We have to be the luckiest people on the planet. A few months ago we discovered, that right in our own backyard, we have two of the most amazing vintage jewelry connoisseurs, Patti Neal & Kate Olson. Patti started her business, Property of a Lady, to collect, curate and sell beautiful things for both the body & the home. When word got to Janie, she dropped everything to find out more about Patti, her treasures and how, oh HOW, we could figure out a way to work together. Six months later we are thrilled to showcase a few of Patti’s pieces in the Resort catalog coming out next week!
Last week, both Patti and Kate, Patti’s right-hand lady, came into the office with their black velvet boxes overflowing with exquisite pieces that literally left us breathless. (they also brought along this heartbreaker) Once we got our bearings – and took off the jewelry we reflexively placed around our necks, wrists and fingers – we sat down & asked them to tell us just how one comes to have so many beautiful things in their possession. Here’s what Patti & Kate of Property of a Lady had to tell us…
Patti& Kate! I am so obsessed with vintage jewelry…I feel like most people are envious of my job but I am envious of YOU ladies. Tell me everything.
Patti- “We both have this love for authentic, one-of-a-kind collectable pieces that are substantial in quality and weight and that have a history. We adore that vintage jewelry & collectibles have a sort of permanence – a place in history, if you will. One of the things we want to do with Property of a Lady is really shine a light on the incredible beauty and workmanship of these unique pieces we find, not only with the jewelry but also with the home treasures too. These are all pieces that bear iconic names that the savvy woman (and man) would buy. Much like the Lilly girls who love and buy the iconic Lilly brand.”
When did you start collecting & what drew you to vintage jewelry?
Patti- “I feel like I’ve been collecting my whole life. It started out as a passionate hobby for both of us- an obsession really – and then it turned into a business when we met. Kate had a substantial collection of her own & together we knew we had something. I personally LOVE that every vintage piece tells a story.”
Do you have a favorite time period?
Kate- “A lot of our favorite pieces, no matter the time period, are statement pieces. We both love the art deco feel of the 1930s and all the mid-century modern pieces leading up to some amazing designs from the 1960s and ‘70s. We both die over the “Palm Beach” regency look that Kenneth J. Lane exemplified. The pieces are so iconic- much like vintage Lilly Pulitzer.
I know you can’t give away your secrets but paint us a picture…where do you go to find your treasures?
Patti– “Our collection has grown over the years in so many different ways. Because it started out as a hobby, it started slow; truly piece by piece. Of course when we got together, it doubled in size & we realized it was on its way to becoming a curated collection. With the business now, we have built the collection a lot through going to shows & really seeking out pieces to add to our collection. Now that we’re established, the pieces really find us; through friends of friends which are truly the best finds.”
Is there one item in your collection that you will never sell because you adore it so much?
Patti- “YES. (without hesitation) Kate has this piece that I’m in love with. She knows I’ll kill her if she sells it! It’s this ornate gold lion necklace with turquoise cabochons- here, I’ll show you.” (She keeps a picture of it on her iPhone- presumably to gaze at every few days)
I love to chat with people that have that fashion ‘eye’ about Lilly Pulitzer….Tell me something about Lilly that inspires you.
Kate- “I remember the time when Lilly started. I remember being dressed in my little Lilly and feeling so fabulous next to my mom, also dressed in her Lilly. Even as a little girl, I remember feeling chic & elegant in my Lilly. The beautiful thing is, it still makes me feel like that today! It’s so classic & iconic and has true staying power. I also adore the fact that it’s such a happy brand. It’s easy to see why people say “Once a Lilly girl, always a Lilly girl!”
Do you have a favorite shot from the resort catalog…whether your jewelry is in it or not? Want to know that you love.
Patti– “Not surprising- we LOVE the cover. We are ecstatic to see our earrings gracing that beautiful page! We love page 5 admittedly because the necklace is one of our favorites and the back cover is also amazing. We’re so honored to be in Lilly Pulitzer’s Resort catalog & we can’t wait for Spring!”
Patti & Kate are passionate about giving back (quite the Lilly girls, wouldn’t you say?!) If you make a purchase from Property of a Lady, they’ll donate 20% of every purchase to the charity of your choice via the organization Give it 4ward. Contact them today & they’ll find you a one-of-a-kind piece that you’ll never forget!
Photo credit: Rachel McGinn Photography