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In the Palm of Jeff Pierson's Hands


Recently, I went to Pop-Up Art Shop, a monthly event on Palm Avenue in San Mateo, CA where a few hip shops stay open late to exhibit local art and share their wares with neighbors, patrons, and like-minded passionates. Jeff Pierson, owner of Pierson 20th Century Design started the event to give artists an opportunity to show their work while bringing a new audience to his own curated shop of vintage mid-century goods.

[caption id="attachment_1501" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I was in my friend's shop when this postcard caught my eye and she told me about her friend, Jeff Pierson's shop, Pierson 20th Century Design. Developing genuine relationships with your favorite shop owners opens your circle of resources and people. You'll be amazed at how enriching your world can become."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1502" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Another date, Sept 1st, and gourmet food trucks have been added to this event! Come check it out!"][/caption]

If you ask me, that's Making Room for More! So, I met with Jeff to ask him how he made such a big splash in this charming little neighborhood:

SK: For starters, why did you decide to organize this event? What's been the response?

JP: Doing art shows were in the back of my mind since opening the shop, so when Red Square Boutique moved in next door I approached the owner, Alex von Bromssen. Melisa LaBancz-Bleasdale of Apt. 46 also wanted to get involved. Now people from the neighborhood love what we're doing and artists like seeing how their work mixes with the furniture.

SK: Jeff, you have a beautiful shop! How long have you been here?

Thanks. I opened just over a year ago, but I've been dealing in mid-century design for over 20 years at shows,  in collective spaces, and online. This was the next obvious move. I live in San Mateo and drive through this neighborhood often, so when this space, with its large windows and great light came available, I grabbed it. I've always thought San Mateo should have a source for great vintage design and now it does.

[caption id="attachment_1522" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Jeff's display at the Palm Springs Modernism Show in February"][/caption]

SK: Have you always been passionate about collecting furniture and art? When did you decide to make a business out of your passion?

I have been collecting something or other for my entire life. In the late 80's I was introduced to modern design of the 30's thru 60's and the passion really took hold. Soon, selling mid-century became a part-time business. About five years ago, with changes happening in my job, I decided to go full-time.

SK: What do you enjoy most about your work? What's the most difficult?

JP: The hunt and discovery is always the most satisfying aspect for me. I do enjoy educating younger people that come into the shop and pointing them in the direction of good design. But, it is difficult is making this work in the down economy right now.

[caption id="attachment_1509" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Jeff finds such unique pieces. He shares his knowledge and passion- that makes Pierson 20th Century Design a treasure of a shop"][/caption]

SK: What advice would you give to anyone deciding to follow their dream and start their own business?

JP: Be very passionate about what you do. That love of your work will get you through the rough times of running your own business.

SK: I see you have another Pop-Up Art Shop event on August, anything else coming up that you'd like us to know about?

JP: Yes! We're having two more receptions- Aug. 4th and Sept. 1st as well. And we're planning on having some gourmet food trucks too. We had one at this past event and it was a hit.

SK: Thanks, Jeff! I'll definitely be at the next event!

If anyone wants to join me, come down! We'll grab a bite and enjoy the art and treasures on Palm Avenue.


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