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Meet Robert Berger of Vintage Visions Furniture and Art Gallery in Mid Town/Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Berger.

Robert, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I had been involved in the design industry for close to 30 years as an architectural photographer, shooting hotels, restaurants and luxury residential properties. During that time, I also worked on furniture catalogs and produced two books about historic buildings in LA. Along with the books came museum and gallery shows. Then came the recession of 2008-9. Business slowed to a crawl and on the upswing, everything went digital. I didn’t transition well and became a stay at home dad, buying furniture on the weekends for my 1930’s Spanish style home. My selections were sometimes rejected by my wife at the time, and I sold them for a tidy profit. It became an obsession and divorce made it a new career.

My background in the design industry gave me a keen eye for design. After ten years, I still have the eye and now the knowledge of the history of furniture and it’s designers. Along with that knowledge came the confidence to buy bigger and better pieces.

I’m in love with the treasure hunt aspect of this calling. Finding gems in a trash heap is awfully rewarding. It’s fun, intriguing and challenging. I never get tired of it.

I recently moved to a larger space and am truly enjoying all that it entails.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Picking, as we call it, has been relatively easy and fun but the learning curve was gradual. Understanding how much to pay, what things were worth and what they would actually sell for has been critical. It took a while but those hurdles have been met. Finding space enough to accommodate the findings, especially on the westside, provided another challenge.

Vintage Visions Furniture and Art Gallery – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I specialize in mid-century and industrial furniture and accessories. I search for things with the eye of an artist combined with experience in interior design. I am a one man operation who does the picking, moving, cleaning, refinishing (when needed) plus advertising and selling. I’ve been self-employed my entire life and like being responsible for everything.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Happiness and the love of what you do so it never seems like you are working. With retail sales, there will always be peaks and valleys. You just hope to minimize the low points.

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