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GUEST BLOG
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April 18, 2019

Dream-Careers

dream-careers

Living Our Dream Careers:

The Vintage Society Story

So who and what is Vintage Society? How did our business begin?? If you have been following us since the beginning on Instagram then you may know who we are or you may still be a bit confused about how this business started and who and what Vintage Society really is.

We are 2 women, Deb and Britt, that came together over a mutual love of creating beautiful spaces and a desire to help others achieve the same thing. How did we decide to turn this passion into a business!? Sit tight and we will tell you the WHOLE story of how Vintage Society started, the story of how we found our dream careers….

One cool February day, Deb stumbled upon a beautiful character home in her small town that was for sale, it looked like a mini version of her own house!  She had always dreamed of owning a home decor shop filled with all of her favourite things, so just like that she bought it but knew it would be too big of a project to tackle on her own. Deb had made friends with a girl (Britt) from the neighbouring town who had married a friend of her’s from high school, they had met when Britt had asked her to help with some projects for the house she was building. Britt and Deb had only known each other for a few short years at this time but had began spending more and more time together, always chatting about home décor and design. After coffee one day, as Britt was literally walking out the door, Deb said “Hey, I bought a house!  We should open a store together and start a business!” Britt hesitantly responded “ummm ya maybe.” However, when Britt got home she realized that so many of their values aligned and that why couldn’t they do this?! Britt phoned Deb and said “Are you serious?? If we’re gonna do this, then let’s start this!!” Now Deb was the one taken back by Britt’s assertiveness over the idea of actually going thru with it!!! Just like that a spark was ignited and the seed of Vintage Society Co. was planted.

Hidden Content

OK, so now lets back up a bit before Vintage Society even started…

dream-careers

Deb, A.K.A @bvintagestyle

A small town Alberta girl at heart, I was lucky enough to be raised in the country, away from the hustle and bustle of just about everything. As a very young girl, I spend a lot of time going to the mart with my grandparents in a small Alberta town. In fact we went almost every Sunday for the farm auction’s. My gramps would buy just about any junk he could muster up a purpose for, and even some he couldn’t if it was a good enough price. Us kids always got a piece of lemon meringue pie and got to pet all the animals that were up for grabs at the auction. I truly believe my exposure to his passion for repurposing salvaged and old items is where my desire for doing the same began.

Around the same time, my parents purchased our family farm, all that was on the property was a one room shack and a two room cottage, neither had running water or a bathroom. They began building in the spring and we lived in the two room cottage during the building period. The living room doubled as our bedroom with my older brother on the bottom bunk, I was on the top and my parents on the pull out couch next to us. What was supposed to take a few months of building a house turned into a whole year of living in that cottage! We boiled water every day to do dishes and use as bath water while also using an outhouse through out the year and even in the dead of winter. Again, one of those experiences that I think really made me who I am today, appreciative of simple things.

I was actually confirmed at the church just up the street from the house I live in now! I remember standing on the steps of that church, looking at the house we now call home and thinking, ‘THAT, that house is my dream’! I met my best friend, whom I now call my husband, when I was 13! My brother played hockey in the neighbouring town (the one we live in now) and I figure skated there as well. The first time I met the tall, dark and handsome boy who played on my brother’s hockey team, I was not too sure about him! BUT as the story goes, we dated through out high school deciding to go our separate ways when we graduated. I went off to travel the world and my husband to be went off to the military to be the Captain of the RMC University hockey team. 5 years went by and I travelled SO much! I saw so many places, I truly can’t remember them all and I gained such an appreciation for architecture and design.

When my husband and I reconnected, we decided to move back to Alberta, I knew I couldn’t settle for just any ol’house. I wanted my own piece of ‘beautiful architecture ‘ just like I had seen in so many places around the world.  We lucked out and somehow purchased this diamond in the rough (one of maybe 4 beautiful old houses left in this small town). It hadn’t been for sale for almost 50 years and had been a rental the entire time. There were multiple units in the house and it was in terrible condition. Our children were small, my son was 3 and my daughter was 3 months, but somehow we bought this big beauty! There was an OVERWHELMING amount of work to be done on the house and we had a budget of $25,000 to do it all!! To us though, that just meant we needed to DIY the whole house. We had already renovated another house while living in Calgary so we weren’t newbies at it. My husband was commuting to the city everyday for work (a one hour drive each way) and we were living with his parents! My mother in law would watch my children and I would come in to renovate the house all day, only to tag off with my husband at 6pm so he could do the evening shift! When I think back now, I honestly think we were CRAZY!

On top of all of this, it was at this time I decided to start a storefront business for B Vintage! I had a 12ft x 12ft space at the local antique mall and when we finally moved into the house, we traded tagging off in the evenings for renovations to trading off in the evenings for me to go out and work until midnight in the shop . It truly was CRAZY! We finally agreed that something had to give! I pulled out of the storefront and ‘Closed Up Shop’! I didn’t want to loose everything I had worked so hard on with B Vintage so I kept posting the odd picture of my house on Facebook and decided to begin blogging about it. I joined this platform that was just starting out called Instagram, I really had no idea what it was or where it would take me. Well the stars sort of alined at that point, my Instagram took on a life of it’s own and the next thing I knew brands were reaching out to work with me and so many company’s were wanting to rent my home for stylized shoots!

It was about that time when I met Britt, I had grown up in the same small town as her and knew her husband well in high school. I recognized her face but she was much younger than me so I don’t think I had ever spoke a word to her before I got a call from her looking for help with her new home she was building. She came over to discuss some plans she had been working on and we totally bonded over decor, design and our love for antiques! We would meet for coffee from time to time and I loved how opposite and chill she was to my total Type A,  always going 100 directions personality! She was so supportive of my business and honestly was the Ying to my Yang from day one! When I started feeling the itch to get back in the game, so to speak, my husband and I both agreed I should look for a biz partner, someone who was as hardworking as I was, who had the same passion and love for design and decor as I did but also needed to have family values that alined with ours! Family always comes first! Britt was the ONLY person that came to mind. That is when I stumbled upon a beautiful character home in my small town that was for sale, it looked like a mini version of my own house…….

dream-careers

Britt, A.K.A. @whitefarmhouse

I was born in a small Alberta town and dreamed of moving to the big city and becoming a criminal lawyer, yes I was obsessed with Law & Order and every other fictional TV show that involved lawyers…and to this day you can still find my PVR loaded with TV series about lawyers and crimes. I had just started dating my now husband when I headed off to college to take a Criminal Justice Studies program, I commuted 3 hours each way 2 days a week so that I could live with my future hubby in a builder grade house that I had had a minimal say in, but really this was when my spark for Interior Design really began. I would walk down the college hallways admiring the women in the Interior Design program, but convinced myself that I couldn’t draw; seriously I really can’t! One of our furniture builders actually keeps all of my drawings as joke to attest to how bad they are!

As part of my practicum in college I began working security at a large hospital, it was such an eye opening experience to mental health and poverty, something that you weren’t really made aware of growing up in a small town, but working there jaded me and made me so judgemental of society. Amongst all this, I married that boy from my small town, we moved to the city and I met a friend who was also working at the hospital and she started taking me to yoga and eventually we became yoga instructors. Thru yoga I “found” myself and this was where I knew I wanted to do something that made me bring a community together, to encourage and support others. My friend and I had dreams of opening a big yoga studio but I became pregnant during yoga training, left my security job and became a full time stay at home mom. My first son was born in 2010 and staying at home full time by myself with a husband working away was BORING! Yes I said it, I hated being cooped up in a tiny condo in a city… I cleaned my house everyday and I was bored. My husband and I both knew we weren’t meant to live in the city and knew we wanted to raise kids in our small home town!

So back to our roots we went, except it meant living with my brother in a mobile home because our condo wouldn’t sell and we couldn’t afford anything else! Once we got back home, I got ready to open that yoga studio that I had dreamed of, but on my own as my friend moved away as well. On my Grand Opening day I received a call from my Doctor over a lump I had on my neck… it was Thyroid Cancer… not the opening day I had dreamed of. I had my thyroid removed and I have been 7 years cancer FREE! Looking back it was clearly a sign this venture was not meant to be.

I continued on with my yoga studio and built a small following, began creating a community. Then I became pregnant with twins and boy did my world change! So there we were, a family of 5 living with my brother (he got demoted to a bunk bed to share with my oldest so we could make room for the twins) and we knew this just couldn’t work! My husband was still working away and I couldn’t keep up the energy for 3 kids and the yoga studio SO the yoga studio had to go. We found a big house to rent on a bit of land (actually from one of my yoga students), we even considered buying that acreage but the house needed so much work and the piece of land wasn’t what we had dreamed of. After searching for land for sale but finding nothing that we were in love with, my parents came to us and said if we can come to some terms you can build on our land…. We didn’t take this lightly as we didn’t want to ruin our relationship with them! If you are thinking of building beside family be serious and set some ground rules up front! For instance, we didn’t want to be able to see each others driveways and yards while looking out from our own houses, so we built where there is a big group of trees between us.

AND so our dream became a reality…drawing plans for the layout of our home completely consumed me AND I LOVED IT! I would stay awake until 4am thinking of how I could make every square inch of our home be perfectly functional for our family. This phase of my life is such a blur…3 kids under 3, maintaining the acreage rental, and designing and basically co-general contracting a new build!

Even though I didn’t know it at the time, it was all meant to be! While we were building, I was told by a friend to look up Deb, B Vintage…I had no idea who she was or what she was all about, but she had gone to school with my husband (my hubby and Deb are a few years older than I am hehe sorry Deb) So when I reached out she knew who I was right away.

When I first met Deb, I had no idea what Instagram was or what blogs were, I had barely began using Pinterest!! Deb began helping me with a few home projects, like my fireplace mantel, a spool table and various other pieces of furniture that I purchased from her. What I could tell about Deb was that she was a hard worker and that she was talented! I knew I must get to know her!

The Start of the Careers We Dreamed Of

dream-careers

Now fast forward a few years and we come back to that day when we put it out to the world that we should start a biz together! We began having long phone conversations and coffee dates about what a business between us would look like…things we wanted to carry in a store, how much we wanted to work, things that were priorities in our lives and ultimately what we wanted out of the business. We came up with the name Lilac and Linen Interiors and decided to host a market at Deb’s house to test out the waters. Much to our surprise…people showed up and they wanted more! The market was a ton of work and not something that we wanted to do on a regular basis. In the meantime, both Britt and Deb had been helping friends with a bit of design work! We had both gone back to school for it as well.  We got more serious about this part of our business as we took on a major reno a client was doing on an older farmhouse which you can read about [here], a few clients who wanted help re-freshing their homes and even taking on a major role in a new build which you can read about [here].

It was at this point that we also got our online shop up and running and we hosted another, larger market we called The Market Gathering, where we invited some of our favourite women in the area to attend as vendors! The Market Gathering was a huge success and we still get messages from shops asking if they can be part of our next one but again both of us felt like this was not where we wanted to focus our energy.

Vintage Society Begins

dream-careers

That brings us to today, we are constantly evaluating our business and to insure it still aline’s with our end goals. During one of our daily chats, we both agreed the name Lilac and Linen Interiors had to go! Our brain storming caps came on… What did we really want our brand, our business and our lifestyle to be called? We got out an old fashion pen and paper and began writing down every word that we loved and every word that fell under the home décor realm. We were both drawn to Vintage because we felt it encapsulated so much of what we loved and what we wanted to create was a community of liked minded individuals…thus Society was attached.

It is so important to be able to recognize when your business and really any relationship needs to pivot and that is where we currently found ourselves…in the midst of a huge pivot, but one that we are SO excited about! We want to be able to reach more of YOU and create a bigger community. A few weeks ago, we decided it was time for a joint website and while it was a bit bittersweet for Deb to loose her individuality, something that she had spent years building, she knew that it was time! We want to bring bigger and better things to all of you and we feel that having one central space, like our website, was where that needed to be. We will still have The Shop and will be offering Interior Design but we will also be shifting towards creating amazing courses and groups that can and WILL help so many of YOU! We are all about connection and helping others! We want to teach you what we have learned the hard way, either painfully on our own or spending hours together trying to figure it out! We will be covering topics such as Home Decor Idea’s, DIY’s , Interior Design, Stylized Photography, Social Media/Brand/Blogging and Online business tips! We want to help you reach your decorating and DIY goals, build your business or brands and live the lifestyle that makes you happy… a Vintage Society life!

All Images by Mallory Todd Photography

dream-careers

Let us know what kinds of questions you have about any of these topics by sending us a message below!! We want to build the Vintage Society based on what all of you are wanting it to be!! We want to help you build what we have been so lucky to accomplish, a home and lifestyle and the dream careers that we love!!

 

dream-careers

  1. Hi there Deb & Britt!

    This is such a great story. Like you both, I have always loved to decorate my home and have often dreamed about having my own cute little store front with repurposed vintage furniture and antiques. But time, money, commitment and just plain old fear of the unknown always held me back. Plus back then, I was raising two small children with my husband and living in our first home. A tiny 1200 sq ft house in the city. But now things are different and I’m at a place where I really think I could give it a go. I am working on my blog and Instagram presence daily. Still trying to figure out algorithms and just recently, photo presets…lol
    I love the look of old painted furniture and currently that’s what I’m working on building. I’d like that to be the anchor of my business. I’m sure as you know, there are MANY businesses already successfully operating by doing this.
    My question is: “How do you stay motivated at times when there are just so many amazing people out there doing what you wish you could and also, what do you do to keep relevant and make sure to set yourself apart from them the rest?”

    Thanks for taking the time to read my comments and questions!

    Nicole 🙂

    1. Hi there Nicole!
      Thank you so much for the wonderful comment! We both know exactly how you feel from time to time, taking on a blog, the whole social media game and trying to stay present for your family can be alot of balls to juggle at once. Not to mention, the blogging/social media game seems to change with the weather! BUT if we can give any advice it would be:
      1) The More the Merrier! We both have always felt that the only way to move forward, is by supporting others! If others are doing the same types of things as you are, that’s great because that will just bring more awareness your niche and therefore more business for you! If anything, gain a group of gal pals doing what you are doing and keep each other motivated and accountable! That’s why Deb went looking for a biz partner!

      2) To stay relevant, do what YOU love! Not what is necessarily popular at the time! If you have passion doing what you are doing, it will be relevant to someone and those are your people. Those are the ones you want to follow your blog and social media channels. Both of us just do what makes us happy and what we love, whether it is for decor or business, people are drawn to that and that is what will set you apart from the rest!

      3) Don’t be to hard on yourself. There is no school that teaches you how to do what you are choosing to do. Blogging can end up being a ton of hours searching the internet and watching YouTube videos, however, the lifestyle payoff can be amazing! At the end of the day, remember you have a talent and a voice to be heard, so keep up the hard work. It will pay off in the end.

      Deb & Britt

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the VINTAGE SOCIETY CO. team

What started out as a duo of Brittany and Deborah has now expanded into a TEAM! 

Lifestyle Photo

Deborah McDOnald

CO-FOUNDER

AKA @bvintagestyle

Small town girl living in a 1903 Heritage home she dreamed of as a child.

Brittany Hislop

Co-Founder

AKA @white.farmhouse

Living a simple life in a rural Alberta town and painting her house white as she goes!

dream bigger and bolder ...

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