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‘Everything she buys sells’: Meet teen picker Lyric Kennedy of Lyric’s Vintage
Lyric Kennedy, owner of Lyric’s Vintage. Photo: Lyric's Vintage

‘Everything she buys sells’: Meet teen picker Lyric Kennedy of Lyric’s Vintage


Lyric Kennedy, ‘teen picker’ and owner of Lyric’s Vintage, has grown her shop into a local favourite for farmhouse-chic finds, antique collectibles and vintage smalls

For someone who’s been a fixture in British Columbia’s vintage-selling industry for the past eight years, “teen picker” Lyric Kennedy speaks like someone with double the experience.

As owner of Lyric’s Vintage, she recently sold off a collection of small plastic reindeer from the 1940s. “My mom was like, ‘You can sell them for $1 each?,” Lyric recalls. “I sold 29 of them for $70.”

Lyric, 19, has been buying and selling vintage in the Surrey, B.C. area since she was 11 years old, first at markets and then on Instagram during the pandemic. With her family’s support, she’s grown her shop into a local favourite for farmhouse-chic finds, antique collectibles and vintage smalls — and developed a keen business savvy along the way.

So much so that in October, Lyric realized her longtime dream of opening her own storefront, a 600-square-foot space in a mini mall in Surrey, about 35 kilometres from downtown Vancouver. “I felt accomplished and proud of myself that I finally opened a store,” she says.

For about six weeks, Lyric served customers in person at the shop, which was packed with vintage goodies displayed in beautiful vignettes.

Two ceramic pots and one small wooden box containing frosty evergreen boughs.
While Instagram can breed negativity, Lyric says it has been a positive space for her business. “If I post it, it’s gone,” she says. “All of my followers are true buyers.” Photo: Lyric’s Vintage

But on Nov. 18, the building owner notified the landlord that the retail space’s sublease didn’t permit Lyric to sell secondhand goods on the premises. Days later, she was forced to close her brand-new shop and begin the search for a new storefront. She is currently seeking another sub-lease.

It was the latest in a series of setbacks that have tested Lyric in recent months, who says she’s determined to find a new solution for her shop. “I love what I do. This isn’t going to stop me — everything will work out,” she says.

Among the other challenges: the rising floodwaters that are devastating the communities just east of where Lyric herself lives. In an effort to help with disaster relief, she purchased toiletries, diapers and food to give to residents who lost everything in the floods.

She also asked her customers to drop off whatever they could spare and, the same day, delivered a full carload of donations to help with immediate needs.

And in September, Lyric returned home from a trip to Montreal to find that her parents’ garage, which she used as her warehouse, had been broken into.

Over 150 items from her inventory were stolen, including a neon “Lyric’s Vintage” sign that her family had saved up to buy, and a set of drawers from a cabinet built by her late grandfather and painted by her grandmother.

After posting a plea to her Instagram Stories begging the burglars to return her items, Lyric’s story got picked up by local news outlets. With the media attention and considerable social media pressure by the local vintage community, some of the stolen goods, including the set of drawers, were anonymously returned a week later.

By then, Lyric’s network of vintage sellers had all chipped in to buy her a replacement neon sign, an initiative spearheaded by a fellow seller, Steph of Funky’s Junk, who had seen Lyric’s story and wanted to help.

One of the sellers who helped fund the new sign says he was eager to contribute. “Lyric is an amazing young picker/antique dealer with such a great eye for what’s really desirable,” says Clint Wilson, who’s known in picking circles as ‘Clint the Collector.’ “Everything she buys sells!”

A collection of red tin toys and canisters displayed alongside three red hardcover books.
“Lyric could spend hours going through these things, appreciating every little tiny thing and finding value in them,” says mom Tammy. Photo: Lyric’s Vintage

‘A born salesperson’

Lyric is a “born salesperson,” affirms her mother, Tammy Kennedy.

Lyric says entrepreneurship is in her blood coming from a family of self-starters. Growing up, “anything I could flip for money, I was interested in,” she says.

Tammy remembers that when her daughter was about five or six years old, she’d wake up most Saturday mornings eager to set up a table at the end of the driveway to sell lemonade. “It was constantly, ‘Can we have a lemonade stand?’ ‘Can we have a garage sale?’” she laughs.  

“She’d wake up and get all her Barbies out. Then it was, ‘I’m not going to play with my Barbies anymore. I’m gonna sell all my Barbies.’ We got to a point where we just thought, okay, well if we can see you from the window and if you want to spend your time out in the rain selling Barbies, you go ahead. So it just made sense when she discovered the vintage-reselling world.”

As a kid, Lyric loved to join her parents at yard sales and estate sales, and began hunting for things that would interest her grandmother, who favoured Victorian antiques. It was at an estate sale that she met two women — Joanna Salley, owner of Cottage Kisses, and Maris McDonald — who told her what a vintage market was.

Lyric says she thought the idea of finding vintage items and selling them at a market was fascinating. Maris and Joanna encouraged her to find some of her own items and bring them with her to their next market.

She spent almost a year picking vintage items she liked. Says Tammy, “I remember her calling my sister to tell her she had a job as a picker.” Lyric was 11 years old at the time.

“They said I had a really good eye, and they bought everything in the back of my car that day,” she says. “I felt like I finally fit in somewhere.”

This first successful foray into picking led Maris, who was the market organizer at the time, to invite Lyric to participate in her first market at the age of 12. They called her the “Junior Junker.”

There, she befriended vintage vendors Bob and Jill Saunders, who advised her to raise her prices after they saw she was selling too low.

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Lyric’s mentors have been integral to her success in the industry, she explains. “I've learned from so many people what to look for — if it’s shiny or not shiny, if it’s real or a reproduction, stuff like that.”

Over time, she continued to refine the sense of style she’s now known for. Lyric specializes in “smalls” — vintage objects so tiny they fit in the palm of your hand.

“I collect almost everything,” she says. “When things come into my store, they’re handpicked by me. I treasure each of my items.”

She sells almost everything, too, only maintaining small personal collections of vintage eyewash cups and mini aluminum tins. It’s all in the spirit of her shop’s new tagline, “Rescue and Relove” — she wants the items that she saves from landfill to find new homes with new families that love the items as much as she does.

A pair of white fresh-cut peonies placed in a tall woven basket next to an assortment of brushes and vintage marmalade jars.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store when I’m going into an estate sale, because I can go through every drawer,” says Lyric. “You can look on the top of the door and feel if there's anything there — people used to hide stuff!” Photo: Lyric’s Vintage

A true picker

Lyric’s Vintage is indeed a family affair: Mom Tammy, who her daughter describes as her best friend, acts as manager.

A graphic designer, Tammy also created the shop’s branding, and helps with social media posts and styled vignettes so customers can visualize what products could look like in their homes. Pre-COVID, Lyric’s dad Todd often could be found pitching in at vintage markets.

“It’s insane that my family would do that for me,” says Lyric, who graduated high school in 2020. “Parents don’t usually do that.”

Occasionally, when a vintage market coincided with a day she’d normally be at school, her mom and dad would let her miss class to attend. Lyric’s teachers understood why she had to sometimes skip: “[They] were buying from me,” she laughs.

When other parents would question Tammy about her teen’s unconventional path, she had a go-to analogy: “This is our soccer field. This is our dance studio. This is the hockey rink. And then [other parents] go, ‘Right. I just spent multiple hours at the hockey rink this week,’” she says. “It’s no different except for the fact that I have a kid who’s had her own money since the age of 11.”

While Lyric’s friends are studying, working at their part-time jobs or hanging out at the mall, she’s posting product drops on Instagram, chatting with customers and lining up at estate sales.

“Lyric has always been the one that walked a little bit off the path,” says Tammy. “Her peers have kind of gotten used to the fact that she’s a little bit different and that’s okay. It’s a good thing.”

A product display consisting of wooden buoys, brushes, and frosted evergreen boughs with many shelves of ephemera visible in the background.
“Lyric is super active — like, very, very energetic, so we have to slow her down!” says Tammy, who helps Lyric create her product displays. Photo: Lyric’s Vintage

A true picker, Lyric doesn’t just stop at antique shops, estate sales or flea markets to find treasures. She engages in some good old-fashioned cold calling, too — she’ll knock on doors, chat up the homeowners and find out if they have anything vintage they want to sell.

And in the event she’s at a sale where someone has passed away, she talks to the family about their loss, and asks to hear more information about the items up for auction. She says she loves the stories behind the pieces she buys.

Tammy says her daughter’s innate ability to connect with people, particularly seniors, is what makes her so good at her job.

“She’ll be at an estate sale explaining what she does to a 95-year-old lady who’s still with it and knows what’s going on,” Tammy says. “And [the homeowner]’s thrilled because she’s passing her things on to somebody young.”

Just getting started

Like most teens her age, Lyric has her eyes on the future. But unlike her peers, she doesn’t have her sights set on university or college just yet — she’s focused on finding her new storefront, continuing to grow her business, and dreaming up longer-term goals, like a vintage-inspired cafe.

She’s slowly bringing in more vintage-adjacent items to Lyric’s Vintage, including a line of soy candles hand-poured by a family friend into vintage vessels sourced by Lyric herself.

She’s also busy managing her side hustle as an actor: Lyric has worked on several TV shows and films, and she’s currently part of a production company’s pitch for a new docu-series with fellow picker Clint Wilson.

“She gives me and other older dealers hope that today’s youth will keep the hobby of collecting going strong for years to come,” says Wilson.

And she keeps giving back, too, helping other teenagers discover their passion for all things vintage. The 12-year-old owners of Twisted Vintage and Finn’s Vintage Shop both say they were inspired by Lyric to start their own ventures.

“I like helping younger people,” Lyric says. “Not a lot of people do this. I love being able to influence and support younger people, because that’s where all the vintage is going to go eventually!”

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