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Meet Stacia Vinar and Sarah Whipple of Modern Resale in Mid-City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacia Vinar and Sarah Whipple.

Stacia and Sarah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our story is pretty simple and straightforward, but inspired! We first met working at a renowned furniture store in West Hollywood called DIVA. We were two like-minded women who appreciated fine arts and design in similar ways with different backgrounds. We were very passionate about our work at DIVA, and our experiences with customers there sparked the idea to start our own business.

First, we noticed that customers who purchased luxury furniture were often interested in having the showroom buy the pieces back from them after major life events, such as a major move, divorce, or just a change of style. Additionally, when our furniture was used for staging purposes it often would come back to us once a house was sold.

Second, we met so many great folks from around the world who appreciated high-end furniture and design, but couldn’t afford to pay full retail prices.

In 2012, we decided to team up, and we began our own business by renting a public storage unit in Culver City, where we brought buyers to view furniture that our other clients were selling. Not the most glamorous of showrooms, but it worked!

We eventually installed storage racks for better viewing, and one storage unit led to another, then to a third, before we finally decided to move down the street to a proper showroom at a warehouse space on Jefferson Boulevard. And that’s where Modern Resale really began!

As our physical space grew, so did our client base. Showrooms told their clients about us so that they would feel more comfortable paying full price with the knowledge that resale of those precious pieces is always a possibility. Additionally, our website and social media presence became a useful resource for buyers who were searching the internet for specific pieces.

Now, with our three employees, Modern Resale is an all-female operation. We are known for our high customer satisfaction. Most of our customers keep coming back, and they bring their friends and colleagues. We continue to grow as a business because of our excellent reputation. The beauty of this isn’t lost on us! We fully appreciate the benefits of a positive customer experience, and we aim to continue along that path.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No road to success is ever smooth! We have faced several challenges along the way, but nothing we couldn’t handle.

One of our biggest hurdles has been showroom and warehouse space in LA. We always need enough space for us to acquire the items that are a perfect fit for our business. We take pride in the fact that, unlike most other online resellers, we handle each item personally. We inspect, clean, and restore each piece as needed, and we store most items on site so buyers can also inspect them personally before purchasing. This requires us to literally have space for every single item we consign. Think about how big your living room has to be to keep even just a few nice pieces of furniture!

Another big challenge for us has been educating clients about the value and content of our inventory. With our 30+ years of combined experience in the high-end furniture and design industry, we are experts with a unique curatorial eye. We know the value and quality of exceptional pieces. We want our customers to know about the wide variety that we offer. For example, while we carry many mid-century modern pieces, we don’t focus exclusively on vintage modern, which is a misconception. We also carry luxury contemporary European furniture lines, and current pieces that are still in production too. We educate our customers about our diversity through our website and by talking with them about their specific needs and interests. Referrals and word-of-mouth are another major factor in overcoming this hurdle.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Modern Resale specializes in procuring and re-selling recent and classic modern designer furniture. We also carry lighting and some accessories. We deal with only top brands and the most exceptional pieces.

We pride ourselves on providing all our clients the ability to enjoy an original authored design, and not to have to resort to buying copies or reproductions. Once our customers enjoy an original piece of fine furniture, they will never settle for anything less.

In addition to consumers, we work closely with professionals, such as architects, interior designers, and design students who fully appreciate the superior design and excellent craftsmanship of the brands that we carry. Our pieces are used for interiors, staging houses, film and television sets, or sometimes just as a focal point in someone’s modest apartment.

One thing that sets us apart is that we are very selective in our vetting process. We only take in pieces that we have authenticated and that fit our high standards. Additionally, we scrutinize, clean, and refinish the pieces if need be to prepare them for their second lives. The reason for carrying only top luxury design brands is their excellent craftsmanship, which ensures long-lasting quality, and of course remarkable beauty.

Another way we differ from our competitors is our personal touch. We offer a place to come and see and feel the pieces in person before purchasing. Also, because we are a small company, when you call us, you speak directly to us or one of our staff, not an automated message system. Our clients love that intimacy and personal touch, and we love to provide it.

Modern Resale is our lives and our passion. We pride ourselves on providing not only great products, but also memorable experiences for our customers. We want our customers to feel that they’re acquiring a very special piece that tells a story; just like a painting or a photograph that becomes a conversation piece in a home. Our high caliber furniture designs are meant to create the same vibe.

The luxury resale market is on fire right now. But it’s not like good design stopped being made. The modern lineage started in the early 20th century and continues today. It is our intention to provide the best designs from the best manufacturers in the world, regardless of the era.

We also recognize trends that address various cultural shifts. For example, our generation is a more casual culture. We tend to lounge, so current designs address that with deeper, more expansive seating. Award-winning furniture designers such as Jasper Morrison, Antonio Citterio, Patricia Urquiola and Marcel Wanders who design for brands like B&B Italia, Cassina, Minotti, and Cappellini – the list is endless – have their own signature takes on how design is affected by culture.

Modern Resale is more than just a furniture store; it’s an education in culture, art, and design. We strive to offer an experience that will not only educate, but also inspire our customers, without breaking the bank.

What were you like growing up?
Stacia: I grew up in the Midwest and spent a lot of time outdoors with my two younger brothers and our friends. We had a very simple upbringing and even though we didn’t have the means to have top brand furniture back then, my mom and I spent hours redecorating and rearranging my bedroom, adding a cool piece we found at a yard sale or reupholstering something from another room in the house, always changing things up. My mom has a natural eye for design and passed that down to me. I was also into fashion and music, anything alternative caught my attention.

Sarah: As a latch key kid I also spent a lot of time outdoors independently wandering the neighborhood and nearby woods with friends. I always liked to draw but it was not until high school that my creativity really took off. I was kind of a free spirit art nerd. I was drawn to any and all available mediums including drawing, painting, photography and fiber arts. My love of design is certainly an extension of my many creative interests.

Pricing:

  • Top European Brands are 50-60% below their retail values

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Photos by Joey Jones

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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