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Posts from the ‘About Us’ Category

As One Door Closes, Another One Opens.

Clytie Sadler Photography owner taking pictures

Over the last year and a half Ampersand Vintage Modern reached 65,000 people from all corners of the earth. From Mongolia to Jamaica to the Yukon to Phoenix, Arizona. The support our Amperfans gave us was nothing short of amazing. Sadly, we are closing the doors on the shop permanently; I hope everyone has enjoyed the ride as much as we have.  The reason is simple, from a financial standpoint, the economy took its toll and from an energy standpoint running the Ampersand business and brand wore me out. This gig is a lot of work.  Day-to-day you’re a data manager, a website designer, a code writer, a blogger, a social media marketer, a business administrator, a buyer, a picker, a product stylist, a creative director, a PR machine, a DIYer, a handyman, a shipping department, a logistics guru, a photographer, and a photo editor. Phew.

This is not at all what we had initially planned. When we first set out on this journey Andy and I envisioned bringing a lifestyle to Ampersand’s blog and shop. We looked to pair fun and unexpected flair to those mid-century lines we loved so much with the industrial and vintage pieces we carried. We strove to create a brand that brought our customers “Vintage Goods for Modern Living.”  It’s what we loved and we hope our passion came through while we were able to bring it to you.

Making this decision is one of hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s a dream that was difficult to let go of, not only because we worked so incredibly hard the last two years but also because I gave up my career to start Ampersand. Having given up my career may sound crazy to many, but I still walk away knowing it’s the wisest decision I ever made because it’s allowed me the chance to become passionate about new things.

In an effort to make my life less crazy, I’ve decided to stick with a few things and do them with a lot more dedication. I have fallen back in love with photography and learned that I have an affinity for product styling, social media, and small business marketing. The future looks bright: I will be doing part-time ecommerce consulting to develop a social media marketing program for a small, local business.  My real focus will be on photography and I’m psyched to have already picked up my first commercial gig. You can check out my developing new photography blog here and if you’re interested in my photography story you can read more on my About page.

From my clients, to our fun and loyal Amperfans, and everyone I’ve met along the way, I can attest that the connections I’ve made over the last two years have kept me moving forward and are now moving me forward in new directions. You all have been wonderful cheerleaders. The encouragement has been incredible, so thank you. A couple more shout-outs: Jess Robash, you have done such savvy design work for us since the beginning, thank you.  Keyse Angelo and Tara Bellucci, you guys were truly instrumental in launching this business into the interweb and helping us get found. To the Somerville crew, you know who you are; you guys truly helped us raise the bar by being such great sounding boards and swooped in to help Ampersand and me at my wedding. I also want to thank my freelance writer Jilly and my right-hand man, Greg who worked tremendously hard during this transition period. You guys really helped keep me afloat when I was spread so thin.

And in closing, I’m saving the biggest thank you for  my wife who put up with rotating rooms full of vintage furniture that she stubbed numerous toes and shins on late at night, and who lived in a house that was one part photography studio, one part marketing office, one part warehouse during her first two years of grad school. How she’s gotten two short stories published and almost straight As while all the noise of my life was going on is beyond me. I love you forever.

Once Upon a Time…

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It was New Year’s Eve. I decided to go low-key and have a quiet, local dinner with friends when I met my future wife. We had lots in common and formed an instant bond. It was one of the most laid-back, easy, but fun New Years Eves  I’ve ever had. After the stressful year I’d experienced, the evening was just what the doctor ordered. It would be two years until we hung out again –though we did mysteriously manage to cross paths several times, as if fate was on our side. Flash forward to Summer, 2011. We both found ourselves single, reconnected, and began dating.  Coincidentally, we were both taking huge risks to do what we loved: the two of us had jumped ship from the corporate world. Me, to begin Ampersand, and her to devote time to creative writing and to begin an MFA program. We were two creative peas in a pod.

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There’s that old saying, “When you know. You know.” And after dating only a year, we knew. We  shared the news of our engagement with our parents. They were supportive and overjoyed. We couldn’t wait for our two families to finally meet. It turns out, they were so similar and welcoming to one another, that it only solidified where our relationship was headed. Working with our friend, the very talented graphic designer Jess Robash we created a post card save-the-date that would announce our good news .

Once the save-the-dates were out, we all put our heads together again to produce a formal invitation and RSVP card. We wanted a simple, classic look that was as formal as it was fun. As for our actual wedding and reception, we knew we wanted  a DIY vintage-themed celebration that would also incorporate elements from my soon-to-be wife’s love of books and writing. Our decor was personal and 100% of it was homemade–whether made in our basement, spare bedroom, or driveway. Each decorative element was a labor of love and each piece from the string orbs that hung as ceiling decorations to the framed “author bios” that marked each table was a melding of our two lives and personalities. We worked with our talented friend, Elaine Frei, founder of Urban Soiree Chicago to assist with developing the concept, layout and the day-of planning and coordination.

On an overcast, but otherwise lovely day in late September, 80 of our closest friends and family members gathered together to watch us get hitched. Love was most definitely in the air and as the guests arrived, we felt intensely grateful and calmed by the support and presence of  people from different chapters of both of our lives. Everyone gathered together to send us off into the next phase. Let the nuptials begin!

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September 29, 2012, marked the beginning of our two families becoming one.

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The exchange of vows (and rings) was brief, but meaningful. We wrote our own vows and were married by my former business partner and good friend, Andy Crepeau who pronounced us married by the power of Castle Grayskull and also, the State. Why am I screaming in the picture above you ask? Because my wife stepped on my toe with her stiletto heel. Nice job, wife. J/K. I don’t even remember screaming, but I do remember exclaiming “Thank You,” to everyone before I screamed.  I know. I’m a weirdo, but I was excited.

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Now it’s time to talk flowers. We worked with our friend, Jennifer Allen owner of MaRKet,  a small lifestyle boutique that specializes in both vintage & modern home furnishings, interior design, and offers floral design as one of its services. Jenn has a knack for flowers, she’s been arranging them since high school.

Paper Wedding Boutonniere - Posh Studios

I wanted to surprise my wife with this paper wedding boutonniere by Posh Studios. Cassie’s work is amazing and I wanted my boutonniere to have a connection my wife and be a keepsake. Cassie was great to work with, I sent her a picture of my shirt so she could match the color and explained that she was a writer and asked that the paper have type. I think she did an excellent job.

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Picking out the ring is ALWAYS a nerve wracking experience. The ring is going to be on your partner’s hand for the rest of their life. No pressure. To make a long story short, picking out my wife’s ring was something I put off for a long time. She kept saying to me, “You’ll know, I trust you” and on the inside I was a wee bit nervous. She was right, though. I stopped into Cambridge Antique Market, spotting what I was certain would be her ring. The next day I tricked her into coming back with me to take a look. We stopped in, I casually was like, “Hey, just take a look so I can get an idea of what you’d like.” She agreed and of the dozens of rings in the case, she immediately commented on how beautiful this ring was. I asked if she wanted to try it on and believe it or not, the ring fit. Perfectly. Did either of us know her ring size before she tried it on? Miraculously, no. For me, the ring picking experience was excellent and lasted all of five minutes. Don’t be jealous.

For my ring I wanted something simple since I work with my hands all the time but I didn’t want it to be a plain boring band. I came across Adzia‘s custom fingerprint engagement and wedding bands and instantly knew that’s what I wanted. My wife’s fingerprint is engraved both inside and outside. The inside is what feels the most special to  me.

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Then the party began. We entertained our guests with yard games and music. My wife’s sister is a musician and introduced us to the Brazilian Jazz band, The Jerrod Cattey Trio. They were the perfect match for our cocktail hour. We both love jazz and they brought that perfect, breezy Latin sound that was an important element to my wife who is from Central America.

We did a few passed hors d’oeuvres and watered our guests with wine and kegs of our favorite craft beer supplied by our local favorite, The Craft Beer Cellar.

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Then the night fell, dinner was served under the big top…

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My wife’s sister made a simple but amazing cheesecake for our wedding cake and our guests enjoyed individually plated strawberry shortcakes, my wife’s family favorite. The cake toppers were custom made by LavaGifts since they didn’t currently have the pink ones in stock. It was on short notice and they turned it around in no time.

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What’s with the saw you ask? We like magic tricks. No, no. It’s a German tradition called, Baumstamm Sägen, “log sawing.” It represents a married couple’s first difficult task together. You’re supposed to have a nice small log but oh no, not us. My wife’s father is an arborist and special ordered a beautiful silver birch for this special occasion. He also called in several favors to get the beautiful antique logging saw pictured above. I think he likes me. With both our fathers holding the log, the crowd breaking into an impromptu chant of “saw that log”, and my serious attempt to stretch it out while they reset the log helped us get through it. It takes a village to saw that log apparently.

I’ve mentioned on the blog that I love to dance so this part of the night was one I was really looking forward to. We had worked sooooo hard to pull this off and it was finally time to cut loose! My wife used to be a music critic and she tasked herself with finding the DJ. We wanted to find someone that could blend our love of old school tunes and the contemporary with the aim of having the dance floor packed the whole night. There was just one rule, no cheesy traditional wedding songs. My wife knew DJ Monster Carl and just said, “trust me.”  One word, WOW. You can see from the pictures that it was pretty rocking and I wasn’t even on the dance floor the whole night but one thing I remember was the amazing energy on the floor, the smiles on everyone’s face, and at least five times where people were down on their knees and shakin’ what the good lord gave ’em.

It was so hard to narrow down the pictures to a select few because the pictures from this part of the night are truly epic.

It was so hard to narrow down the pictures to a select few because the pictures from this part of the night are truly epic.

…and the outtakes. Go ahead and laugh at us, we did.

Vintage Wedding Outtakes Vintage Wedding Outtakes

This story would not be possible without the amazing skillz, yes with a “z”, of Zac Wolf. Actually, he made this story hard to tell because his photography was amazing and narrowing the photographs down to tell this story was quite hard. Check out all of his amazing work here at Zac Wolf Photography. He also provided us with a bit of danger, The Danger Booth that is. Our guest got to pose the night away in the photo booth and he handed us a thumb drive with the nights antics before he left for the night. It was a lot of fun looking at all the fantastic pictures the next morning.

Danger Booth Zac Wolf Photography

Love is in the Air…

 …and on the web.  Our amazing wedding photographer, Zac of Zac Wolf Photography, thought our wedding was special enough to submit to Style Me Pretty. If you are on the verge of getting hitched and you’re looking for inspiration, Style Me Pretty is a fantastic resource. You’ll find wedding eye candy from sea to shining sea, a vendor guide, DIY project page, and the ability to make your very own inspiration board on their site. And stay tuned, my wife and I joined forces to bring you a photo essay that tells the story of our big day and even of  how we met. I’m going to follow that up with blog posts on the DIY projects we made for the wedding, a post regarding how we recycled some of our projects into our everyday life, and a post about why we chose to work with our vendors.

Save the Date: An Ampersand Wedding!

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Save the Date designed by Jess Robash. Photo credit: Clytie’s mom

Along with all of the excitement that goes along with starting a business, this year has brought monumental change to both our lives. However, one of us has some additional life-changing news: Clytie is getting married!

She will be tying the knot with the love of her life, Claudia, at the end of September. In the meantime, they plan to share some of their tips and experiences (good and bad) they have learned in the planning process, as well as some fun DIY projects that will blend their individual styles and make this a vintage wedding to remember! Stay tuned for more!

&VM’s “Better Half” Featured on Apartment Therapy!

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Of course, by “better half” I am referring to the beautiful, ginger-headed…REX!  Haha, I’m kidding! He is adorable, but I would really like to direct your attention to the lovely home he shares with his mamas, Clytie & Claudia.

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After viewing this Apartment Therapy house tour, it will come as no surprise why I had to be patted down and my bag searched the first few times I hung out at Clytie’s place–there are SO many interesting and cool objects and vintage goodness around every corner!!! Starting Ampersand Vintage Modern was kind of a no brainer.

Enjoy! And let her know what you think! 

&VM Featured on Apartment Therapy!!!

Apartment Therapy

We hope that you’ve had the chance to check out the new vintage goods (is that an oxymoron?) we added to the online shop yesterday. If not you should definitely take a minute to peruse the merchandise. There are some really cool pieces, if I do say so myself!

That’s not the only big news that happened yesterday! Also, Ampersand Vintage Modern got a shout-out on Apartment Therapy! So cool!

You can read the very nice review by Tara Bellucci here:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ampersand-vintage-modern-affor-164280

Thanks, Tara!

How We Live (she said)

My identical twin sister and I bought a two-family home three years ago. We call it the twinplex, because there’s twin 1 (me) on the first floor and twin 2 (the sister) on the second floor. Also, both levels share a nearly identical floor plan.

We had been looking for a while, and I was becoming discouraged. I never thought we’d find something we’d both like. She had come back to the listing multiple times–drawn in by the pink ’50s bathroom tile. As for me, I love period details and the vintage stuff, but pink trumps all in the dislike category.  My sister kept saying she had a really good feeling about the place; she knew that it was our home. I just sighed and told her to go look at it. If she loved it, I would go with her for a second viewing.  Needless to say, she loved it. When I went to look at it, she warned me that while the second floor was lovely, the first floor was…interesting. Interesting, because it was obvious that a hoarder lived there. The three things I remember most were: how dark it was, that I couldn’t even get into the closets, and that there was a cat box in every room, but not a single cat (that I could see anyway). Thank god for the second floor and the beautiful backyard I viewed at sunset. As the closing date arrived, we did a final walk through. The closets were even bigger than the second floor which was great news but there was a hole in the kitchen floor and a hole in the wall of what would become my office. We had our work cut out for us.

Fortunately, I had just started dating a landscape architect and RISD grad who truly opened my eyes to a whole new world of design.  I must attribute the curated-like beauty of my home, and the design aesthetic I developed in the course of the relationship, to this brilliant person.  I truly believe that this was the second biggest milestone/experience that I needed to push me towards this new endeavor in my life. If you missed my first, you can read about it here. My home is now a mix of reclaimed barn pieces, mid-century love, vintage wares, and industrial accents.  My photos are more of my favorite objects and accent pieces and less of my furniture, due to the inventory that packs my house at the moment–I really am living and breathing &VM 24/7! So, without further ado, this is how I live…

When I walk into my home, I’m greeted by both of my grandfathers. They are tucked away on the beautifully caned bottom shelf of a mid-century side table I found at an antiques market.  The glass containers are from my grandfather’s hardware store and the duck decoy dates back to my other grandfather’s hunting days. I love that they sit together…

vintage duck decoy and vintage glass hardware store container

Sitting above this in the entry is another reminder of my grandfather and  my father. The flag is from the the 12-Meter racing yacht, Enterprise, the 27th contender built for the prestigious America’s Cup. My father and grandfather built this boat as a contender to another 12-meter that they built, Courageous, that went on to win the Cup the year I was born. I found the C in an old building I was doing some environmental monitoring in for my “pay-the-bills” job.

vintage letter C and 12-Meter Sailboat Enterprise flag 27

To round out the sailing history, here is a cut-aluminum, skeleton model my father made of one of the 12-Meters. It hangs from my back porch and is just wonderful to look at…

aluminum 12-meter model sun behind
aluminum 12-meter model up close

From the entry way, you turn directly into my living room. Displayed on a window sill, is this early ’70s seagull from the late Cape Cod artisan, Susan Davis. The brown glassware held chemicals from my grandfather’s photo developing days.  The opposite corner of the window holds a vintage crab meat can from my great, great uncle Herb’s crab meat packing plant in Maryland, called Sadler’s Crab Meat. The can holds old paint stirrers sold at my great grandfather’s hardware store, Sadler’s Hardware. Who knows, had Andy not decided to join me on this adventure I probably would have called it Sadler’s Vintage Stuff!

Susan Davis Seagull and brown chemical bottles
vintage Sadler's Crab Meat can and vintage Sadler's Hardware paint stir
Over the years, I’ve collected a lot of things from the natural world during geology trips or regular old hikes.  Finding a way to integrate them with other found objects in my home has proven to be quite fun. You will find all sorts of rocks, corals that were washed ashore, and an old rotted out cactus mixed in everywhere…

metamorphic rock with coral on a vintage scale

cactus globe and industrial green medical cabinet

coral on display
My favorite room in the house has to be my butler’s pantry. I love how the white shelves pop against the Chelsea grey walls which makes for the perfect spot to place brightly colored accents!

yellow owl trivet, vintage Skat can and a collection of vintage matchbooks

Ampersand with Pyrex mugs

These photos are a sneak peak into how I live. You can browse the entire collection, including more photos from my backyard, dining room, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom, in the How We Live (She Said) photo album on our Facebook page!

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