Taking Care of Business with The Vintage Round Top
Paige and Smoot Hull own and operate The Vintage Round Top, a Texas-based brand comprising a charming vacation rental property and a retail line of artisan-made home goods, handpicked antiques and custom hotel amenities.
When the couple approached Flea Style about participating in our Summit, we took one look at what they do and invited them to be part of our family. We’re over the moon about this smart, stylish pair, who will discuss their inspiring startup story at the Summit.
Before you get to know them in person, get to know them here. (Paige answered our questions below.)
How did you guys meet? We first met when Smoot owned and operated nightclubs and restaurants in the Houston area. I ran a modeling agency that produced fashion shows and events that were held in his establishments. People are often surprised to hear we were just friends for 15 years before we started dating and have been married for almost 16.
What’s it like working together every day? It’s not for everyone, but it works for us! Luckily, we have very similar tastes and styles, but we also possess unique skills that make us stronger as a team. Our collaborative efforts are much better than if we were working alone. However, there are times that crisscrossing marriage, parenting and business can present challenges. We have found that respectful, open and honest communication is the key, even at the risk of hurt feelings.
We read the history of The Vintage Round Top on your website. What’s been the biggest challenge since launching the business? Trying to prioritize the opportunities we’ve been blessed to receive and knowing which ones make the most sense for our growing brand. It’s also the juggle of being working parents and living in a devices-in-our-faces world. Social media and the demands of a growing business can occasionally be a slippery slope when raising children.
What’s been the most rewarding? Realizing the dream of finding something we could do creatively together and feeling God lead us to that place. We also love hearing the stories of how our business has affected and inspired others through either our style aesthetic, lifestyle or in going after our dreams.
Do you miss “show biz,” so to speak? I don’t! Partly because I worked in the business for 22 years, but also I didn’t agree with some of the practices within the industry. What I did miss was the opportunity to use my creativity and to be a part of a “tribe.” With this business, we’ve again found our tribe and then some. What a blessing for both of us to experience two exciting careers in our lifetime — however this one feeds our soul.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into the lodging business? Always look at your business from the guests’ perspective and figure out ways to make their stay unique and memorable. Take advantage of all of the online booking services, and make sure you have beautiful photos and a well-written lodging agreement.
What’s your very favorite thing about The Vintage Round Top? Everything! But most importantly the opportunity to meet and work with amazingly, over-the-top talented and creative people. To get to create spaces, products and workshops that touch others in a positive way. And the fact our vacation home rental turned into a multifaceted brand that has given us the opportunity to share our aesthetic and piece of heaven with others.
What will your guests find most surprising? How peaceful, relaxing and inspiring the space makes them feel. We hear this all the time and feel it ourselves when we get to stay. Also, the fact the town of Round Top is developing into (as Texas Monthly dubbed it) “the Aspen of Texas.” A town of 90 people, an hour and half between Houston and Austin and only three and a half hours from Dallas, boasts numerous art galleries, restaurants, great shopping and a precious pie stand (Royers Pie Haven) with morning lattes.
What is “a modern vintage life”? It’s honoring a time when life was much simpler, keeping traditions alive and at the same time embracing the modern world we live in. Anywhere from turning off electronics, to marrying passion with purpose, to most importantly living with intention. It’s consciously raising our children to be respectful, to give back, to experience life in a way that isn’t so fast. It’s trying to hang onto a few old-fashioned ways that served us well and we feel will serve them well too. The challenge is how to co-exist between these worlds.
What are the key elements of “modern vintage style”? Pairing modern, clean lines with just the right amount of vintage and reclaimed touches. We let our white walls act as the canvas for our collection of timeworn pieces. It lets them be the star and gives them new life. These conversation pieces ooze history and we want their stories to be handed down from generation to generation.
Give us three quick picks to love from your current online inventory. We’re really proud of our RVT-branded, artisan-made products, so we’d have to say first our Swiss Army-inspired pillows. Next would be our handmade artisan bar soap. And lastly, the French vintage collection of metal goblets we found on our last buying trip to Provence.
Have you ever sold something in the shop and later wished you’d held onto it? It happens all the time! If the truth be told, I really want to keep it all. However, the “ones that got away” were a pair of beautifully distressed leather club chairs (shown above) we found in a Provence flea market. It was our first buying trip to France, and we were being mentored by Tim and Carol Bolton. The chairs remind us of that special trip and time in our lives. They were also some of the coolest we’ve ever seen. We’ll never get over selling them.
Dogs or cats? Dogs for sure!
Facebook or Instagram? Instagram.
Magazines or Internet? Magazines. I’m old school.
Country or rock? Rock — alternative.
Long walks or long naps? Long naps.
Coffee or cocktails? Both — in that order!
Photos: soap: Sarah Best; goblets: Natalie Lacy Lange; club chairs: Haylei Smith; all other images: Laura Morsman