November 30, 2022

redpapayaales

It's time to think about Travel.

CT’s RT Facts is a ‘destination’ for celebs and Instagrammers

[ad_1]

Natalie and Greg Randall have come a long way from being 20-somethings driving a minivan around New York City on bulk trash pickup day, looking for interesting and unusual items they could resell at the 26th Street Flea Market. Now, they’re coming up on their 30th anniversary of having a retail showroom in Kent — RT Facts, where they feature antiques along with modern design.

“We were very eclectic and just looking for cool stuff,” Natalie said of their early days. Long before they developed a following on Instagram, where they have nearly 10,000 followers now, they attracted fans in the interior design world for their aesthetic. They were invited to exhibit at antiques shows in New York City like the Pier Show.

“We started specializing in antiques for the garden and then we found we were selling to the fashion industry,” she added, noting this was an easy transition as she had already worked in this field as a sweater designer while Greg was working for an antiques dealer on Madison Avenue.

A photo from RT Facts in Kent. 

A photo from RT Facts in Kent. 

Randy ORourke/ Contributed photo

“We just kind of put our heads together — fashion for interiors,” she said. “We started selling to big fashion people like Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass and Diane von Furstenberg, and they all lived up here in Litchfield County. They all had their weekend houses up here so we found we were coming up here a lot making deliveries.” On one delivery, they noticed a for sale sign in front of the old Kent town hall and decided to buy it since so many clients lived here. 

They completely renovated it, making it into a shop with an apartment above and six years ago, they outgrew it and moved to their present location at 8 Old Barn Road. The shop is in a big red barn just off Main Street in this quintessential New England village with views of the Berkshires. The 7,000-square feet space here is both a showroom and a design space, much like the iconic D&D Building in New York City that is a resource for interior designers. The Randalls not only sell antiques but design contemporary items that pair well with antiques, including dining tables, chandeliers and mirrors. They have about 20 people in all working for them making things locally from blacksmithing and iron work to carpentry, leather work, copper and finishings.


In addition to de la Renta, RT Facts boasts a celebrity clientele that includes Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart, author Christopher Spitzmiller, The Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten and TV producer Shonda Rhimes. Stewart came to the shop’s monthly flower market last August and stayed for the whole day.

“Martha just showed up one day and we were like ‘Wow, Martha is at our flower market’,” she said. The late designer de la Renta not once but twice raved about RT Facts in a national magazine. “They will do ‘What are the top 10 things you can’t live without?’ and he mentioned us two times in those one-page features,” she said. “One of the things he said he can’t live without was coming to visit RT Facts on weekends, which was wonderful for us. He was very sweet.”


Their antique finds are often whimsical or quirky and have an interesting form or element. Garden antiques, especially stone pieces having wonderful surfaces, are in abundance from urns and planters to benches and statuary.

“I think what sets us apart is people come all the time and say there is no other shop like this anywhere,” she said. “This is so unique and I think it’s because we have our feet in the classics — we are rooted in the classics. Greg is trained as an architect and a sculptor and he grew up in the 18th Century English furniture business.”

Greg and Natalie Randall run RT Facts in Kent.

Greg and Natalie Randall run RT Facts in Kent.

Roger Saucy/Contributed photo

“We have that sort of deep antiques understanding and knowledge and then we have the sort of fashion element and we tie it together,” she added. “We sell antiques but it’s not fuddy duddy, it’s  current because we mix it with these very contemporary pieces. That is our look — mixing the old with the new and making it feel fresh.”

Much of their business today is conducted online or via social media and a quick glance at their Instagram page reveals a highly curated selection that is very much on brand. Bold and appealing images highlight everything from impressive antique stone garden urns and oversized wood gears, sleek tables and contemporary mirrors. 

“I think it is the most important thing right now actually, Instagram, because I ask new customers, ‘How did you find us?’ and they always say, ‘We found you on Instagram. We’ve been following you,’ and they eventually walk in. It’s become a destination,” Randall said.

RT Facts is located in Kent.

RT Facts is located in Kent.

Graham Turner/Contributed photo

The Randalls said they work well together as a married couple and noted they raised three children while growing their business. Greg does most of the sourcing and overseeing production quality while Natalie manages the showroom staff and oversees production and design. “We’re almost like two businesses operating under one roof,” she said.

Asked if they shop for antiques together, Natalie said they don’t often but know and trust each other’s judgment when buying different things. “Greg buys most of the ‘big and heavy’ and I tend to buy smaller things like lamps, chairs and accessories,” she said. “We have an understanding of what is our brand and what we are trying to accomplish here for our clients. We know our clients and we are really shopping for them.”



[ad_2]

Source link