As Domino’s Social Media Editor, I spend more than your average amount of time on Instagram. Like, way more (trust me). But recently, getting inspired by places, spaces, and people have taken a backseat to shopping. There are both decor and clothing accounts, mostly vintage, that sell direct on the platform. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Every account has access to “Shopping Tags” now, but this is different. You can direct message to buy an item from the feed or stories. As someone who loves vintage, you can see how this might become addictive, especially when a handful of my favorite accounts have shops that are walking distance from my apartment. Intrigued? We chatted with a few accounts to get the info you need to know.
Many brands started on IG
And some are still shops that exist solely on Instagram and online. Others, like Brooklyn-based Home Union and Adaptations, have made the transition to being brick-and-mortar destinations. Dobbin St. Co-Op recently opened their third Brooklyn location. Many online-only shops ship your finds to you, while many storefronts require you to pick up your purchased decor.
Husband-wife duo Daniel King and Meghan Lavery of Home Union say, “Instagram was our way of getting our feet wet,” which makes sense. Selling on Instagram really is the perfect way to test if there’s a larger market for selling home goods.
Emi Moore of Casa Shop, who now has over 25,000 followers, says, “I had amassed a collection in my own home and decided ‘why not sell some of it?’”
View this post on Instagram
We’ve got the perfect orange mid century sofa over here in Williamsburg right now! Come check it out! We’re open everyday noon-7 Sofa: $800 Brass 5 arch lamp: $325 3 tiered coffee table: sold . . . #midcentury #velvet #orange #sofa #couch #apartment #design #decor #brooklyn #williamsburg #lighting #light #brass #apartmenttherapy #apartmentdecor #currentdesignsituation
These accounts are curating for you
Each shop sells a specific type of decor with a strong point of view, and they really do all the work for you. Expect to browse for home accessories on Reixue’s page, and discover finds inspired by the ’70s and modern sculpture at Casa Shop. Dobbin St. Co-Op sells large and small pieces across styles and eras, while neighboring Home Union focuses on “a trend-driven handpicked curation of mid-century and post modern design.” Adaptations states they are a “curated vintage boutique specializing in mid-century ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s decor with a modern bohemian flair.”
Store owners are constantly searching for new items at estate sales, garage sales, auctions, and antique and thrift stores across the United States, and even when traveling abroad. If you think sifting through products online is hard, consider the amount of work it takes to sort through and curate the items in these shops.
View this post on Instagram
Lots of new pieces in the shop for tomorrow! 1970s through back ☀️🌿 70s yellow plastic square side tables SOLD. • Vintage palm leaf woven planter basket, $45. • Cesca chair, SOLD. • White laminate 1970s console table, SOLD. • Robert Sonneman , George Kovacs yellow lamp, 1960s $495. 〰〰〰 #richardanuszkiewicz #1970s #70s #seventiesreyro #atyle #love #yellow #plastic #popofcolor #art #style #trends #furniture #forsale #desk #marcelbreuer #cescachaur #cane #chrome #plants #homedecor #homeunion #nyc #williamsburg #brooklyn #shopping #shopvintage
Shopping is easier than you might think
Prices and dimensions are often listed in posts to the feed and stories, so you immediately have everything you need to make an informed purchase.
The transaction is also more straightforward than you might imagine. After DM-ing, confirming the item is still available, accounts simply ask for your email and send over an invoice. Square and Paypal are popular payment methods. When the item has been sold, the caption is updated to reflect its status, making the in-app shopping experience rather seamless.
Laura Azzalini of Montreal-based Reixue says, “Don’t knock it until you try it. The world is changing, retail is changing, the way people shop online is changing. I don’t think there are any rules really.”
Having completed a payment like this before, I can attest to its simplicity and safety. Though that doesn’t detract from the uncertainty you might experience from purchasing a piece with a no-return policy.
There’s always something new to discover
Like any social media feed, each time you log on, you’re likely to see new finds from accounts that sell direct on Instagram. Every store reported refreshing inventory each week, some even multiple times a week. Once new items are photographed, they’re posted to Instagram, unless someone beats store owners to it, and buys IRL first.
Once you start following these accounts, you’ll start to experience a sense of urgency that lacks in traditional online shopping.
Why, you ask? These are one-of-a-kind finds—and if someone else moves on an item first, it’s likely you’ll never see it, let alone own it. It sounds silly, but the stakes can feel high.
King said, “Instagram is fast-paced. We often have multiple people who all want the same item, which makes things difficult. We’ve needed to implement a first come, first served policy, meaning that whoever pays first, takes it. Feelings sometimes get hurt—we’re sorry, friends.”
Other accounts tell a similar story; items can go, and fast. Statement sofas, rare vases, and sets of chairs can be sold in a matter of minutes.
This type of buying fosters community
It’s important to remember these accounts are run by small teams, sometimes one person. Selling on Instagram is a 24/7 hustle, so if you don’t hear back, it’s probably because they’re experiencing a high volume of direct messages. With that said, interactions tend to be less overwhelming, and more supportive.
When asked what her favorite part of selling on Instagram is, Azzalini says, “It’s fun, it’s direct. Seeing what my customers are up to. If they buy something, I obviously look at their page, and I get inspired all the time by what people are doing. It’s an amazing networking tool in a way.” She adds, “This makes it a more personalized experience, where there is a conversation between myself and the customer. It’s like [a] boutique feel through digital platform.”
Moore noted how important it is to receive real-time feedback from customers. Likes and how quickly an item sells are direct indications of what customers want to see—and buy—more of.
Catherine, co-founder of Adaptations made the point that their account also serves as inspiration for their customers, and is “not just a selling tool.” (We couldn’t agree more.)
She also emphasized the community aspect of the nature of their selling, saying, “The inspiration, creativity, and interaction we get to have with our customers and building our relationships with them over the years. It’s such a pleasure feeling our customers’ support as we grow.”
In a world where automation and impersonal transactions are becoming the norm, it’s extremely refreshing to have a real conversation with a real person about an item you’re interested in purchasing.
Finally, why vintage?
Trends, whether it be in design, fashion, or culture, are always recycled. These days, mid-century finds are priced at a premium. There is also an emphasis on investing in furniture that will last, instead of taking part in the wasteful cycle of buying, throwing away, and buying new once more.
Azzalini says it best: “There is too much stuff in the world right now, at least to warrant making new stuff. But we have a natural tendency to want to collect and examine and be around objects in our day to day. So I kind of think of Reixue as guilt-free consumerism for people. We don’t make anything. We isolate things, we examine them, and finally we curate them. We place a frame around them that talks about their origin, their style, their inspiration and we play with it visually.”
While thrifted, vintage finds are at the core of these accounts, a handful do sell new products as well. Adaptations is now designing their own home accessories, like velvet pillows (in the perfect palette), ottomans, candles, and eye masks. Home Union also sells candles, gift wraps, ceramics, oils, perfumes, and soaps. (“These are the brands we love and feel only help in making your home comfortable and special.”) Moore is working on a new section of Casa Shop’s website where you’ll be able to shop pieces from her favorite artists.
Have more questions? Let us know below.
For more vintage shopping inspiration:
Our Favorite Vintage Shops on Etsy
What You Didn’t Know About Buying and Decorating With Vintage Art
9 Items That Have More Value When Buying Vintage
Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Vintage Rug
Learn to love your inbox again—sign up for Domino’s daily email.