Run by Jillian Harris, Tori Wesszer, and Alyssa Dennis, these gals take the guess work out of vintage shopping and make it easy to do so curled up on the couch in your pj's. These girls have crazy, amazing style. I'm constantly drooling over Jillian's instagram feed and coveting each and everyone of her outfits. With Jillian's interior design talent and Tori and Alyssa's business skills, these girls are a triple threat. So needless to say, it is no surprise they have nailed how to incorporate vintage into your home in a fresh and modern way.
Let's meet the ladies, shall we... and how cute is Tori's son, Charlie?? (yep, the namesake of the company).
|photo by Karolina Turek|
Tell us a bit about your shop and how you got started?
Jillian: We’ve been in love with antique décor since we were kids, and it’s always been a dream of ours to create a business around our passion. During a particularly strenuous picking session, we all thought how much easier it would be to search for these items online from the comfort of our own home. Thus Charlie Ford Vintage was born!
Tori: Our business model isn’t to re-sell antiques, but rather to partner with mom-and-pop antique shops all across North America, helping them expand their demographic to an audience they would never normally be able to reach.
Alyssa: Agreed! We curate their best pieces in special collections, stage them for our fantastic photography team to shoot, then post them to CharlieFord.com at absolutely no markup. The ongoing relationships we have with our amazing vendors are what set us apart from most e-commerce businesses.
|photo by Sharla Pike|
So many vintage pieces have a unique story behind them, what is one of your favourite background stories?
J: I’m in love with Japanese fishing floats right now. They are so stunningly beautiful but they have such a gritty, practical history. These items were made to be industrious, but they have an amazing aesthetic as well. They look right at home in a pristine white living room or bobbing on the ocean, and I love that about them!
T: I’m a girly girl at heart, so when I happened across this amazing antique tea set, I instantly fell in love. It lived such a glamorous life with the wife of an English aristocrat, a feature at upper crust garden parties and the star of post-supper refreshments at glitzy dinner parties. Now it’s just waiting to continue its fabulous life in a good home.
A: I’m really into unique antiques that give you a snapshot from a time long ago. For instance, we recently posted this Aide Memoir on the site that dates back to the 1860s. It has scribblings from its very fist owner, which I find just fascinating.
|photos by Sharla Pike|
what has it been like working with friends/family?
J: A nightmare…just kidding!!! We’re best friends, which means we can always say exactly what’s on our minds with no tiptoeing around. We’ve divvied up the duties so we all play to our strengths, making things run much more smoothly than they might have if we all tried to do everything at once.
T: Totally, Jilly handles the design side of things (obviously), and while she has a good head for business, she just doesn’t have the time to do it all. I have years of experience in marketing and management, so Director of Operations is a natural fit for me.
A: The beauty of working with people who know you inside and out is that you can be very clear on which role you fit best. I was offered the job of Director of Partner Relations because I have worked in sales for years and I prefer to be behind the scenes. Working with our vendors has been such a rewarding experience for me, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
J: Don’t go matchy-matchy! People sometimes think that a room has to follow a certain theme, and if they mix things up they’ll mess things up, which couldn’t be further than the truth! My favourite look is a modern, neutral palette spruced up with pops of vintage and colourful pieces.
T: I love the idea of taking vintage items and making them modern. You know that dark, dreary hutch lurking in your dining room? Paint it a cool mint green and you’ll be amazed at what a chic change it makes!
A: Agreed on both counts, ladies! I don’t want to make my home look like a museum, so I will pair things like gorgeous antique china and modern glassware. Switch it up and keep it fresh!
You all are such successful and busy ladies, and while I know that “balance” is a tough thing, how do you strive to juggle it all… friends, families, work?
J: I’m blessed because I have the most supportive people surrounding me. While I’m go-go-go 24/7, I also know how to take a vacation! The key is to trust the people you leave in charge and be very good at compartmentalizing.
T: Sometimes you just have to press the pause button and go off the grid. We have an amazing team working with us, so we know things will keep ticking along even when we take a few days off. Family’s a huge priority, so the holidays are a blessing because it gives us all an excuse to take a break and get together.
A: I make it a point to make things like family dinners and kids soccer games a priority. Sometimes you’re sending emails from your phone while cheering from the sidelines, but you do what you gotta do!
|photo by Sharla Pike|
As a shopoholic myself I must know, how on earth do you not buy everything in your shop for yourself??
J: Oh my GOSH, it’s such a problem for me! We only post items we fall in love with, so it can be tough to send them on their way. I know they’re all going to good homes, though, so I just try to keep a stiff upper lip about it.
T: I can’t lie, some of my favourite pieces end up back home! I like to think of them as smart style investments.
A: I do my best to resist, but it’s the same for me!
What is your best advice to those pursuing their dreams?
J: Don’t make excuses for yourself and just do it! Of course it’s important to be equipped as possible and not rush things, but you can wait for the “perfect time” your entire life. Starting a business is kind of like having a kid; there is no ideal time, you just have jump off that cliff and learn as you go.
T: One of the most important things is to know which things you need support on and ask the right people for help! We’ve built an awesome team that sets us straight when we need them to.
A: Putting systems in place to help you stay hyper-organized is a biggie. You won’t know how crazy busy you’ll really get until you’re right in the thick of it.
|photo by Karolina Turek|
1. favOURITE vintage item in your home?
J: Easy, breezy... definitely my Japanese float with rope. I don't consider myself a materialistic person, but after that find, I have a new understanding for "material-girls" since I love that "thing" sooooo much!
T: My brass lion head doorknocker that Jillian found for me in Europe. I fell in love with them while travelling through Hungary, and was the source of inspiration for our logo!
A: My Grandparent’s grandfather clock. It was passed down to me, and I have such amazing memories of spending time with them in their home and hearing it chime. I see it everyday now and think of them.
2. FAVOURITE GUILTY PLEASURE
J: Bakery Story - I know... what is that??!?! It’s a gaming app that I am addicted to! I've tried many times to stop and even deleted it from my phone, but I can't resist!!! I find myself downloading it again and again...
T: Nice wine…why do you think I live in the Okanagan!?
A: Haha - not even sure Jilly and Tori know this but I am a huge Coronation Street fan.
3. FAVOURITE CANADIAN TRAVEL DESTINATION?
J: Oooh that’s a toughie!!! I love Kelowna but because that’s where my home is, it's not really a travel destination for me. My new favourite destination is Peace River, my old hometown in Alberta :)
T: I'm a HUGE BC fan, but my love of anything French makes me lean towards Montreal: great food, shopping and culture. I've never been to Quebec City but I have a feeling that will trump everything when I go one day.
A: Seriously, so hard to narrow down, but I do love spending time in Tofino.
4. FAVOURITE BLOGGERS OR INSTAGRAMMERS TO FOLLOW?
J: I love Instagram and follow so many inspiring people that it's hard to call one out, except Charlie Ford off course…but one of my fave blogs is The Doctor's Closet.
T: Jillian Harris Design OF COURSE! I know I'm biased but seriously, is there anything that girl CAN'T do??!!
A: So hard to choose just one! I do love following Sarah Jules on Instagram. I'm really enjoying Julie's posts at Elliven Studio.
5. FAVOURITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF?
J: Relax at the Pasutto Ranch with Justin and the family.
T: Play with little Charlie Ford - his giggles are pure therapy.
A: Spend time outside with my kids and prepare a meal with my husband with a nice glass of vino or two.
Loved learning more about these ladies and I'm so pumped to feature such an awesome Canadian shop (Jillian is from my home province!). Thank you so much Jillian, Tori and Alyssa, it was so, so great to have you here today!
Happy treasure hunting!
Shop: Charlie Ford Vintage