing/refurbishing/photographing/selling vintage décor.  Onward to the New Year!

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