Instagram has been a platform for vintage resellers to launch their own business, sharing preloved objects to meet the demand of those looking to redecorate during the pandemic. As we sit down with founder of Monochrome Haus, Jacquelyn Cha, she tells us “it’s really inspiring to see the growth of vintage shops on Instagram, the shared interest in appreciating art and good craft, and the push towards adopting a more sustainable mindset and way of living. Everyone really wants to rehome what has already been made. What’s special to me is continuing the stories of these objects from where they started. As an object finds a new home, those stories develop and it’s nice to almost be a part of the narrative of each vintage object”.
Sourcing these objects is no easy feat. Last fall, Cha organized road trips along the East Coast, visiting cities like Maine, Boston, Rhode Island, and Connecticut as well as driving South to Florida in order to find vintage pieces for her shop. Monochrome Haus began from a deep appreciation of art and Cha’s love for Bauhaus, a design movement originating from architect Walter Gropius in the 1920s. This combination resulted in the trademark modern, minimal, and classic pieces that frequent her shop.
There are three defining words to her brand—sculptural, minimalism, and storytelling. “What I envision for each object that I source is its ability to create a specific moment in your home. Whether that be in your dining room, coffee table, or on your shelf, I think the shop's pieces are like a collection of organic forms, modern designs, and sculptural objects”, Cha describes.
Creating moments and sharing stories are at the heart of the community that Cha has built through Monochrome Haus. She shares, “I think the community will still stand even after the pandemic, a lot of these vintage resellers that I’ve connected with this past year, we have plans to meet up whenever we travel. It’s fun getting messages about my items from other shops saying ‘that is a great find’ or ‘that is a gem’. It’s great to share this experience with people who have that similar mindset, a shared commonality of interest and appreciation of the artistry behind all of these pieces”.
For Cha, her business has also helped her throughout the pandemic. Being able to build relationships and meet creatives during a year where social interactions of any kind were limited. As an extension of her shop, she organized a pop-up in New York City and will be planning future collaborations with locally based vintage stores to build on the customer relationships that have been integral to her success. As any vintage reseller will attest, it’s a lot of hard work, time, and dedication that goes into sourcing and selling these objects. Cha explains “it’s a fine line between wanting to please the crowd and taking care of yourself. It’s ok to take a break, it’s ok to slow down and not constantly be moving. I think it’s knowing your boundaries and making the shots yourself and not relying on the crowd’s excitement to define your success.”
Monochrome Haus started off as a way for Cha to sell some of the more fragile pieces that she had sourced for herself over the years and has organically grown to attract a community of art and design lovers who are creating value in the vintage space.