our journey

hot honey samplers1770 mercantile store sign

Our journey has been an amazing one full of surprises, lessons learned, revelations had and a tremendous amount of laughter along the way. But whether we are small batching some delicious hot honey or re-purposing something that has seen the last of it’s days, there are a few rules that we absolutely abide by:

Be resourceful. Utilize what we have to it’s fullest extent, produce as little waste as possible, recycle and reuse whenever possible.

Be kind to ourselves, each other, and our land.

Be different, which really just means, be ourselves 🙂

Have fun no matter the cost. We started this journey out of a passion for many things. Those things have led us to 1770 mercantile but rather than let the business run us, we have decided that we would like to run the business. This means that we must always continue to love doing the things that we love to do. So when the fun starts to become less fun for any reason what so ever, we take a step back and remember what brought us here in the first place.

antiquing

Vintage home decor

Antiques became a hobby for us after we purchased a 250 year old farmhouse. The house had been remodeled and was fairly modern yet the old farmhouse character was peeking out behind the stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. It was begging to come out! We started hunting for old farmhouse furniture in the hopes that we could bring some of that rustic character back to life. We replaced our granite top kitchen island with an 1800’s general store counter. We build a 4 poster bed out of old farmhouse porch posts. We bought pie chests, step-back cupboards, farm tables, and more wooden crates than I care to admit. We traveled the east coast in search of antique shows and markets. Piece by piece, we restored the home to what it may have been like some couple hundred years ago. And we are totally in love with it.

In those few years we met so many amazing people, made a lot of mistakes, learned a ton and gained a deep appreciation for antiques and their history. And yes, we became mildy obsessed. So we decided that we would keep doing it … but for others! Talk about having your cake and eating it too 🙂

re-purposing

vintage sewing mac

We call it our journey because it truly is. From antique shows to flea markets to salvage warehouses….. approximately half of all our materials are sourced locally and all are sourced right here in the U.S.A. The only exceptions are for ethnic textiles, which are sourced directly from the tribes and the communities that create them, supporting these communities and their handmade traditions. We have a deep appreciation for antiques which make up over 50% of our materials while about 25% are salvaged and only about 10% are new materials.

After sourcing our materials, we spend days, sometimes weeks, envisioning what they will become. In a way, we work backwards from traditionally hand crafted items. Rather than deciding what to make and then purchasing the materials to make it, we actually begin our process with the materials.. During our design process, we aim to maintain the meaning or history of our materials, preserving as much as possible and using every last piece.

Building our final product is usually the most challenging part as nothing we start off with is straight, smooth or even. But with a whole lot of patience and a little bit of elbow grease, we end up with a truly unique, one of kind item that will never be reproduced.

farming

Wheelbarrow planter

Farming is a passion for us for so many reasons and on so many levels. Over 200 years ago, our land was all farmland and our farmhouse was truly a farmhouse. Today it is surrounded by neighbors, roads, and construction. But in the midst of all that is still our little farmhouse on a beautiful plot of land. When we purchased it, there was not even a garden, but there was a lot of land with rich soil. We wanted to return the land and the house to it’s original roots. We started out modest, with some herb plants for cooking and making teas. We then added berry plants so that we could go out and pick berries to eat whenever we felt like it. Every year after that, we added more plants until our little garden turned into something much more.

From the very beginning we planted everything without chemicals simply because that’s how it used to be done. “Organic” was a way of life long before there was ever a word for it. The way of life today is very complex, expensive, and damaging, all in the name of money and convenience. We kept our farming simple. No machinery and no pesticides. We became very familiar with manual labor and pulling weeds.

Fast forward several years later and we are still breakin’ our backs and pullin’ weeds! But we have beautiful trees, bushes, and plants that produce the most amazing fruit and produce. And so we decided, we must share it!!

So we began making products that we could share. And it doesn’t end there because we now have a reason to keep farming and so we are constantly finding new things to grow and new things to share.

Thank you for visiting us and giving us a reason to continue to do what we love. We sincerely hope that you will join us on our journey.

–  Thuy & Billy