We had the good fortune of connecting with Catherine Monroe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Catherine, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I am an Interior Designer and an avid collector of many things. Among them, I have collected vintage crystal stemware and china for many years. During COVID, I began to amass collections of vintage china with the intension of being able to mix and match the patterns. I found that there are many of these gorgeous patterns all over the country that are as beautiful, if not more beautiful than anything produced now. I became convinced that I could create a company where people could purchase unique, one of a kind, carefully curated sets of tabletop. I believe there is enough “stuff” in this world, it is morally responsible to buy and recirculate what already exists and it most certainly doesn’t mean we need to compromise elegance and charm.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets September Vintage apart from other companies that sell fine china is the fact that all our pieces have already graced the dinner tables of American families for up to 60 years. There is a nostalgia that comes with seeing the plates that are familiar. Many people who see what I have collected have said “OMG! My nana had those!” and that warms my heart. I am excited to have people reimagine these dishes and mix and match the collections to make them unique and cool. My career path has been a life long journey. I have always collected things I found lovely. My first collection was in 1976 when the bicentenial quarters were released. As a little girl, I was enchanted by the little drummer boy on the back of the quarter who replaced the eagle for one year. I have learned that something doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful. I have learned the opposite in fact, it is easy to look an an Hermes scarf and say “That is beautiful. I want that,” it is more noble and noteworthy to me to see the beauty in a Bic pen that has four colors built into it or a swiss army knife whose construction and innovation is amazing to me. Those are great designs!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love American Rag on La Brea. It is a vast store that sells vintage home collections and fashion mixed in with high end new fashion. You can get a vintage Adidas Jacket, a Chloe skirt, and beautiful twisted pink candlesticks. If someone was coming in from out of town, I would take them to Fred Segal on Melrose for lunch outside and a little celebrity spotting or for lunch at the Pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel to walk through the iconic palm leaves wallpaper and dine under the pink and white cabana stripe awnings. For happy hour, it is a must to have drinks by the pool at the Roosevelt Hotel. The bottom of the pool was painted and recently restored by famed artist David Hockney. Shopping in Los Angeles for me is a treasure hunt. It is not as simple as walking down Rodeo Drive and breaking the bank at expensive retailers. I like the hunt. I like going to Good Will and The Rose Bowl flea market. When you find something you love and it took you all day to find it, it creates a memory of the day and its much more fun for me to shop like that.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been lucky enough to work for some of the leaders in my industry. I spent many years working for Ralph Lauren and when I moved to Los Angeles from New York, I had a job as a designer under famed White House designer, Michael Smith amongst others. I learned the most about collecting and design from my mother. She dragged me to antique shows and flea markets for as long as I can remember. She didn’t care about trends; she didn’t believe that just because something was expensive it was inherently beautiful, she did not buy into any gimmicks. She saw the beauty in details. Her collections ranged from fine Staffordshire china from England to sea glass she collected on her walks on the beach. I was trained to focus on craftsmanship. This prepared me feel confident that I could select china for my curated collections that are the most superior out there. I have no doubt that what I have selected for September Vintage is the most well designed and thought out China patterns made in this country in the last 100 years or so.