Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Find: How It Was Found

People ask me all the time how The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details came about. The only way I can describe that journey is to say that it was a whole lot of dream following mixed with a dash of serendipity, a bit of tenacity and a pretty good amount of elbow grease.

For many years I worked as a fashion journalist, covering men's style for DNR, the men's equivalent of WWD, and as editorial fashion director at Maxim. (Yes, I did, believe it or not, for almost 10 years!) Those experiences allowed me to travel the world and meet amazing people, of which several are my dearest friends. I have always loved vintage and thrift shopping. And don't get me started about the virtues of a good garage sale.

I got what some thought was a crazy idea of writing a book about these experiences and approached an agent about the idea. He liked it, but thought it would be better if I tied it into a brand. It made sense. There were so many books about vintage and thrift shopping, and very few had really broken through. And I didn't want a typical how-to book, but wanted to create something that was inspirational, and of course, filled with beautiful photographs.

He suggested approaching Housing Works. Really? Housing Works? I couldn't imagine that Housing Works didn't already have a book in the pipeline being that it is the premier benefit thrift chain in New York City. That same night we went to dinner and low and behold were introduced to the president of Housing Works right in the restaurant. My agent stepped up to the plate (so to say) and popped the question: "Would you be interested in doing a book?" "Sure," was his response, "Let's talk." And talk we did for the next year or so until we came up with a proposal ready to shop around.

Just working on the proposal reminded me of all the things I love. Of course, thrift and vintage shopping is one of them, but more so I realized again why I became a journalist in the first place: I love listening to people's stories and sharing them with others. Maybe I was on to something that I forgot I had. And just maybe I was on my way to re-discovering the path I was meant to follow.

From there, it was a whirlwind of activity. In February 2007, the book was picked up by Clarkson Potter, the same people who publish Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. And my manuscript was due 10 months later -- all 500 original images and 50,000 words. So in May of 2007, I did something I'd never done before; I quit my job! It was a bold move, and not an easy one financially, but it was the only way I could see meeting my deadline.

And meet it, I did. Sometimes when I think back on that frenzied 10 months, I can't believe The Find was actually printed. But it was. I have a copy to prove it. Maybe you do, too.

I most certainly didn't create The Find alone. So many incredibly talented individuals helped me make its pages a reality, and I can't thank them enough. Then there are incredible supporters, like you, who have continued to spread the word about my true labor of love.

Gosh, I'm a fortunate guy.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous and Always Thankful!

The Elegant Thrifter


12 comments:

  1. And a great book it is, Stan. I hope you are having a lot of success with it. It is such a fabulous inspirational book and one of my favourites when I need a boost.

    Hugs, Deb

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  2. Yes I also have a 'signed' copy to prove it! Thanks for sharing this story Stan. Many of us wondered how the book came to be. So glad it did!!!

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  3. It's always interesting to learn about the process of what it takes to create something beautiful. I'm curious to see what avenue you choose next, and what the creative result will be. I hope it will be another lovely book!

    Lurky

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  4. What a great story! I really need to get a copy!!

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  5. What a great story! I can't even imagine how much dedication and hard work it took to write it!

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  6. Hi Stan!
    So delightful to discover your blog! And to know how the Find was Founded.....I,too love the hunt and being out here near Round Top, twice a year it is "Hunt, Find MECCA!"I see myself as an Elegant Thrifter (love the name too!)Thanks for stopping by Beadboard. Back at cha with the following, I will be reading more!!!!!!!MARYANNE:)

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  7. To think that I might never have met you if it hadn't been for this path. Unbelievable!

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  8. I still can't believe that I ever even got to meet you in person in July 2009 at the book signing. To have you as the dear friend that I have now, simply blows me away!!

    I miss your face!
    xoxo,
    LeAnn

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  9. What sets your book The Find, apart from others is the warm, engaging and folksy stories that accompany the fabulous photos. While many of us often buy books and scan the photos only....The Find is also a good read! What's next?

    Dianne

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  10. BY readinf your story and your words , I must say I'm going to buy it. I'm french and I'm sorry before finding your blog ( 10 minutes ago) and reading your posts , I had never heard about it , but it seems fantastic . I also read others poeple's comment.
    Merci for sharing

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