Interiors Interrupted: Frances Loom


Up until recently, buying antique rugs was an endeavor that involved one of two things: Plenty of disposable income or an abundance of insider savvy. For those with deep pockets, specialty dealers like Beauvais Carpets and high-end retailers like ABC Carpet & Home offered ample opportunities to invest — and we do mean invest. When purchased via these sellers, a high-quality antique Persian rug often begins at $20,000 and goes up from there. If you’re not in the private jet set, scoring a vintage find for less is possible — granted you have the time, energy and wherewithal to scour obscure flea markets and dusty estate sales.

Understanding this fragmented landscape – one operating within a framework of brick-and-mortar retailers and old-school personal connections – is key to appreciating the rise of @francesloom, an Instagram account-turned-white-hot-business founded by Kelly Vittengl. A former set designer, Vittengl began sourcing rugs as part of her job. When she discovered she had a keen eye for the unique and a pesky tendency to over-purchase, she began sharing her antique finds on her Instagram account. In due time, an entire business was born, with Vittengl using the ever-expanding reach of Instagram to market her vintage rugs on @francesloom. Cleverly leveraging the real-time, on-demand facets inherent to digital media, she “drops” a new assortment of rugs each Thursday, often selling out of the week’s assortment in several days. And because of her direct-to-consumer model and low overhead – she has no showroom – Vittengl is able to keep her prices relatively accessible; they begin in the hundreds and max out around $6,000.

In inverting industry’s traditional paradigm of “inside” access, Vittengl has democratized the antique rug buying process, taking her followers on a curated journey of vintage discovery. Fittingly, the response is resoundingly positive — with over 66,000 followers to date, @francesloom has seen a steady growth of 8% over the past year and an average engagement of 2.2%. Yet, perhaps more interestingly, Vittengl herself has become a person of broader influence: Into The Gloss showcased her daily beauty routine; A Cup of Jo featured her in a “Week of Outfits.” In this sense, Vittengl exhibits the true ripple effect of innovation on Instagram – her business has not only earned her authority in the interior design space, it has also provided her with agency to become a cultural tastemaker in other areas. In this sense, she’s a fine case study for both brands and individuals seeking influence in their respective spheres.