I am celebrating 10 years of Village Antiques, my antique store in Houston, by sharing how I became an interior designer, a behind the business look into how it started, who pushed me to follow my passion, and all the hurdles that came along the way.
We have a lot of new people in our community on YouTube and social media who probably don’t even know what Village Antiques is, so let me tell you more about it and why this is so important to you!
Village Antiques is a furniture store here in Houston, Texas that specializes in farmhouse style furniture and home decor, French country antiques, vintage, chalk paint, and so much more.
This was all started by yours truly 10 years ago on January 27th, and I want to share with you exactly how we ended up here.
Before I even considered starting my antique store in Houston, I lived a very different life.
I grew up in a very traditional Indian family and I had a very stern father who had a strong hand in the education of myself and my brother and sister. There were three legitimate career paths you could take; a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer, and those were the only options to consider on the table.
Back then it was important to me to make my family happy, to make my dad feel proud of me, and my mom as well. I also understood their point of view because they had immigrated here from another country with no money in their bank account, and had to really bootstrap it here to make it.
Knowing all of that, I went on to finish a degree in accounting and then law school, passed the bar, and became a civil litigation attorney.
During this time I met my husband. In our first year of marriage I would call him after work and say “Hey, Bobby, do you want to go to happy hour, check out this new restaurant or this new art gallery?”
At the time, he would agree to it because it was exciting and we were newlyweds. Eventually told me he didn’t want to go to happy hour or leave work early because he loved what he was doing, and he could see I wasn’t there with my relationship to my job.
I’ll never forget when he told me, “life is short, but life is also long to go through the days like this doing what you don’t love.”
So, it was really the hand of Bobby Neal who encouraged me to think about my passion.
I didn’t have to think very long because I knew it in 1987 when the movie Cinderella was released, and I fell madly in love.
No, I wasn’t enamored with Prince Charming, but actually with Cinderella’s chateau. I remember as a child watching that movie, I felt awakened.
Quickly, I noticed how beautiful her house and attic was with its shabby chic style, bleached wood floors, rustic furniture, and beautiful French country decor.
All of those elements awakened a spirit in my mind where I immediately resonated with design and how it made me feel.
So, when my husband asked me that question, I knew what my passion zone was.
This is where I started actively taking action that would ultimately lead to the start of my antique store in Houston.
I decided to leave my career behind as an attorney and jump headfirst into the world of interior design.
That meant giving up a solid job, a great paycheck, and career stability, but I persevered.
From here, I went back to school and got my interior design degree. The neat thing about when I graduated was, I started attracting all of these clients who were looking for someone who had experience.
Funnily enough, it wasn’t just my design eye or my lens that they wanted, but they were also drawn towards all of the skills and training and processes I had learned as an attorney.
In my first year of design, I was thrown into multiple homes that were 10 million, 15 million, three million, five million dollars.
The neat thing about those big budgets was that it allowed me to explore all options, creativity, finishes, styles of furniture and home decor, and fabrics.
I have always had this desire that God has placed in my heart to help as many people as I can create the home that they desire in their hearts.
So, while these projects were all very fulfilling, I felt like I was just hitting a very small section of the world.
As well at this time, I started blogging and would often receive questions about where I was buying all of the furniture in the projects I’d share.
The answer was never simple because at the time sourcing was very difficult.
We would spend at least one to two years collecting all of these beautiful objects because they were rare. They were all over the world. There were often antiques from Europe or handcrafted for our customers.
Thus, an antique store in Houston started becoming a likely reality.
With all the questions we were receiving about products, it sparked the thought: “I wonder if there’s enough business to open up a store, furniture that was way off the beaten path.”
Being who I am, rather than starting small and experimenting, I decided to open a 10 thousand square foot furniture store having no furniture store operating experience at all.
Nevertheless, we opened and I decided this was going to be a success.
I didn’t just stop at the antique store in Houston. I also moved on to create my line of Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint.
One question that I would hear over and over again back then was, “I have a piece of furniture kind of like what you have, but how do I make it look like all of the beautiful pieces that you have in your shop?”
They were referring to all of the antique painted furniture that we were bringing in and started becoming known for in Houston.
I would spend months in these hot Houston warehouses and our warehouse guys helping me refinish furniture. And again, I would hear that question.
Neal came through and said, “Those are like whispers of the universe. That’s an opportunity that you have where you can teach your clients how to do what you know, but you’re putting these roadblocks in your own way.”
I decided he was right, and I spent over a year taking the knowledge that I had and then working with chemists and creating something that our clients could use to get the exact same result.
After all of our color testing, product trials, and branding was complete, it finally came time to share it with the world.
Believe it or not, this was the most nerve-wracking part of the process for me.
I had written an email newsletter to our clients to send out in the morning and I had so much fear of publishing that email. My imposter syndrome was kicking in and I was filled with so much doubt of whether anyone would even like my products.
Regardless, we sent the newsletter out and then you would never believe – it snowed in Houston!
That meant I had to live with all that paranoia, fear of failure, and egg on my face for a whole two days before the streets opened up and people could come in and try my products.
Despite all of my worries, there was a line at the door the next day. People were even calling, private messaging, and emailing saying they couldn’t wait for the roads to clear so they could come and try it and support our business.
We’ve evolved into not only an antique store in Houston, but also a full service furniture shop with chalk finish paint products that have helped thousands of people achieve the dreams that they want in their home.
All of these parts of Village Antiques work together to help all of our clients who love the French country and farmhouse style to have one place to shop, find, and create everything they need for their dream home.
One of the things I’ve loved the best about starting Village Antiques and having been in this business for a decade now are truly the relationships with the people that I have met along the way.
We’re definitely off the beaten path, so to find people that love what you love, it’s been a very fulfilling part of my life to be able to connect with our very first employees, the vendors we work with, suppliers, and the team members that are still here.
The connections don’t stop there, though. This also includes you reading this blog and watching our videos.
I read every single comment on YouTube and I am amazed at the types of connections that all of us, myself and my team, have made with people that maybe we will never even get to meet.
We love the same things and speak the same language, and it means so much to me that you give away a few minutes of your life to spend watching me and being in our world.
With that, thank you for all of your support, watching today, and celebrating with myself and my team and my family for 10 years.
Till the next time we meet, keep using your amazing gifts, the gifts that God has blessed you with to create heart in your home.
And don’t forget to sign up for your free newsletter to get notifications every time a new blog comes out and exclusive inventory alerts and design advice.
P.S. You can find all of these early fall decorating items at our retail store, Village Antiques in Houston.
Please stop by and check out our collection of farmhouse-style furniture, french country home decor, antiques, vintage, chalk finish paints, and more!
We are open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
You can also reach us at (713) 468 – 3931
P.P.S. As a thank you for your support, if you leave us a five star Google review, we will send you a free paint brush! Send us an email once you’ve reviewed and we will make arrangements for you to get your special gift.
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