Happy Holidays and Many Thanks

As the holidays draw near, I find myself reflecting upon all the people that have helped Blue Elephant become more than just a dream.

First and foremost, my thoughts turn to Jessica, whose perfectionist tendencies can be a bit much at times but which always serve Blue Elephant well. To Johnny, whose artistic sensibilities made Blue Elephant a beautiful space, and to Ron, who didn’t think I was crazy for wanting to start a business in today’s economy (well at least didn’t outright say I was crazy). To our landlord, David, who believed in us enough to give us a chance to make Blue Elephant a reality. To Pip, whose steadfast friendship with Jessica has been a blessing. To Linda, Laurence, and Johanna who created our happy elephant logo. To Joe, whom Jessica asked all kinds of advice and who always had a ready answer. To Gopa, who advised us to get a Lakshmi to go with our Ganesha, and who worried that the desk sent Johnny over the edge (I assure you, it did not). To Kristina and Lenny, whom kept me company on my search for all things fabulous for Blue Elephant, and to Tokuko who gave us lucky elephant statues and a Maneki Neko (Japanese cat statue for good fortune). To our friends at Strawberry Street Market and Strawberry Fields Florist & Gift Shop who have been nothing but kind and supportive. And to our dear customers whom we hope have acquired items at Blue Elephant that they will cherish and love always.

All in all, the past few months has had its shares of ups and downs with frustrated tears and lots of laughter, and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything in the world. Thanks to all of you for giving me the gift of this experience. It’s been nothing short of awesome.

Happy Holidays to you and yours! 



Holiday Hours

photo by code arachnid
Happy Holidays Everyone!

We will be closed Friday, December 24th through Monday, December 27th for Christmas.

We will be closed Saturday, January 1st through Monday, January 3rd for New Year's Day.

Have fun and be safe!


Ceramic Vases

Two beautiful hand thrown ceramic vases have been consigned with us.

The first is a Les Mitchell crackle vase signed and dated ('86) on the bottom. Starting at $100. (SOLD)

The second is a vintage lidded jar in the art nouveau style, signed Sarah on the bottom. Starting at $200.


Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter

This portable typewriter was manufactured in 1953 by the Royal Typewriter Company. 

In excellent condition, ours comes with the case, keys, original manual, and two extra ink ribbons.

When I was testing this, it took me a second to realize there is no #1 key. Apparently this type of keyboard is called a 42 character board, and you use the lower case"L" for a #1. ... The more you know?

Read on for more photos and price.


Consigning/Selling Your Things in Richmond

Blue Elephant takes furniture and home decor consignments. Items for your home that are gently used and in good condition, but that are also unique, quirky, and tend towards vintage.

But there are many places in Richmond that take consignments or buy things outright...

Chop Suey buys and sells new and used books (also has cute store cat... jealous).

Halcyon and Bygones are stores that buy vintage clothing and accessories outright.

Rumors, B-Sides Thrift, and Clementine are clothing consignment stores.

Clover is consignment store that specializes in children's items.

Deep Grove Records buys and sells vinyl records.

Keeping these people in mind, Blue Elephant does NOT take clothing, personal accessories, books, records, children's things, etc. And you can always donate items to Diversity Thrift or Books, Bikes, and Beyond (unsold items from Blue Elephant go to them)!


Happy Thanksgiving!

And come see us this weekend for our sidewalk sale!

Cleaning out the storage room means low prices on vintage linens, cloth, table ware, serving ware, dishware, ceramics, knick-knacks, and more.

Marking down prices on select furniture pieces.

Free cars!... Just kidding, we're no Oprah.

Thanks to everyone that's helped me at the store, with the store, visited the store, spread the word, consigned with us, and in general been super awesome amazing and supported us. Really do appreciate it all!


Polaroid Cameras for EVERYONE

Today I had a woman drop off a bunch of things to consign, including seven polaroid cameras. I have not tested any of these and can NOT guarantee that they work. The current prices reflect this. If at some point they are tested and proven to work, the prices may increase. Also keep in mind, these items are consigned. Each photo caption includes the full price. After December 23rd the price will be cut by 25%. After January 22nd, the original price will be cut 50%. Example:

Polaroid J66 Land Camera with case $80
After December 23rd, this camera will be $60. After January 22nd, it will be $40. Check out the other six after the jump!

Robots & Rainbows

The sweetest handcrafted stuffed animals came in. Their names are Beatrice, Robert, and Tom and were made with love by Jenna of Robots & Rainbows.

Read on for more cuteness and pricing!


Vintage Radios

This week's featured item is a 1950's Motorola tube radio and clock. It plugs in and the radio and clock work, but please note they only had AM when this item was made!

My brother and I were discussing this radio, and it reminded us that they had vintage inspired radios at Anthropologie a while back.

Because I love researching things, I've compiled a list of radios that are aesthetically pleasing and provide modern functions. 


Vintage Trunk (Made in RVA!) (SOLD)

Made in Richmond around 1910, this vintage wardrobe steamer  trunk made its way to an owner in Winchester, Virginia. Clearly he used the trunk for its intended purpose as a sticker on the side proclaims, "Spend your winter in Cuba, stop at Hotel Plaza Havana." ... That sounds nice.

For all this trunk's use it is in remarkably good condition and has retained all its original drawers, hangers, and keys. It does need some love and would be worth restoring.

Check out after the jump for more photos, info, and price!


Black Dog Printing

I heart collecting cards and stationary (it's the 1/4 Japanese in me), and was thrilled when these cards came in. Hand made by local artists on recycled paper, they're perfect for any occasion and come in a variety of prints. Check out Black Dog Printing's blog or website for more information about the creators!


Non-Gender Specific Art

One of my goals in life is to get guy friends to buy art for their abodes. Usually I get a lame response about not wanting "girly" art prints on their fortress of solitude's walls, and then I post a barrage of links on their Facebook wall to what I call MAN ART. But really, it's just art anyone could appreciate.

Like this print by Olly Moss for A Life Well Wasted: An Internet Radio Show About Videogames and the People Who Love Them. ... That sounds pretty man-oriented to me. And as a woman, I like this print. A lot.

Search for prints, posters, and photographs of things you're into. Buy them. Frame and hang them (do not stick them to the wall with tape)! Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy them.

Clicking photos links you to where they can be found online. More after the jump!


Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields is a great place to find fresh cut flowers, locally made gift items, and really cute cards. If it's someone's birthday, or anniversary, or you just want to treat yourself to some flowers, please check them out. Not only do I love their store, but everyone that works there has been ridiculously sweet and helpful. No joke, we got flowers and a card from  them when Blue Elephant first opened.

Just another reason I love the 400 block of Strawberry Street!


Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture (SOLD)

Which apparently doesn't help at all.

We have an original Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera with it's original cowhide leather case. And it does work! Check out my test polaroids, an instructional video from the 70's, and a link to where I bought polaroid film after the jump.


Vintage Aprons

Bake and clean in style ladies! And maybe lads? Vintage aprons are all $16 and under.

Check out more aprons by clicking the photo above.


Handmade Pillows by Olga Perfilieva

Olga may be new to Richmond, but we're already big fans of her work. Down and feather inserts, 100% wool felt from Maharam kvadrat, cutouts done by hand. You just need to touch the pillow to feel the quality of materials and craftsmanship.

In the artist's own words:
Just in-time for cold weather, these stunning wool felt hand-made pillows will add the perfect splash of color to any d├ęcor.

The removable cover is made exclusively of Maharam kvadrat 100% wool felt. Intricate cut-outs expose another layer of fabric in a vivid complementing color. Delicate design and inside-out seams pair with unfinished edges to showcase the unique attributes of quality felt.
So come in and check out her fabulous pillows. And check out her blog on design as well, which is a daily read for us now.


1950's Aqua Oscillating Fans (SOLD)

Here in Richmond, our summers, and sometimes spring and fall too, can be hot. And because a lot of us live in older Victorian homes, fans are a necessity. While temperatures are cooling off outside finally, I can easily say that you'll probably be needing a fan at some point next year. This week we are featuring a pair of super cute 1950's oscillating table fans in aqua blue. The larger was produced by Dominion ($80) and the smaller by Eskimo ($49).


What's playing on your iPod?

It changes. For the most part I just have my iPod on shuffle, so it will go from The B-52's to Smith to Passion Pit. But this week I've been playing a lot of Mark Ronson. He just released a new album, Record Collection, and I love every single song. I never  understood why he wasn't more popular as an artist in the US. Oh, and if you didn't already know, he's Samantha Ronson's brother. You know, that chick that dated Lindsay Lohan? Yeah.

Anyways, check out some of his videos below and buy the cd. Or record.

I would also like everyone to know I have a huge hipster crush on him. Would marry in a heart beat (as long as he doesn't suck in person).


Record Players

I used to have one in my bedroom growing up, and for the past few years I've had it in my mind that I wanted a record player for the house. And now I've found exactly what I want. And it's my birthday next month.

Urban Outfitters has a Crosley Portable USB Turntable for sale. From everything I've read, it's pretty fantastic. Good sound (built in!), portable, easy software for mac and pc (if you want to download the music), and I adore the two-tone case. At $160 it's pretty pricey, but for something frivolous as a birthday gift, I think it's a fair price.

The part that makes me really excited though is having an excuse to browse for records. I live in Oregon Hill with Vinyl Conflict up the street. I work in the Fan and have Deep Grove Records over on Robinson. And there's Plan 9 in Carytown, RecordFinders in that weird area in between Scott's Addition/Jackson Ward, and the newly opened Steady Sounds on Broad. Never mind the large amount of records for sale at thrift stores. It's gonna be fun!


Oft Asked Question: Do you all reupholster things?

I wish one of us knew how to reupholster furniture. It would make redecorating the house so much easier. But since that's a skill neither my brother nor I possess, we recommend you check out u-fab!


Featured Item of the Week: Vintage Luggage

I use a yellow 1940's Amelia Earhart suitcase for trips to Northern Virginia or weekend get-aways. Every time I take the train or fly I receive compliments on it. Vintage luggage also makes for really cute storage. I use mine to store travel bags for toiletries, etc., and it's just tucked into a corner of my bedroom. Modern luggage is necessary, but vintage luggage has its uses (and is waaay more stylish).


Oft Asked Question: Is your chandelier for sale?


Did you make it?


What's it made out of?

Wire and the ends are paper.

Check out where to get it, and for cheap, after the jump.


Oft Asked Question: Where do you get your stuff?

We have three categories in which our items fall: consignments, art, or finds.

local consignors
Consignments are items people don't want or need anymore, and we provide the service of selling these things. Example: You have a great chair in your bedroom, but when you repaint, it totally clashes with the wall color. Your chair is awesome and you love it, but it's just not working anymore. You can try and sell it yourself or you can bring it to us and we'll sell it for you.

The consignment agreement under "Consign With Us" goes into more detail, but basically we give you 50% of the sale price and the other 50% goes to us for marketing, selling, and housing your consigned items. Most consigned items are marked down every month for three months. So let's say your chair started at $100. After a month, if it hasn't sold, it'll be marked down 25% to $75. The next month it will be marked down 50% to $50.

If you're browsing the store and find something you love, but you can't afford the initial price, check the back of the price tag to see if and when the markdowns go into effect.


Featured Item of the Week: Vintage Keys

There are like, a million things you can do with these. And at $2 a piece, they're something everyone can afford! I used one to make a necklace. I could have bought a key necklace from Urban Outfitters for $18... Just sayin.


Local Artist Love: Michael-Birch Pierce


Blue Elephant is now selling pieces by local artist Michael-Birch Pierce! I first came across Michael-Birch's work at the DIYFest Strange Matter held last spring. While I didn't get into his embroidery workshop, his display was memorable to me because of his use of mixed media and quirky subject matters. Following are a few photos of his work and a Q&A. And make sure to come in and check out the collection!


Things We Heart #2

Mmm, mustard. Not only is it a delicious condiment, it's a delicious color too. Check out some mustard colored items I heart after the jump.


Local Business Love: Petites Bouchees

In case you didn't know, it's raining in Richmond today. I hate the rain. It makes me want to stay curled up in bed and not have to mess with my frizzy hair and worry about wearing cute shoes that won't be ruined if I step in a pot hole filled with water up to my knee.

But today got a bit sunnier for me since Veronica from Petites Bouchees stopped by to gift me some cupcakes and macarons! If you've never had their sweets, you need to track them down. I know cupcakes are a popular fad at the moment, but everything that I've had from Petites Bouchees has been exceptional. There is no brick-and-mortar store, but they do take orders and are now selling at The Farmers Market at St. Stephen's (Saturdays from 8am to noon at 6000 Grove Ave).

Check out their site here and I'm going to go eat a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting for lunch.


Local Business Love: Garnett's Cafe

While we have a number of sandwich shops in Richmond, Garnett's is one of my favorites. They have an extensive menu of delicious sandwiches (I love the Croque Florentine) and amazing desserts (apple cake!). I regularly get lunch to go from them since they're only a few blocks down from us on the corner of Park and Meadow, but I like to dine in when I get the chance because their space is decorated perfectly. I'm pretty sure that if I opened or designed a restaurant, Garnett's would be one of my inspirations.

Check out their site here for hours, menus, etc!


Featured Item of the Week: Set of 4 Painted Chairs

This week we have a set of four hand-painted and reupholstered kitchen or dining table chairs. They're kind of perfect. I mean, they're beautiful but neutral, which is kind of hard to do. Things are generally either neutral and boring or awesome and a statement. Obviously you need both though, otherwise you'll end up with a house that says either, "I'm lame," or "I'M SUPER COOL BUT YOU CAN'T REST YOUR EYES BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS KINDA YELLING FOR YOUR ATTENTION." These chairs defy this.


Featured Item of the Week: Ship's Hatch Table (SOLD)

This week we have a coffee table made from a ship's hatch. At first I was going to pretend to be a pirate and add a lot of "Arrrr!"'s to the post. But then I researched it and learned that the hatch is most likely from a WWII Liberty Ship, and that's cool, but kind of the opposite of a pirate.


Pip Pip Cheerio

Poor head, all alone and unadorned. It feels sad and left out. What, with your cute little dress, very smart shoes, sparkly jewelry and what not. "But what about me?" it asks.

I like wearing hats. But maybe that seems too British for you? Try a cute bow or headband! Try a cute bow or headband by Pip Malloy! It will make your head happy.


Fun & Awesome Things Abound

New inventory! A pair of vintage metal bouncy lawn chairs, a mirror that reminds me of cake, the most beautiful bird chair ever, vintage luggage, ladylike handkerchiefs, fun colored dishware, and more.

Darling Octopus has been kind enough to let us sell her beautiful pieces. Come check out a coffee table featured on Design*Sponge, super cute light plates, and the most appropriately themed children's table set we could ever have in the store.

Jewelry by Percent and hair accessories by PipMalloy can be found in our store, but go see them and many other local crafters tomorrow at the Bizarre Market at Richmond's Visual Arts Center.

PS Fingers crossed I can start accepting credit cards today!


Featured Item of the Week: Grandma Dodo's Chair (SOLD)

It belonged to a woman called Grandma Dodo. What else do you need to know?

Oh, and it can be yours for only $125!


Things We Heart #1

Fall is fast approaching but let's take a look at some things that remind us of Spring!

Windows by Josef Frank (textile)


Featured Item of the Week: Vintage Industrial Work Lamps (SOLD)

These lamps are cool. Like, totally awesome cool. We're pretty sure they were handcrafted in the 1950's by the man who used them in his workshop, as there are no manufacturer labels and they are similar in style but very different in materials.

Not everyone can make a lamp. Just rewiring a lamp is hard. But you could always lie and say you made them yourself, because people like people who have skills.

Priced at $50 each.


Blue Elephant, It's Real

We're finally done working on the space and have some "after photos" to show how we've changed the space. Enjoy and stop by to see the space in person!

before and after


Store Update! It's Coming Along

Hey all! We've been working hard to get the store ready for the grand opening on Monday, September 6th. Here's a few photos of things we've been working on and objects we've acquired for Blue Elephant.

Canopy chair with original finish circa 1960.


Inspiration!: Caravati's

An architectural salvage yard is an awesome place to spend an hour a two digging around. Caravati's in Manchester (across from downtown Richmond), Virginia is one of my favorites. It's a huge two level warehouse filled with columns, bath tubs, windows, doors, light fixtures, door knobs, furniture, etc., that's been salvaged from old area houses and stores. While I love visiting, rarely do I make a purchase. The people that work there are always friendly and there's such an amazing array of things, but I can never bring myself to spend the asking price of their items. I'm sure you could probably haggle, but I have yet to give it a try. For now I just like to visit and get inspired.

Not much to look at outside.

Behold! Treasures!


A Reason Not to Use High Gloss Paint

I'm a pretty feminine person. I like wearing dresses, curling my hair in pin curls, painting my nails red... Yesterday was outside my comfort zone. I was wearing jorts, a band shirt, my hair was in a bun, and I had sand and paint all over me.

I spent the day sanding a gigantic set of built in bookshelves. It took, literally, all day and I have only begun to paint. Part of the reason it took so long may be because I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to decorating, but by God if it isn't turning out nicely. Now, I've never sanded anything in my life before. And especially not with a sander. But while a lot of work and dirt, it's pretty neat knowing how to do it now. For anyone like me who has never tried sanding and repainting a large piece of furniture, here's what my process was.


Our Location: 425 Strawberry Street (Yeah!)

First major step is done, we've chosen a location for Blue Elephant! 425 Strawberry is located in Richmond, Virginia's historical Fan District. Right next door are other local stores and restaurants like the Strawberry Street Market, Strawberry Street Cafe, Video Fan, and 8 1/2. We're looking forward to meeting the neighbors and making ourselves a part of the local community.

Stay tuned for more updates as we get ourselves set up and established!