You won’t find any of the latest gadgets under Annie Matthew’s Christmas tree this December 25.
When it comes to Christmas shopping, Annie is on the lookout for things that are unique, made to last and dripping with history.
And she usually finds just what she’s after.
Sheffield-born Annie is an honest-to-goodness treasure hunter.
As co-founder of Statement Vintage, based in The Nichols Building in Shalesmoor, she spends her life surrounded by historical artefacts; beautiful things that have often spent years hidden away in people’s attics and garages. And with the biggest gift-giving day of the year just weeks away, Annie is turning her professional eye to helping the people of Sheffield find the perfect items for their loved ones this Christmas.
“I’ve always loved vintage things,” says Annie, who launched the business with partner Colin three years ago.
“Colin and I also run a Vintage Hunter service, tracking down things our clients are looking for – anything from a rocking chair, or a mirror for their mantlepiece to a piece of vintage jewellery or pottery.
“We spend our time scouring vintage fairs, auction houses and private collections and have a growing network of contacts, so we’re confident that if something is out there, we can find it.”
Annie revealed the couple’s family and friends have received all kind of interesting gifts since they launched the business – something the couple hopes to be able to do for others now in the city.
“We know from experience what a headache Christmas can be, trying to find that perfect gift,” says the 53-year-old.
“With all the new gadgets out there, it feels really good to dig out something old and absolutely beautiful and give it a new lease of life. These things were made to last, with real history behind them and you just can’t find them on the high street – making them the perfect one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.
“There’s a big wonderful world of treasures out there.”
Annie came to the world of vintage treasures relatively late in life.
She spent a number of years enjoying a successful career in market research – surviving mergers, de-mergers, redundancy and starting up her own company – before realising she had steadily fallen out of love with the corporate world.
The inspiration for her new career came after she bought the home where she and Colin live together now – a 1930s property in Hillsborough.
“It needed completely renovating,” she recalls.
“I began buying bits and pieces for it, then one day I came across this coffee table on eBay and fell completely in love with it. The problem was it came as a bundle of nine, so Colin said I should get it, let him do all nine up, then I could keep the one I wanted and sell the rest. They all sold and it triggered something in us, we’d had such fun doing it and it was so satisfying.
“I knew I’d been fed up for a while in my day job but hadn’t been sure why until then. My growing passion for the vintage world was the wake-up call I needed to realise I was ready for a change.
“We began dabbling, buying things to do up and sell on, and it was like I came back to life again.
“It started out as a hobby, until we both realised we were enjoying our side-business so much more than our day jobs. After a few nights of ‘shall we, shan’t we, and chatting our options over, Vintage Statement was born.
Annie and Colin decided to rent some space in a local vintage emporium and the business grew steadily as their unit was transformed into an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures.
“Our home is a bit of a tribute to what we do now too, filled with pieces we’ve come across and decided we couldn’t part with. My friends love having a look around when they come to visit.” The pair also run a prop hire service, supplying items for vintage weddings, photographers’ studios, theatre productions and house-staging.
Annie smiles: “My life is unrecognisable from where it was three years ago – I’ve gone from stale and bored to a position where every day is different and I’m spending my life discovering wonderful treasures and giving them a new home.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re on the lookout for something particular this Christmas.