Plenty of people have creative passions that are unrelated to their straight-laced day jobs (the guitar-playing lawyer, the engineer who paints). But very few give up a steady paycheck to follow their bliss. So when Jean Nelson left her post as CFO of Haggar to open a vintage furnishings and consignment shop, it was a leap of faith.
An art history and vintage furniture buff, Nelson fills her Riverfront Boulevard store, Give & Take, with pieces ranging from campaign dressers to brutalist wall sculptures to iconic midcentury chairs. She also stocks a selection of paintings, both vintage and sold by local artists. But not all of her inventory boasts a pedigree or a high price tag. In the nearly eight months that Nelson spent culling treasures prior to opening the 5,600-square-foot space, she says she focused on pieces that were “unique, interesting, and high-quality.”
Give & Take specializes in “ready-to-go” merchandise, as opposed to furniture that needs a complete overhaul (although there is a smattering of “diamonds in the rough” stashed away in the store’s backroom). “Most of my customers come in looking for great pieces that are beautiful and don’t need to be refurbished,” Nelson says.
Surrounded by her beloved Knoll, Donghia, and Mies van der Rohe furnishings, Nelson says she’s found her true calling: “I had a great career, but my job in finance was a security blanket. Now I just wonder why I didn’t do this a long time ago. I haven’t looked back.”