Think American Pickers gone pink with a touch of bad ass, beauty and charm. Angie and Rina, two best friends with personality driving through the backroads of Ohio. Their cargo van is loaded to the ceiling with one of a kind rare vintage items. The weather takes a turn. Tornado sirens are wailing and Rina is locked out of the van carrying an oversized box. Angie struggles trying to get to the door, which is being blocked by piles of barn wood and furniture. The only thing there is to do in this situation is laugh, pee your pants, and then laugh again.
Meet Rina Belanger and Angie Guzzardo, two rustic chic spirits with adventurous souls. Founders and creators of The Vintage Market, Michigan’s first vintage market, and Backroad Divas, specializing in bold furniture transformation.
Angie and Rina have been friends for over 10 years. Their love for restoration and finding unique pieces has evolved into their livelihood. Angie ran her own boutique for several years before she met Rina, an account manager for a logistics company. Angie and Rina began transforming furniture into bright, beautiful statement pieces as a hobby. They sold their pieces online, Angie as Wicked Finds and Rina as Reimagined Restorations.
“There was no where to really sell our stuff at. Street fairs were not the right fit.”
The Vintage Market
They wanted a place to sell their pieces. Markets were the right avenue, but there was no market in Michigan that fit who they were as a farmhouse glam squad. It was over a glass of wine, 5 years ago, when Angie and Rina decided to create their own market in Michigan, The Vintage Market. It started out small with 40 vendors and friends.
After only 5 events, the market took a life of its own. It outgrew the backyard space at the Trenton Cultural Center. Angie and Rina had to scout for a larger location to fit the demand. They knew they had something big on their hands. The Market had turned into more than just a side project. Angie and Rina had to make a decision. Anxious, excited and scared shitless, they both decided to pursue the market full time.
The Monroe County Fairgrounds is now home to The Vintage Market and over 300 vendors. The scale of the market is profound. To give you an idea, the event is spread across 120 acres, with over 300 vendors selling one of a kind items for 20,000+ participants. Angie and Rina give credit to their followers for the success of the market. Having a solid following already from their restoration businesses contributed to the foundation of The Vintage Market. On top of social media, Rina has a special eye for photography and writing. She makes a conscious effort to send consistent and appropriate messages to their followers on a regular basis.
The Vintage Market is like none other. It is the only market that has a fun theme for each event. Angie and Rina have a specific vision and only choose the right vendors that are a good fit for the market; usually small unique businesses with shabby chic charm. They take care of their vendors. They offer creative ways on staging their booths and even provide tips on how to create a buzz on social media. Their vendors mean a lot to them and they want to help each other out as much as they can. Building a personal connection is important to Angie and Rina. Which is why they are proud to be able to call their vendors friends.
Angie and Rina are two of the funniest people I have had the opportunity to sit down with. Together their wit and personality are a recipe for success. They truly love what they do. Both Angie and Rina are able to laugh and have fun, even during the most stressful of times. They are real people. They represent their true selves at all times; humble down to earth divas. Girls who can go days on the road without showering and laugh at the fact that all they have managed to eat that day is a bag of chips. I admire their positive attitude, boldness and the ability to pull off such grand events for the market.
“Entrepreneurship has its perks, like being your own boss, but comes with added pressure.”
I have always been fascinated by the idea of entrepreneurship, especially women entrepreneurs. Angie talks of a certain confidence she has found in her self. She has had to put her self out there and has accomplished many things never imagined. She has found that having a support system is absolutely necessary. Especially in a furniture business when moving large furniture requires the hands of at least two people. Entrepreneurship has its perks, like being your own boss, but comes with added pressure. They have had to make some hard choices for the success of their business.
After years of traveling to shows and markets together as separate furniture transformation companies, Angie and Rina have combined forces to work together as Backyard Divas; selling their pieces primarily at markets like their own. They are currently expanding The Vintage Market to include Hillsdale County Fairgrounds in Hillsdale, MI and Wood County Fairgrounds in Bowling Green, OH.
The future for the market is bright. They would love to be able to employ a team full time to help their vendors and traveling staff live their dreams. Angie and Rina want others to find the confidence and freedom they have found in working for the market. They would love to continue to expand into other states and become a common housewife name. Look out Tennessee, The Vintage Market may be coming to you next!