Marta and Trey Powers are the two faces behind the booth, “Relics” at Kudzu. Their booth is a wonderful mixture of odd and unusual items from all around the country. I got a chance to sit down with them and really get to know the people and inspiration behind the booth.
How did you get started in the antique business?
M: “I was in an old house and went to architecture school and I got into preservation and I took all of my modern furniture from my architecture life into my old house and it looked terrible. So, I started going to auctions and I got hooked. And I’d been doing it 15-20 years when I met Trey. His mother drug him around everywhere and he already had the bug. So we merged well.”
So when did you start having a booth at Kudzu?
M: “I moved here 10 years ago. He was already here. I came in and bought a tailgate off of a Chevy truck for him as a gift and it was the first time I was here. I was going to the Farmers Market. I met Kate and she was just darling and I thought –Oh I gotta get a booth here and I can buy at the Farmers Market and get to hang around Kate. It’s such a great location.”
Where do you get most of your stuff?
M: “Everywhere! Our family is in Indiana and we buy a lot in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. We travel a lot to Texas and Louisiana. Sometimes we just go in the direction of what we’re hungry for. Sometimes it will be like “Barbeque sounds good, lets go to Memphis!”
What’s one of the most outrageous things you’ve bought?
T: “We ended up getting an old curling unit for your hair. It was horrifying! You sat underneath it in the 30s and all the strings hung down and you plugged it in and curled your hair. It looked like an octopus ten times over! We actually had a client here in our booth who told us about one of these during WWII where the power went out and a woman was stuck under one of these things for about an hour! What an outrageous story. It’s one of those things where we like to buy unusual stuff- things that you don’t see everywhere else. Right now we have a pedestal that was used in a traveling circus and it was for the smaller animals. You wonder what somebody would use that for but maybe an end table or something like that.”
The stories are absolutely priceless!
M: “Yes, if only the pieces could talk..”
Marta, I heard you are an appraiser. For people who don’t know much about the appraisal system, what advice would you give?
M: “If you have something of value or something that you are concerned about, that’s definitely something to consider getting appraised. A lot of times with insurance you’ll have a group coverage but if its something above and beyond it always needs to be appraised- If it’s a work of art or an antique. Also, there are certified appraisers and non-certified appraisers. If you’re looking to sell something, you can come in here and anyone at Kudzu can tell you its worth something. But if you want it for insurance purposes, you have to have it typed up by a certified appraiser. We have to find 3 comparables on the current market to tell you a current market value. So, I do a lot of research and its fun to tell people what their things are worth. A lot of times they don’t know. And often times, it’s a home run.”
What would you say sets you apart from other booths?
M: “I guess it’s just the items that we find. We go for the odd and the unusual. We are very blessed to have family up North, so the majority of the people here are finding things around here, where we go up with a 14 foot trailer and we load it to the max and when we come back its filled with things that no one else has. And we have fun doing it. We find stuff we like. A lot of it goes it our house before it goes here. We’ll bring things in and trade them out from our house. It’s a lot of fun.”
Do you think you’re going to do this for a long time?
M: “I think forever. Having worked in a cubicle, this is way more fun! Every day is different.”
Marta and Trey Powers bring their own unusual spin to Kudzu. After the interview, we took some time to look at a few unique pieces in their booth. It didn’t take long for me to see the appeal. As colorful as their personalities were, so too was their booth. Each piece not only brought unique character, but also some entertaining stories. I felt I could listen to the tales of their buying adventures all day long. Stop by and enjoy browsing their booth, where every piece is sure to be a conversation starter – Living proof that the couple that antiques together, stays together.