From roadside lunch stops with crusty baguettes and smelly cheese to digging through a dealer’s shed in search of that diamond in the rough, for Gavin Sainsbury and Scott Jenkins, it’s all in a day’s work.
Owners of Palace Trader, an antique furniture and homewares store in Sydney’s Inner West, their sourcing trips to the French countryside are full of gorgeous scenery and beautiful vintage wares, but also, a whole lot of hard work. “A typical day starts at 6am and ends by doing paperwork around 10pm,” explains Gavin. “To keep costs down, we do it all ourselves, the packing and wrapping, the carting and hauling and all the export and import paperwork. That said, it’s great fun, the shopping is addictive and so is the hunt! But it’s rapid. The most recent trip we travelled 5,600 kilometres in three weeks to fill a 20-foot container!”
Recently receiving their French delights in store, they’ve focused heavily on buying items that are accessible for people in both size and price, whilst still being eclectic, unusual and irresistible. Full of glassware, linen, ceramics and furniture, Palace Trader is the place to discover a vintage French flag for your re-creation of Les Miserables, or pick up a set of fine crystal glasses for your next dinner party.
Opening just under a year ago, Gavin and Scott, a puppeteer and nurse respectively, began Palace Trader with the hope of finding a new full-time profession. Both sharing a passion for antique shopping and collecting unique pieces, they wanted to try something challenging that they could do together.
However, if there were any concerns these were quickly shooed away, for the fact that they didn’t need to rent a storefront, they actually already lived in one! “A shop was added to the front of our 1880s terrace 100 years ago,” says Gavin. “Since then it has traded as a barber shop, a dressmaker, a secondhand furniture store and an etched glass shop. For the past 25 years it has been residential, but then we decided to change it up and start Palace Trader.”
Open Wednesday to Sunday, Palace Trader is the culmination of two people with an eye for the beautiful and unusual. A perfect haven for the high-end interior designer or the average Joe who has fallen in love with that one special item; this is small business at its very best and well worth a visit!