Today we’d like to introduce you to Bob Chatt.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Being in the collectibles business all started at a very young age for me. My Grandfather and Father were in the collectibles business (antique guns, American Indian Art & Coin-op machines) so I guess I was destined to follow in their footsteps. As a young kid I would go to the antique markets with them when it was still dark, and in my mind I was helping them find pieces. In those early days I would come home and our house would be full of incredible antiques but I guess I really didn’t understand what I was seeing at the time and decided to start collecting and doing my own thing which was military artifacts, so at eight years old is when I started down this path.
I collected militaria only into the early 1980’s and while I was in high school I discovered the cool world of vintage clothing. So for the next couple of years my mom’s house was piled high with what she referred to as junk, but I knew better. By the time I graduated from high school I was selling militaria and vintage part time while getting ready for college and holding down a regular job. This didn’t last long and by the time I was 19 I became a full time dealer.
At age 22, I opened my first retail shop in Lomita, California and stayed there for a couple of years, before moving into a warehouse in Gardena that quickly filled up until it was full. During this time we started in the export business of used clothing to Japan (Levi’s, Hawaiian shirts, t-shirts, Polo & Izod clothing, etc). I did this for a couple of years and realized it was too much to handle and decided it was time for a major downsizing. I got married and moved to Huntington Beach where we opened our first private showroom that was open by appointment only. Within a couple of years we took over the building next door also and started expanding again. We were there for fourteen years and then moved to our current location. In between moving to Huntington Beach and Gardena we went into partnership with the MASH Company in Osaka Japan and we have been partners in a store there ever since. Our location in Huntington Beach is one of the largest private showrooms in California for higher end vintage clothing.
After we opened the Huntington Beach location we also started promoting a military collectibles show in San Diego that we eventually moved to the Fairplex in Pomona and is now the largest military collectibles show in the Western United States. Our newest venture is a Vintage clothing and collectibles show that will happen in October 2018 and will also be held at the Fairplex. You will also see us set-up at the Inspiration LA vintage show that happens in Feb. in downtown LA every year.
We also had our own reality show on the Discovery Channel called Combat Cash, and have appeared on numerous others shows including Storage Wars, Weapons Hunter, Auction Hunters, plus a few others.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As with any business it is not always perfect. There were many times when money was so tight that I would have to sleep in my truck behind my first store until we got the business really rolling. We joke that it was a good day if we could afford the 2 hot dogs special at the AM/PM that was a block away.
This is a tough business that requires you to be constantly on the “hunt” for new items to bring to your clients. There were times that I was gone more days during the months then I was home.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Vintage Productions – what should we know?
Vintage Productions is a specialty business that caters to the higher end of the military collectors market and we also cater to many design companies and collectors with our vintage clothing line. We try our hardest to make sure we do not carry anything that you can find in other stores. We travel around the world on buying trips to always bring fresh merchandise into the showroom. When we opened or current location we took the best of all the shops we had ever visited and the showrooms / warehouses and then put our spin on it so that we would stand apart from everyone else.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Because we deal in a very specialized business we are able to stand apart because we are not like another other business around. With both the vintage clothing and the militaria we can also tell you the history involved with each piece that you will find in our showroom.
- Address: 16182 Gothard Street Unit P
Huntington Beach, CA 92647, By appointment only
- Website: www.vintageproductions.com
- Phone: 714-375-6262
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: vintage_productions
- Facebook: Vintage Productions