Tchotchkes can be a kind of gateway drug for design. "There's no limit to how many Tchotchke things you can own," said Annie Auchincloss, the homebuyer for the MoMA Design Store. “What can become an object is just endless. A beautiful kettle with a post-modern design can be completely impractical, but it can be displayed on a mantelpiece. "
"But I wonder what people see when they see a brown and yellow dinnerware set from the 1970s and it sells soon after it was released," added Ms. Auchincloss. “Is it the way it is photographed? Is that exactly what you are looking for? "
Instagram suppliers are "a version of a corner shop," she said. “I'm not sure if it was driven by the pandemic or just Instagram individualism, but now our homes are representative of us and our own style. Our most basic items like drinking glasses, serving plates, even our cutlery – we don't want to buy the CB2 or the restaurant supply version, we want something that speaks to the personality with which I permeate the rest of my home, the unique story I create. "
The many references to cartoons (Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger glasses, $ 18 at Starlight Vintage Emporium); in the so-called granny chic or grandmillennial style (hand-carved duck figure with red bow, at Oplessence antiques); or on past items (so many plastic phones) all point to a market for childhood nostalgia.
"It's upbeat and happy," said Ms. Auchincloss. "But then I also have this theory: It is these economic millennials who have been hit by a recession and a pandemic and are in this eternal state of childhood and are returning to their parents who ask, 'Can you help me?'"
Selling on Instagram is a type of entrepreneurship represented by young women whose lives have changed during the pandemic: moving or losing their jobs. "I've been selling real estate for 20 years," said Amanny Ahmad, 32, an artist and cook based in Denver and the owner of Puppy Pillow. “I'm usually the youngest and often the only woman. Now there is a line in front of the door and a lot of younger women are buying things to sell for their Instagram shops. "