An Interview with My Thrifting Hero

Danavee and her $32 clawfoot tub
Have I ever told you about my proudest thrifting find? It's this gigantic 70's woven wall hanging that sure looks a lot like something by Romeo Reyna. It's in excellent condition, the weave's still good, no strange smells. I've seen these things listed for several thousands of dollars on 1st Dibs, Etsy, Chairish, and Ebay, and what did mine cost? $3. Originally $6, but that booth was having a half-off sale.

Killer thrifting finds do happen, but not often. However, some people out there seem to be charmed when it comes to finding treasures at the thrifts. There were Daniel Kanter's Eames chairs, Anna Dorfman's Eames DKX chairs and her Componibili unit, and pretty much everything in Morgan Satterfield's house. I look at these people the way I imagine others must look at athletes. Their keen eyes, sense of style, knowledge of design, savvy negotiating skills, and their ability to see beautiful items buried beneath the grossness of thrift stores leave me awestruck.

Danavee Long is one of these talented thrifters. She really knows vintage and has had some unbelievable thrift scores. In fact, she finds so much good stuff that she can't keep it all. So she maintains not one, not two, but three beautifully curated booths at an upscale flea market in Springfield. And get this: She's my friend. True story!

Here's another true story. I was once out thrifting with Danavee when I mentioned to her how much I would love to have a giant, mid-century ashtray on a stand (this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night, people). Within just a few weeks, Danavee shows up at my door with the most perfect one, and it's PINK. She had found it at a DAV thrift store, covered in grime, and she had cleaned it up. Then she said it was a birthday present for me.

Holy wow. That's a true friend in my book.

If you're like me, and you love learning people's stories, then I think you'll like what I have for you today. Danavee sweetly accepted my request for an interview, so I could ask her my burning questions and learn how to sharpen my thrifting skills. Here's what she had to say.

When did you first start frequenting the thrift shops? What got you interested?
My grandparents were antique dealers.  My parents were into antiques.  I grew up going to garage sales and was surrounded with vintage all the time. So I guess it runs through my veins. I can't remember a time that I ever wanted to stray from being a collector.

What is the thrifty find you are most proud of?
I have three items that come to mind.......probably my clawfoot tub comes in first.  $32.50 for a pristine clawfoot bathtub.  It's always been a dream of mine to have one, but they are outrageous around here, if they are in good condition. This one will hopefully make the trek upstairs one day when we remodel that bathroom.  My second favorite find was a Heywood Wakefield dresser (and matching double bed).  I remember opening a drawer and seeing the Heywood stamp. MY HEART STARTED RACING!  I couldn't get to the register fast enough.  Lastly and most recently, a surfboard Baumritter coffee table makes my list.  I didn't realize it was a Baumritter til I was loading it up to head home!  I turned it over and it was stamped underneath.  I found a matching example on Etsy for $600!!! I paid $12.50.

Has there ever been a thrifty find you passed up and regretted later?
YES! A set of eight mid-century Christmas tumblers. They had these hilarious Santas on them.  I went back the same evening, maybe an hour or two later, and GONE!  I have thought about them more than once over the years.

How does your significant other feel about your thrifting?
He is not into it himself, but he humors me.  I mean, he was pretty darn great about me dragging home a clawfoot bathtub that we have no use for just yet!  He loves when I find something that could fetch a better price in my antique mall booths. 

What inspired you to start a flea market booth? Any big lessons learned from that experience?
I had a friend talk me into it.  We shared a space for six months.  After that, she was done, and I kept going!  I have learned that anything goes!  Things that you think might hang around for awhile, sell fast..........things that you think will go quickly, hang around for awhile.  You have to be patient.  That thing is just waiting for the right person to snatch it up!

How do you know so much about midcentury modern style?
I'm a "learn-as-I-go" kind of person.  I do lots of googling!  I actually was more into primitives until recently.  I just started reading up online, looking on eBay and Etsy, and learning the brands to look for. 

How often do you go thrifting? On average, how often do you leave empty-handed?
I try to thrift a few times a month.  Sometimes I'm able to go once a week.  Sometimes it's every other week.  It's rare that I leave empty-handed.  It happens, but if I try to recall the last time, I can't!

Do you pay the sticker price or try to talk them down? Any tips on how to do that?
I have never tried to bargain at a thrift shop!  Honestly, I am the WORST at bargaining elsewhere, like yard sales.  I will usually just pay the price, assuming it's reasonable!

Which places around Springfield are your favorites for thrifting?
We have a few Red Rack (Disabled Veterans) stores that I like.  My Heywood Wakefield and tub purchases were from Red Rack locations.  My two favorites are Thrift Haven and the CARE Animal Shelter Thrift.  Those two have the best prices.  My coffee table was from Thrift Haven.

What is the thrifty find of your DREAMS? What are you usually looking for when you hit the thrifts?
I would LOVE to find a vintage Hudson Bay striped blanket.  I am always dreaming of finding a vintage Turkish or Persian rug too. 

What advice do you have for those of us wanting to improve our thrifting skills? 

Have an open mind!  Don't go shopping with blinders on!  When you walk in, have zero expectations....nothing on your radar.  If you are so focused on finding something in particular, you can have tunnel vision and miss out on other things! 

Thanks so much, Danavee!

See more of Danavee's thrifty finds and more about her 1921 Craftsman bungalow on her blog, This Vintage Grove. All photos in this post are by Danavee Long. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the chance to think about these questions! It was fun to answer them! And the kind intro........I loved it. I miss you!


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