Nicole Balgley launched her business flipping vintage furniture on Instagram three years ago.
Now, she’s moved operations out of her living room and into a brick-and-mortar store in Cap Hill.
“I’m basically Steve Jobs,” Balgley joked.
Last week, the 28-year-old Denver native opened Here in Heaven, her vintage and home goods store, at 17 E. 11th Ave. on the ground floor of the 11th Avenue Hostel, which is currently being renovated.
“I used to walk past a store just a block away from this location on my way home from school and imagine how cute it would be to sell something of my own,” Balgley said. “I wasn’t sure what it was going to be back then, but I always liked the idea of being my own boss, so it’s pretty serendipitous.”
Here in Heaven features vintage furniture and home goods that Balgley and her friend Eleanor Clement find in estate sales, alleyways or Facebook Marketplace, and then flip or update for resale. Items range anywhere from $3 to $1,000, and the store also operates as a gift shop for the hostel. It’s open from 1-7 p.m. Monday through Friday with plans to eventually extend hours.
“Not everyone has time to go to an estate sale or a garage sale; thrifting takes a lot of time,” Balgley said. “It’s a matter of going everywhere you can as often as you can. You need to have your eyes open at all times and be willing to work for it. Facebook Marketplace is my new Instagram.”
Balgley said she started flipping furniture as a hobby, “except I don’t like calling it that because it devalues the work resellers put into selling,” while she was studying art at the University of Colorado Denver.
“I didn’t have a ton of money in college, so I’ve always been thrifty and mostly found furniture in alleyways,” Balgley said. “I’ve always found that vintage stuff has a lot of character. It’s built so much better, and we just don’t build stuff the same way anymore. I really appreciate the quality and just fell in love with it.”
She launched the Here in Heaven Instagram account in 2018 as a way to make some extra cash but geared up the business after graduating. Customers could visit her home and choose items to buy, or she would offer delivery services.
“I think everybody has this existential crisis after art school, where you’re like, ‘Now what?’” Balgley said. “It’s not easy to get a job as an artist, so you kind of have to create some sort of trade or craft out of what you learned. I already loved vintage items and had already been reselling them on Instagram, so I decided to really lean into it.”
Here in Heaven’s new 1,000-square-foot storefront was previously occupied by Meek Vintage, which moved out in February for RiNo. The owner posted about the vacant Cap Hill spot on Instagram, and Balgley immediately reached out.
“I hadn’t been looking for any sort of commercial real estate, but this just fell right into my lap, and I knew I needed to get a lot of money together really soon,” Balgley said.
She raised her prices on furniture she was reselling on Instagram, took out a loan and used some additional income she had from some property management side gigs in order to get the store up and running. Her boyfriend Gibson Gaines and 11-month-old Dobermann named Romeo also help her operate the business.
“I didn’t think it would happen for months, but my landlords ended up being amazing, small business-oriented people,” she said.
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