IMG_4208 (3)WHY did I go to Texas with 6 girlfriends?  My friend Sally, retail consultant,  coach for young buyers, creative thinker, and brand manager, GATHERED her friends together, those who she thought would be interested in 4 days of shopping for STUFF in a new environment that would explode our mind.

ROUND TOP is 80 miles from Austin and 80 miles from Houston.  Population 90, that bursts with thousands experiencing Southern Hospitality at its finest in a treasure hunt, trudging through flea market fields of antiques and well merchandised vendors.

Kelly, our concierge who has a blog Crush List Round Top (I bought the shelves on her opening page from Adele) gave us the 101 Antique overview for beginners and helped guide our knowledge of the fields. It is 2 weeks of hunting for the best products.  Early the first week as trucks unload and dealers and vendors prepare for the serious show openings, the buyers from Restoration, Pottery Barn, ABC, Reguvenation Lighting, etc line up to get the first glimpse of product for inspiration.

The first day we arrived in Austin, lunched at  La Condesa to start our Southwestern diet and shop the streets.  Getting used to Texas fashion and warmth from the snow was glorious. We pulled out the sun screen for the first time in months.  We arrived at Fayetteville, population 260 to the Market Street Inn.  Owned by Joan who runs BlackBird Farm Lodging, we were greeted by a large Laura Wilson photograph  (mother of Owen) and that set the tone of the style we were about to experience.

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson

Joan and her friend Mary formed Walking Women Ventures, discovering deteriorating and unoccupied homes and turning them into masterpieces of Texas country style. Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 7.44.04 AM

After cooking a breakfast of poached eggs with salsa and avocado we headed off to Blue Hills, Arbour, and Excess fields.  We split up to search for treasures.

Blue Hills

Blue Hills

Excess

Excess

We had a glorious dinner at the Round Top Inn organized by Kelly from the Crush List.  The Hunters ate quail with lentils and Gatherers had vegetarian goodness.  Rose from our group made all the desserts and of course there was a bonfire and Texas whisky.  Bonny Neiman shared her blog highlighting the home she was staying at, where Rose cooked all day with inspired design. We missed the book signing of Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic fame who has a ranch nearby.

Marburger opened the next day and we bought tickets to get there early.  This is the retail of all shows, curated merchandised booths with mid to high antiques. It was fun and everyone came to party besides buying the best products.  I bought a table from a vendor that comes from Louisiana every year and has pickers throughout the US.  I also bought galvanized olive buckets that were in good condition at the fair price- they tell me.

P1050003

Country goes French with Scandinavian undertones

Country goes French with Scandinavian undertones

I learned about Jeanne d Arc Living from a guest from Oregon, she was looking for these styles.  Some white on white with grey tone on tone.

And then there were the boots…we all got some.  Rose in red, Francye and me in black, Sally in brown, second hand and new.  When in Rome!

IMG_4164

Shorts and boots…dresses with boots…all with attitude

P1040924P1040987

 

Security is easy when the Sheriff is in town

Security is easy when the Sheriff is in town

Besides having a truckload of product coming to me, for my store,  everyone bought something.  Sally with pillows, Francye pillows and antique silver, Cathy great jewelry and ideas for her new home she is building, Lisa bought a white lacquer desk. From Cleveland Arts repurposed industrial items, Lisa bought glass more organic than Simon Pearce,  Rose bought a 48 in chandelier made from conveyer belts, and after I learned they won an award in the UK for store design at Timberland, I bought a display cart.  I figure if I bought too much I can always put a price tag on anything I don’t use and sell it in the store…will be a surprise!

Cleveland Art mission-we met this fellow

Cleveland Art Statement-we met this fellow and thought he was cute

And the best part is that all of us women (at times there were 8) became fast friends.  Different styles, lots to share, an awesome group dynamics, as I like to study who becomes the alpha female (not me) …and it worked!

Sally was the Gatherer of Friends…a master of picking personalities that would be fun together and would get along (without high maintenance)…and each of us were the Hunters enjoying the shopping experiences and helping each of us decide when and where to open out wallets.

IMG_4130

We are going next year…want to come?