Amitha Verma is an interior designer, and the owner of Village Antiques.
Why did you decide to open Village Antiques?
We opened about four and a half years ago. I had an interior design background, and I worked on a lot of custom houses. It was great. I had a great career, but I just kept wanting to reach more people, have a broader customer base. Interior design is amazing, but it’s only available to some people. My whole goal is to reach as many people as I can with design and style.
Were you successful from the very beginning?
We opened the store, and I would say within the first year we were found, or discovered. We were a big hit. One thing that makes our store unique is that we have all these different vendors. The shop has its own inventory—we go to France and bring pieces back. We started by selling only antiques, but our customers were coming in so frequently that we couldn’t keep enough in stock. So we branched out into accessories, candlesticks, decor. It grew into jewelry and clothing. Now it’s a little bit of everything, but at the core we’re still an antique merchant. It’s a really unique shopping experience for the customer. The selection changes almost every day, and you’ll find things at every price point.
What else is unique about Village Antiques?
Since I’m a designer, I create a lot of sample room designs in the shop. And our vendors themselves do a lot of really beautiful design with their merchandise. Because everybody loves antiques, but they want to know how to use it. We try to make it clear visually how you can use our items.
So many antique shops seem to just have piles of stuff laying around.
Right—and how do you make sense of that? Within every shop, our vendors do everything they can to help our customers visualize a room. And it works. You see people come through and say, oh, I see how to use that.
One of your vendors is Memorial Area Ministries, which the Spring Branch District also supports. How did your partnership with them come about?
They’re a new addition to our shop, and they get a lot of very high-end donations. One of their volunteers is a customer of ours and does volunteer work for their shop. She just kept seeing all these things that were high-end, true antiques, that were in the wrong environment. So MAM joined up with us. They have an appraiser who works with them, and he vets everything. And everything that sells here, 100 percent of the proceeds go back to the charity. They have been such a big hit here.
Does the store specialize in a particular style?
It’s a mix—Italian, French, some early American. 18th century, 19th century, midcentury modern. When we first started out we were really known more for our French antiques. Then just this past year we started bringing in other styles, so that we could attract some different customers. Houston tends to be a more traditional city when it comes to decorating, but that has attracted a broader clientele.
Village Antiques. 1200 Blalock Road. 713-468-3931. villageantiques.net