Hunting for treasure in …
We’re honored to welcome Heather Vieira, vintage and antique storyteller – the Antique Diva.
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Dana Helms: Can you tell us about how you got started doing what you’re doing now? Was there an ah-ha moment that defined your path?
Heather Vieira: Perhaps it can all be attributed to egg sandwiches and donuts. That was the incentive to get up early and head out to the flea market with my dad back when I was a kid. Fun mornings walking down the rows of tables looking at way too much stuff as a kid certainly set the tone for today. I still love treasure hunting at the flea market, but I have to lay off the egg sandwiches and donuts…
DD: What do you love most about what you do?
HV: Being part of the history of an object and helping that object to continue to tell its story. Antique and vintage pieces bring so much into an environment, their history is written all over them. Patina and wear speak volumes. It’s a pleasure for me to deal in these pieces, whether it’s a pair of antique leather wing back chairs, a mid-century abstract painting or a vintage chandelier.
DD: What’s the proudest moment of your career? Is there a project that you think of as your absolute best?
HV: Each day is that moment because each day is an opportunity to learn something new about a designer, artist or creator. The business of buying and selling antique and vintage pieces offers an incredible opportunity for growth and understanding. It is this opportunity for which I am most thankful.
DD: Who/What inspires you?
HV: I am inspired by history. By those folks who dedicate their lives to creating objects of beauty. By those folks who dedicate their lives to learning about such objects. The artisans of the past have left us with an incredible library of inspiration.
DD: Has social media changed how you do business? For the better or worse?
HV: It plays a big role in how I’m able to reach out to other dealers, potential clients and other folks who just love the business of antiques. It’s a tough world to negotiate and I’m still working my way through it. At times muddling. At times soaring. But always moving. Social media is an amazing tool. Mastering it is another story all together…
DD: What advice do you have for others struggling with social media?
HV: Keep a positive attitude and keep moving. There are so many ways to get your message heard, but there are also many voices out there. Fresh content, loads of images and interactions with other folks that you enjoy will help to keep your presence up there.
DD: Can you tell us about what frustrates you about your career or the industry you’re in?
HV: Well, I’d like everyone to enjoy antique and vintage pieces and I think the interior design folks can do so much to educate their clientele on the importance of buying antique and vintage pieces. That contemporary sofa you just placed for a client could have been a great antique one. Sure, it may take some extra searching, but it will be well worth it.
DD: Tell us about the private Heather – what do you love most about your home/life/family?
HV: The time I get to spend with my family is wonderful. As a family, we take weekend trips to antique and flea markets together. The kids are starting to pick out objects they like and they think I should like, too. It’s a super fun way to hang out together.
DD: Tell us more about Heather and what you accomplished in 2013 and what’s on tap for 2014!
HV: 2013 saw me exhibit and sell at both the Spring Furniture Market and Fall Furniture Market in High Point. What an absolutely incredible experience. The energy stored up in those two weeks is palpable. Doing both shows afforded me a wonderful introduction to a huge slice of the market. Also, I had some nice press, including write-ups in The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Current Magazine, the home page of the High Point Furniture Market website and others. I’m always looking to the future while enjoying today, because what is built today is the foundation for tomorrow.
DD: What’s the best advice you can give to someone following your career path?
HV: Go with your gut. Sounds simple enough, but at times it can be the hardest thing to do. When you’re out in the field buying in those pre-dawn hours, there’s an energy. That energy comes from you and your excitement. Harness it. Go with it. Follow your instincts. When you’re buying stuff to resell you have to love it. If you’re buying something that you’d love to have in your own home, that will come across when it’s time to sell it. Stay focused on your dream and grow it every day.
DD: Bonus question: If YOU could have one super power what would it be?
HV: Time travel. For sure. Not to go back in time and buy a Picasso but to go back in time and see the history of the very same objects I’m buying and selling today. To see the painting, sofa or chandelier currently in my inventory when it was in the home of the original owner, or the workshop of the original craftsman or the showroom of the original dealer. But, I’d have to add in some type of safe guard to not mess up the future because we all saw Back to the Future and I don’t have a DeLorean!
About Dana Helms
When someone says social butterfly, they’re likely referring to Dana Helms. With her ability to wander through conversations online as if she’s hosting a cocktail party, Dana brings awareness and excitement to the social media party. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Catch up with Heather Vieira online: