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Interview with Rose Nutter
Black Kat Kollectibles

Rose Nutter Standing In Her Shop With Television

We sat down with local proprietor, Rose Nutter, to discuss her vintage store called Black Kat Kollectibles. Rose gave us insight into what inspires her and compels her to make buying decisions when selecting inventory for her shop.

She shows us some of her more unique items and explains them all. With her sweet and bubbly personality and her charming 50's style, Rose is one Lancaster character you don't want to miss. Her shop reflects that as well!

Read on to learn more about this cool spot, located in Bird-in-Hand, and visit soon to find a treasure of your own!

 Instagram.JPG Rose Nutter @
Find Rose Nutter online

Did you grow up in the Lancaster area?

Yes I did.

What brought you here, how did this all start?

I worked at the antique store next to my shop for a little while. Prior to that, my mother would always bring me antique shopping with her and she collected vintage artglass from the 1960s. I’ve always been interested with everything mid century- including music and television shows. I’ve been selling vintage online for a long time and love to research it. I have quite a collection of it at home.

You were selling online the same time you were working next door?

Yes I was.

Were you selling online PRIOR to working next door?

I actually also worked for a guy selling higher-end antiques on Ebay. He would also sell antiques at shows and conventions.

Is this prior to your interest or is this what lead to your interest?

It is pretty much what lead to it. Learning about the history of items intrigued me and I knew it was something I wanted to do for myself.

Okay, so some guy wanted you to run his Ebay and why did he come to you with this?

It kind of just happened that way. A friend of mine had worked for him previously and she thought I would be a good fit.

What draws you to flea markets and thrift stores?

Just hunting for things, you never know what you are going to find. You always find something new!

Do you go out as much as you want?

Vintage Items At Black Kat Kollectibles Do you go out as much as you want?

Not as much right now because I am here most of the time. In the summertime, it will be busier and I’ll have someone to help run the shop and I'll be able to go hunt for stuff. Usually in the winter time, there isn’t as much at thrift stores or auctions. People wait until Spring to clean out their houses.

Is this a good area for such shopping?

Oh, absolutely! I think Central Pennsylvania is the best place to be for antiques.

Where is your niche, what is your favorite thing?

A lot of what I collect and sell is mid-century modern. 50’s, 60’s, 70’s kind of kitschy collectibles, housewares and stuff like that.

I saw you did a lot on Etsy with glassware. Did you sell the Snidley Whiplash set yet?

Oh no. Not yet!

Okay, I might leave with that today! Is that a focus with the glass?

Not in particular. I kind of try to have a wide variety of stuff. I have vintage books, records, pyrex, vintage advertisements, a little bit of everything so everybody has something they can go home with.

You said you have a group of years that you cover, does your store ever fall out of that?

Of course! I have other dealers in here too that sell, so it is run sort of like a co-operative antique shop.

How many other dealers?

Right now there are 10. They sell everything from primitive antiques to early 80’s pop culture novelty items.

Are you picky about who you would have in here?

Yes and No. I try to be open minded about my dealers but I encourage my dealers to carry authentic vintage and antique items.

Maybe you can show me some of your more interesting finds! Is most of this stuff, other than the vendors, stuff you have found?

The majority of it is items I have hand picked to have here.

Okay then show me some cool things and then we can talk about them!

Two Vintage Chair Red And Green Pieces Okay then show me some cool things and then we can talk about them!

I am actually expanding in the next couple months and I want to focus more on mid-century modern furniture. We don’t have a ton of extra space right now but these lounge chairs are one of my favorite sets in the shop.

Where did you find these chairs? Where are you hunting?

I think they came from an auction.

I’m seeing also a lot of collectible style cameras here, is that a popular thing?

Oh yeah! People are really into everything honestly. I try to get a variety of things in the shop for everyone.

Now, if somebody were to buy these chairs, what would they do with them? Where would they put them in their house? How do you decorate with one piece like this?

A lot of people use them as accents. The way that I have my house set up is that you walk in and it is an area where you sit and listen to records. So you have miss matched furniture, you have one chair in one area and then another chair right when you walk in so the focal point is not on a television but rather on a gorgeous piece of furniture.

Do you listen to records?

Oh yeah! (laughs) We have a record player in every room in our house. And a juke box too!

The same style of music I heard coming in here?

Yeah, I mostly listen to rockabilly, doo wop and surf rock but I do enjoy many varieties of music.

So the chairs were a good find and accent piece, anything else like that you want to show us?

Rose And Her Antique Shop So the chairs were a good find and accent piece anything else like that you want to show us?

I think the furniture is where everything is heading. People are really looking for the mid-century style more so than the primitive type stuff which is a lot older. I guess because of television shows, like Mad Men and also because the design is much more intriguing than furniture today. They are like pieces of art.

I love this style! Where would find this kind of stuff? It seems almost impossible.

Not necessarily. A lot of the stuff I find are at auctions and flea markets.

Do the people that are auctioning these pieces know they value behind them?

Yes and no. It depends on where you go, who is there. A lot of times what happens is older people will think it is junk because it is stuff that they grew up with. They will auction it off or they will have a yard sale but because they don't think it is anything special and don’t feel like dealing with it anymore.

When you happen upon one of those is it just a great day for you?

Oh absolutely!

Do you use this downtime in the winter to refine what you are doing in here?

Vintage Cameras And Photographs Shelf Do you use this downtime in the winter to refine what you are doing in here?

When it is slow, I like to rearrange a lot. I like to keep the store fresh. I’m very big into displays and giving everything a face-lift because I have a lot of regular customers that come in and I want them to find new items to take home every time they shop here.

A regular customer that comes in, they love what you are finding, right? You are aggregating all these great finds into one place for them. So they are always coming to see some new things?

I have a list for things people are looking for. So if I find something specific that I know they will like, I will give them a call or an email.

People can do that with you too?

Absolutely! I love to help customers in any way I can. It’s a lot of fun for me!

Would you consider yourself an expert in this genre?

Yeah, maybe not an expert but as good as I can be! (laughs) I like it alot. It’s always great to learn something new.

You said you sell on Etsy too, is that your only other sales outlet?

Well actually no. I have a booth up at Mother Tucker's Antiques and Collectibles in Ephrata. I am friends with the owners. They also have a space here at my shop. I also sell at flea markets and car shows.

Show me what else is cool in here!

Well vintage televisions! I noticed people when they come in, come in for bigger pieces like this for props for theatre.

Tell me about your house. Are you decorated in this way?

For the most part, most of what I have is vintage. Everything from the glasses and dishes to the linens and clothing.

So it would be fun to go through your house for a photoshoot in the Mad Men style!

Oh of course!

So you have furniture and TV's, do people come in here looking for unique items like these? I have never seen stuff like this at a thrift store or antique style stores.

Old Television From The 1950s Set So you have furniture and TV's do people come in here looking for unique items like these? I have never seen stuff like this at a thrift store or antique style stores.

Yeah, a lot of people are just blown away because they remember it from when they were a child or they haven't seen one in a long time. I try to look for stuff that is unique or harder to find so if people wanted to have something for props or just to have in their house, they could.

Do you do all the marketing here yourself?

Yes.

What is going well for you? What works?

Pretty much Facebook and Social Media. Word of mouth is really good too. I have a lot of friends who are also antique dealers or small business owners so we cross promote

Do you find that almost all antique dealers are in a close knit circle? You kind of buy and trade from one another and eventually your customers become one of you?

Kind of. It is a pretty small community so I feel like everybody knows everybody.

Are you keeping an eye out? Do you look for items in other genres that you know you can sell, like this area with the train memorabilia and collectibles, or do you mainly stay in your niche?

I try to branch out a little bit. I try to keep in mind what people are buying like trains for instance I know that they are big sellers. Also, anything car related. I don't know if I mentioned that I do flea markets and car shows. I run the Lancaster Punk Rock Flea Market.

Yeah I forgot about that, I wanted to talk more about that too.

I do flea markets so I kind of base what I buy off where the flea market is and what type of market it is.

When you do a flea market, how do you take your wares there? Do you go through your store and put a whole bunch of stuff in a tub?

Rose Standing With Paintings Of Rabbits When you do a flea market how do you take your wares there? Do you go through your store and put a whole bunch of stuff in a tub?

Yeah, usually the week before I will basically have a big rubbermaid container or three and I will pack the stuff up. I kind of gauge what type of people are going to be there.

And you move enough product?

Oh yeah! I have a whole storage unit full of stuff! It's worth doing and I like doing them because I get the word out about the store too.

That's right and you get to walk around and look at what other people have!

Right! That's the best part! (Laughs)

Tell me more about the punk rock flea market, is that at the Chameleon still?

No it's not actually. We started at the Chameleon because they used to have them there when they first started originally. I run it with my friend Emily Truman. This year will be our sixth flea market.

What is the premise about the punk rock flea market, other than it is a flea market? Is it genre specific?

Kind of, it has sort of an edge.

This stuff could technically be punk rock, right?

Oh yeah! Anything retro or pop culture related.

You won’t see train memorabilia there?

Probably not. (Laughs) It is a good outlet for younger people, entrepreneurs, artists and people like that who normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to sell otherwise.

You have to have people that have booths there, is that a struggle for you?

No, we always sell out!

Is it more difficult telling people no then it is to find people?

This year we actually made it a 2 day event because we had so many people we had to turn away last time. It is really becoming a big thing in Lancaster.

When is that?

Our next one is happening Saturday May 21st and Sunday May 22nd. We have it at the Masonic Center in Lancaster City, which is actually right next to the Chameleon Club, so it isn't that far from where it used to be.

Do you feel like that is a good enough spot?

Oh yeah! It’s great! It’s 2 floors inside with an elevator and then we have the parking lot, where we have more vendors set up as well as local food trucks.

Do you feel like your store does better in Bird-In-Hand versus Lancaster City?

Vinatge Halloween Collectables Showcase Do you feel like your store does better in Bird-In-Hand versus Lancaster City?

Originally when I wanted to open a store, it had been in the back of my head for awhile and I thought about getting a Lancaster City spot. However I didn’t think it would be busy all year round. I wouldn’t get the tourist traffic I get in Bird-in-Hand. I think this is the best place because I get people from all over. I have regular customers from New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. I also have some that from places like Australia, Germany, and Switzerland.

How did you come up with the name Black Kat Kollectibles?

I collect vintage Halloween items.

So that is one of your passions, do you have any of that stuff here?

A little bit but most is in my own private collection at home.

Can I see it?

Sure!

What year are these items from?

The noise makers are from the 1920’s and 30’s. Typically what I collect is the 20’s through the 60’s.

These items that are for sale, are they not as meaningful to you as the things you collect?

A lot of the stuff I collect has to do with black cats because I have two real black cats.

We talked a little bit about social media and facebook, is there anything else that is working for you?

It is mostly word of mouth honestly. A lot of people come in for the first time and absolutely love it. I tell them to check out my facebook page or instagram and they start following me and come back.

Do you do better here than your online sales?

Oh yeah! Absolutely. I have a lot more of a variety of items in the store than I do online. Plus I think a lot of people like buying things that they can see in person.

This is really cool, I am kind of amazed by the stuff you have in here! It’s very well organized and tidy, lots of stuff! Anything I’m missing you want to hit on?

Rose Nutter Headshot For Article This is really cool I am kind of amazed by the stuff you have in here! It’s very well organized and tidy lots of stuff! Anything I’m missing you want to hit on?

Actually when I do the expansion, I am also going to do focus on vintage clothing and have a vintage clothing area. I think that is really taking off! A couple years ago, I went to this rockabilly weekender in Las Vegas and this is going to be the 18th one that they have done. I kind of wanted to bring that whole culture to Lancaster because I can't afford to go to Vegas all the time and I really enjoy the retro lifestyle!

Do you find that that's more difficult to find than some of the other things?

Again, not really. A lot of people don't see the value in their items. A lot of the older people give it away because it is stuff they grew up with and they would rather buy new clothing than hang onto it.

How are you even finding these people?

A lot of people come in and they see that I have it. They say, “Oh I have all this stuff. Can I bring it in to sell to you?” and I say “Absolutely!” Sometimes it is what I am looking for and sometimes it is not. A lot are just trying to get rid of it and they don’t know that it is something that younger people are looking for now.

Do you have any top secret areas that you check out, no need to give them away!

Oh yeah! Absolutely! (Laughs) I think every antique dealer does!

Do you have a fear one day you will lose that source or someone else will find it?

That has happened. I think the thrift stores are catching on regarding the mid-century stuff. I know pyrex and ovenware is really big right now They are catching up to the whole craze.

Pyrex, is that a plate type of thing?

Let me show you! Pyrex has been a big thing for the past few years.

When you say “thing”, is that a trendy item someone can decorate with?

Yeah, a lot of collectors have big hutches full of it.

You wouldn't serve or entertain with this?

I do personally, but a lot of them just collect it and decorate with it. Change it out for seasons and occasions.

Is it the style or is it a brand?

It's a brand. They started producing pyrex in the 1920s but it was just clear glass They didn't have the patterns or colors to start.

Why are they hot? Is it the patterns, do people like that retro kind of feel?

Pyrex Glassware Vinatge Patterns Dishes Why are they hot? Is it the patterns do people like that retro kind of feel?

I honestly think it is the patterns and because people are into the kitsch factor that they have. They have different designs and it matches with other kitchen items. The teal and the pink are really hot right.

When you say you know this is really hot, how do you know? Where are you seeing the trends?

Facebook. (Laughs) And I have people that come in and buy it. They spend hundreds of dollars on this stuff. It is crazy!

Do you think you are under priced then for how in demand it is?

No, I think when people see it they have in their mind what they are looking for. They will be looking for a specific piece or a gift for somebody and buy it no matter what the price is.

Do you find it difficult to know and price that? Is there any sort of guide you can look to?

There are a couple guides out there, but I really don't use them for pricing- only for identification. And that goes for everything actually! I kind of remember what I paid and what I have sold them for or have seen them sold for in other shops. Sometimes I look online and see what they are selling for there and undercut that a bit. That way people have the advantage of getting a better deal in my store.

So you, by default, are a better deal. You said earlier that you are connected to this stuff through facebook, are you glued into the community?

There is a whole bunch of groups specifically for pyrex and specifically for vintage stuff. There are a couple mid-century modern groups as well.

Is this a national group?

Yes. People post photos of what they have, what they are looking for, and selling. I just pay attention and enjoy looking at everything.

Do people ever do a circuit of stores like yours? Are there ones that you would love to visit?

Oh absolutely! I go down to Florida often to visit family and there are a number of stores that I like to shop at frequently when I go.

What would help you find stuff from stores out west? Offering their items online or through Facebook?

Probably. I think websites are very helpful and Facebook pages as well. There are a couple of stores that I found through Facebook and ended up going to because I found them on Facebook.

I imagine trying to keep an inventory on a site would be pretty maddening.

It is. They way that I have it set up on my facebook is I have photo albums that are grouped in themes. I have one for pyrex because I have a lot of repeat customers that come in for that particular product.

Oh, this is some of the fashion I see back here!

Yes it is!

The tricky thing there is somebody can come in and love something but it is the wrong size, right?

Vintage Clothing Hanging On The Wall Dresses The tricky thing there is somebody can come in and love something but it is the wrong size right?

Yeah. With vintage clothing, the sizing was a little different. They weren’t vanity sizes like they have today so somebody who wears a size 14 today would be size 20 in vintage. It's hard to grasp. I try to help people and get them to know their measurements.

So you work with people when they come in here to make sure they leave with something properly fitting.

Yes. It is important to find their proper measurements so items can fit well.

Where are you expanding?

There is a storage room back by the register. It is probably about the same size as the store is now. It will be mostly be clothing and furniture. Also, I want to add a staged area or photo op area in for customers.

Very cool! Do you guys do costume rental?

I did an event in Lititz over the summer. It was a 50s themed 4th of July event. I rented out the 50s stove I have here and some of the kitchen stuff. The event had an area set up for people to take photos and look at authentic 50s artifacts.

Are there similar antique stores like this around Bird-In-Hand?

There are. We are connected to an antique market but they are a little bit different because they are more of the country, primative style. Honestly, in this area, we are the only store that is mid-century oriented.

There is a niche here then.

I try and would like to keep in mostly mid-century but it doesn't have to be strictly that style. I like to have the stuff from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s but there is a huge range. I sell old toys , beer cans from the 60’s and 70’s, dishes, ornaments, and pin-up stuff. It is really just everything from that time period.

Is there anything that you want but haven't been able to find yet?

Honestly, I would love to be able to sell vintage barbies. They are extremely hard to get.

Anything in here you would hate to see go?

Christmas Vintage Toys And Collectables Case Anything in here you would hate to see go?

A lot of the toys I like having around. The tin toys, I am always a little sad to see them go because they are a hard item to find. They are a little bit more pricey because of that. However, the majority of people who collect this sort of thing are very excited and come back because they know I like to stock it.

Tell us why should people stop at Black Kat Kollectibles?

I have a large selection of vintage items and I try to keep everything organized and themed so it’s easy for customers to shop and enjoy their visit to Black Kat.

I imagine if someone is into a certain theme and they come here, they will find something they like!

Right!

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