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Meet Karen Clark

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Clark.

Karen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always identified with art and home decor. As far back as I remember, I was rearranging rooms, homes, and playing with decor (starting as a child growing up in New England and redesigning my own room and when my parents left the house, I’d redesign their furnishings!) I graduated with a BFA in Art Education from University of Colorado, Boulder and came west and settled in Santa Barbara and started a photography business. After my husband and I bought our first home, we furnished it with vintage we found at estate sales and after our home was done, we still went out on weekends treasure hunting. Eventually, with a garage full of treasures, we took a space at a local antique mall and soon after opened our first store in Carpinteria (quaint seaside town between LA and Santa Barbara). My husband and I are both artists as well and avid Sea glass hunters and spend hours at remote beaches. We are part of the founding committee of the Santa Barbara Sea Glass and Ocean Arts Festival, and I am the Artistic Director for the Festival. We have a line of ocean art we make from sea glass, driftwood and heart stones and I recently introduced my new line of sustainable crossbody bags which incorporate sea glass and heart stones!

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?
The road for my vintage business has been smooth in terms of being in the town which most reminds me of my New England roots (Carpinteria has a little New England vibe which reminds me of going to Cape Cod growing up) and the synchronicity that occurred when locating my spaces.

The challenges really came recently when our area was hit by horrific fires and followed by the mudslide/debris flow. We had two shops in town and had to close one and consolidate into one store. We were closed essentially for two months and had no idea how that would translate business wise… but we soon found out.

So many of our customers in nearby Montecito lost loved ones or knew somebody that lost their homes. It still affects us all.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Whimsy Antiques and the Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival – what should we know?
Whimsy is a light-hearted approach towards antiques and vintage. I have to absolutely love something in order to bring it into our shop. It has to speak loud and clear and evoke happiness within me. I love color, I love original paint, I love the way vintage items were made to last forever.

I carry a lot of fun furniture, decor, vintage art, modern vintage clothing, vintage textiles, and pepper in a few artists created relevant items that fit our Whimsy vibe.

I am a stylist and my store is my canvas… people tell me they come in to get inspired and love my displays. I am more than excited when they purchase my entire display.

Mixing in textiles and creating depth and textures with furnishings and books is a passion. It’s all about color for me but I love playing with a neutral palette as well.

I’m proud of keeping true to myself and keeping myself excited about the current design trends, finding the goods and bringing them to life in the shop.

What sets us apart from others is the flow of the shop. It has sections that reflect moods and styles and I love creating and changing it up often. You won’t find stuff on shelves, you’ll find snippets of rooms that can be transported directly to your home.

Creativity is my mantra.

We want the whole experience to be positive while in our shop and play vintage music that people seem to love and have been known to sing along and dance to!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
With Whimsy, my passion for current livable vintage is key. What used to be in a few years ago is not what I want in the shop. Trends and styles constantly change. I want an eye for design and artistic expression to always translate to a fun vibe that people can feel good about. If I achieve that, I am on the right track.

With the Santa Barbara Sea Glass and Ocean Arts Festival, I am always working on finding artists that have the best in the country. Since I run the social media, I am constantly discovering talents around the globe. My job as the Art Director is to keep the aesthetics interesting, from the t-shirt designs to the whole visual flow.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 962 Linden Avenue Carpinteria, California 93013
  • Website:
  • Phone: (805) 684-1222
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @whimsyantiques
  • Facebook: Whimsy Antiques
  • Twitter: Whimsyantiques

Image Credit:
Karen Clark

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