Vintage is the New Black: Meet Ammon Johnson, Owner of Accent Minded Furniture

As we’re #adulting, we’re finding ourselves obsessing about furniture just as a much as clothing. Whether you love the modern feel and are becoming a plant-mom or your aesthetic is funky and vibrant, there are tons of hidden gems that exist in your local small vintage shops. Vintage has a place in our hearts and we’re always looking to get our hands on those one-of-a-kind pieces. My latest obsession with furniture and inter decor has increased now that I’m moving into a new apartment. Through word-of-mouth and browsing local stores, I heard of a super dope furniture and art store called Accent Minded, located in the heart of Chicago’s eclectic Pilsen neighborhood, Accent Minded is filled with quality art and finds curated by the owner, Ammon Johnson. I stopped in to admire the space, check out some pieces, get some inspo, and of course interview Ammon!

Rashima Sampson: Tell me a little about you and where you’re from.

Ammon Johnson: I’m from the West side of Chicago. I attended Southern Illinois University and studied Marketing.

RS: What made you interested in interior design? Did you always want to go into the creative aspect of marketing?

AJ: Actually no, what I enjoyed about Marketing at the time was studying the reasons why people buy. It’s completely changed due to technology today but I’m glad I was there in the ’90s to understand the foundation of it.

RS: What would you say fuel your love for vintage?

AJ: Growing up, we never had new furniture. It was cool but it was always used 99% of the time. That’s something I just grew up with and I knew there were ways to find old pieces of furniture and repurpose them to make them look good again.

RS: I think that’s great because vintage has become a market now and is gonna continue to be sought after no matter what year it is. Your pieces are great. Where do you collect them from–are you allowed to give away your plug? Lol

AJ: No it’s fine haha. I travel quite a bit. I was in Wisconsin yesterday, a few days before that I was in Indiana. I’ve been as far as Liverpool, England buying. The thing about this stuff is that it’s everywhere!  There’s not one place in the world where you can’t find old, vintage furniture. That’s what’s neat about it.

RS: That’s definitely cool! What’s your favorite vintage era when it comes to decor?

AJ: I like that ’70s. funky, fluffy vibe. I’m a sucker for like a tufted, velour, pink sheared sofa. Stuff like that.

RS: How long have you been in this space?

AJ: I’ve been in this store for about a year. I found myself to become sort of a hoarder. I felt that I needed a place to put some of this stuff that I was coming across. Kind of like clothes, I come across things that may not be for me but I could still recognize that it’s pretty cool.  Like I wouldn’t this piece in my house for example, but I’m sure someone else would like it.

RS: So did you ever have people coming to you for decor or aesthetic advice?

AJ: Not necessarily. They would just come to my place and see something they liked. I was in higher ed for many years as an administrator before I started selling furniture.

RS: Why did you choose the name ”Accent Minded” for your store?

AJ: Well, this was already the name of the store. My company, Wilcox4035 actually acquired the store and revamped it. My larger company. I’m still looking to acquire more small vintage shops as well, that’s the exciting part.

RS: I love how you market the furniture on Instagram, like turning furniture into street style models. We obviously love street style and this is something I haven’t seen before. What sparked this idea?

AJ: We envisioned the furniture like art that needs to be captured in a better space rather than just against a wall. It took me a while to come to that thought like, ”you know it would be kind of cool to put this couch in the middle of the street.” We can capture cooler pics with the chairs and stuff outside. You get to see it differently.

RS: Definitely. It gives it an edgier, cooler vibe.  I also saw that you did an installation at Agora Sneaker Ball with one of your chairs. It made for a great photo-booth!

AJ: One of my friends reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. We’re always looking to be a part of things that have a great impact and Kicks for the City is doing amazing things.

RS: Yeah, it was a nice collab. What other opportunities do you see yourself going for or what’s your next plan?

AJ: We’re focused on trying to keep cool pieces in the shop, maybe do more international travel and collect items from places we go. Making a presence here. We haven’t even looked at the tip of the iceberg yet, there’s so much cool furniture out here waiting for us to get. I’m looking forward to connecting with people who are as passionate about it as I am.

We’re excited to see the expansion of Accent Minded. Check out more pics of the store merch and be sure to follow Accent Minded on Instagram!