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Today’s guest turned a huge 100 year old hip roof barn and outbuildings into an amazing antiques shop!
Winner of the 2018 Tourism of Saskatchewan Awards of Excellence, Erin Kinder is the inspiration behind Kinder Surprises Antiques. Take a drive out to Davidson and discover all they have to offer.
The converted barn, outbuildings and yards provides a huge selection of antiques – all clean & beautifully displayed. Make a trip to the country and explore all she has to offer!
Stay tuned to learn Erin’s secrets!
Barb McGrath 0:02
You are listening to a CJ tr podcast.
Barb McGrath 0:09
Well, welcome to The Secret Life of entrepreneurs. I’m here with our guest today. Who’s that? Who’s gonna tell us how old is new again. So I’d like to start off by first off welcoming Erin Kinder to the show today from Kinder Surprises Antiques in Davidson, Saskatchewan.
Erin Kinder 0:30
Thanks so much for having me.
Barb McGrath 0:33
It is wonderful to have you here. So you know, let’s, let’s get started. Tell us a little bit about Kinder Surprises Antiques?
Erin Kinder 0:42
Well, back in 2014, I started my business. And I converted a hip roof barn on our family farm just outside of Davidson into an antique shop. So it’s a huge space. And I converted several buildings since 2014. And I open seasonally from while just while it’s humanly warm enough to be out there is pretty much the season that I run. And yeah, I just have a huge selection of antiques available, and a great space and yard for people to explore and wander here in Saskatchewan.
Barb McGrath 1:19
So what made you wake up one day and go, Hey, I want to sell antiques, not something I, to me, it’s kind of like being a dentist who wakes up and says I want to like look in people’s mouths all day. So how did you get there?
Erin Kinder 1:32
Well, my mom, back in the 90s had an antique shop. And we’ve always had antiques in our homes. I have a funny little story that my sister and I used to walk around garage sales and things and pick up and look at the bottom of teacups. Oh, and we didn’t even know what we were doing or what we were looking for. Yeah, but that’s just what we saw in kind of what we did. And yeah, so then I started selling a few antiques to my friends when I was on maternity leave one year. And then I sold more and more things and more and more things. And all of a sudden I was like, oh, there might be something in this. There might be
Barb McGrath 2:08
Something here. Okay, you know what, you just touched on something so important. And it was fun, right? For a lot of people going to work every day, whatever it is you’re doing. If it’s not fun, it becomes drudgery. So So tell me about that feeling. It was fun, what made it? What made it contagious for you?
Erin Kinder 2:28
Well, I could do whatever I wanted. And my days are so varied. You know, some days I’m doing something very artistic, like setting up a display and rearranging things and sort of beautifully curating areas. Other days, I’m doing research, I’m on my computer, I’m looking up information. And sometimes I am like, elbows up with rubber gloves, climbing over a dead raccoon or something like that hunting and finding these antiques. But I mean, it’s fun, because you just never know what each day is gonna look like. And and it’s a scavenger hunt. You know, when I go to when I’m invited to people’s homes, and to go through their yards to see what we find. And sometimes the people that owned the items forgot they had it.
Barb McGrath 3:14
Oh, I suppose hey, yeah. So do you find that you collect a lot of your items doing exactly that going to people’s homes? Or a state sales? Moving sales? like where do you actually find find your merchandise. Then?
Erin Kinder 3:29
When I originally started the business, it was from going to farm auction sales, and I was buying at auctions. Okay. But now that I’ve been established as a business, and people can find me on on the internet and right, you’re on Google on Google, thank you, you really helped to BB? Um, yeah, now that people can find me, they’re calling me and inviting me to their homes. And they follow me on Facebook. And they love to know that that their family’s possessions are going somewhere where they’re going to be treasured
Barb McGrath 4:02
Exactly when and where they’re going to be reused. You You said something earlier in our conversation, the word sustainable, sustainable has become such an such an important concept, I think, to almost everyone I know, certainly it’s not. And I had a previous guest from amaranth designs, and she talks about fast fashion. So in some ways, what you’re doing is very similar to what Ria is doing. And we need to get out of this concept of, Oh, it’s the most fashionable, you know, dishware set, or it’s the most fashionable couch or it’s the most fashionable, whatever. Right? So I really like what you’re doing in terms of its sustainable, reusing, you know, great grandma and grandpa’s x or keeping grandma’s y and keeping it in the family for generations. It’s not something that we’ve seen for a long time.
Erin Kinder 4:52
And it’s amazing to how when people incorporate these things into their homes, they’re gorgeous and they look beautiful, and it just adds a level to their homes that you can’t just go to a traditional store and buy everything. You’ll put a few of these antiques or incorporate them into your other items. And they’ll be the items that people ask questions about, or they’re like, Where did you get that? Or? What’s the story about this? And it’s just so conversation starter conversation starter. And that’s really what people want. They want that authentic, interesting piece in their home.
Barb McGrath 5:29
Yes. What I find is it adds a level of sophistication and richness to the environment, as opposed to just the latest and greatest thing. You know, you might see it IKEA, or you might see it at the brick wherever, right? And so it adds a really different level to something. Um, how much time do you spend researching the items that you find? So understanding like, where it came from, what era?
Erin Kinder 5:53
It’s really dependent on the item, like some things I don’t need to research because I’ve bought and sold enough things. And I understand the market well enough that I just know what it is. But other things, yeah, it’ll take longer. And it’ll also depend on if I think it’s a really high ticket item are an amazing find that I just have to to know a little bit more. And if I can find out the provenance of something, it’s really special because people love the stories of where the items came from.
Barb McGrath 6:24
Yes, well, and I was sharing a story with Erin, just before we got started today, I make something called waterkeeper. waterkeeper is a probiotic, it’s very similar to kombucha. So I make this water keefer. And I needed great big jars to be able to make this properly. So I went to I think Value Village and I picked up a couple of old mason jars. And they shared the story with Erin and I said you know that traditional lids didn’t fit. And so I started researching and googling where these jars actually came from. And I finally found the matching logo and the matching imprint on the bottom of the jar. And they came from the 1920s these jars had survived nearly 100 years. By the time I bought them. I was just dumbfounded. And the first thing Erin and I both said was imagine how many different preserves or, or things have been in those jars, right? They have survived generations and been passed down and down. And I suspect found their new home in Value Village simply because the lids don’t fit anymore. You can buy them. So fortunately, they did come with lids and even for waterkeeper it didn’t need it. So it wasn’t a big deal to me. But but i did i same thing. I found that very contagious. It’s like well, I want to know more. I want to know what they were used for. And of course, there’s no way to find that out. But I did I just I absolutely found that so interesting, you know, to be able to go back and we don’t by any stretch, have antiques in the house. But we’ve not yet Not yet. Thought, but I kid you not we have a set of cutlery from when I would have been you know, 10 and under, because we have this original set of cutlery that I’m sure came from one of my grandparents. And then mom and dad got the nicer pair once they could afford a nicer pair. And they kept the old pair for camping and things like that. When I went to university, I got that set. And I still have it. Now of course University was only a year or two ago, but they’re still thinking.
So tell me a little bit what does a day look like for you? Like how do you know what you need to get done in any given day?
Erin Kinder 8:38
Well, it often depends on if I have to go picking or if I’ve been invited to go somewhere. So if if someone calls me up and they’re like, my, my mum is moving to town and we’d like to to sell her her items from her home, then that’s the first thing that I do because because I am selling a lot. It’s I’m always got to replenish my inventory, right. But yeah, so I’ll go out to the people’s house, I have a truck and I have my own trailer. Do everything sort of myself, I often bring my mom along and a friend or two who has a strong back that
Barb McGrath 9:14
Likes to explore. doesn’t mind picking up a couch or two away.
Erin Kinder 9:18
And yeah, then we’ll go do that. I spent a lot of time researching a lot of times working in my barn, setting it up, rearranging, moving things in a way that you can see them and sort of imagine how you can incorporate them into your own home. Some people come to my barn and upset it’s like a it’s like Pinterest or something like it’s beautiful. I imagine not like some antique stores that maybe have like just things on top of things on top of things. It’s quite coordinated and is that it’s organized and it’s clean and it’s nice wide aisles so people that can get through it now pushing a baby stroller or if they’re pushing a walker or even someone in a wheelchair.
Barb McGrath 10:07
Yes, you need to be able to maneuver. Yeah, carefully, right? You’ve got some really valuable stuff in
Erin Kinder 10:12
And you don’t want to be going through an antique store and thinking you’re going to break stuff.
Barb McGrath 10:16
No, and you’re uncomfortable.
Erin Kinder 10:18
Yeah. So I do make sure that I have nice aisles that are that are clear for people to to look at everything.
Barb McGrath 10:24
Then it starts to feel like grandma and grandpa’s are great grandma and grandpa, his living room where there was so much stuff that could be broken and you didn’t want to touch it. I remember that as a kid. It was like, whenever we went to visit my great grandparents, and Moose Jaw is home for me, we would go to visit them. And you know, you sat on the couch. And if you wanted to play you had to go to the basement, because there was simply no place on the main floor where there wasn’t something that was breakable. Right. my great grandparents were actually the first Italians to move just sketch one. So they they brought some really precious stuff with them when they move to Canada. And I’m sure some of it is still in the family. I think I’ve got a couple of pieces. So it’s really cool to look back. And it’s like, oh, how did you survive 13 kids in my dad’s side of the family, and then like, dozens of grandkids and yet all this stuff survived. So there’s maybe something to be said there for durability as well. Yeah, right. Um, so how do people find you? Of course, you and I had a conversation one time about Google and how do you get Google to cooperate with your business? How do people find you or what are they usually looking for? When they do find you?
Erin Kinder 11:36
People find me on on Google on either. I have a website on there as well. I have Facebook and Instagram Kendra surprises, antiques. And I’ve got almost well just over I think 10,000 followers now no statue, and so they’re finding me they are this is from me, Timbuktu I’ve got a really passionate group of people that follow the business and I post daily. And so a lot of people are waking up every day. I they tell me and they’re like, Oh, I wonder where it goes today. Cuz I’m, I keep myself pretty busy. And I keep it all light and fun. And yeah, so it’s good. But yeah, people find me that way. And then they come out in the spring and summer on Sundays or Wednesdays okay. To the bar. And and then they can look. And yeah, they’re looking for everything there is so I have such a wide variety of items. People say, Well, what sells best. I have old tools that sell best for men. I have picture frames that sell and doors that sell best for brides. You know, it’s so dependent on on who’s looking right.
Barb McGrath 12:48
Yeah, yeah, that would be very true.
Erin Kinder 12:51
Yeah. But like I was saying earlier, Barb, like some of the the latest clients that have bought lots of things. It’s been interesting as being interior designers, it’s not the typical customers that you would assume for an antique store. It’s cannabis shops, it’s tattoo parlors, oh, hairdressers, that are all wanting to add that interesting element to their businesses, to their environment. Yeah.
Barb McGrath 13:17
Oh, isn’t that interesting? And again, sustainability, right? When I think about our millennial generation and generations, Ed, which is coming. Sustainability is key to them. So they can purchase something of quality virtue versus that fast fashion that Ria talks about? It is it contributes to our environment in such a positive way. My own kids haven’t caught the sustainability bug. And I actually bug them about it. I’m like, come on, you guys. You got to worry more about the environment. Why am I doing all the worrying? You’re supposed to be tearing the worrying? Right. And, yeah, so it makes for some interesting conversations. Something popped out in conversation with your dad yesterday. So I did see your posts on social media yesterday. And you were telling us a story about your dad, do you want to share that with everyone?
Erin Kinder 14:05
Oh, well, I’ve I’ve been scheming. I wanted to improve like sort of my curb appeal of one of the areas within my barn. And so my, my dad, he’s a farmer in Davidson, and he likes Big Boy toys. So he’s got large heavy pieces of equipment.
Barb McGrath 14:23
Very good description.
Erin Kinder 14:25
Anyways, um, anyway, we were working away. I had a C can that I have full of inventory. And so I wanted to move it away because I’m sort of developing a courtyard area so that when customers come out, they can have a picnic. And it was about quarter to two. We’d been working all morning and it was about quarter to two and I said to dad, like, Can we stop for lunch? You know, quarter to two. I was getting hungry. Exactly. And he’s like, what did he say we can we’ll have lunch when we’re in the winter. We have lunch in the winter. That’s right as in another words, it was like a beautiful day. That’s right. And it was it was like, plus two or something. And he’s like when you can work you work. Exactly. And that was just such a true entrepreneurial ism. I don’t know if that’s a word though, of my dad because my mom and dad have always had businesses as well. Okay. On top of farming on top of farming, we had gas stations in Davidson. So if you’ve ever driven through Davidson, I’ve probably port you coffee as a 15 year old server at some point or pump your gas.
Barb McGrath 15:30
Yeah. Oh, I didn’t realize they also had businesses. So they were very busy farmers and too, yes, Yeah, no kidding. Okay, so when I when I hear that kind of thing. I mean, I very much hear the farm mentality where it’s you work when you can you don’t know when you’re going to have son, you don’t know when you’re going to have dry? Right? It’s like harvest. And my husband comes from a family farm. So I tease him all the time. That Tom, when we sit down for supper, supper is a seven minute activity in our house. There’s no such thing as you know, let’s sit down. Let’s enjoy our meal. Let’s talk with one another. It’s good. There’s food on the table, put it on my plate, put it in my mouth. Okay, time to bus. The rest of us. I kid you not. There are times where the rest of us are like, on our second or third bite and we look over and dad’s plates clean. Right. And he’s not involved in the farm anymore. He moved into the city. You know, he’s always been gainfully employed in fairly white collar jobs. But nope, that mentality remains that. I’m gonna have seven minutes to eat. So I better do it quick. Both kids look and they’re like, I just can’t do that. And I said, look at the size of his bite. Right? So Oh, goodness. Yes. Every family’s just a little bit different for sure. Is your family’s still farming?
Erin Kinder 16:49
Yes. My two older brothers farm with my dad. And then my husband and I we have a mixed cattle operation. So yeah, having a on farm business for me worked well, because I could. Yeah, we have cows. So anyone who has cows knows that you’re not really going too far from home?
Barb McGrath 17:07
No, you can’t count.
Erin Kinder 17:09
So and you’re busy and and so it just worked well to to be my own boss and to be able to set my own hours. And if I need to go help Craig and do something on the farm, I can do that. And so yeah, the two work well together. Very good.
Barb McGrath 17:24
And if I recall correctly, you and Craig just celebrated an anniversary here not too long ago.
Erin Kinder 17:28
Yes. Yesterday, we celebrated
Barb McGrath 17:30
Yesterday was yesterday. gratulations, 14 years. That’s fantastic. Erin shared with me before we got started to date, but Craig’s actually not from Canada. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Erin Kinder 17:41
Sure. Yeah. In 1999, he came, came to Canada on a working holiday. And Tim and six buddies came ended up in Davidson. Okay. And Davidson had a great summer that year. It was a lot of fun. And, yeah, so my husband was at the time working for a neighbor, okay, met. And then I followed him overseas. He was working in England. So then we lived over in England for a couple years in Ireland, and then we moved to New Zealand for six years. Wow. And then when it was time to have kids, I was like, Oh, well, I might, they may want to go Davidson. land prices in Saskatchewan were a lot better than land prices in New Zealand, right? So yeah, in 2006. Although I said I’d never marry a farmer and I would never live in Saskatchewan. They were two of the best choices I’ve ever made.
Barb McGrath 18:34
Yes. And how many women who are married to farmers probably said the exact same thing. Never marrying a farmer never living. Right. And yet,
Erin Kinder 18:43
That’s when it’s really drawn in and yeah, we’re very, very proud farmers and yeah, yeah,
Barb McGrath 18:50
Life is good. So New Zealand was home for him then.
Erin Kinder 18:53
Yeah, he grew up in New Zealand. In the mall. Bruh sounds okay.
Barb McGrath 18:57
Yeah, sorry. I don’t know New Zealand was very isolated.
Erin Kinder 19:00
Nice. But it’s a beautiful, beautiful country, and we try to get back every two or three years. Okay.
Barb McGrath 19:05
Yeah. So with everything that’s going down, going on down there right now? Is anything near his home being impacted with the fires?
Erin Kinder 19:14
Well, the fires are in Australia, and he’s in New Zealand. So okay, geographically, they’re very they are they’re very, very far. Different. Yes. different countries, different islands. So yeah,
Barb McGrath 19:24
Erin Kinder 19:25
Okay. So he’s got friends, we have friends in Australia. And we are hearing that it is quite devastating for them. You know, I can just imagine. Yeah, I was surprised. I saw a billboard here in town the other day,
Barb McGrath 19:37
Looking for donations to support an organization down there so that I think across the world, we’re seeing, you know, some of the impact of what’s happening in Australia. Yeah, sure. Yeah.
Erin Kinder 19:46
But don’t call him an Australian or no. Australian and he’ll be offended. Yeah,
Barb McGrath 19:51
Yes. Well, and it’s, I suppose it’s like us when we travel, right. Audience if somebody assumes we’re American, we get offended. So yeah. It’s kind of the exact same thing. Yes, I do get that they’re just down in that same this. Yes, yes. Yeah, I totally get it. Um, so what’s next for the store? Are you getting bigger? You’re working on outbuildings with your dad? What? What’s the future look like for you and for your industry and for the business?
Erin Kinder 20:17
I think the industry is looking great. With with people wanting sustainable items, with people loving and caring about their homes and wanting them to look great. I’m excited about the future. I’m getting a lot of traffic through in last year. I want a tourism Saskatchewan award for my business.
Barb McGrath 20:37
Wow, congratulations. Excellent tourism awards of excellence. That’s excellent.
Erin Kinder 20:43
Yeah, to do that. So that so that was exciting. So now I just want to continue working with with my tourism aspect of the business, about people getting out of the city and coming for a day trip, making a drive out to Davidson. It’s just over an hour from either any three of the cities really, and it’s paved all the way. And so it’s just finding people that that want to call up to their girlfriend, grab a coffee, you know, do something different. Do something a little bit unusual. And yes.
Barb McGrath 21:13
Well, and see some really neat stuff. So what an opportunity hop in the car with a friend, grab a coffee, make the drive out, spend the day look around that sort of thing. Yeah, one.
Erin Kinder 21:27
Yeah. So I’m just going to keep working away, just continuing to improve my inventory. Just keep up the finding really cool items that people want. Yeah, and just making it a really welcoming place. I just, I love listening to people when they visit when they’re visiting and like hearing them about, oh, grandma had this and Oh, do you remember seeing that or? Or people that are like, looking at pictures on Instagram? And they’re like, Oh, can you help me recreate this? And and it’s really fun. So yeah, I’m working on just welcoming everyone. Like I say there’s room to push a stroller or a walker. So all ages can come and visit good. It’s just a really welcoming environment, and
Barb McGrath 22:12
You’re enjoying it.
Erin Kinder 22:14
It is fun.
Barb McGrath 22:15
Yes. Hard work. Oh, absolutely. But any but funny, successful business is and I think too often, you know, we see people who man manager own a business. And we think, you know, oh, wow, that would be fun. That would be easy. And it’s no, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you have. You’re working hard if you’re succeeding. And if there’s a formula out there for kicking back, but yet also succeeding, like, please tell me about it, because I certainly haven’t found it either.
Erin Kinder 22:43
What about your kids? Do they work in the business? Do they help you? What rule Do they have at this point there? Right now, I had three kids in three years. So when I first started my business, it was a great way to get away from my kids. Honestly. I could go to my barn and just be in my little happy place. And
Barb McGrath 23:02
but now I understand.
Erin Kinder 23:05
Now my kids are 9, 10 and 11. And so yeah, they helped me come out to the barn and clean things and they’re good little pack horses. They help me unload and move things around my my oldest guy Sam, he’s strong enough to help move furniture now. So that’s a that’s a benefit added bonus. Yeah,
Barb McGrath 23:24
Yeah. And do they like it? Or do you see the bugging any of them? Are they enjoying it? Or is it we have to help them?
Erin Kinder 23:33
I know they like it as long as they get something out of it. Mm hmm. which usually like, I’ll give them like a little pocket knife or something they love, right? One guy, they like antique knives. Or like anything like with an old car or something like that? Or the my daughter’s nine. She loves costume jewelry.
Barb McGrath 23:51
Oh, I suppose hey, yeah, some really nice pieces. Yeah.
Erin Kinder 23:55
So if they come out, and I’m like, okay, sweep up this area. And I’ll give you, you know, a little 510 dollar necklace or so. Yeah. And they’re thrilled. So Exactly. And,
Barb McGrath 24:05
you know, let’s be honest, at some point, it’ll probably make it back into inventory. Because as they get older, and they’re looking for different things. Yeah.
Erin Kinder 24:12
Right. It’ll only get more valuable as it gets older. Mm hmm.
Exactly. Yeah, it’s a real business. And, and although they help they, when I have busy days, I don’t have them around. Because I need to be focused, you need to stay focused, and I need to be providing the best customer service that I can. And if somebody is asking me for a glass of iced tea, I can’t get out right now. But you need to, you know, but it’s cool because they can be jumping on the trampoline in the backyard. And I can be working and that works great.
Barb McGrath 24:43
That’s right. And if they do need you, they know where to find you. But yet they can still be kids do their thing. Have fun, but I don’t need to break up a Lego fight war.
Oh, come on. We all enjoy stepping on those little tiny pieces of Lego had like ongoing The hours of the morning when we’re going to the washroom, and now you want to scream, right? Like what was Lego thinking when they made sharp corners on this stuff? Yeah. Erin, if you can believe it, we are just about out of time. Can I get you to share one more time? how people can find you and maybe your website address?
Erin Kinder 25:19
Sure. I’m either on Facebook or Instagram at Kinder Surprises Antiques or on my website is kindersurprisesantiques.com. But yeah, if you type in Tinder surprises, antiques, it’s pretty awesome. It seems to pop up and it gives directions to the barn. And yeah, I’ll be opening likely end of April, just kind of depending on the weather. Okay. But yeah, I keep that posted, or there’s lots of messaged me, options on those on social media. Absolutely.
Barb McGrath 25:51
Yeah, that sounds good. And if I recall correctly, you said it’s about an hour drive, whether you’re coming from the Saskatoon Regina direction. So grab a coffee, call Erin make an appointment and see her this winter. If you’re looking for something to do, or wait till the spring and summer when you can kind of poke around a little bit more have a little bit more time. I cannot believe this was the fastest half hour I tell almost all of my guests this will be the fastest 26 minutes of your life. And true to form. We are basically out of time. So let’s see what we can do. We are at a time, I’d like to thank you for joining us today on The Secret Life of entrepreneurs. As always, if you’d like to be a guest on the show, please email me at email@example.com or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at abovethefold.ca just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of the live show on any of our social media channels. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner, digital marketer and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.