Happy Feature Friday!
Today we’re so excited to feature Kayla Glenn of GlennCoFinds! What makes it so exciting is 1. Her shop is AMAZING and 2. She just happens to be our very first shop owner of vintage and antique goods! We not only love the items she curates, but also how enthusiastic she is about purchasing items that have a story and a background — making them so much more unique! Successful thrifting and antiquing is not an easy task, and Kayla has a lot of great tips for making your trips really pay off with some incredible finds. We are huge advocates of filling our homes (and closets!) with previously owned items, and GlennCoFinds is the perfect place to begin your journey to making your own space more individualized. Keep reading to learn all about the background of Kayla’s shop and to seriously swoon over the unique treasures that GlennCoFinds discovers.
: Tell us a few things about yourself!
: Hi! My name’s Kayla and I’m a 23-year-old wife living in Iowa City, working full-time as a nanny to the two squishiest turkeys in all the land. Jesus is my reason for being, I’m a college drop out, have 1,632 hobbies, love making things fit perfectly into my trunk, and classic rock comes out on top of the music chain in my world. I am also incredibly sarcastic, which makes my personality seem quite strange through writing.
: All of the products you’ve found for GlennCoFinds are so one-of-a-kind and stand out pieces! What kinds of items initially grab your eye and how would you describe the items you fill your shop with?
: Mid Century pieces are hands-down my favorite things to find. The easiest way to find mid century pieces for me, is by looking out for colors. Pretty specific color pallets were used in the 50’s and 60’s so this makes it a bit easier to spot items on the surface. Interesting enough, most of the items actually in my shop aren’t mid century. These pieces are becoming harder to come by as this style is coming back into rotation for the general public. I also get really pumped when I find something totally weird and unusual. Fact: I wanted our wedding theme to be weird and unusual and my mother wasn’t having it. Anyway, trying to describe my items as a whole is darn near impossible, which makes my collection eclectic, I suppose.
: Have you always enjoyed thrifting and vintage shopping? What made you decide that you were going to not just shop for yourself, but make an Etsy store out of your finds?
: Absolutely. I’ve always gotten a weird high from finding someone else’s “junk”. As you can probably guess, this started becoming a bit of a problem. Every time I would go thrift shopping, I would come home with things that I most certainly did not need. I also love to rearrange and re-decorate our home on a bi-monthly basis, so old decor and furniture really started to pile-up in our guest room when I would change it out. I couldn’t just get rid of it though! Someone else would see value in that stuff, I just needed to find them. Cue Etsy shop. I would also like to point out that I didn’t come up with the idea or guts on my own. I have a wonderful cousin who actually started doing the same thing as me over a year ago, and now has her own brick and mortar in downtown Des Moines. Seeing her become so successful with it and just going for it gave me all the confidence I needed to start my own online shop, and I am very thankful for her.
: We’re sure you’ve had one of those super exciting “I found something amazing!” moments. What has been your most exciting find so far? And what is your favorite type of item to find?
: So I’ve found a few things that I just couldn’t hold it together for, that includes an insanely gorgeous peacock chair (that I can’t let go of just yet), a vintage pink sewing machine (in the shop), and a MASSIVE handwoven oriental rug (that I got for virtually free and also can’t say goodbye to). Honestly, most of the stuff I find I about lose it over. I’m a nerd. I also love, love, chairs. I have a separate garage at my nanny family’s house (bless them) and it is just filled with chairs. Not my car, but chairs.
: Why do you think people should buy vintage or handmade products versus items that are sold in today’s popular stores?
: Oh goodness guys, vintage is just better. It’s original, it has a story, it’s most likely built better than something that was recently made for the same purpose, and someone else once loved it and now you get to! There is SO MUCH STUFF in the world and we just keep making more. Doesn’t that just seem a little ridiculous? I love being able to take something old, and stage it to the point where someone who is unable to see the value in vintage things, say, “Oh ya, that does look really amazing.” Someone like my mother. I realize I have mentioned my mother twice. Simply a coincidence, I really do love her.
: Say you walk into a thrift shop or antique store. What’s your process for finding that perfect item?! Any tips for those looking to have a successful thrift haul?
: I go up and down every single aisle and will scan a single shelf at least five times over. It’s incredible what your eyes can miss the first few times. I am also a person that digs. If there is a box, or tub, or container of anything, I’m usually sitting on my butt rummaging through it. I am constantly asking for help by the employees to reach something, plug something in (always make sure something works, such as a lamp), unroll large area rugs, and move big pieces out of the way to get to other treasures. Do not be afraid to do any of this. Some of the stores I go to actually really appreciates that I’m like this, and realizes that I value vintage things. They’ll usually point me in the direction of something they just got in or is still in the back. Make friends, and thrift often. Also, I really just have an open mind. I never go thrifting with something specific in mind. If I do, and don’t find it, I feel I’ve failed.
: We bet you have to be incredibly patient in finding the right products to fit into your store! How do you keep a positive mindset when searching, especially on one of those days when you can’t seem to find anything?
: Where my patience gets tested the most is at estate sales. These are big hits or misses. Typically I have to drive over an hour round trip to even get to one, and if I don’t find anything, I kind of beat myself up over it because I’ve just wasted my time. I’m getting better at being okay with this though, because if I don’t go, then I’m constantly thinking about what I would have gotten if I went. By going, I know that there was nothing of value to me there. I’m also able to have a positive mind-set in general about my shop because God placed the shop into my life. He’s allowing it to become more and more successful and allowing me these awesome opportunities that I never had planned. His plan is greater than mine, so whatever happens on a day to day basis with it (whether good or bad) is part of an incredible life God has in motion for me. How can I be negative about that?
: What’s your favorite thing about what you do? Any memorable feedback you’ve received from one of your customers?
: My favorite thing about what I do is finding something that really gets someone excited. It’s also been so cool to see this little shop take off. Finding something you’re good at and realizing God is all for it (by creating more and more opportunities out of it) too, is an incredible feeling.
I’ve gotten so much encouragement from friends and family, and even random people. I’ve had a few people ask how they could get started doing something along the lines of what I do, and that to me means I’m succeeding if people are wanting to do the same thing.
: What are your future goals for GlennCoFinds? Any specific item you’re really hoping to find and add to the shop one day?!
: Overall: I really would like to use this business to reach people’s hearts all over the world. I have a unique opportunity to be able to make my packages personal. I hand write every single one of my customers a thank-you card hoping it makes their day along with whatever they purchased. Simply being kind and showing interest in someone can move mountains.
Near future: we need a dang truck. My husband and I both have cars, so hauling my thrift hauls is difficult at times, especially when there’s furniture involved.
Few years: I would love to be making enough income where I can be supporting our family equally as much as my husband will be. God-willing I’ll be a stay-at-home mom in the future, and this is totally something I can do with children (I’ve experienced what it will be like by being a nanny). Lightening the load on my husband is my number one priority.
Eventually: becoming a physical shop would be something I think I would really enjoy running.
Sideboards are totally something I’d love to have for my shop one day. I love sideboards. They are such functional pieces of furniture and come in so many different styles. I don’t have any now, due to the whole shipping issue. If I get a bigger client base in Iowa City, these pieces will for sure be in stock!
: Any advice to share that you’ve learned along the way?
: About thrifting: Take your time, have an open mind, and make sure what you’re buying works, both for the space you plan to put it in and physically.
Running your own business: Value your customers and treat them well. Develop relationships with people doing something similar to you and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Social media is obviously an awesome way to grow your business, and don’t be afraid to be yourself. I say what comes to my mind about my items on all my social media platforms and most of the time it’s weird, but people seem to like it, so onwards with my weirdness.
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Product & Portrait Photography done by: www.cambriashelleyphotography.com