After a year of lockdown, lots of people are in redecorating mode—whether that means full-blown home renos, a bright new coat of paint or simply acquiring new decor items. To satisfy this impulse, a plethora of Instagram shops have popped up overnight, offering up vintage glass candy dishes, Murano mushroom lamps and teak furniture to soothe the crushing burden of sameness. Some of these shops were borne out of quarantine boredom, while others provided vendors with a much-needed financial lifeline. We spoke with nine Instagram shop owners about starting a business in a pandemic, how they source items during lockdown and what kind of stuff is worth a four-hour drive.
Owner: Hilary Smith, a former brand strategist
Launch date: August 2020
What you’ll find: Vintage framed prints, marble coffee tables and cushy armchairs. “I can’t say that hauling heavy marble tables has been great for my back, but there’s something irresistible about it,” Smith says.
“In August, after a four-year stint working for a design agency in Sydney, I moved back home to Toronto. During my mandatory quarantine in my parents’ basement, I had a lot of time to contemplate what I wanted to do next and decided on a vintage furniture store. Before the two weeks were up, I had registered the business, launched the Instagram account and scheduled three pickups for my first day out of lockdown. Most of the pieces I source are from online auctions, so there isn’t much Storage Wars–type drama. I’m mostly glued to a computer screen, frantically following the final seconds of an auction. My proudest win is a Finn Juhl Chieftain chair reproduction, which I won at auction against a