Tara Wiederman has had a passion for making projects and selling them from a very young age. Since she was 10 years—maybe even younger than that—she has been crafting and selling.
“I’ve always tried to make stuff and sell stuff, like when I was 10 … maybe I was younger than 10, I’d sit out in my front yard with little drawings on scrap papers, trying to sell them. And ladies would come back and say, ‘How much is your sweet corn?’ and I’d be like, ‘No, they’re drawings, and they’re 10 cents.’ ”
You have to give her credit. Wiederman has had a knack for the creative business from early on, and it hasn’t stopped. She made and sold mosaics on Etsy—a handmade product enthusiast’s dream site. Following that, she created another Etsy account, selling big tables, but the monthlong work that went into each table didn’t make it a very lucrative business. After that, she evolved into painting and selling items on yet another Etsy account. She would paint mirrors and frames, and she loved that from the get-go.
Within six months of starting that Etsy shop, she quit her job of 14 years. A week later, she found a workshop right around the corner from where Modern Vintage stands today. She treated that workshop like her new job.
“I would go there every day like it was my job, and I would paint stuff and ship stuff and list my stuff on Etsy. And I just kept eyeballing this place (where the shop is). It’s right around the corner. I’d come up to go to the tool guy or the chocolate factory, and I would see this place. And they weren’t advertising it. They weren’t trying to rent it or anything, so it took me a minute to track down the landlord. And I did, and I asked him how much, and it was pretty reasonable. I mean, he actually gave me a little bit more of a deal because I remodeled—just paint and flooring. He worked that out with me for a while.”
After tracking down the landlord and securing the shop, Wiederman knew she wanted to have other designers there with her. She even said she stalked some before getting them to come onboard.
With the help of a buddy who works at a local print shop nearby, she was able to get the word out to other artists and designers. Modern Vintage now houses six artists’ work.
Each of the six women works one day a week, and each has her own design space in the store. The individual rooms in the store display very different work.
“Between the six of us, we’ve all developed what we like to do on our own outside of here, and we learn a lot from each other. We try each other’s things and sometimes put that into our rotation.”
Three years in and already one expansion under their belts, the women at Modern Vintage couldn’t be happier.
Teal TV Stand
This piece started out rough. The drawers were falling apart, and the sides were split open. It originally was veneer, and the whole piece was in shambles. “I think it was a roadside. I hesitate saying that because a lot of people that come in that don’t know what we do, they assume stuff, and I’m like, ‘No, you can’t stock a store from stuff on the side of the road. We pay. We pay a lot for this stuff. We pay a lot for this furniture,’ ” Tara Wiederman said. She decided to have some fun with this piece. She placed picket fence triangles on top to form a decorative pattern. She distressed every other triangle for visual appeal. She wasn’t worried about it looking perfect because as she said, nothing really needs to be perfect in this style of design. The process was pretty simple. She painted, distressed, glazed and sealed the piece. The body of it is teal, as it is a favorite color of Wiederman’s. It has two shelves and two working drawers. It measures 41 inches by 20 inches and 35 inches high.
Modern Vintage: 110 S Prospect Ave., Hartville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday