Creative Profile: Zartiques & Yay Summer Shop
Welcome to 222 Bloodworth Street, Raleigh - This building is home to Yay Summer Shop an extension of Zartiques. Walk through this door and get transported into a different time, one of the past, where relaxation and a simpler world ruled. Filled with goods from local makers, this creation is also filled with handpicked furniture, persian rugs, and unique, antique pieces to make your home one-of-a-kind. Meet Raana, the owner of Zartiques and interior design genius.
Read more to learn about her creative process, how she chooses and finds her pieces, and about the great prices! (Seriously no where else in the city will you find these mid century beauties so well priced)
How did you get started working with Antiques? How did you know you wanted to start this business?
I grew up loving old stuff. It was always something special I did with my parents. My dad and I would wake up early on Saturday mornings and hit yard sales and my mom and I would spend entire Sundays going from thrift store to antique store. I've always been fascinated with things from the past - how long they have lasted, different ways they have been used and how incredible it is that we have the opportunity to give them new life. I love to be different - I would so prefer my home to be filled with unique vintage and one of a kind pieces than a bunch of mass produced stuff.
I didn't necessarily "know" I wanted to start this business until the opportunity fell into my lap. I was actually going to school to get my teaching degree - when I moved to Wilmington and started a part time job working in the same building that we now own as Zartiques. The owners were putting the property up for sale - and I thought man, what a great space for vintage. I'm extremely headstrong - once I get an idea in my head I go for it with all I have. So once I dreamed that up - there was no turning back.
What makes your store stand out against others?
I like to think there's a lot about Zartiques that sets it apart from other shops. I think of myself as a curator. I don't put us in a box and only source one "era" of vintage - I source what I like and what I think others will like - which means always having an eclectic mix of different styles and time periods. My personal taste is always changing - so I like to let that influence the shop. I've never tried to be like any other place - I work with things I'm passionate about and really love and I've found that people appreciate that, and can get excited about our inventory when they know that we truly believe in it. That same idea carries into the Summer Shop - our collaborative pop up shop with Raleigh Makers Market. I love being able to work with them and create a fun and inspiring environment not just for vintage but for locally made products and artwork. It's so important to be open to changing and evolving, and surrounding myself with other creatives to learn and grow with has been so wonderful.
A huge thing I hear all the time is "your prices are crazy good!" This makes me so incredibly happy. A huge goal I had starting out was to be an affordable source for vintage. I wanted to offer customers a place that allowed them to fill their spaces with beautiful things without making them cringe at the price tags. I like to keep inventory moving and changing and our prices allow us to do that. I want customers to feel excited about shopping with us - I don't want to have a museum, I want these things to go home and be enjoyed by people and see how they choose to style them.
How did you come up with your business name?
I can't take any credit for the business name - my husband (then boyfriend) came up with it! My last name is Zarea - so he combined that with "antiques". The minute he said it I was like "yes!" I think it's perfect for us - it really describes how we put our own spin on things - and how we're not your typical antique shop.
Whats your Favorite & Least Favorite thing about owning a business?
My favorite thing about owning this business is having creative freedom. When I notice a shift in styles or trends I can manipulate my inventory and advertising tendencies to fit in with them. I get to work with such amazing things - and am constantly developing my own personal style and letting it inspire my work. Everyday is different - and I wake up everyday excited to work. I think that's pretty rare especially at 24. I'm lucky. Another big one for me is being able to collaborate with others - which is really new to me in the past year. Whether it's been through my workshops with Megan of Malfatti Interiors or on a larger scale the opening of Summer Shop I have learned to co create, which is truly an inspiring process every time.
My least favorite thing is something that is a challenge for any small business owner. My day doesn't end at 5 o clock. I take my work home with me physically and mentally everyday. Sometimes I think about having a normal 9 to 5 that I'm not so personally connected to - how nice it would be to come home and truly be "off the clock" and be able to leave work at work. It's hard, and difficult to balance. I've become really addicted to my job and it definitely takes a toll on my personal life - but the truth is I wouldn't trade it for anything. I consider myself incredibly blessed - I pretty much have my dream job.
Whats the hardest part about being a small business owner in the Triangle?
The hardest thing about being a small business owner in RDU is figuring out what works. Since I just recently expanded to this area I'm still doing some trial and error to see what the best business model is for us here. It's a totally different scene and customer demographic than the Wilmington location - so I'm trying to figure out the best way to serve our customers in this area - and create shopping experiences that they will enjoy the most. The business model of Summer Shop has been incredibly successful for us - so I'm working with Raleigh Makers Market to see how we can continue our partnership in the future to hopefully continue our collaborative presence here.
What are you most passionate about?
I'm most passionate about helping people find their individual style. The greatest part of what I do is helping customers find pieces to create their spaces. Seeing others find joy in the things that bring me so much happiness and knowing that they are inspired by my style inspires me and encourages me to keep evolving. I love seeing client pictures of our pieces once they get them home - thats the greatest.
Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is?
We're currently renovating our home - so my home office is craziness. When it's done it will be a lot of clean lines, plants, and some cool one of a kind pieces to keep me inspired while I work. The great thing is I work all over the place. Since I'm the main buyer for Zartiques I travel a lot - which means my office is in our cargo van on the road a lot of days! When I'm not traveling - my most productive time to work is late at night. I usually get my second wind around 9pm and it's not unusual for me to be up until 1 or 2amworking on a new project - or ad idea.
What is your favorite piece you are currently selling?
We have a mid century rattan set in store right now that's definitely captured my heart. It's my favorite thing in current inventory. Of course I have a soft spot for all our vintage rugs, my dream is a huge room of them hanging all over the walls and layered on the floor. I'm kind of in love with them all.
What's the most tedious but necessary task in owning a small business and how do you hustle through it?
The most tedious task in owning a business is staying organized. I'm still struggling with this - as a small business owner you have to create systems that work for you from nothing. Since I'm such a passionate person, the logistics sometimes get lost with me. I'll scribble down some ideas late at night that make no sense to me in the morning, or over schedule myself without knowing. There's no one checking in on you, no boss - so you have to hold yourself accountable and be sure you stay on top of the more mundane parts of business, not just the fun parts. I'm getting better at this everyday but it will probably always be a bit of a struggle for me.
What are some goals you have for your business?
I have a lot of big goals for Zartiques. A lot of them have to do with my work load. I'd love to be able to step away from the day to day more often. Since my love is really in the hunt and the curating I'd like to be able to dedicate all my time to that. I want to grow the online shop - that's a huge one for me right now, and what I will be focusing on heavily in the next few months. This means having product that's exclusive to the website and being able to serve customers that are too far away to shop local.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out in small business?
To someone just starting a business I would say - be ready to hustle. It sounds cheesy but that's really what it is. Be ready to dedicate every minute to your business, be ready to wear yourself thin, and be ready to hit some obstacles - because you're going to. Just keep going, keep working. If you do the work it will eventually pay off. Don't be afraid to try new things, a lot of small business life is trial and error. Keep working and evolving - it's a constant learning curve, but don't let that intimidate you - it's exciting! I used to brush things off and think "oh I can't do that" or "I'll have to find someone to do this for me" but once I started trying to fix my own problems and complete projects on my own without seeking validation from others I realized I am capable of so much more than I ever realized.
I take inspiration from so many things around me. I walk into restaurants sometimes and while everyone else is talking about the food, I'm like "whoah love the architecture around that window" or "wow what cool ceiling tiles!". It's important to pay attention when you're out in new places - there's so much to learn from other people's creativity. Taking pictures and notes on things I see that I like helps me so much - I can refer back to them later on and figure out ways to incorporate versions of what I see into my own designs. Currently I'm really into bohemian designs. Lots of layers, textiles, persian rugs (of course) and a relaxed but purposeful design. On our current renovation we're going for a "desert bungalow" vibe. Light and airy spaces, muted tones, brass and woven basket accents. On my last trip to LA I fell in love with that look - and the feeling of being there, so it's something I'm after to create in my own home, and the closest i've ever felt to "finding myself" in design.
Whats your favorite style? Designer? Decorating Tips?
My biggest design tip would be - figure out what you LOVE, what makes you happiest to see and live with around you and go from there. You don't have to follow trends so closely - don't go out to Target or West Elm and buy their whole new line just to make your house look like someone you follow on Instagram. Piece your space together slowly, with a purpose, and with pieces that can stand the test of time, and be versatile in the home. I mean really, how boring to look exactly like someone else anyways. Your home should be an expression of you - so don't drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with these Instagram sensations - you'll burn through your wallet, and you'll hinder yourself from finding your personal style. Of course, my advice is to try and buy vintage when you can - it's typically better made, longer lasting, and theres a good chance no one else you know will have it! That being said, there's nothing wrong with mixing modern and vintage - even I do it! It's all about balance - find the balance your happy with and build off of that.
You can shop with us in Wilmington (open everyday) and Raleigh at Summer Shop open every Thursday - Sat 11-7 and Sunday 12-4. 222 N. Bloodworth St. Online at Zartiques.com - we also frequently do pop up shows, and markets - which we keep a list of on our events page at zartiques.com. Coming up we have Urban Vintage (July 28th + 29th)