May 2016 I had the distinct honor of being part of an article published by Good Housekeeping, in partnership with L'Oreal Paris, featuring "50 over 50"....50 women who embraced this decade of their lives, #theperfectage, and were seen as inspirational.
Pulling from the questionnaire I filled out, they pegged me as the "Purveyor", and per the Oxford dictionary definition of the word I am quite fine with being coined as such.
a person who sells or deals in particular goods.
Yes, I sell "particular goods" . I've always loved to sell but not just anything...so yes, what I sell is very "particular" if you will. There has to be a connection....a story...a reason behind what I sell.
My first business, back in the mid 80's, was selling Haitian handicrafts. Was after 5 years of living and working in Haiti that spurred me to start this business as I planned to move from Haiti and wanted to have a way to "give back". I had spent 3 years as a volunteer doing public relations (read tour guide/bridge between the cultures) for a non profit Christian organization called International Child Care...and felt that I wanted to do more. I did ponder going to graduate school to study Development Education, fueled by my desire to help the Haitians by way of educating those with the means to offer assistance. But, it came to me that I could offer help more directly, by buying the beautiful crafts they created but had no market for, and with that Kado D'Haiti was born.... and continued until we (oh, I failed to mention" I "became a "we" in Haiti...and "we" became a family rather rapidly, 3 babies in 3 years, moving from Boston to Kitchener) again moved our now family of 3 preschoolers to Asia, in 1991.
Antiques by Zaar, my business of importing and selling Chinese antiques, was born after spending the ensuing 8 years in Asia, Bangkok Thailand and Taichung Taiwan specifically. The connection here is obvious. We had many wonderful and privileged experiences as expats and wasn't a time in my life that I wanted to shelf. Having to answer "how the heck did I get into this business in the first place" gave me plenty of opportunity to share and I ate it up. The reason I embraced selling this genre of furniture...which by the way was a very very scary thing to do after selling handbags, beads, metal work and other assorted knick knacks...was because my family needed me to. I had a connection, (wonderful time in Asia), I had a story (don't get me going) and I had a reason.
What was great, and I simply couldn't have anticipated, was how selling Chinese antiques, online, would fit me like a glove. A personal and unique purchase, made, sight unseen, from yours truly. Not going to lie, I figured it out as I went along, but my confidence grew as people put their confidence in me, and sales rolled on in.
It was with 12 years of experience selling online under my belt that I was approached by Distinctive Chesterfields, to be their US sales rep. Like Antiques by Zaar, no brick and mortar stateside/using their website as their storefront. Also like Antiques by Zaar, their target sales were direct to the consumer, with factory to consumer pricing, making a very appealing price point for leather sofas, chairs and ottomans. Another good "fit" if you will, for yours truly.
With Antiques by Zaar as the anchor, Distinctive Chesterfields was given a home in my showroom in High Point NC, which I coined as ZAAR Design Center, my 3rd business. June 2013 we shipped our first container full of pre sold sofas to the U.S. and since then we have been doing a container a month consistently. The showroom serves as a place to receive the occasional returns, and pieces that are shipped from UK to US for "quick ship"....AND, of course, as a place for those that want to venture in to have a sit/quality check, before buying. But, like Antiques by Zaar, the bulk of sales are done online, purchasing sight unseen, until it lands in their home. Exciting eh?
It would be a Antiques by Zaar customer come friend that would put me in touch with artist Frank Rogers, who lives in San Miguel Mexico, and has started a cottage industry, making beautifully hand forged iron table bases, adorned with glass tops. Although he has a thriving business in Mexico, he was looking for someone to represent and sell his product in the States and he landed on who else, yours truly. I introduced his collection at the Spring 2016 High Point Furniture Market, with rave reviews, and am excited to launch his collection here on this new site. Yes, have come full circle, working with this cottage industry. Connection. Story. Reason.
Having been an exhibitor at High Point Furniture Market for over a decade I have had the absolute pleasure of forging friendships with a wide array of exhibitors/many of which that sell only direct to the trade. I am on always on the lookout for product that complements what I already have, and look to see how well we can work together in the efficient filling of orders. Adding these accent pieces to my offerings here is a work in progress, but I think as valuable for a myriad of reasons, least of all giving YOU, my customer, some more cool things to buy from me.
So yes, I am a purveyor of "particular" goods. I Love the product that I sell. I Love the stories behind my product. I Love the people I collaborate with and the people I have come to count on to help me get the job done. I Love being able to give people confidence in making an online purchase without remorse.And I love that I am doing this for me.
If you're still with me, I will finish with the 2nd definition of purveyor and how I see that befitting to me.
a person or group that spreads or promotes an idea, view, etc
From ALL the info I provided the editor she chose to hone in on my bit about how we as women are there for each other...giving and getting, giving and getting. Makes sense as it rounds me out as a purveyor....not only of goods, but of ideas and such. Duh!
My Life has been, and continues to be, Blessed beyond words for the women that I have allowed into my world. Sometimes it is without even a meeting that I find a mutual sense of respect and admiration between myself and another. Yes, Facebook has a way of such relationships happening...but I also find this as I buy and sell product...and as I keep relationships warm, some from over 30 years ago. It took me awhile, I know, hard to believe, to embrace this Gift, but that I have, and I wish for every woman I know to have a "tribe" if you will.
It was not my dream to be in the home furnishings business. It was my dream to "make a difference". Never really sure how that play out but making a difference in someone's life (and yes, you can do that by way of an online transaction...it goes BOTH ways!) is my raison d'etre.
Being in the home furnishings business is where I have landed. And because of it I have landed with a networking group specific to the industry, called WITHIT... Women In the Home Furnishings Industry Today. I am an ambassador for this group, and promote participating at any level possible. No, I'm not on the board/prefer to be a self proclaimed ...and last year acknowledged by my peers, ambassador... and that I do with great joy.