Shop Etsy

Featured Shop: The Heirloom Shoppe

Apr 9, 2018

by Sharon Steel

In 2012, after her mother passed away and her father moved into a nursing home, Sue Templin found herself sorting through a house full of beautiful antiques that her parents had collected together over the years. She couldn’t keep everything herself, but she knew the carefully chosen items held an appeal that went far beyond mere sentimental value. In the hope of finding new homes for her family keepsakes, Sue, a longtime photographer who already ran an online art shop, turned once again to Etsy and launched The Heirloom Shoppe. “I love to take photos, and vintage things have always been of great interest to me,” Sue explains. “I finally put two and two together.”

Explore the Heirloom Shoppe collection

Since that serendipitous realization, Sue has passed along the majority of her parents’ antiques to grateful vintage collectors, and moved on to sourcing rustic treasures at flea markets and estate sales near her home of Elgin, Illinois. As time passes, her twin passions of photography and vintage continue to coalesce in surprising, creative ways. “I never thought I’d start a vintage shop,” says Sue. “It just wasn’t in the program. But now, I’ll be inspired to take creative photos of my vintage things, and sell those in my photo shop. And I still love hunting for vintage pieces—it really gives me a thrill!”

Read on to learn how Sue repurposes heirlooms for a modern world, and shop The Heirloom Shoppe collection.

Tell us about your shop name. What constitutes an heirloom for you?

Everything I was selling when I started out, I considered to be family heirlooms. Then, at my first estate sale, I felt very sad looking through this person’s belongings. I even cried a bit, but someone turned to me and said, “This is good! All these things are going to be repurposed, not thrown away.” From there on out, that’s the way I looked at it: The items I sell will eventually become heirlooms for someone else.

What are some of the ways you’ve repurposed older pieces?

Well, for example, we don’t tend to use pitchers the way people used to: My customers put flowers in them and style them in vignettes on their shelves. My mother was a huge reader and had a massive amount of books that I didn’t know what to do with. My idea was to take the dust jackets off the books and color-coordinate them. People can still read them, or they can buy them as decor. The fact that my customers are now enjoying my mother’s beloved books makes me really happy.

How would you describe the Heirloom Shoppe aesthetic?

I’ve gravitated toward the vintage farmhouse look, and I’m glad a lot of people out there like it, too. I’ve got to personally like a piece in order to want to sell it. That’s what makes me feel so comfortable with it all. And that’s also why I take so much care with the photography, making sure things like the little girls’ clothes I sell are clean and ironed before I send them out, and that I package things nicely, too. That’s what I would expect, so that’s what I do. I want to make everything feel special.

What’s the first thing you’re attracted to when you’re out looking for antiques?

When I go to a flea market, there’s so much of everything, but certain pieces just stand out: any kind of white enamel pitcher, dovetailed crates and copper pieces, things like that. I look for wooden dough bowls, too, and even old kitchen scales, which are pretty desired these days. I learn more about certain types of pieces the more I acquire them.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I’ll go to estate sales on Fridays and Saturdays, bring stuff home, and clean it up. Then I wait for a nice, sunny day, set up my table in the living room, and take pictures and edit them. I love the photography part of the process, and I love editing the photos in Photoshop, too. I don’t add filters, but I make sure that the light is right and things are brightened up. Then, I start listing. I list every week—every day, if I can.

Do you incorporate vintage pieces in your own home?

My house is filled with antiques, and I much prefer buying a vintage piece to going to a big-box store. I have a pie safe, a dry sink, a bookcase. There was a chippy white table in my parents’ basement, and I don’t know if they ever used it. But when I saw it, I disassembled it, took the legs off, and now I use it as the background for some of my photographs.

How do you stay active with the vintage seller community on Etsy?

I’m a member of the Etsy team Vintage and Main. We have a blog, and we create little collages of items that we put on Instagram and tag other team members. We’re just this wonderful little group, and we are very supportive of each other. The cool thing is, we’re located all over the world! Some of us are in Canada, and there are a few in France, too.

Can you share your advice for someone looking to incorporate more vintage decor in their home?

In the end, you just have to like it. It doesn’t matter if it’s popular or not, because you have to like the piece itself. I do hope that people looking for vintage will choose to buy true vintage, because things were made better back then. When my husband and I got married, we had nothing. My grandmother was moving into a nursing home at the time, so we got all these pieces—pieces that are still the way they were 30 years ago. I’ve taken my daughter around my house and said, “Please, make sure you keep this—this is a family thing.”

Follow The Heirloom Shoppe on Facebook and Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of The Heirloom Shoppe.

Shop The Heirloom Shoppe


  • VadimMoroz

    Vadim Moroz from VadimMorozArt said 3 years ago

    Nice shop! Congratulations on the feature! All the Best!

  • cardhugs

    Rosemary Lambert from cardhugs said 3 years ago

    Neat shop. Vintage items, sweet memories! Keep up the great work. Congratulations!

  • DecoUno

    DeUno from DeUno said 3 years ago

    Beautiful photos, well presented! Great to see old things given new life! Congratulations on the feature!

  • tabbey13

    Teena from Abbeyoaks said 3 years ago

    Congrats on the feature! I like vintage farmhouse also and the pictures are really nice

  • o2ofdtfe

    Aleksandra from CherryBombArtShop said 3 years ago

    So stylish shop!

  • solomia7

    Monika Moroz from NickoArts said 3 years ago

    I love vintage items because they often provide a special memory or awake curiosity in regards of their history. Would be nice to keep the dust jackets with the books since many collectors consider them important :). Congratulations on the feature of your beautiful store. I wish you much success.

  • tlpjenpierce1

    Jennifer and Gary Pierce from LoftAtticEarth said 3 years ago

    Best wishes, Sue, congratulations on the feature! Repurposing items with heritage and character is a worthy pursuit! May all you flea market excursions be bountiful!

  • beatrizmcdavid

    Beatriz McDavid from AlegriaCollection said 3 years ago

    Wonderful feature and fabulous vintage shop--one of my favorites on Etsy. Congratulations, Sue!

  • babsfsu

    Barbara Gable from CrazyLovely said 3 years ago

    I love your story! It's hard letting family pieces go when you have too much, and I love the idea that they will be someone else's heirlooms.

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 3 years ago

    Lovely shop and great items. Congrats on the feature. So nice to see a vintage shop here.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 3 years ago

    Great article! Congrats!

  • blubirdnest

    Patricia from FromNanasHopeChest said 3 years ago

    Great feature! I love her photos. She made some important points -- but what you love, and choose a good day with lots of natural light to shoot as many items as possible! Now I have to go check out that adorable teapot!

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 3 years ago

    I love all the vintage items! It is just hard to judge the real year of the item. Congratulations on the feature.

  • thewildplum

    Christina from TheWildPlum said 3 years ago

    I loved reading this. Such a great feature and shop! Congratulations, Sue. ❤️

  • FieldsOfVintage

    Fields Of Vintage from FieldsOfVintage said 3 years ago

    I love this story! The behind the scenes of how you manage your time with photography and posting is great. I also find it incredible how neat your work space is. Great feature.

  • kgarrett1966

    R.M Garrett from ArtisticAcrylics said 3 years ago

    Remarkable story of tribute and love for your parents. Thank you for sharing your story, and touching our hearts to remind us to live in gratitude everyday, and treasure our loved ones while we can. Your shop is beautiful, and I wish you and your family continued blessings and success!!

  • larenaissancegirl

    RG from LaRenaissanceGirl said 3 years ago

    Aw, what a lovely feature and beautiful shop. Congratulations!

  • calloohcallay

    Callooh Callay from CalloohCallay said 3 years ago

    Fantastic article, and fantastic shop! Congratulations, Sue!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from KarmaCodeOne said 3 years ago

    Terrific article ~ Beautiful shop ~ So happy to see Vintage featured ~!~ Cheers to much continued success

  • ButterflyFeetShop

    Sherri from ButterflyFeetDigital said 3 years ago

    Two fabulous shops, congrats on the feature!

  • tegansutherland

    Tegan Sutherland said 3 years ago

    I own quite a few of those books! Your mom had excellent taste. ;) And there is nothing like a gorgeous white enamel piece!

  • pamelaleo

    Pamela from HappyFortuneVintage said 3 years ago

    Congratulations, Sue on this fabulous Etsy feature. So well deserved!

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    Sujata from TreasuredMemoryLane said 3 years ago

    Fabulous vintage items! Great article! Congratulations on the feature!

  • tonopah2az

    Lucy Phillips-Munguia from SaddlemountainJewels said 3 years ago

    Very nice, I have a lot of collectibles and antiques I inherited, Mom never threw anything away so I'm still using the knives, utensils and kitchen stuff from the 1920s onward. Your collection is very nice indeed.

  • LadyInPurple

    Jennifer Tyson from UrbanDesertNM said 3 years ago

    Wow, Sue your photographs are amazing, not to mention your pieces! My parents loved all things vintage before vintage was cool! ;) Best wishes for you and your shop!

  • mrsakarn

    cindy Q. from mrsakarn said 3 years ago

    Your story warms my heart! I went to my first Estate sale several weeks ago and I felt really blessed for the opportunity to walk through someone's house and see how they lived and all the nice vintage items they had . I honestly could have brought the entire house. When you have a passion for vintage, you learn to appreacitate it when others share their family treasures with others, so they can continue to be loved . Thank you for sharing your family heirlooms with us!!!!!!

  • beachdaisy7

    Kim Cole from BeachDaisyJewelry said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop with lovely vintage items! Congratulations on the feature!

  • IzjuminkaOlga

    Olga Kaplina from KnitteditemsbyOlga said 3 years ago

    Nice shop! Vintage items, sweet memories! All the Best!

  • minipotterybyanita from potterybyAnita said 3 years ago

    So glad to see some of the ways you "stage" your photos! I'm an amateur photog, myself, have always loved taking photos! Congrats on being Featured and love the pottery / ceramic pieces, especially! Happy Future Sales! 💜💜💜

  • kikakira

    Wing Sum Yim from FashionTextile said 3 years ago

    nice photos

  • tippleandsnack

    Tipple and Snack from tippleandsnack said 3 years ago

    Such a fabulous shop and so fun to see behind the scenes of an Etsy Vintage shop. Congrats on the feature, Sue!

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 3 years ago

    Your natural sense of style is gorgeous. In the end you have to love it is so true! Love your photography, thanks for sharing, great feature !

  • rrkirh61

    shikha from KraftikaCo said 3 years ago

    Beautiful n Inspirational!

  • inmyigloo

    Kerri R. Klein from inmyigloo said 3 years ago

    Congrats Sue! This is just so much awesome! I love the feature and your items look stunning!

  • 1StopSteampunkShoppe

    One Stop Steampunk Shoppe from OneStopSteamShoppe said 3 years ago

    Lovely photos! : ) Congratulations on the feature.

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis said 3 years ago

    Lovely shop! Congrats on the feature and best wishes for achieving all your goals and dreams :)

  • StoryTellersVintage

    Ms. Vintage from StoryTellersVintage said 3 years ago

    Congratulations Sue! Always love your shop!

  • Glassbeacher

    Glass Beach from GlassBeachSeaGlass said 3 years ago

    OMG!!! LOVE!!! What a neat shop! Thanks for sharing your shop and process!

  • Vintagerous

    J Rose from Vintagerous said 3 years ago

    Fantastic feature of a wonderful vintage seller! As a fellow member of Vintage and Main, I am trilled to see Sue get this well deserved attention! She is a gem of a seller and her photography is outstanding. Very inspiring and exciting to see this.

  • infinitlit

    Flair Nouri from FlairPaintings said 3 years ago

    I love your shop thank you for sharing!!!

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 3 years ago

    Nice works!

  • prettyasapouch

    anni from OutAndAboutVintageII said 3 years ago

    A big fan of your lovely shop! Love your use of your parent's table for a backdrop for some of your photos, so resourceful and sweet! Congratulations on being featured!

  • YouAreForeverBlessed

    Kristin from FoundBlessings said 3 years ago

    Lovely! Great to see antiques and vintage showcased!

  • VedaArts

    brooke wandall from BrookeWandall said 3 years ago

    very nice shop! Congratulations!

  • SeasideRoseCreations

    Roselle from SeasideRoseCreations said 3 years ago

    Congrats on being featured! Well deserved!

  • silpionelf

    Karen from KnitPeddler said 3 years ago

    Congratulations on being featured! Your shop and photography are beautiful!

  • kurkav13

    Katerina from SuperbStuff101 said 3 years ago

    Like reading my own story... very similar. I love this shop, all its listed items, the photos and the story behind all this.. Congratulations Sue! Beautiful stuff! Wow.

  • SouvenirAndSalvage

    Mary Jo and Rachael from SouvenirAndSalvage said 3 years ago

    Beautiful photography, listings and back story! And so nice to see a vintage seller being featured! Congrats on the feature and best of luck in all your future endeavors!

  • hillcountryhippie

    Lula from TexasRockstarVintage said 3 years ago

    Nice story and shop. :)

  • simplysuzula

    Susan from SimplySuzula said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop and great story!! Fabulous feature!

  • unatuna

    Oonah from unatuna said 3 years ago

    Thank you for this article!! I found it very inspiring. I am an avid thrifter and estate sale goer. I find some of my pieces that way but this has inspired me to pursue it further.

  • HeartOfTheHunter

    Eric Vachon from HeartOfTheHunter said 3 years ago

    Great shop! Beautiful collection! Congratulations Sue!

  • gmbmmfuc

    Susan Chinouth from PillowAndPoem said 3 years ago

    Beautiful enamelware! Best of luck!

  • YearsAfter

    Sharon from YearsAfter said 3 years ago

    Wonderful feature! Love your vintage items! I can relate and felt so sentimental as well going through others belongings. But I feel we're cherishing the past with those who lived and loved. We're sharing them with others into the future. That is a beautiful thing! Congrats!! Fabulous job!

  • tempiku76

    TK David from MantisGoods said 3 years ago

    The arc of the driveway is what’s left, where someone built a house and tended a lake to walk beside, discussing politics and how a tree moves in the wind. Its music is a jetty drifting away from the boathouse whose rolled-shut metal door tricks visitors into thinking it holds a life raft. The house drifts beyond its purpose, is demolished for a car park and picnics and returns in a special room, small, sturdy, becoming anonymous as its windows empty, enormous insects swanning around — they own the place —  occasionally stunning themselves on the glass. ("Swans" by John McAuliffe)

  • StyleGraphicDesign

    Maria from StyleGraphicDesign said 3 years ago

    Elegant items!!

  • maiamingdesigns

    Maia Ming Fong from MaiaMingDesigns said 3 years ago

    Great photos with such a simple backdrop setup, nice shop!

  • MyFleaMarketFinds

    Kay from MyFleaMarketFinds said 3 years ago

    My kind of shop! Congratulations on this lovely feature!

  • blondenono

    blondenono said 3 years ago

    I am looking for someone to take some Angora cat hair and make it into a scarf for me. Or a hobo bag. Please contact my ASAP, I will have the hair tomorrow! Thanks. Nola Butler

  • SallysVintageKitchen

    Sally from SallysVintageKitchen said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop! Congratulations on the feature!

  • KoriKids

    Ela from KoriKids said 3 years ago

    Very interesting photos. Congratulations!

  • MysticalRaindrops

    Jeannie from MysticalRaindrops said 3 years ago

    I've always liked speckled dishware. You do such nice photography.

  • nsyaaoyf

    Elena Golovina from DressEmbroideredRU said 2 years ago

    Interesting items. And very beautiful photos!

  • gsalehunter

    GSale Hunter from GSaleHunter said 2 years ago

    Good to see you being featured. The first photo I saw of yours while occasionally browsing was around Christmas last year with the photo of your of little metal red trucks - I knew your shop was special just with that one photo. So happy for you that your talent and "eye" are being noticed! Cat

  • MomsantiquesNthings

    Janine from MomsantiquesNthings said 2 years ago

    Congratulations Sue!!! The Heirloom Shop has been one of mine & my daughter's favorites for years, my daughter featured her on one of her blog posts, in fact. Love your shop, photos are always amazing and at Christmas time I look forward to seeing your listings. Kinda makes you want to jump right in the pictures! Congrats again and wishing you all the best for your continued success!!

  • UnitySandCeremony
  • laurenblythedesigns

    Lauren from laurenblythedesigns said 2 years ago

    congrats Sue- what a great feature and your shop is just gorgeous!

  • rhondastubbs2

    Rhonda Stubbs from RhondaCorner said 1 year ago

    Great Story. Thank you for sharing..

  • rhondastubbs2

    Rhonda Stubbs from RhondaCorner said 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • tt38qd5d

    Umesh Vigg from InspiringAbode said 292 days ago

    Congratulation on appearing!!

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