The Roundtopolis is home to a variety of businesses of all sizes. Through our “Talkin’ Shop” column, we’ll introduce you to the entrepreneurs you pass often.Today’s trip originated in England and eventually passed through a rehabbed chicken house in Round Top via McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors. (This is a sponsored post.)
.Tell us about you and your business:
From a child, I developed an extensive knowledge of and a love for rare antiques through my parents’ antique business in England, so as soon as I could set up my own business I did.
McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors opened over 30 years ago – firstly as just a wholesale business to trade but then moved into retail stores opening there in the U.K. and three in Texas (stores on 1960 and Westheimer in Houston and in Austin.)
I then took a break from the US for a few years to further develop designs and manufacture of reclaimed industrial pieces.
I re-opened McLaren’s Antiques and Interiors in 2013 in the Round Top location.
Every piece of furniture or accessory you see has been hand-picked by myself – I travel extensively seeking out antiques and architectural finds from all over the world. From England we hand-craft in our workshop reclaimed pine tables and kitchen islands, we find antique armoires and double buffets from French Chateaux and visit the palaces of India to discover amazing doors. This is just a taste of where I travel to discover the most unique items.
Do you have other locations? If so, where? We also do the Brimfield antique shows.
How many employees do you have? Currently I am the only employee with my wife helping out on marketing. During the shows there is a team to run the sales and operations.
What prompted you to begin this business? My love of antiques and interiors mixed with curiosity of the world and the enjoyment of traveling to discover different cultures.
What is your business known for? An endless selection of unique furniture and accessories for the entire home.
Where does your inventory come from? From all over the world. Particularly England, France, Spain, and India.
How did you find Round Top? It was by chance around 20 years ago – was on my way to Austin and passed by.
What makes Round Top special for shoppers? Great environment, fun and loads of choices.
What will shoppers find at your business that they will not find other places? First off we have free admission, free parking and the finest restrooms!
In McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors it is full of unique finds hand-picked by me from all around the world. There really is something for everyone.
It is also an idea-generating place to shop as I create vignettes to show room settings to give ideas of how best to mix antique and industrial furniture and accessories.
Finally, all items are bought direct from source, so we have the best prices around.
What is the most unusual thing you have sold during your career? About four years ago in England, I sold a locomotive train that weighed 100 tons – it was the largest train in the UK and was built in 1967.
What trends do you see among your buyers? The key trends we have seen are they are seeking items that have an interesting provenance and are one-of-a-kind so they have something that is unique and different with history surrounding it.
In addition, with the whole green trend now in every industry antique and reclaimed wood furniture is the best recycling story – these pieces are generally also much better quality than newly made items.
An airplane at McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors?
Why is there an airplane stuck in the side of the hill? I could not get a flight from England so had to hire a two-seater and did not make it to Houston so had to crash land on the field at Round Top.
Joking aside – I found this in England and thought would make a good talking point!
What do you want shoppers to know about your business? In addition to knowing every piece of furniture or accessory you see has been hand-picked by me, McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors is a very genuine, authentic and fun place to shop.
If shoppers ask you for recommendations for non-antique/vintage spots to go to, what do you say? Typically to go to Henkel Square; it is such a lovely area.
What is the best business advice you have ever received and who gave it to you? Create and Innovate – don’t follow. Be customer inspired and different.
What advice would you offer someone just starting out in your industry? Always buy quality authentic pieces.