Meet Brigid Milway, owner of What, These Old Things?, a Dartmouth-based business that creates treasures from cast-offs.
Since 2012, Milway has been offering home décor and furniture pieces that she lovingly restores and sells online and through monthly Facebook auctions.
Find out more about how Brigid’s passion for upcycling (and her husband’s passion for decluttering) has lead to a thriving business.
Tell us a little about the What, These Old Things?:
BM: I sell vintage & antique home décor & furniture. Many of my items have been restyled with a coat of paint or a twist on their purpose. My business model is selling things that I wish were in my house. It’s a reflection of my style. I work out of my home in Dartmouth South where I also work as a freelance Social Media Strategist.
What made you start it?
BM: I started out selling button & vintage jewelry on Etsy a few years ago when living in Charlottetown. When I moved back to Nova Scotia in late 2012, I began selling framed antique sacks from all over Canada at Kept in downtown Dartmouth. When I realized (ok, my husband realized) our basement was starting to fill with other old things, I decided to up my social media game to share my finds and projects online. That was last July. It has grown quite a bit since that first Etsy page and has now gone from a hobby to a dream job!
What makes your business unique?
BM: What’s unique about my business is that you’re getting stunning, quality vintage & antique items with history for less than you’d pay for vintage styled replicas in a home store. The great thing about my line of work is that most items are so unique you truly can’t find them anywhere else, and my upcycled and restyled items are one of a kind. I choose my pieces because i think they will stand out in your home. People will notice them and say “This is cool. Where did you get it?”. When they do, you’ll know how to play it cool (“What, this old thing?”)
Where can people buy your items?
BM: I have sold previously at the Alderney Market and the East Coast Momma Collective fairs and may return in the fall, but currently I sell items right off my Instagram & Facebook pages. I currently run monthly auction-style sales on my FB page. The next one is Wednesday, July 22! People tell me my sales are addictive because you know you only have one chance to score the item(s) you want, and you get a rush from the thrill of the auction!
What do you love about what you do?
BM: I’ve always had a love for all things nostalgic and “rescuing” things destined for the trash or buried in boxes at yard sales. I love giving new life and finding new homes for old items. My full time career is freelance social media, so it has been really fun working those skills into helping market my finds!
Have you ever refurbished something and then not wanted to part with it?
BM: ALL. THE. TIME. I know I’ve struck gold when my husband wants to keep it too! Just last week I found some super rusty old vintage bike baskets that I fixed up and painted and we both decided we needed to keep them for front hall storage! They are wicked.
Anything exciting coming up for What, These Old Things?
BM: My next big vintage sale is Wednesday night July 22nd from 4-8 pm. I’ve got some super-cool unique finds & vintage industrial furniture pieces slated for the sale. It’s not to be missed! How it works: I post an album at 4pm on the Facebook page with photos, descriptions & minimum bids. People can bid on items in the comments, and at 8pm bidding ends, and the item goes to the highest bidder. Items are then picked up from my home in Dartmouth South. I’m also hoping to do a pop-up sometime in the fall!