THE saying “one’s trash is another’s treasure” rings true for interior stylist and vintage enthusiast Cheryl Carr, who has turned her life-long fascination with old wares into a successful business and brand.
After moving her family to a charming, 100-year-old church on the outskirts of Boonah nine years ago, the vintage brand, Albert and Grace, was born. The eight-by-18-metre church is furnished with Cheryl’s beautiful old finds from across the years. From a hutch she collected from a shearing shed when she was just 18, to a mix of numerous antique cooking utensils in the kitchen, the historic space is filled quite fittingly with items who have historic stories of their own.
A few years after moving into the church-turned-family-home, Cheryl transformed her homeware collecting habit into a business. Named after storybook characters her husband, Mitch, created several years ago, the online Etsy shop Albert and Grace embodied vintage simplicity and offers for sale an array of unique homeware items, all discovered by Cheryl herself.
“I started out with twenty items along with twenty very average photos. I had no real clue what I was doing but decided to give it a go,” Cheryl said. “To my surprise they sold. Over time as my aesthetic developed and my photos improved, my customer base grew. My clientele varied from people who shared my love of old things to stylists, photographers and set designers wanting props.”
But finding and restoring these old pieces is only one aspect of the Albert and Grace brand. Cheryl’s eye for the detailed styling and arrangements of her furniture and vintage pieces within her home has caught the attention of multiple stylists, photographers and publications who have reached out to collaborate with her over the years. Cheryl now juggles her role as a kindergarten teacher assistant with her creative endeavours, which include styling work for clients, developing a new website and working on new styling workshops. While following this passion meant temporarily putting her Etsy store on hold, Cheryl is now living a life-long dream of hers and sharing her expertise with others who want to learn.
“I've been heavily involved with a series of Airbnb Masterclasses created by Sarah Andrews from Captains Rest recently, helping property owners with the styling side of creating an iconic home,” Cheryl explained.
“Sarah held her very first Masterclass at our church last year and has gone on to deliver many more successful classes across the country. It's been such a privilege to have met so many creative and inspiring women on this journey who are really pushing themselves in business and in life generally. Whilst I've been there to help others, I too have learnt so much from this experience. It's been amazing!”
Cheryl frequently posts snippets of some of the spaces she has styled within her family home onto digital platforms, enabling her content to reach a wide audience. Viewers feast their eyes while scrolling through her aesthetic Instagram page @albertandgrace, filled with carefully curated vintage and home-styled content. With almost 16,000 followers, Cheryl uses the popular social media platform to share her aesthetic and creative story one square at a time.
“I've always focused on being authentic and basically sharing things that I love and inspire me - I feel so humbled that my organic methods have managed to build an audience despite a technical formula and now algorithm which I've largely ignored,” Cheryl said. “The Instagram community has presented so many amazing friendships and opportunities that I could never have dreamt. It's a powerful tool that I hugely underestimated in the beginning, which I now value greatly.”
Still, with a passion for collecting old items, Cheryl often fossicks for old bits and pieces in her spare time. “I love nothing more than finding vintage pieces in chipped, knocked or rusty condition. Pieces that tell a story,” Cheryl said.