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Modern vintage: Q&A with Regina Petate, LuveWantShop
Regina Petate, LuveWantShop. Photo: LuveWantShop

Modern vintage: Q&A with Regina Petate, LuveWantShop


Pretty things are Regina Petate’s forte — she shares how she’s brought the beautiful into her everyday by selling vintage

Regina Petate describes her home decor and furniture shop as “modern vintage,” and she’s bang-on. Her vintage picks are always quick to sell in her Instagram story sales — think brass, natural woods, shell planters, ethereal artwork and plenty of millennial pink.

In non-pandemic times, Regina is a fixture at many local shows, having made her market debut at Toronto’s Leslieville Flea in 2016. Here, she chats to The Vintage Seeker about how she got her start and shares her vintage philosophy.

If you had to describe your shop’s style, what would you say?

Regina Petate: There's a bit of everything in it — the best of boho, Hollywood Regency glam stuff. Anything shiny! I'm just going to say “modern vintage.”

How did you get into the world of vintage?

RP: As a kid, my mom was a caregiver for seniors and elderly. Sometimes the families would give her gifts, and I remember these old vintage brooches she would get — those beautifully coloured ones.

That, along with my mom paying attention to what she spent. She was very resourceful in the things that she would get for the house, so I think she passed that along to me. Eventually, when I learned how to drive, garage sales were my thing. And that's where I really discovered vintage.

What do you love about the industry?

RP: I love vintage so much, so being able to show people how wonderful it is. And the fact that most times, you don’t need to buy new. That's what I've done with my home. I collected things and it's all come together. I have maybe 10 per cent new in my house.

A surface cluttered with brass candlesticks, glass barware, and figurines shaped with butterflies and a urinating cherub.
Brass, crystal, wood and everything pink at LuveWantShop. Photo: LuveWantShop

How did you make the switch into selling full-time?

RP: When I started out, I had a part-time “real” job, just to see how this would go. I knew I wanted to do this — it was just, could I make enough? It's not like I started out and it was great financially. But now it's totally full time and I'm really glad that I did it.

I couldn't do it without the help of my family. I make it a family affair and about teaching life skills. My husband has helped me with deliveries this past year because it's been so crazy [because of demand during the pandemic], and I hired one of my kids and that's been a huge help.

What about selling on Instagram appeals to you?

RP: I love social media because I'm such an introvert. It's a way for me to express myself, exercise my creativity and make a lot of personal connections that normally I probably wouldn't be able to make out there in the world face to face.

What are your plans for growth this year?

RP: I think about that all the time. Maybe this year I'll do my own website. I don't want to have a bricks-and-mortar shop. I've never had interest in that. Maybe something like offering certain services, like more specialized custom sourcing.

A pair of brass dining chairs upholstered with velvet dusty rose cushions.
These rose and brass chairs were a hit for LuveWantShop and sold out instantly. “I always just go with my gut when picking things up,” says Regina. Photo: LuveWantShop

With a website, is your goal to eventually get away from Instagram story sales?

RP: Story sales are addictive for you guys, and they’re addictive for me – I love doing it. But it’s a lot of work, and it's crazy when it's leading up to it. When I'm doing it, I think every time, okay I really need to do this website thing! If there are some things leftover from a sale, obviously a website would be ideal for that kind of stuff.

What has the pandemic given you from a business perspective?

RP: I was surprised that when it first started people still wanted to buy things! The time at home gave me a lot of focus. I was able to just keep a certain routine going. And just focus on my business, selling things online. This is what I wanted to continue doing regardless of the pandemic.

I love social media because I'm such an introvert. It's a way for me to express myself, exercise my creativity and make a lot of personal connections that normally I probably wouldn't be able to make.

Has the online marketplace becoming more competitive helped you or made it more challenging?

RP: Initially, as more people were popping up, it's a bit of a panic — like, oh, people may not be buying from me as much. It’s actually better overall. It's better for vintage because you've got more people putting vintage out there. It has created more of a market, and it shows the public that you can buy vintage as a sustainable choice.

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Do you anticipate the market calming down as the pandemic ends?

RP: I think so, because we're inside so much. We're just going to be outside all the time. So I would think that will shift to the shows and markets.

What’s been your biggest challenge over the past few years?

RP: With the pandemic, it's sourcing stuff. But overall, just balancing things. It's always kind of a hard balance because it's not a predictable thing. I don't work nine to five. I work all day long, just in pockets of time, depending on what everybody's schedule is. So, fitting that in my own life.

A living room depicting a white marble fireplace with a framed mirror in the shape of an arch and wooden candlesticks behind a pair of white leather chairs and vintage wooden tables with carved legs and shining circular engraved brass surfaces.
An arch mirror provides a perfect backdrop for vintage wood tables topped with gilded plates. “I love arches — anything with an arch,” Regina says. Photo: LuveWantShop

Where do you go for advice on vintage?

RP: I've met a lot of people along the way who have different expertise on things. There are some individuals I know I can go to about business or some really old antiques. And then I do have a core group of other sellers that I go to. I think you need that as a small business. You need someone to bounce ideas off.

How does curated vintage differ from the traditional antiques market?

RP: It’s a reinvention of the way we present vintage and antiques. With curation, people like having it presented a certain way and it creates a certain mood.

Traditional vintage, you actually had to go out there and find it but this one is served up to you on a platter. It’s just a new way of doing things. I like putting things together, styling things. I'm not sure that every seller does.

What's been your all-time best find?

RP: That is so hard! Most sellers, we have a bit of a bucket list, like we want to find certain things. Like a huge, ornate mirror or just some really cool designer pieces. So I don't have just one thing; it changes at any given time.

I always just go with my gut when picking things up. I feel like if I love it that much, then that will show through when I share with my customers.

Portrait of the seller looking out of a large ornate wooden frame tinted gold and weathered with age.
“I started more locally, I did the markets, and just built personal relationships that way,” says Regina (pictured) of her early days as a vintage seller. Photo: LuveWantShop

What's one trend you're loving right now and one you hope never comes back?

RP: I love arches — anything with an arch. I recently had some arched mirrors, and I'm keeping one for myself, and then one I've managed to let go, I think that's what makes it easier to let go, when I have one other one to share!

I never thought I'd be so into pink before, but I am. I am open to everything, because everything gets reinvented and has its moment again. It might not come back like how it was presented in that era, but when it comes back now, it's been reimagined. So you can see how cool it was then, now.

Any tips for shopping vintage?

RP: I'm guilty of this too — just really check items over. Even as a seller, you may not even notice a certain thing on the corner that you should have mentioned.

So, if I'm buying something from somebody else, I'll ask specific things that I know that are kind of problem spots. And then when I go pick it up, I just do another once over. Always check. Don't just take their word for it.

What approach do you use when seeking vintage items for yourself?

RP: I now have a rule that I have to have a place for it in mind. I have to be planning to put it somewhere, or it has to be just so uniquely cool — like a unicorn find I know I'm never going to find again.

Regina Petate, Founder, LuveWantShop
Toronto, ON

This interview has been condensed.

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