I want to introduce you to a magical land of intrigue & excitement hidden away behind a simple exterior in a business complex in Simi Valley. When I was in High School the summer of my Junior and Senior year I spent a lot of time every weekend going to estate sales and auctions to buy antiques. I spent hours perusing a lot of junk piled high just to find those hidden treasures buried at the bottom of the boxes. I then stood in the crowd, in the sun, in the rain, and sometimes in the snow eagerly waiting for my item to come up. I was often the only kid in a crowd of antique dealers, & collectors.
The auctioneer would begin to rattle off the description and then the price wars began. As people bid I would discretely make eye contact with the auctioneer and raise my eyebrows or give a little nod to acknowledge my bid. It was thrilling as the price went up and up. It often came down to me and one other person. Back and forth we went higher and higher both our eyes locked on to the man with the microphone. Eventually one of us reached our limit and had to look down in defeat letting the other person raise their number as the ultimate winner. Some days I would come home with an almost empty car, and other days I would come home with the car packed to the windows, and would need to return with a truck for a second load. I later sold a lot of the items on eBay, and it made for a really fun source of income.
Late last year our friend Lizzie introduced us to this store in Simi. I have been to every thrift store in the San Fernando Valley, and a lot of the antique stores. Most of the thrift stores only sell junk, and the antique stores are over priced and have a limited selection. Fishy Finds is different. Suzy was the first to go there and came home with a car load of beautiful treasures for an extremely reasonable price. She txt’d me a photo of the store and I couldn’t wait to check it out.
When you first walk around you feel this overwhelming sense of awe at the sheer magnitude of stuff. It’s a mix between a museum telling the history of our country one item at a time, and a candy land of beautiful color and inspiration. I thought of posting a few less photos, with a wider view. But I decided to try and duplicate my experience here on the blog and overwhelm you with everything. The other thing I loved about the store is although it is packed full, the aisles are neat and everything is fully accessible.
Tania is the owner of Fishy Finds, and was gracious enough to give me a few minutes to ask her some questions for the blog. So scroll down to check out some of the photos and hear a little bit about her cool story. There are two photos of Tania hidden in the mix below. So you can try to find them here, or you can just drive to Simi to meet her in person!
Tania went to school at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FDIM). For her senior thesis she had a choice of five different projects. One of them was to write a paper developing a game plan on how to start a business. In her project she created “Fishy Finds” and decided that she would stick with the name if the opportunity ever came to make it a reality. It did.
She has been the owner of the store for the past five years, and recently has expanded and began an estate sale business called “Hearth & Home”. They handle the sale of an estate from the beginning stages, to fixing up the house, all the way to the final sale of the home and the items inside.
The interesting thing is that only about 40% of the items in the store are actually Tanias. The rest of the items belong to 700 some people who are selling on consignment. You might ask how do I sell something on consignment? Basically if you have something cool you just need to walk into the store and talk to Tania. If she thinks it’s as cool as you do, she might just sign you up on the list of consignors.
I also asked where most of her customers come from and she said that only about 30% are collectors or lay people. The other 70% are dealers, prop houses, and other places which Tania collects for. She works with Anthropology, Urban Outfitters, Lucky, Trader Joes, True Blood, as well as a number of big name photographers who she shops for.
Finally being the sweet person she is, Tania said if I ever wanted to do part of an engagement session in the store I was more than welcome. So if one of you adorable engaged couples out there are up for some really unique photos, let me know!
Thank you Tania for your time, your beautiful store, and all the smiles you have given me so far!
Here’s the address for those of you who would like to check it out! Just tell Tania I sent you. =)
4680 E Los Angeles Ave
Building J / K
Simi Valley, CA 93063