Excerpt from the FW Business Press Newspaper~November 3, 2008
Collection of beloved treasures becomes business
BY O.K. CARTER
November 03, 2008
Standard wisdom has it that the shaky national economy has made the antiques business a tough way to make a living these days, though there always seems to be an exception around businesses like Jana Holland’s Collected Treasures store in Arlington.
Located in a 1940s former plumbing store on West Main Street in downtown Arlington, Holland said on the plus side her business – it starts its third year this month – has just wrapped up its best week and month ever.
“On the minus side I never wanted to work this hard at my age,” said Holland, a Southern style honey blonde with an easy laugh, her age being a highly energized
58 year old. “It’s a good thing I’ve got stamina.”
Holland bumped around this and that antique mall for years before her ever-growing collection of somewhat feminine-oriented antiques – from furniture and ancient lamps to ‘30s and ‘40s era clothing – simply outgrew her capacity to unload it at the small booths she rented in various locations.
“If you keep buying antiques and not selling them it’s not a business, it’s a disease,” Holland said. “I love the stuff I buy or I wouldn’t buy it – but the idea is to sell it. But to sell it you’ve got to have space to show it.”
The solution? She leased her own store, the 406 W. Main St. location, roughly 3,000 square feet. She did so against advice of several friends and associates with expertise in the business.
“Basically they said I was crazy,” Holland said, “though now most of those same people are revising their opinions.”
Holland six months ago bought the building. Besides running Collected Treasures she also sponsors periodic antiques and collectibles-only antique trade days in the half-acre she owns behind the store, the event in October so heavily attended that parking spilled over across the Downtown neighborhood.
On this day, Holland’s all black jeans and equally black blouse sport huge quantities of dust from working in the warehouse section of the store, a space that will soon be converted to a sort of mini-antique mall for half a dozen vendors. Store felines, Marley and Baby, dart about constantly underfoot but somehow Holland never seems to step on a misplaced cat tail.
And yes, on occasion an allergic customer is troubled by the cats. To which Holland recommends that they leave the store – the customers, not the cats. But her demeanor is so warm that no one seems to take offense.
She is clearly wearily, gloriously happy. And busy.
One moment might find her rewiring an antique lamp – it’s one of her callings. Another moment she’s working on altering a 1960s sweater, combining components from several tattered bits of clothing, for a client who wants “A Stevie Nicks look,” or putting together an over-the-top fabric purse, not one single part of which is less than 30 years old.
She consults with outside clients for a sort of reverse interior designer strategy. Instead of telling clients what to buy, she tells them how to make the most of what they already have.
“People buy furniture or a decoration that they really love, then find that it doesn’t really go with what they have,” Holland said. “I find ways to make everything work together.”
When business in the store slumps, Holland hammers eBay for money. Or focuses on her Web site, www.collectedtreasures.com. When the store packs them in, she slacks off the electronic marketing. Main Street in Arlington is not a high traffic location, which is to say
that the happened-by-and-stopped-to-shop customers are rare. It’s more of a destination.
Collectively, Holland shows off a rare montage of talents, albeit high energy absorbing.
“I don’t think sometimes that there’s enough of me to go around – or actually I think that all the time,” she said. “There’s so much I want to do, so little time.”
But Holland’s strategy as to what she puts in her store is simple enough: “I don’t buy things because I think they’ll sell,” she said. “I only buy what I like and trust that it will work.”
That being said, Holland’s business marketing strategy has been constantly shifting over the years.
“I think if you listen to your business, it’ll tell you what to do,” she said.
The idea of converting her warehouse section to a mini-market for others, for instance, is a relatively new concept. Originally the idea was to convert it to a small French restaurant, an idea that bounced around for a few months before Holland “listened to her business” and went another direction.
Likewise she’s now planning a pagoda-style structure behind the building for antique iron collectibles and other yard art.
The ultimate object of any business, of course, is to make money, which brings up a question: Is Holland making money?
“I’m not losing money, but I am investing a lot of profits back into the building and the grounds,” she said. “I’m convinced that downtown Arlington is beginning to really boom and I’m right here with it on the ground floor. I love what I’m doing, but this is not a hobby.”