Furnishing a home can be a daunting task. It's frequently the root of painful indecision, requiring hours upon hours of driving back and forth to stores, online browsing, and weighted financial conversations, both internally and/or with partners in crime.
Attic, recently launched in the Philly market, seeks to simplify that process with a one-stop shop showcasing all local stores. An online platform, Attic creates what's essentially a vintage furniture and home decor version of Etsy for small, independent businesses solely in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
Currently showcasing more than 35 independent stores, the site brings together items from places like Mid-Century Furniture Warehouse of Philadelphia, Jinxed, Vintadelphia, Forever Pink, and Classic Antiques. Shoppers can find everything from minimalist coffee tables to vintage steel cabinets to midcentury walnut chests to art-deco-style mantle lamps.
"The idea came out of personal need more than anything," says founder Tarek Anandan, who moved to a new home in Washington with his wife four years ago. "We started dating by basically visiting vintage stores around town, and when we moved, we were pretty set on the aesthetic of older pieces."
Jumping from website to website and across multiple social media feeds to discover what was inventory new, Anandan realized that there had to be a more accessible way to facilitate the furnishing of their new place.
"It's more difficult to try to find what's available at local stores than trying to find out what's at your local Ikea," says Anandan. "But with independent stores, you get so much diversity and so many ranges of styles that create character and charm. We wanted to level the playing field and make it easier for consumers to shop local."
A developer by day, Anandan decided to launch Attic in his spare time with the help of fellow developer Francisco Serrano. They started in Washington and expanded to Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia. Since opening to the public three years ago, Attic now displays nearly 70,000 items. Anandan hopes that one day, Philadelphia's listing of nearly 300 items will eventually near that number.
Attic runs on a programming system that scans websites from a curated list of businesses in a given city, including online-only retailers and brick-and-mortar shops. Whenever a store on the list launches a new product, either on its own website or on an external site like Etsy, it gets pulled into Attic's site. What results is a continuously updating marketplace of local furnishing and home decor options.
"It's a visual, near-real time mechanism to see what's available in your neighborhood," says Anandan.
Products are sorted by categories, including "industrial," "midcentury modern," "art deco, art nouveau and Hollywood regency," and "shabby chic, country, and rustic," as well as by type of furnishing. The site also offers a "flea" section where visitors can source various vintage housewares, such as dinner plates and vases.
Attic doesn't sell any of the items for sale on its website. It's simply designed to connect visitors directly with each business.
"Furniture is one of these things where people still want to touch it, feel it, and understand the space that it occupies before you buy it," says Anandan. "Our idea is to put the products out there and enable people to get in touch with the store, maybe make a trip down there, and handle the sale one-on-one with the business."
For businesses that offer online sales, users will be directed to each individual store's sales platform.
With a rich vintage dealer community in Philadelphia, Anandan expects the site's offerings will only continue to grow.
"There were a couple furniture dealers in Philly, like Niji Furnishing and Vintadelphia, that caught my eye before we even knew where we were going to go next," says Anandan. "We were also getting traffic from Philly onto our D.C. site and had people from there telling us about how vibrant the scene was in Philly. It all seemed like the perfect fit."
Those looking for the perfect fit in terms of, perhaps, a new loveseat for the living room or a chandelier for above the dining table, can see whether Attic has a local option by heading to www.philadelphia.attic.city. Shop-owners are also invited to reach out via the website for listing consideration.