I can’t actually remember how it first happened that I stumbled across Archer & Archer on Facebook, but I’m sure glad that I did. The Archers have been running this business for two years as of this week, so I thought I’d get around to pulling my finger out and writing this blog post slash love letter to Troy & Sarah (and Minnie, and Ollie).
While they’re celebrating their second birthday, it’s been twenty-one months now since I officially became a customer of this unique store, where a handful of items are uploaded to Facebook and the first person to comment SOLD on each item gets to purchase it. It’s the thrill of the race, you know? Hitting refresh, judging very quickly whether the item is something you want and then whether the price is something you can agree with/afford and then typing SOLD! ENTER! And hoping you’re the first one there. Rejoicing when you are, despairing when you’re not. Taking your time to read through Troy’s oft-hilarious descriptions of the items. Scrolling through to see who gets what, taking note of familiar faces from months of sales battles, smiling when you see a friend or family member show up out of the blue and throw a SOLD on something.
My first ever purchase, true to form, was a porcelain cat. Back then the sale was less stressful, less urgent. I strolled in, took a look around, pointed at the porcelain cat and said, Yes please. I’ll have that one. The cat is still with me, with a succulent planted in its back. It lives on top of a shelf under a window, sitting in a timber tray that also came from the Archers. On one of the shelves underneath is an amazing orange ice crusher. On the bookshelf opposite, a few different bits and pieces, including but not limited to a trio of fabulous glasses and a couple of duck men I thought I was going to have a conniption over.
See, because that’s the thing… with Archer & Archer, I remember a lot of SOLD moments. I remember where I was and what I was doing (or—ok, what I had been doing, or what I did after). These bits and pieces I have around my house aren’t just from “oh, somewhere or other” and I haven’t had them for “gosh, I dunno, ages I guess”. With my Archer & Archer purchases, I remember.
The night of the duck men (this sounds like the title of a Goosebumps story), I was out at dinner with some relatively new friends in Hobart. I knew the duck men were coming up thanks to a sneak peek, and I needed them. I desperately needed them in my life. I needed them enough to be mildly distracted at dinner around 7pm, and then I lamented when I was milliseconds too late for the SOLD. Obviously there was a happier ending, but still, I REMEMBER.
The suitcase duo were from fairly early on in my Archer & Archer patronage. Troy actually delivered these to my place in Brisbane and left them on the back deck while I was at work. I adore these suitcases, and put some of my most precious things in them when I was packing up my life in Brisbane and preparing to move to Tasmania. That meant the suitcases came in the car with me when most of my worldly goods were on a backloaded truck taking three weeks to get here, and it meant the suitcases became a temporary coffee table (with a beautiful parquetry tray made by my grandfather as the tabletop) when the only other furniture in my house consisted of things I’d picked up once I’d arrived in Hobart: two newly-acquired couches, a brand new dining table (chairs still on their way from Brisbane) and two single mattresses. It was a sparse time for me.
Once everything had finally arrived from Brisbane (cue panic attack over suddenly TOO MUCH STUFF), the makeshift coffee table stayed.
A year later, the makeshift coffee table remains. Because look at it. I don’t care how much of a hipster you think me; I love that dang table.
You know what else I love? Enabling. I noticed my instagram friend Nattie D was a fan of vintage Hornsea stuff, so one night when the coffee pitcher showed up, I stuck a SOLD on it… for Nat! Thank gosh she was happy with my work. In fact, she was so happy that she sent me back in to bat for her when the spice pots on the left showed up in a sneak peek. I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed, waiting to throw a premeditated SOLD at something on someone else’s behalf! And sometimes, just sometimes, karma comes back at me and I’m the enabled one.
I love enabling friends, and I love making people smile, which extends to mucking around in comment threads on sale posts. There are some fellow Archer & Archer patrons I genuinely enjoy encountering, even if they’ve beaten me to something particularly awesome. There’s a weird feeling of solidarity for the old-school crew who’ve been throwing their hard-earned dollars at the Archers for a while. See, for example, the page linked above for the trio of fabulous glasses. Then there’s always just mucking around with Troy, as displayed on my most recent purchase (and possibly the most wonderful thing I’ve gotten yet).
And then of course, there’s the joy of looking around my house and playing I Spy Archer & Archer. Oops, there they are in my kitchen. And there, and there. Vintage canisters, and bright tupperware (everyone goes crazy for the tupperware), and wooden rolling pins.
Oops, there they are in my guest room (aka Jellyfish’s room), in every other beautiful old and warm blanket on the pile. Oops, there they are in the lounge room. A beautiful glass tealight hanger sitting on a bright blue painted box. A little wooden wall hanging with two ivory birds on it, slotted neatly into the feature wall.
I spy them everywhere—almost everywhere. I’ve challenged myself to have something from this lovely little startup store in every room in my house, and I’m close now. I haven’t found something properly special enough for my bedroom, and the bathroom’s still lacking as well, though I almost had something the other day. One day.
Archer & Archer are slowly creeping in and taking over my life. They have been for almost two years now. You know what? Good luck to them, I say. May they continue to creep in for many years to come. It’s been my absolute delight supporting their endeavour thus far, watching their Facebook follower count rise from six hundred to six thousand, and probably paying them close to that same figure so far. Just kidding, mum.
I’ve loved watching Troy and Sarah’s business grow, and I’ve loved supporting it along the way, but it’s been more than that. It’s been meeting up with them (I was awkward and nervous) at a cool cafe on the Gold Coast to grab the last purchases I’d made before I moved to Tasmania. It’s been congratulating them on the announcement of their pregnancy. It’s been receiving their emails and having them hit the inbox like a real email and not just another spam email (real emails are almost becoming like mailed letters in this day of social media connection—treasured and rare). It’s been the long phone call to Troy that one evening, chatting about future aspirations and life as we know it and other awesome stuff that inspires us. It’s been worrying for Sarah’s illness during her pregnancy, and it’s been joy at the arrival of Minnie.
It’s been unwrapping each meticulously wrapped parcel that’s clearly been sent with thought, and care, and a little bit of love. It’s been wondering when this level of care and commitment would be retired in favour of something more streamlined, more processed, but then it’s also been watching them pass a thousand store followers, to two thousand, and onward to what’s now over six thousand followers, and still receiving my brown paper packages tied up with string, my few favourite things, and having a funny feeling that it may always be this way.
Happy second birthday, Archer & Archer (and Archer, and Archer). Long may you reign over your little corner of the internet. To many more caffeine-supported early morning starts for garage sales and estate sales. To many more special finds, and to many more years of success.
Now blow out your dang candles and get some rest, you’ve got work to do.