45Three is one of those places you instantly feel at home in – and not just because it has major “your grandma’s attic” vibes (in a totally good way). This store has got soul, and also really cool stuff. Owner Staci Cain has a passion for people and their stories, which is heavily apparent in the eclectic vignettes arranged throughout her shop – many of which contain multiple items from the same estate. It’s also why every person who walks through the door seems like an old friend of Staci’s. Although the shop is small, it’s still one of my favorite places in LA to get lost in.
Also, I’m pretty sure the amount of effort you put into decorating your tiny shop bathroom is directly proportionate to your success in life . . .
Be sure to read on to see how Staci left her coveted corporate career to follow her passion. So much good advice and inspiration for all of you budding entrepreneurs.
45Three Modern Vintage Home, Los Angeles
Staci Cain, Owner
1. How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
I’ve been in business for 6 years. I was a Marketing Executive at Warner Bros. On Mondays and Fridays I would work from my home office and try to finish up early so I could hit the thrift stores on Fairfax. I live in the Carthay Circle area, so it was a natural hop over to Fairfax — the Jewish Women’s Council on South Fairfax and a few others. I used to come into the coolest shop on Fairfax, the old Casa Victoria store owned by Isaac Gonzales and Robert Matteo. I would just plop down on one of his large comfy chairs and wonder what it would be like to have a shop where I could actually re-arrange beautiful things all day. It’s funny, that shop that I loved coming into so many moons ago is now my store. The owners allowed me to ask a million and one questions. They were so supportive of this girl off the street who would come in and “stalk” their inventory. I was always a hunter for a great vintage chair, a pair of pearls, or a super cool purse.
With my strong corporate background in consumer products, I never thought I would be able to pursue a living following my passion in design. I love when people come in and just want to dream a little . . . float around and get lost for a minute in the shop, because that was me: walking in, seeing a great piece, getting lost in the reverie hoping no rude sales clerk disturbs my new peace.
2. Why did you choose this location to open your business?
Well, it’s a long story but I remember the first day I saw the store. My Mom was visiting from out of town and we had taken a long route to walk my dog and run to Starbucks. We decided to take a weird way home to prolong our talk and then we came across this cool looking shop. It was new to the block and called Casa Victoria. We absolutely LOVE to hunt together. I was spellbound. I looked at my Mom and just announced out of nowhere, “this shop should be mine.” She laughed at me and said, “right!” very sarcastically. What did I know about having a shop? What she didn’t know was that I wasn’t kidding. I felt it as soon as I looked in. I got crazy goosebumps.
There’s obviously much more to the story, but I was right!!!! Took about 4 years after that before I left the corporate arena and jumped in. I’m so thankful to Robert Rubio and Issac Gonzales for taking the time to get to know me.
3. How would you describe your store’s style/aesthetic?
Anything fabulous goes! I really should pick a genre and stick with it, but I adore mixing and matching eras from the 60’s to the 80’s. I love certain things like pairs of chairs with amazing bones, ceramic lamps that are stunning, abstract art/paintings, ceramic animals, textiles, 1970’s needlepoint, great old portraits. But I’m definitely not just a Danish snob. I love a little Danish, but all Danish, all the time totally bores me.
4. Where did you get your name from and what other names did you consider?
My name is from an old testament scripture in the book of Isaiah. The scripture is Isaiah 45:3. It says, “I will give you hidden riches from secret places.” I was in France not quite sure what I wanted to do next. Having just left a lucrative position at Warner Bros, I was nervous. I was praying and this scripture was literally haunting me. “I will give you hidden riches from secret places” – I couldn’t shake it. What does that mean? Where are the hidden riches? What secret places? From Paris down to St. Tropez and then on to St. Remy Provence it followed me. I finally declared my next business will somehow reflect the joy I’ve had on this trip discovering great treasures and making great adventures from all these secret places. I considered the name HRSP for Hidden Riches Secret Places, but that’s way too difficult. So I went with 45Three instead.
5. What types of items are your best sellers?
We sell a lot of vintage abstract art, contemporary art from amazing local artists, ceramic lamps, and pairs of chairs.
6. What item do you have in the store now that you would want to have in your home?
I would want to take home this tall turquoise ceramic lamp that we have, a stone bust/vase head, and a giant wooden foot as a door stopper.
7. What have you been inspired by lately?
Lately I have been inspired by gorgeous Swedish vintage rugs. There is such a simplicity to the design of these rugs that I hope to have a container from Sweden for the holidays. I also love the baroque look that is making such a comeback. And lastly the early American/Colonial pieces, “rustic farm” I guess.
8. Is there something you thought would sell really well, but didn’t?
I have a real thing for crochet blankets from the 70’s. I look for perfect Missoni-like patterns and to me they are precious works of art. Old Grandmothers and aunts spent months making these incredible blankets to warm the people they loved. For years no one really showed much interest so I just collected them and had a sign up that said “Not for Sale.” Last year, people really started coming in with an interest in them, so I took the sign off and finally let them be adopted. My shop is like an adoption agency for the best home. I really care about where the items end up.
The other thing I thought would sell but didn’t was some amazing vintage linen napkins (another thing I love to collect). Beautiful linen napkins for dinner parties, or summer brunches absolutely bombed.
9. Where do you mainly source your items from?
All over – estate sales, flea markets, tucked away treasure troves, driving down alleys (why not?). You never know where you will strike gold! I can find treasures EVERYWHERE! I don’t shop in Los Angeles as much as I used to. I really try to go outside of LA. I go on trips to Palm Springs, Arizona, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Orange County a lot. Since I started this as a hobby, hunting always had to be fun. Now it’s even more fun knowing someone is going to love what I find. I have special places I eat at when I’m in a particular city – I may go to the See’s Candy Shop near a favorite vintage store as a guilty pleasure, or have great tacos coming back from my favorite stores in San Diego. When in Palm Springs I must go to get a cherry limeade from the Sonic Burger joint.
Hunting for me is not just finding the treasures but enjoying the adventures along the way.
10. What was the first big lesson you learned from opening your store?
First scary lesson for me was when I hired an accountant to look over my books and set things up. He was wondering what kind of flowers I sold because I had spent so much money on fresh flowers that he assumed I must also be a florist. I realized that having things looking beautiful is important, but within reason.
11. What would your one piece of advice you would give to small businesses?
The one piece of advice I would give to small businesses is to keep dreaming. You had the dream that opened the business. Too many business owners get locked in a cycle and stop dreaming. It’s important to expand on the initial dream and keep dreaming.
Specifically for people just getting into the design business, I would also say: trust your gut. I have a good “eye” but I didn’t always trust myself. When you know you’ve found something amazing, or you match up a color palette that shouldn’t work but does, trust your gut. For those in interior designers, work hard to be fresh and please break a few rules!
12. What stores do you shop at?
Anthropologie (house/clothes), Deco Home Fabrics, Charish, Zara, Casa Victoria for great vintage/midcentury pieces.
13. Do you have any plans to expand your inventory?
Yes, I have a personal friend who recently moved to Sweden and we are partnering up to continuously bring containers to Los Angeles from Denmark and Sweden. I am so excited to share some of his amazing treasures from that part of the world with my clients in Los Angeles and beyond.
14. What trends, if any, are you tired of?
•Gallery walls full of small tiny pictures
•Never thought I’d say it . . . Mexican serapes . . . well not really, recant!
•The overuse of the word “bohemian” (I’m guilty as charged)
•Lights being hung in the home
•Dreamcatchers of any kind
So much good advice. You can find 45Three Modern Vintage Home at 1051 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019. Now go be inspired!
Here are a few of our in-store favorites…
1. Abstract Miro Painting | 2. ’70s Textiles and Blankets | 3. Industrial Stage Light | 4. Spanish Woman Portrait | 5. ’70s Woman Portrait | 6. Colorful Floral Rug | 7.Wood Tool Chest/Organizer | 8. Abstract Pastel Painting
Want more of my LA vintage stores that I’m stupidly/candidly/publicly revealing? Check these out: Sunbeam Vintage | Gibson | Hammer + Spear | Poketo | Inheritance
Think your shop would be a great fit for our next tour? Contact us for info on pricing at email@example.com.
*all shop photos by Jessica Isaac for EHD
How much for that Abstract Pastel Painting in the window? How much for that Abstract Pastel Painting for saaaaale?
i have been there!! and only by accident getting lost in LA! we talked with Staci about you actually! and about Alabama (she said her father was from here) and I wanted that green bench (if it’s the same one!) but couldn’t haul that back across the country. 😛
I absolutely LOVE Staci and her gem of a store! I’ll never forget spotting an absolutely fabulous pink granny chair on the sidewalk and walking in, post surf session, with wet hair and a dream of being a designer myself one day.
Staci helped to foster my dreams (and my love of vintage treasures), and she is an absolute treasure herself!
Thank you Emily for featuring her!
This store is never, ever open. I’ve even called to find out their hours and days and no call back. It’s very frustrating to go here since its out of the way and find it closed in the middle of the day. She needs to post her hous on the store front.
Emily, congrats on your new little one! She is precious! And, as an avid reader, I REALLY appreciate all of your (and your team’s) hard work in preparing to keep the blog running full-time and the posts churning out even while you are taking a little break to care for the little one! Believe me, that is MUCH appreciated and I’m sure it involved/involves an immense amount of work and organization. So, thanks for keeping us engaged even during your maternity leave! I have one small piece of feedback…I think I’ve only ever done this one other time, and part of me hates writing anything that is not totally positive about your blog (because I LOVE it so), BUT I at least like to think you value reader feedback, so I thought I’d put my two cents in on this post: for what it is worth (which may not be much if I am in the minority), I am not a fan of these store tour posts or the ones where you interview the store owners. I guess it stems from a few things: 1) I don’t live in LA and thus it is not really attainable for me, so… Read more »
Totally get that these posts can make you have shop envy if you can’t visit them (I can’t either!), but I think some of Em’s readers are designers, brick & mortar shop owners, or other entrepreneurs (etsy shops, vintage pickers, etc.), so reading through these interviews can actually be really insightful for our portion of her readers, advice wise! Plus they give me fun places to mark on a map for a visit to LA 🙂
That’s a great point, Ana! I wasn’t really thinking about that being a whole segment of her audience!
She posts five days a week. Store tours pop up once every few weeks. Sure, they’re not as fun as another amazing reveal, but if they’re not your thing, why not just move on to something else on the internet? Not every post can be for every single reader. These are great eye candy, give a story and business advice, and interesting for a lot of people, even if not totally attainable.
It was just reader feedback, Courtney (like you also just gave). I do “move on to something else on the Internet.” I said it in as nice a way possible, and I know Emily values reader feedback from time to time, as it is evident in the things she says in her posts sometimes
I really enjoyed reading this post and the shop owner’s story/advice. I was under the impression that you were featuring these stores because you like them and want to support small businesses…..then at the bottom of the post it says to contact you for pricing. Does that mean the shop owners pay you to be featured on the blog? I realize you have to make money on this thing, but in my mind bloggers should be posting and sharing stuff they love. If someone pays you to feature them, please put a disclaimer at the top.
YEP. Needs a disclaimer to keep the readers’ trust and respect.
Beautiful stuff, these vintage pieces have got soul and so much appeal, especially the colorful textiles.
Omg love this store! I just bought the most insane lucite coffee table from staci (scrolled legs and all). In comparison to a lot of vintage stores in LA staci has great prices. Follow her on Instagram, she post great stuff!!
Emily, I like these posts and I live in Seattle. I have never heard of Staci before, but I am glad I got to read a little about her life. I like reading about when people taken unexpected chances and have an amazing experience. It’s inspiring!
I think this is, by far, the best store owner interview you’ve done. Previous owners have answered the questions in a slightly vague way, but Staci has given awesome authentic insight! Like it has already been mentioned, I feel a little bummed when I see the post title is a store tour – I’ll never be able to shop at these places because of location and usually way out of my price range. BUT, I do NOT think you should stop doing them! They are of value to others! And I always end up enjoying them anyway. I just file them away in the “broadening your horizons” and “learning a little culture” categories. 🙂 This looks like a wonderful shop with a lovely passionate owner, who doesn’t seem to have any type of “burnout” on her horizon! Yay, Staci!
Oh man – I miss that store and their Little Etheopia location. I wish we had something like it in New Jersey!
What a gorgeous store! I love seeing all the eclectic pieces that other business owners are drawn to and seeing their personal styles come to life!
This looks like my kinda place..definitely gonna visit it! Vintage stuff with soul, a past, a story..yep. I rarely buy new & never online (except vintage on eBay/etsy)..so these shops are right up my alley. I like how Staci followed her heart & loves what she does..she sounds down to earth & not like so many uppity l.a. shop owners. And, oh that abstract painting #8 iloveyou!
I love Stacy and her store! My friend Dee Murphy introduced me to Stacy a few years back and it was love at first sight. Stacy collects the best vintage in LA and is the sweetest person to work with. So glad you featured her.
Emily… Thanks so much for a beautiful write up and pictures of the shop… I appreciate your true generosity!!!! You are simply the best! People come into my shop from all over the world and they can’t wait to tell me that they read about us on your Blog… I then have to tell them the awful truth… You are just as nice, smart and beautiful as you seem! YUCK YUCK!!!!!
Love this post, I am usually drooling when going through it, all over my keyboard and my dog who’s usually in my lap. Thanks for sharing and educating us on vintage as always ! I have learned so much from you….I wish I could hug you !
So much goodness in this shop! Proud owner of several marvelous items featured in this well deserved article!
This is literally my favorite vintage shop in LA!!! I can’t believe you’re featuring it because it’s my first time ever reading your blog..so now I know I’ve found the right site 🙂 I have an addiction to lamps and this store is like my dealer.. I literally have 4 awesome lamps in my home from that shop that make me smile every day… oh and the art??? Perfection! One of the things I appreciate the most is that there are quite a few affordable pieces in there actually. So no one needs to leave empty-handed, that’s the best part. Enjoy fellow shoppers!
Staci has such an eye for beautiful things. Walking into 45Three made me feel at home already
Staci is a goddess!!!! A natural to the biz and knows exactly what you are looking for even Before you realize it!!
It’s not forced or superficial, she lives and breathes it. Do NOT leave LA without visiting her shop.
I Love, Love, Love 45Three Modern Vintage Home! The store has tons of great pieces! The bonus is the homelike feeling that Staci has created in the shop. You really want to pour yourself a cup coffee and stay for awhile, and you should. You won’t be disappointed. Great post!
45Three is my favorite store in Los Angeles, and I am so glad that you did a post to feature how wonderful it is! I’m sure it was an inspiration even for those who don’t live in the LA area. Staci is the most lovely and kind woman whose passion is infectious. She inspires us to dream and explore while feeding our love for vintage. She has the best “eye” and really cares about each piece that she curates for the shop. Please keep doing the store tour series – it’s a great way to inspire everyone regardless of where they live!
As a recent LA transplant, I am so happy I found this store! It is so easy to be inspired, and such a pleasure learning about all the pieces Staci has curated. You can feel the passion she has just walking though the doors. A must visit if you are in LA.
Staci’s store is the best! You can truly find the best accent pieces and gems in this store. Whenever I need something to finish a room I know I can just wait and it will turn up at her store eventually. Make sure you go at least once a month!
Beautiful shop! I enjoy these posts even if not in my region. It is always fun to hear what fellow small business owners and the entrepreneurial have to say – loved this interview and all the great advice. The accountant’s comment on flowers! Plus, great to get a little sneak peek into what’s trending at these little shops and what’s on the old-soon-to-be-new-again horizon.
I am the owner of 45 Three Modern Vintage. I’ve read all the comments and I want to say a few things. We shop owners are Really Big Fans of Emily’s too! I think it’s so great that she uses her blog platform to share other stores with her fan base. She doesn’t have to do this but she loves sharing what she truly loves with her followers. Her generosity of spirit is sincere. She absolutely makes not one dime with the store tours. When she highlights her favorite picks … It’s just sharing what she likes… She makes nothing from the items. I wish she would for the exposure it gives my shop! But she would never. Emily’s integrity is steadfast and I think that’s part of the reason she continues to soar. Ok.. That’s it ❤️❤️ !!!
I love these posts Emily. I used to live in LA and though I was there for Theater School, I fell in love with the multitudes of design beauty! This kind of makes me wish I lived there again, though I was quite poor and suffering and I found it hard to make reliable friends…tangent….Don’t get rid of this…it’s inspiring! I love to read a story like this imagine someone else’s passions and reasons for what they do….and I like to think it’s possible for me in Denver. Just because some feel envy- please know that many of us enjoy it. I enjoy it more than Makeover Takeover because I don’t feel so teased since it’s not in sitcom format 😉
I would LOVE to go to this store but every time I pass by it’s closed. And I’ve attempted four times, every time when it’s supposedly open. Any thoughts on when is a more predictable time they might just be available?