For the purists who seek out vintage Mid Century Modern items, West Virginia may not immediately come to mind as a hot spot for finding authentic period decor. However, The Purple Moon, located in Charleston, West Virgina, has been a popular vintage shop for MCM lovers over the last 14 years.
For shop owner, Chuck, MCM design has been a part of his life since childhood. He used to visit the Blenko Glass factory in West Virginia and the Modernist pieces he saw there blew him away. “The glass was originally what got me hooked on the mid century aesthetic before I expanded into the vast range of mid century design,” he says.
Chuck started selling vintage items in the early 2000s online. From there, he was able to move into selling items in antique malls. It was not until 2005 that The Purple Moon was officially launched with its own brick-and-mortar storefront. After a number of expansions due to popular demand, The Purple Moon has recently moved into its new location in downtown Charleston.
One of the aspects that makes The Purple Moon a desirable destination is the excellent condition of vintage items on display. “We are very picky about condition,” says Chuck. When you pair pristine vintage items with a design strategy that allows everything to flow together, people will notice.
The Purple Moon has become almost a tourist attraction in some ways. “Sometimes it feels like we are running a museum,” says Chuck. People love to come into the shop and browse all of the fantastic items. Young families bring older relatives, they they enjoy the experience of revisiting old memories together.
Some folks who would not initially consider themselves an MCM fan often leave the store with a newfound appreciation after a visit to The Purple Moon. “Seeing things in context makes a huge difference,” says Chuck. Seeing furnishings in person, styled with other MCM vintage items gives a person a level of context.
Buying and Selling Vintage
If you’re inspired to be a vintage MCM collector or even a reseller like Chuck, it might be challenging in the beginning. “We bought stuff that we definitely shouldn’t,” he says. Learning is a part of the process and over time, you will develop an idea of what kind of items your customers want to buy and how to find them for resale.
Another thing to consider is where you are buying your vintage items. “You never know where you are going to find things,” says Chuck. One of Chuck’s biggest finds was when he was asked to look at a trailer in the middle of nowhere only to find it jam packed with European vintage MCM furnishings. Always be on the hunt for new items and don’t be afraid to take some risks when you are getting started.
For more on The Purple Moon, head here!