We had the good fortune of connecting with Robert Berger and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Robert, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have been self-employed since I was 23 years old. Within six months of graduating photography school I started my own business. After nearly 3 decades of shooting architecture and interior design, it all came to an end with the collapse of the economy in 2008-9. It was a difficult time. Not only did I lose my source of income but also my identity. It was all I had ever done. I became a stay-at-home dad and started collecting vintage furniture for my house. Everyone was telling me to get a job at Trader Joe’s, Home Depot, etc. That sounded brutal and draining after 30 years of never having a boss and, at over 50 years old, I felt it was no time to start.

Some of the vintage furniture I brought home was not approved by the wife, at the time. Sold it and made some money. It kept happening. A small light went off. Then divorce came and, voila!, a new career. With my background in the design industry it appeared to be a good fit. It was a bumpy beginning but it has blossomed into a career with a brick and mortar shop. I love it and feel like I don’t work but simply treasure hunt for a living.
Best of all, I’m still the boss!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I sell vintage and industrial furniture and accessories. Previous to this I was in the design industry. That has been a big help. I can recognize good design and shop with my gut. I may not know all the top vintage designer names and styles but I can trust my instincts and do the research later. With several buyers in a room all at once, you have little time to decide.

The biggest challenge was to know when to spend money. The bigger you go, the money income you can have but there is inherent risk involved. Early on I did not have the confidence to spend $500 or more on a piece. Once I got over that barrier the business started to blossom. Mistakes are made occasionally, but it’s all a learning process.

The most frequent comment I get about my shop is that it is well curated. That makes me smile!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The insanity of Venice Beach and the bike path. A coastal drive through Malibu. A Metro rail ride to downtown LA to visit the historic and iconic architecture. Grand Central Market. A hike in the Santa Monica mountains. Street tacos.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A friend, who shall remain nameless, for giving me a rent free space to get started.

Website: vintagevisions.weebly.com

Instagram: vintagevisions_la

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/vintagevisions1/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1485395098406625

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.