By Heather Niccoli
This story begins like any other: a quirky writer with a passion for flea markets and junk treasures goes shopping for more… junk. On her way to the thrift store, she stops by the store to grab a mocha and passes the magazine aisle where she sees it for the first time: JUNK LOVER’S VOGUE, aka Flea Market Style Magazine. She does the respectable thing and plunks herself down in the aisle for the next two hours and devours every page in-between giving people the stink eye for trying to shop around her makeshift aisle reading nook. (Some people..) And like most magazine lovers, she checks who the editor is: Ki Nassauer.
Ok, yes- so I’m the one who’s guilty of reading a magazine without paying for it first. But I make it up to her, I swear.
Over the next year, I email Ki on a regular basis, begging her for a job at her magazine. That’s when I earned ultimate respect for her as a professional, amazing woman. She always emailed me back! Although she didn’t have an opening at the time, I made a note to myself to be as kind and courteous to my readers and other young, budding professionals, if ever I were to have my own magazine. When I learned she’d be attending Spokane, Washington’s huge Farm Chicks event, I was first in line to meet her and even asked her to sign my magazine. (Yes, I wound up buying every issue after I saw the first one). When I started HaveHeart, I asked her tons of questions about starting your own company and chasing your dreams. Again, she’s so busy, she could’ve ignored me. Instead, she took more time out of her day to answer my questions. Wow.
I’m pleased to have Ki as our August cover woman because she is amazing.
Photo Credit: Dean Riggott
She’s the Editor in Chief of Flea Market Style magazine, produces a vintage show called Junk Bonanza, founded the online vintage guide, FleaQuest.com and runs her own website which has an e-commerce element, kinassauer.com. How does she do it? “I’m constantly juggling the different companies and wearing a lot of hats, but I love what I do and I’m able to be creative and work with folks I love and respect,” says Ki.
But wait, what? How did this woman manage to have just about every dream job possible? “I owned and operated a women’s clothing store for 25 years,” says Ki. “I also did freelance design work. Shortly after I had a garage sale which grossed approximately $12,000, I realized I was born to be a junker! I founded JunkMarket where we held monthly vintage sales in a warehouse and things spiraled from there! I work with my family, daughter, Taylor- who has a full time position with kinassauer.com and my son, Tyson is involved with FleaQuest.”
Photo Credit: Adam Albright
Just in case you’re reading this and have no idea how some of us can get so excited over “junk” let me inform you, it’s a term of endearment. Some people see old milk crates as firewood, while others see them as succulent holders. Some people drive by dumpsters, hoping for an unwanted piece of furniture they can turn into a masterpiece with a little bit of paint and elbow grease. So, yes- it’s junk, in a way, but more like found treasures. And, because we see them as treasures, we’ve very attached to them! In fact, almost every junker has a story of “the one that got away,” or the time they passed up a deal they wished they didn’t! I was surprised to learn that Ki was no exception. “Last month I spotted a vintage, metal, glass-doored bookcase at the Rosebowl flea market for a bargain price! At the time, I didn’t have a spot in the house for it. I’m moving this month and my new kitchen is in desperate need of that exact bookcase to store my dishes! Shoot! Should’ve nabbed it while I could. You snooze you lose!”
Photo Credit: Adam Albright
I asked Ki what she did besides travel the world, junking and enjoying a great bargain and she told me that she loves to ride her horse and just enjoy the sunshine. I mean, does it get any better than that? I asked her why she loved junk so much and if she was a vintage/retro/mod or shabby chick. “I love all of it!” she said. “But my design style tends to be more modern. I like clean lines, bold colors and clutter-free spaces. I also love decor items that make me laugh or start a conversation.” I found this especially remarkable considering my home takes on the look of the Winchester Mystery House with all the styles I accidentally mix. Still, there’s always one thing a junker loves best and I had to know what Ki strives for. Is she a collector? Does she like to refurbish best? “Oh, I’m all about the hunt!” she laughs.
I knew that Ki had also recently moved to the LA area and I wondered if she’d found herself struggling to fit in with the pressure here. To my surprise, she said this: “No. I’ve realized that in Los Angeles, anything goes! It’s actually very easy to be yourself because people are generally accepting of others and there isn’t a whole lot of judgement. I love that it’s a melting pot.” She adds. “I’m just happy in my comfy t-shirts and jeans.”
Photo Credit: Adam Albright
Outside of her working, wine-drinking and horseback riding, Ki is a very devoted, loving mother. “I feel humbled and privileged to spend time with and learn from my now grown children every day,” Ki says to me. “Having children of my own makes me realize how much my parents loved me. I can’t wait to be a grandma- but no pressure,” she laughs. I wondered to myself how she became and stayed such a down-to-earth person, and then said this to me about her confidence: “I definitely grow more comfortable in my skin as the years go on, and I’m more confident. I’ve realized it’s ok to be imperfect and it takes a lot of pressure off! I see people for who they really are and I always notice how they treat others. People who are respectful, caring, loving and encouraging of others are beautiful to me. Also, if you respect someone or appreciate their work- be sure to let them know!” I had to chuckle at that last statement, if Ki only knew how appreciated she was for being the first meaningful and professional encounter I’d ever had! When we were wrapping things up, I asked her what she thought it took to make this amazing dream of hers come true. “I’d have to say it is passion, hard work and a great team on your side,” she says. “This quote describes it perfectly: “Those who discourage your dreams have likely abandoned their own.” –Anonymous,” Ki adds. “Just always be honest with yourself and with others and be nice, be honest and be strong!”