The folks on American Pickers could learn some things from Lyddie Shaneberger. Lyddie (a nickname for Lydia) has been picking since she was one year old. Okay, maybe not quite that far back but that’s when she attended her first auction. Who knew this would be the beginning of a career direction and the creation of Lyddie’s business LS Mercantile + Salvage Co.
Now 25 years later, Lyddie can thank her parents for starting her out in the world of picking. They took her to that first auction and she hasn’t looked back since. She says picking is in her blood or perhaps it was her parents raising her with an appreciation of history and storytelling. Lyddie especially appreciates the storytelling part. She loves to ask questions and discover answers to the “treasures” she’s collecting. Where’d it come from? What is it? How old is this? Who are the people who once owned this? As Lyddie spent years learning about the business, it wasn’t until she was a teenager when she started to understand the monetary value of the items. And she understood the potential to “recycle” them or repurpose them and hopefully match up a buyer to her discoveries.
At age 16 Lyddie was already setting up shop; selling online with her own Etsy store. Just the year before her family’s life changed forever. Her father had an accident, a 30-foot fall from a hunting tree stand. He was left unable to walk. Lyddie looked for ways to help with family finances and that’s when she realized that her love of picking might not only help the family situation but could be her life’s calling. It has not always been an easy road.
“You won’t make it” is a phrase Lyddie says she and many other would-be small business owners have heard. For some, it’s enough to discourage them from trying. But for Lyddie…it was a challenge she would face head on. With encouragement from her parents, her boyfriend Dave, and her circle of friends - Lyddie has worked to take “pickin’ vintage” to the level of a serious small business endeavor.
Lyddie usually travels the Southern states but she’s planning a foray to the Northeast this coming fall. She’s forever on the lookout for the next big find. She says she doesn’t care to follow “trend” as some people in the business suggest. Instead she prefers to follow her heart. She picks what she loves and knows that someone else will love it too. There have been times when Lyddie has only had a $20 bill in her pocket and got lucky and found items that were worth hundreds. It happens. It takes street smarts. Lyddie Shaneberger has them.
Lyddie’s goal is to have her own storefront somewhere. It would also involve curating collections for people’s homes, having a space for artisans and makers, and possibly a market for each season for others like her to come together and create an experience that would be so good she could make Country Livingmagazine one day. She also hopes to graduate spring 2020 and even possibly start a MBA program while her boyfriend finishes his Ph.D. at Clemson.
Lyddie Shaneberger has some advice for would-be small business owners. “Do it. Do it with all of your heart and your patience. Be passionate about what you do and you’ll never wake up not wanting to go to work on a Monday. Work hard, be strong, and don’t let others get under your skin. You control your own life. So create who you want to be.”
Lyddie’s story should be an inspiration to us all.
More to know
You can find Lyddie’s unique collection of pickins’ at her space at “Workshop Vintage Market” at 108 North Lafayette Street in downtown Shelby and is open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday from 10 until 2 and Thursday & Friday 10 - 5:30. Do a search on Etsy using LS Mercantile + Salvage Co. to find her space in the cloud. Lyddie is also on Facebook and Instagram and you can reach her by email at email@example.com. Lyddie was born and raised in Forest City and is appreciative of the sense of hard work instilled in her by her parents.
...retired in 2017 from a life of work, mostly in education. I decided it was time to stop commuting and stay at home a while. Foothills Faces is meant to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..