Q&A with The Distillery Market

Meet Catelyn Silapachai, one of our spring Flea Style vendors and owner of The Distillery Market in Austin.

“The Distillery Market is a curated collection of vintage and handmade goods,” says Catelyn, who owns the company with her brother, Clif. “In a world of mass production, we seek to provide an alternative that’s unique and authentic.”

Between an online shop, appointment-only showrom and curating collections for other stores, The Distillery Market has found a way to make a successful run in vintage retail today. Learn more about the drool-worthy biz and its sibling owners.

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How did The Distillery Market start?

My brother, Clif, and I started The Distillery Market in 2013. I was transitioning from a different career, and Clif and I brainstormed for a while before landing on the idea. We had always wanted to work together, and our mom sold antiques. Clif and I have very similar taste. We felt we could sell antique and vintage goods in a modern way.

How do you find your unique goods? What do you look for?

We find everything we sell at estate sales and flea markets. We mainly specialize in accessories, anything from jewelry to home décor items. We look for excellent-condition items that are different from what we regularly see. We wanted to provide an alternative that’s eco-friendly and sustainable because it’s vintage, but doesn’t smell like dust or have imperfections.

Do you have a favorite item you’ve sold?

We recently found some really unique antique gun powder flasks at an estate sale. They were originally from North Africa, most likely Morocco, and were made in the 1800s. They are decorated with inlaid stones and bone, and have beautiful filigree. We think they’d be really wonderful as wall hangings.

What is it like working with your sibling?

I manage all the day to day, buying, social media, etc. Clif does a lot of the photography and website fixes. We both are involved in strategy and idea generation. If you met both of us, you’d probably think we were very different, but we’re really quite similar and can make each other laugh endlessly or talk for hours about some obscure book we both loved. It’s a lot of fun to have one more thing in common in our business.

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What has been your proudest business moment?

We curate vintage jewelry collections for three boutiques: Hacienda and Sabia in Austin and Mill No. 3 in Dallas. We are very proud to work with these beautifully curated shops that share our focus on high-quality and unique items. We love being able to point people toward these gorgeous boutiques and know that our collections will be completely unique and tailored to their specific customers.

What has been the hardest moment so far?

The hardest part has been the constantly changing nature of having an online store. For example, when we first built our online shop three years ago, we spent months coding it and customizing it. We recently updated our shop using Shopify’s platform in two hours. It’s amazing how easy it is to have an online shop now, but that also means there’s more competition for web traffic than ever. You definitely have to stay on your toes to keep up.

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What does a Saturday off work look like for you?

I love to check out coffee shops on the weekend with a good book as my companion. Here in Austin, some of my favorites are Caffe Medici, Cenote, Zhi Tea (not coffee but tea), and Epoch. I volunteer as the foster coordinator with a greyhound rescue organization, and usually spend Saturdays catching up on my responsibilities for that. It’s a lot of fun, and I get to meet a ton of people doing it, not to mention I also get to meet a lot of dogs.

Tell us a bit about your new showroom.

We recently opened a showroom in East Austin. It’s located inside Loot Vintage Rentals, and we’re there by appointment. We are super proud to have a space for folks to come by and shop our vintage items in person.

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Shop The Distillery Market online at thedistillerymarket.com. Images courtesy of Amy Russell.