Today we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Davich.
Carrie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from FIDM in 1984 and was a clothing designer for many years, ultimately owning my own business, LA Express. We did women’s active wear and dresses. I decided to quit working after my 2nd baby was born and the company bought me out. I stayed home for 17 years very happily raising my 3 kids and creating a cozy home for our family. We live right above the Rose Bowl so it became a monthly habit to go down to the big swap meet with my sister and girlfriends. I loved (love) the treasure hunt and seem to have a good eye for looking at a bunch of stuff and picking out what was good. There were many items I could not resist but didn’t need so they would go into our attic and it became a running joke with my husband that it was for the store I would open someday- never really thinking I actually would!! Then as my kids got older, started driving, and became busy after school, I found myself a little sad that my days mostly consisted of going to the gym, grocery store and maybe puttering in the garden. My husband really encouraged me to open the store that I had always joked about. I didn’t tell anyone as I started looking at possible locations because if I talked about it then I would really have to do it. Signing that lease was the scariest thing I had ever done but here I am almost 8 years later!! The store is by no means an antique shop- all vintage items are restored, cleaned, polished…the furniture will have the wood refinished and then I will upholster in a beautiful old Turkish rug or hand printed linen. So, these pieces really are unique and that is what we have become known for. The vintage items are mixed in new lines I have chosen. How things go together can be very unexpected and you will see things here you will not find anywhere else.
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?
It has not always been smooth. We started off very smoothly and customers were so happy to have a place where they know they can get a unique gift that will be beautifully wrapped. I have learned to ride the retail wave and not think about sales day to day, it’s really about the monthly numbers. Last year was really rough as it was a major election year and a crazy one at that. I opened in 2009 so was not around to experience the 2008 election but have always been told that retailers dread election years! I don’t think anyone can understand how hard it is to run a small business unless you have done it yourself. Having/finding good employees is also always a challenge.
Maude Woods – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have heard many, many times from customers that they have never seen a store like this. That really is because of the unusual mix of vintage and new. I have glassware and pottery from South Africa that no one else around here has. We can have mid-century furniture as well as a 19th century cabinet holding bath soaps and lotions. An old birdcage that has been transformed into a hanging light fixture, a 1940’s engraved silver trophy that has been made into a lamp. I think I am most proud when people respond to these items and buy them! For what I do- it’s everything!! Change light bulbs, do the payroll, go to the flower mart to get fresh flowers for the store, shop antique shows almost every Sunday, go to 2 or 3 major home and gift shows a year and keep the store stocked with the things our customers have come to expect. I also provide design services so will go to the design center to shop for fabrics when needed as well as meeting with my lighting guy to rewire an old lamp and make a shade….
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Maybe when One Kings Lane first developed their Vintage and Market Finds category. We did a couple of test sales with them and sold everything. Once it was up and running we started selling a ton of stuff and they had some big kinks to work out. They asked us for suggestions on how to make it better and my employee that was managing OKL for me went to their LA office to take part in a conference call with the SF office to trouble shoot how the portal was set up. They told me later how helpful that was so we had a big part in how the portal is currently running.
- We have pottery from $10-$300
- Pillows from $50-$400
- Furniture and lighting from $125-$8,000
- Address: 55 E Holly Street
Pasadena, CA 91103
- Website: www.maudewoods.com
- Phone: 626-577-3400
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/maudewoodsstore
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/maude.woods.3
Leslie Rodriguez (portrait)
Tom Queally (store)