Friday, August 28, 2009

How Does A Store Become Successful? An Insightful Interview with Lori Chandler, the Mastermind Behind the Magnificent Parisian Vignettes Antiques

What three words describe your shop?
Faded, French Grandeur. Even though: "French decor, faded grandeur & all that is time-worn is our world" is really how I like to sum it up, but that went over the word allotment! Oh Dear!

What sets you apart from other antique stores and malls?
What sets us apart from other stores is that, very early on, I figured out that there is a niche for what I love & collect-glamorous, French-inspired home decor & settings & so I made that our brand. From the moment you step inside the shop you begin an experience... Light, airy & oh so chic with soft French music playing and beautifully edited vignettes of muted, time worn elegance; this carefully orchestrated setting is not only the soul of our business, but this is what sets up apart. We don't just provide French-inspired vintage home & garden decor, but ultimately we provide a magical experience that people want to take home with them. This is our edge. I haven't strayed from that concept, just expanded on it & then, of huge importance, is the fact that, over the years I have managed to surround myself with the best of the best dealer/designers in the trade. The 20 dealer/designers under my roof are all at the top of their game; each one is extremely business savvy & experienced in the antique world, has some form of a designer background & all share my passion & love for this business. Together we focus on tracking down the most one-of-a-kind, show-stopping finds & then merchandising these grand pieces of the past, into irresistible, must-have displays. We never lost sight of the fact that our clients come to us for inspiration, to see what's in vogue & to buy pieces they won't find anywhere else, that will truly give their homes that au courant edge.
Then, there are several other factors:
  • We are located in the San Diego's largest antique destination, the Ocean Beach Antique District where people can come & spend the whole day shopping, just one block from the ocean.

  • I work on keeping our name & image out there with every tool possible; advertising, a website, blogging, networking, charitable donations & fundraisers, staging special events & parties, a line of brand name t-shirts, promotion, promotion, promotion & as much goodwill I can spread around as humanly possible.
    • French decor, faded grandeur & all that is time worn is our world & what the shop is built around, accomplished by the most talented dealers in the business... It's a powerful combination!

      My friends magnificent booth, Tony and Lucy Torres of Paris Flea Market,
      that have had their fabulous home in San Clemente featured in Romantic Homes and Country Homes Magazines

    After 14 years in the biz, what gets you out of bed and excited to move huge pieces of furniture around? OK, I'm being a little devil. Seriously, what inspires you?

    The fact that my life-long love of all things time-worn, French-inspired & glamorous metamorphosed from a hobby into a thriving business is wildly fulfilling, extremely gratifying & perfectly feeds my vast creative needs. To this day my heart literally skips a beat when I behold a fabulous vintage find, discover a magnifique new paint color, stumble onto a worn, leather-bound French book or have one of my be-jeweled or be-shelled projects turn out better than I had hoped for. Since I always take projects as far as they can go & give 2000 percent to whatever I'm working on, having a shop was inevitable for me.

    This business is a living, breathing, demanding & fascinating challenge that I thrive on & it has presented me the monumental opportunity & awesome responsibility of preserving grand & irreplaceable pieces of the past.

    What do you hope customers experience or take away from visiting your shop?

    A huge reward of all this hard work is that our customers "get it", love & respect all that we do & from that devotion, a huge & loyal following has been developed. They may come in for the first time looking for a particular item or just to browse, but they always, always leave inspired & uplifted by the settings & imagination that surrounds them at every turn & in every nook & cranny. Once again, it's that experience we provide. We have attracted a steady & loyal clientele & have evolved into a unique resource for interior designers, the antique trade & all ages. We are able to provide that almost indefinable, understated, old word elegance that people are searching for. We showcase the furnishings & accessories that give a room its' vintage soul & that's never been more coveted or more needed than in this day & age & that is why clients tell us every day, that we are their favorite shop in San Diego.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    Finally I couldn't end this without giving my full credit to my Mother- for me going down this road of all things French. If you've read the tribute to her on the Vignettes' website then you know how she launched me on my path. She was so far ahead of her time was convinced that sending me to study in Paris, France, long, long ago, would be the influence & inspiration to set my course for life. Merci beaucoup mon mere, for from that priceless experience... Vignettes was born!

    This shop is seriously an inspiring and a mind blowing experience. This happens to be the shop that Lynn from Paris Hotel Boutique did a post on recently with gorgeous photos and pictures of the gang. Merci Madame to Lori, for being such a good sport and sharing with us the behind the scenes philosophy that created this magical, unique and incredibly beautiful store. While many other antique malls are closing, this gal has made a niche' for herself, stuck to her original strong business plan and markets her little tail off. Lori has a fab blog where she keeps us updated regarding upcoming events and showcases her dealers & their wares. So, even a busy gal like me can get some daily design inspiration by visiting her blog. And, boy can this lady throw a shoire'e!

    Don't walk, but run to this special Baroque Gypsy Couture Trunk Show Soiree. I truly hope to see you there. I'll be the short blonde with a bag of new clothes drooling over this creative shell chair vignette with a bonbon and French champagne in hand. And, with a camera, of course. Cheers!

    4828 Newport Avenue
    San Diego, CA 92107

    Photos from the Vignettes & Paris Flea Market blog and website .

    P.S. If you were curious, I am not getting paid for this or any of my coverage. The Fabulous Finds Gal enjoys writing about beautiful things, creative people and anything inspiring. And, I'm working on my karma points! But, I'll take donations. Just kidding.


    The Biche said...

    Wow, impressive!

    Anonymous said...

    Can somebody reminds me why I left Paris???

    Javier de Juanas said...

    is amazing!!!! i love youre post!!!


    Javier de Juanas

    Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

    what a CUTE shop! is this the same store that Paris Hotel Boutique just visited?

    Kristin said...

    That looks like a gorgeous space!

    janettaylor said...



    Susanna-Cole said...

    Looks like quite an interesting shop, not quite my style, but it'd still be a place I might like to explore, lots in it! :)

    And thank you so much for your sweet comment! I'm so happy you liked my post so much, I'm flattered. Hope you're having a lovely day! <3


    Couture Carrie said...

    Gorgeous post and interview! I love that she serves her customers champagne!


    Antonia said...

    Thanks doll!

    and omg this shop looks AMAZING. I'm redoing my room right now and would DIE for some of those pieces. So amazing!

    Slices of Beauty... said...

    Lovely interview!
    Love that vintage can be glam and funky.

    Rita said...

    Looking forward to go and have fun at Vignettes the 19th of September. Lori est tres jolie and thank you for doing a wonderful article on the store. Ciao Rita


    amazing blog!

    Cafe Fashionista said...

    This is such a divine interview. Wonderful questions. Wonderful answers. And absolutely gorgeous pictures! :)

    Bonjour Madame said...

    Magical experience indeed! I'm blown away by the display enclosed in a Marie Antoinette dress / curtain!!! I love it!

    Keith said...

    Great interview and photos. I really enjoyed it so much. Thanks for sharing this with us. I love your blog. I always love hearing that beautiful song every time I come here. Have a wonderful week. Cheers!

    Sandra Evertson said...

    Fabulous blog, I will be sure to add you to my Creative Places list on my blog!

    Sandra Evertson