A woman came into the shop the other day. She was distraught, she told me since she had arrived too late to the Salvation Army Brocki, and it was closed, she couldn't get any boxes for moving the next day. She was anxious to know whether we had any boxes. I think I must have looked pretty confused, because suddenly she looked around the shop and said 'oh, are you a brocki? Or a design shop?'. I muttered something about not really being a brocki and she was on her way, but it left me pondering her question.
When I think of a brocki, it is of a dim warehouse or large room with furniture stacked high, with dark corners, low prices, bargaining and treasures to be discovered hidden amongst the rubble of past lives. And normally a bit of a musty smell (with apologies to some of the wonderful, non-smelling brockis in Basel!).
When I think of a design shop, I think of a sparse number of high-worth pieces and no price-tags (which usually make me afraid to ask). I think of being embarrassed because I haven't heard of the designer, and awkwardly nodding (with apologies to the friendly shop owners I have met in Basel).
ecochair is neither of these things. So what are we?
In the end, I would put aside what the shop looks like, and go with what we do - which is connect people to great secondhand furniture - we do this in the shop yes, but also in the webshop, and also when people come in looking for something and we help them find it out in the world.
So I guess we are....a connector?
When I use to live in DC, my favourite furniture store was called Goodwood,a lovely shop with all sorts of interesting furniture - curated yes, but not prohibitively expensive, and none of the poshness / stuffiness of antique stores. It was about the function and the form, not the provenance. I always said that if I had a second-hand furniture store, it would be like that. They too have defied the typical categories of second-hand, with the Washington Post calling it a shop that has 'helped bridge the gap between the flea market world and the antiques world'.
There's another one I stumbled across is Montreal last winter called 'Style labo', which also inspires me - they have a very funky store interior, with all sorts of curiosities (and strange taxidermy animals) mixed in with the furniture, and have a webshop that goes along with the store, so a bit closer to what we're trying to achieve with ecochair.
Do you have a favourite 'second-hand' shop somewhere in the world? Let us know!