25 July 2012

Vintage Shopkeeper ... Hello Madalena

The featured shop this week is a woman who has been selling on etsy since February 2010 and always has very fun and unusual small items.  Below is an interview with Madalena Borg from Berkhamsted, UK:

Madalena Borg 
Brocante Art

Start by telling everyone about yourself.
I am an artist and designer who has taken a few years off to look after my three children. i grew up in brazil where my main interests were electronic and post punk music and cinema, mainly silent films and european arthouse. i have lived in uk for the past 20 years where i still like music and avant-garde films but developed a semi-obsession with antique european textiles and 18th century history

What started you on your path to becoming a vintage seller?  
How did you arrive at the name for your shop?
As time went by my interest gradually moved on from fine arts to decorative artifacts and especially european fabrics, trimmings, haberdashery and soft furnishing.
As most of my items are found in french brocantes where i always look for a piece of poetry and art in everything i thought brocanteart would sum it up perfectly.

How has your shop evolved over the years?  What do you envision 
for your shop as it continues its evolution?
i see brocanteart moving into interior styling and decorating, i have also been researching fabric and textile manufacturing from 17th century onwards and would ideally move into small scale manufacturing using traditional techniques.

Thinking as a shop owner and looking back on your early days, were there any missteps?  
i guess i am on my early days still, but when i was a total beginner i thought that i could just upload a few jpgs and wait for the orders to flood in... needless to say that did not happen. in fact things started picking up as soon as i devoted time to research every item and photograph them in their best light.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of opening an online shop?
don’t expect to start earning a living straight away, it takes time, effort and commitment but it can be wonderfully rewarding. in the first few months/years you must re-invest all your profits to make your business grow.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for vintage finds?  
Feel free to share names of great shops, flea markets, etc.
i buy most of my wares in france and belgium. As for inspiration i go to london’s shoreditch and whitechapel areas in the east end where the wonderful spitalfields antique/flea market has the best stalls. ardingly antique market is also worth a visit.

Storage of vintage items that are waiting to be sold can quickly overwhelm a seller’s 
personal space when they sell from their own home.  How do you make it work for 
you so it doesn’t take over your personal space?
they have taken over my personal space and most of them are part of my home decoration until the time comes when we part company. i don’t see my beloved fabrics as separated from myself maybe i should seek professional help lol! 

What era or style are you particularly drawn to?  Why do you think that is?
austerity meets provencal, pale colors with lavish trimmings, wood, wool and muted colors, time worn loved pieces of great quality.

Why do you think this love of vintage is so universal?  
What do you think it is that draws so many of us in?
probably the overbearing mass produced goods in our throw away society.

Where can everyone find you?
my website www.brocanteart.com where there is link to my etsy shop and a contacts page

Vintage Shopkeepers are awesome!  Read more of these interviews here.



  1. Great article! Your items and photos are amazing Madalena!

  2. lovely photos and wonderful shop! nicely done!