Sunday November 22, 2015
For awhile now, we've been considering how to proceed with the A La Modern store and blog. You may have read in our last post (over a year ago!) that we were facing some technology deadlines as far as the site went that could very well break it. Well, those came and went - but this past summer they resurfaced, and I began looking into the possibility of porting everything over to our own non-Wordpress code.
The main question was that we weren't sure if it was worth it. This site does still get a decent amount of traffic, and we're still very proud of how we were able to set-up and code an ecommerce site on the back of Wordpress and the eShop plugin. So it'd be hard to just throw it away. However, we have definitely switched to selling a majority of our vintage goods through Etsy and Ebay. So I guess most people would have given it up, or just started a blog/store from scratch.
In the end, I ended up writing my own codebase/database in PHP with JSON, and manually copying over the more important blog posts and products to the new space. This took over six months and was extremely difficult (for me). F-ing madness. Yeah, there's no button that you can press to do that. I have a decent background in programming, but I've never been a whiz at it - always been more of a "hack something together to make it work for a demo" type of person. But needless to say, I'm extremely happy to be rid of Wordpress. No more annoying upgrades and having core plugins get outdated.
As the site stands right now - it's very bare bones. Certain parts may be very slow - I haven't implemented any caching so everything is being served hot and live as we go. I was able to save the majority of the blog posts. The content and images are there, but I could only save comments as flat files. In addition, you can't currently make any new comments on any posts (what good is a blog without comments). I'm going to have to look into finding a 3rd party comment system to integrate that in the future - much as I don't want to get back into 3rd party stuff, I just don't have the chops to write my own comment system. The RSS feed should work - I had to figure out how to code that manually, so I guess we'll see.
I only took about half of our current and sold products over to the new site - there were just too many to manually copy by hand. I did figure out a way to have archived products, which should nicely clean up the current products quite a bit. For awhile there, we had maybe 75% sold products in our main shop! We also have a ton of old products that weren't sold through the main site - I may start entering those slowly for fun over the next year.
As far as overall vision for this site: We are mostly going to be populating the main site inventory with "higher end" items. This is something we have already been doing in our Etsy shop - Sorry, no more bargain basement items - just not worth the time. For the blog, we will likely NOT be doing weekly itemized "thrift roundups" unless it's a group photo type of thing. Those likewise just cost too much time. We might focus more on articles like our Reseller Post series, and maybe posts focusing on specific companies and designers. In general, we'll be writing that for ourselves and our friends mostly, not for the sake of a blog or who reads it.
I'm not sure if relaunching the site is even worth it. In the end, the main reason I did it was to free ourselves from the shackles of 3rd party systems, and to teach myself more php, html, css, json, etc.. Building sites is what I did for a living many years ago, but I hadn't kept up with the last 7-8 years(!) of it. Oh, you may notice that the site does not completely break on mobile phones now :) That was another technology thing that I wanted to investigate.
So, hopefully the site is more or less functional now. Certain things may be broken, just ignore for the time being. Since there's no comments right now, if you want to say something funny or interesting: use the contact form.
And happy thrifting!
Monday September 29, 2014
Hi everyone. I guess you could say I purposely neglected the blog for most of the summer. Sales were terrible, so I didn't feel like putting any extra effort on writing. I'm also seeing MUCH better response for maybe 1/25 the work just posting pictures on instagram.
So, there are some deadlines coming up in November that have to do with the technology and hosting methods for our website. Plainly put - I'm not sure it won't completely break this blog installation. I would like to keep it around, but we'll see.
As for the finds - we've had a ton, but I'll just leave you with these Corita prints for now. First time we've ever found any. I think the large one will end up in the booth, which is in itself a story for next time.
Saturday August 2, 2014 | Comments
Hi everyone. Lots of new-ish vintage goodies listed up in our shops this past month, MANY more still in the queue. We'll stick with some highlights - I think that's going to be the norm from now on, with probably a post per month.
We haven't been posting our thrift roundups weekly for a number of reasons. But primarily, it's because they consume too much time. I just can't justify spending this time on something that doesn't generate direct sales. It makes me feel like one of these monkeys we found:
Couldn't believe that we bagged TWO of these Kay Bojesen Danish monkeys at a thrift recently. They're going to require arm and leg kits to fix, but they shouldn't cost one. Someone had tried to fix them with wire instead of rubber bands. But still amazing to find - and not for sale (yet).
This Alessi "Todo" large showpiece grater was designed by Richard Sapper. A newer piece, but still pretty cool, or great, form and looks like you could grate Todos los quesos.
I had been eyeing this Bengt Orup for Hyllinge vase for a few weeks at a small thrift shop, but the price was a little high. I didn't get too bengt out of shape, because they finally put it on sale, and it was a 50% day as well. I think Orup only worked at Hyllinge for a short period of time in the 1960s.
I have a Raul Coronel ashtray that's remarkable similar to this Brent Bennett ashtray. It makes sense, because Bennett worked under the Colonel, and later became partners in a few ceramic ventures. Non fried ones.
This Ystad-Metall and Kosta Boda glass and iron candelabra is said to have been designed by Erik Hoglund pretty much anywhere online you look. It certainly makes sense, and looks like his style - but I don't think it's been conclusively proven yet. I saw Gunnar Ander mentioned as well in some places.
These Georg Jensen set of 4 small shakers was hiding in a thrift bag along with various other junk items. We found these the same day we found the monkeys, which were also in a grab bag. Needless to say, I've been looking more closely at the junk grab bags...
I got lucky and grabbed this set of 3 Heath Ceramics right when they were putting them out. Heath gets scooped up pretty quickly nowadays, but sometimes the ashtrays go unnoticed.
Murano glass apple with design by Alfredo Barbini. These apples usually came as a pair with... a pear. LOL. They only had the apple unfortunately.
I was uncertain about this casserole at first, but the design was just really nice so I ended up getting it without knowing who it was by. When I got home, I did some googling and was able to decipher the name as Paul Menchhofer. I'm uncertain if this is his newer work, I think it may be, though the feel is sort of vintage. I can't think of any more puns.
Lastly, sorry for the bad picture - I'd forgotten to save a nicer full sized one, so this is straight off our instagram. I found a decent Knoll Saarinen office chair in brown, and a nice looking Sonneman-style "eyeball" lamp. On the floor is an old Sony radio for the booth and a mess of yellow Heller mugs. I'm still not sure if the eyeball lamp will stay with us or go to the booth. It's got the socket replaced, but it works fine. The Saarinen - well, I'd thought about putting it in our office but there's just no room. Probably will go to the booth as well!
Sunday June 22, 2014 | Comments
Hi everyone. Now that summer is in full swing, sales have been much slower both online and in our booth . Thrifts and estates have been a bit slower for us too, though we've still been finding decent things. You might be hearing (even) less from us on the blog until Fall, as we're going to take advantage of the down time to work more on the house.
We continue to find decent Jaru items here and there, like this great pair of black birds. We've had this same set in green before, but these two actually had the original stickers still on them. They'd just put them out on the shelf, so I had to grab them fast.
I've come across plenty of the Jaru "Starburst" pieces (as well as the very similar Cleminsons ones). But have never seen this monumental ashtray piece before. The lady at the estate where we picked this up was joking that you'd have to have 10 chain smokers to fill up this ashtray.
At another estate, I picked up this nice Hanova enamel by Charles Chaney. This one actually had the original tag still on it. Usually Hanova pieces we find are missing it.
These two enamels came with the Hanova. They're marked "Noir" on the back - I could've sworn someone had found these before, but I guess I was wrong. Really nice designs on them though. The glaze treatment on back is interesting - almost feels like Krenit.
We found one of those "NOT Lisa Larson" boy on horse figurines. Has been de-bunked well, but they still seem to do OK. Good writeup on it on Bit of Butter's "Spotting the Fakes" expose. I got it mostly as a joke, but it turns out the head had cracked off - so the joke was on me I guess.
I almost passed up this Glenn Heath soapstone owl sculpture because of the wear it had. I had heard about them, but didn't realize that they commanded that kind of prices, even in this condition. Needless to say, I'm keeping a closer eye out for them now.
At an estate I visited, someone ahead of me had picked out all the standard Bauer, Gladding and Metlox California pottery pieces - it was obviously a dealer. However, they walked right by the best piece in the bunch - this Fred Johnson 213 hand turned vase. We usually end up picking out 1-2 overlooked FJ pieces at least twice a year.
I couldn't resist getting this fun framed kids fabric panel, even though it's so gigantic that it had to go into the booth. After I got home, discovered that it had "Made in Sweden" impressed into the wooden frame - not sure if the fabric is also Swedish, but guessing so and that these pieces were made and sold like this.
This is the 3rd time we've found a Braun KSM1, and I think they all came from the same thrift store. I'm not sure why , but I'm not complaining. It's clearly marked, but it could be that people see a coffee grinder and they just don't even bother to look - I know I certainly thought that way before I knew.
It was a thrill to find this many Heath Ceramics mugs in one place. These are the low handled variety, I think in the "Brownstone" glaze, but not sure. For some reason the estate folks hadn't looked it up, so we got a great deal on them.
Lastly, I'd picked up this Inuit themed set of tiles thinking they were maybe 1970s-80s or so. But I was able to ID it as designed by Jean Jacques Spenard because our friends The Papers had found some tiles like it before. It was also interesting that they were a lot older, like 1930s-40s. And also, one of the tiles had come off and on the back it said "Germany". This definitely threw me off earlier, and made me think maybe it was even 1990s.