dAn’s Parent’s House isn’t just a curiosity shop, it’s a blast-from-the-past, time-warp sort of treasure chest. The kind of magical place where knick-knacks imbued with a particular mixture of nostalgia and charm leave you wondering whether you’re shopping for collectibles—or if they’re shopping for you. Just ask dAn, he’s the gatekeeper.
How true to life is your booth name? Is all this stuff actually in your parents’ house?
The name of the business was very literal when I started it. It was kind of a goof really. My wife Reina and I bought the house I grew up in from my parents. At some point we needed some extra money. We had heard about the Brooklyn Flea. We took a bunch of stuff from the attic and it turns out there were better things in the house than I had originally thought. Since then, the items you see are a mix of original and items I acquire for the business.
In addition to Star Wars paraphernalia and skeleton keys, among others, your business card says you specialize in “objects of interest.” What’s the most interesting object you’ve encountered over the years?
“Objects of interest” were always the wildcard items, things I stumbled across in my travels. These treasures hopefully come in large piles. I was on tour with my old record label [Crafty Records] a couple years ago. We happened to be in Virginia and ran into a huge sports bar that was open for the last day ever. It turns out that they were selling the contents. I ended up buying about 300 different beer taps. I then had to cram them in every crevice of the van and have the other five people in the van not hate me for the next two weeks we drove around. More recently, in Amsterdam I met someone who had a collection of several thousand advertising stick pins from the ’50s and ’60s (above). Needless to say, I brought back as many as I could carry. Come check them out this weekend if you’re around.
That’s a great question. I am a little biased but I would have to say the Food Fighters would probably take charge. Food Fighters are my favorite toy of all time (right). They were made in 1988. There were only 10 characters full of attitude and awesome weapons (i.e., a piece of pizza, donut, pancakes, taco, burger, etc.). I feel like they would take charge and make sure all of the Star Wars figures and little people parade back into the booth before the doors are open. I am always surprised all of the toys make it back mostly in order by sunrise.
And finally, as a longtime Flea resident, what wise words do you have to share with future vendors, in Brooklyn and beyond?
I can’t believe I have become a “longtime” resident. I still feel like I am figuring things out. There is always something to tinker with. My advice for future vendors: Don’t do this if you don’t love it. It is a lot harder then people think. The actual work is not the selling at the Flea, it’s everything else. I find that my success comes from being upfront and honest with my customers. We have a mutual admiration for each other. I have a good time with my booth and it translates into joy from people who wander through.