What’s in a name? For Malissa von Meyer, quite a bit — two of her favorite places, along with a plethora of design inspiration. Her Atlanta-based business From Paris to Palm Beach features thousands of unique items sourced from around the world, including period French pieces, mid-century marvels, and more. We spoke with the founder about how she built her business, which pieces are selling these days, and how she came up with that name. See what she had to say, and be sure to shop her store on Chairish.
First and foremost, how did you start your business?
From Paris to Palm Beach as we know it today began with me dabbling in interior design, having a space in an antique mall, and owning and operating a retail store that collected and sold products on eBay! I eventually had my own shop called The French Bee in Tampa, Florida, which I supplemented with a presence at the Scott Antique Market in Atlanta. It was at Scott’s when I met the Chairish representatives. I embraced the online platform immediately and loved the diversity of product and the curated selling environment it provided.
The name From Paris to Palm Beach is catchy… how did you come up with it? What does it represent for you?
I came up with the name From Paris to Palm Beach specifically for Chairish many years ago. I felt that it represented my love of true continental pieces often found in Paris with my interest in the more playful and eclectic mix found in Palm Beach. It was intended to represent a diversity of product that I still embrace today.
You carry a wide range of pieces, from many different time periods. How do you manage your sourcing, and why is it so important to cover a variety of styles?
I do cover a variety of styles for several reasons. The first is that I genuinely enjoy a broad cross section of products. I think my experience with interior design also contributed to this tendency because a designer needs to focus on what the customer wants, which varies from person to person. A more practical reason is that a diverse product line increases selling across the board. More and more, I tend to focus on finding what I interpret to be unique items that are not found easily.
How have things evolved for the business over the last year, in particular, with the pandemic? Business is certainly in a different place than it was 18 months ago… tell us a bit about your experience.
The influence the pandemic has had on the business is incredible. When it first took hold, like many, I was very nervous. I immediately implemented strategies from the Chairish platform that I thought would stimulate selling, like free and safe shipping up to a certain radius. Furthermore, I heavily targeted designers with special pricing and advertising. The pandemic seemed to give a sharp increase in shipping to receiving facilities as customers wanted a safe haven for product that reduced direct contact with other people. With shipping channels for new products manufactured overseas collapsing, all eyes turned to Chairish and the vintage product it could provide quickly! My first sale of the pandemic was a life-size metal palm tree. I thought to myself, “who buys a life size palm tree in a pandemic?” I knew then and there that the business I love so much would probably survive and thrive through my Chairish partnership!
Have you seen more customers coming through digital methods like Chairish? Do you see that having an effect on how designers shop for vintage, in particular?
I have absolutely seen a dramatic increase in customers purchasing on digital platforms. For the general population, many were confined to their homes, so home improvement and family time became a happy escape from the fear of the unknown. Desk sales soared as corporations had their employees at home. From a trade perspective, that also increased because designers were struggling to source product for their existing projects. Many brick and mortar stores closed, so the interior design community flocked to their online sources. I firmly believe that if a customer had a positive experience during the pandemic, then they will continue to purchase from me through Chairish. A quality product received promptly will win every time.
What types of pieces do you see moving these days? What are the patterns in terms of what’s selling right now?
There is a broad range of products selling these days. I still see a strong interest in desks, but I also noted an increase in lighting, mirrors, sofas, and outdoor sets. In general, most product types are steady at the moment as the real estate market is so strong. Fall is approaching and this usually brings an increase in all things dining. I don’t think this second wave of the pandemic will hurt holiday get-togethers as severely as it did in the past, so I expect dining tables and chairs to thrive.
Do you see any upcoming trends in terms of what’s next for the design world? What types of pieces do you think you’ll be stocking soon?
Regarding upcoming trends in design, I am noting greens, rounded edges on upholstery, metals like brass and copper, and statement lighting and mirrors. I also see more of an emphasis on original finishes too. I love taking a vintage or antique piece and having it shine in an environment. For me, the spotlight will always be on vintage!
Who are some of your favorite makers or designers, in terms of your own inspirations?
My two favorite designers or influencers at the moment are Miles Redd and Michelle Nussbaumer. As I personally like strong hues, I love the way Miles Redd employs color and statement pieces in his client’s homes. Every time I see one of his interior design projects featured, I just want to move right in! With regard to Michelle Nussbaumer, I think she speaks to my maximalist tendencies. She has a great eye, and her vintage and antique pieces are amazing. She mixes genres very fluidly and to me, her flamboyant style radiates love, laughter, and family!
What’s a dream piece you’d love to have yourself?
As far as a piece I would love to have…. Hmmm…. it would have to be a pair of the life-size gilt metal Maison Jansen palm trees. For some reason, the pandemic has made all things vintage palm tree go nuts, and not only are they hard to find, the prices are untouchable.
Your business references Paris and Palm Beach, of course… when we’re finally able to travel freely again, where’s a place you’d like to travel for inspiration?
If I could go anywhere for inspiration at the moment, my top pick would be Italy. Personally, Italian pottery, mirrors, and original painted finishes have always spoken to my soul. And, oh the giltwood too!
All images courtesy of From Paris to Palm Beach