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Meet Selina Becker of Salvare Goods in Silverlake/ Elysian Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Selina Becker.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We are artists and art directors, and that dovetailed into us starting Salvare Goods in 2014. For my husband, and Salvare co-owner, Seth Meisterman, and I, the shop is a culmination of our life’s joys, interests, and experiences. We have an ever-changing selection of vintage furniture, lighting, pottery, baskets, clothing, art, and custom made designs. We are both natural-born hunters and gatherers. I’ve been scouring thrift stores and flea markets with my parents since birth, and they instilled in me the importance of quality, style, and uniqueness over trends. We feel everything at Salvare, which is either vintage or handmade, has stood, and will stand, the test of time.

Seth has a background in production design, prop building, and sculpting, so furniture design and building was a natural progression. His designs, which he hand builds, are in store, living happily amongst the vintage, and they are some of the customer’s favorites. I decorated and painted sets, and that lead to interior design, and abstract painting. We are also musicians, so we have vintage LPs in the shop, the odd vintage guitar, and music playing all the time. Much of the job is hunting for just the right piece, and it’s something that’s a lifestyle. We are always on the hunt! While dozing off, I’ll wonder if the lamp in the background of an old tv show is for sale. I even dream of vintage.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When the film production work dried up due to the mortgage crisis, we had to think of new ways to survive. We managed an architectural salvage and antique business prior to Salvare. We just fell into it, and we had to learn on the fly and loved it. When our friend, the owner of the salvage business, passed away the same week as my father, we were heartbroken and had to start from scratch.

‘Salvare’, meaning ‘To Save’ in Latin was the name I came up with, and, rather than just saving items from going to landfill, it was suddenly ourselves, our livelihood, collective dreams, legacy of our loved ones, which we had to save. We decided to go for broke, and follow one of our dreams of having a vintage and custom business of our own.

Salvare Goods has grown organically, and was smoothly sailing along, but ah, the pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench at us all.

Covid has put everyone in the entire world in the same boat, in unchartered waters. We are navigating it as best we can. We hope there’s a silver lining, maybe a greater appreciation for one another and the planet.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Salvare Goods – what should we know?
We truly love every item we bring in. That’s the common thread. We favor 1960’s through 1980’s. It’s mid-century, postmodern, antiques, and wildcard objects mixed in. We’ve designed and outfitted spaces from retail shops, offices, music venues, desert cabins, and a bit of home staging. We can help with an idea, a few pieces, or everything from the ground up.

We have vintage postcards for fifty cents, LPs for a few bucks, and up from there, for a rare postmodern or brutalist light fixture, or a George Smith kilim sofa. We want everyone to come and see beautiful pieces and be able to take something home. We take design and curation seriously, but the shop is not stuffy.

People say it’s like walking into our home when they come to Salvare. We are immensely proud of that. As in our home, all are welcome who enter with open, loving hearts, respectful of fellow people’s humanity and civil rights. Kurt Vonnegut said it best, “ There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” Also, wear a mask and protect one another!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are so many people who’ve graciously supported us along the way. We have been fortunate beyond measure for the loyalty of our customers. Interior designers, production designers, set decorators, and people looking for something unique to add to their own home, are everything to us. Our loyal customer base is our secret to survival. It’s all word of mouth. We were voted best vintage shop in 2016 by the readers of LA Weekly, and Editor’s choice for best vintage and custom furniture shop in 2017.

Production designers, like Alexys Oliver and Sam Stefanski of Concrete Stem, Steven Valdez of Little Apple Projects, set decorator Claudette Didul, have been with us since the start and make our pieces look great in the worlds they create. A newer customer, an interior designer name Maha Saab surprised us with recommended us to VoyageLA, so thank you! Each new, smiling face is a shot in the arm to a small business.

The people who built the foundation for our current endeavor deserve a hearty thanks. Our friend, the late great Fred Shapiro, was my mentor, who first took a chance on us. My mother, Laura, has been supportive every step of the way. As a child, I’d watch my father, Danny “Berzerko” Becker, ride flat dirt track speedway. He was a pro motorcycle racer, and his nickname was well earned. Every Friday night, he’d roll the dice, put his life and limb on the line, ride a motorcycle with no brakes, and give it his all. He’d either take home the trophy and the prize money or get nothing but a broken bone! It taught me to take a risk, do what I love, and do it with all my heart. It’s not the easy or predictable path, but it’s never boring!

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Image Credit:

Selina Becker, Seth Meisterman

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