Current owner Michael Sue Nanos talked about how the business’ “torch” got passed to her.
“I worked in an art store and [Devine] was a customer of mine, an art major who painted,” Nanos said. “I started making things for her and teaching classes. She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse when she retired. The business was 24 years old when I bought it. I’ve had it for another 15.”
What’s the appeal of miniatures?
“Somebody told me it’s control,” said Nanos. “It’s only you creating it. You make it what you want it to be.”
“You can have in miniature what you can’t have in the real world,” agreed employee Peggy Boggeln, adding, “It’s fun. The people are fun. The ideas and creativity that surrounds you is fun.”
“I build a lot of it myself,” added Nanos of some of her merchandise. “Most everything is handcrafted.”
The price of miniatures literally goes from a quarter in the bargain bin to $1,750 for a miniature Aspen tree whose individual leafs are all individually handcrafted.
While chatting, one of Nanos’s students came in with some miniature Mexican pastries she’d crafted at 1/12th scale at her request.
Nanos thinks fantasy fulfillment might be another attraction of miniatures. “Doing grandma’s farmhouse, or trying to capture a moment in time, there’s so many reasons,” she said for collecting miniatures. “There’s a huge range of what people do.”
Ms. Peggie’s has it all in miniature: animals, furniture, dolls — everything.
All ages are interested in miniatures, even young people. “I’ve got children I teach classes to once a month,” said Nanos.
Is Nanos grooming an heir apparent like she once was? “I wish I was,” she said. “I keep looking.”
Ms. Peggie’s also carries all the building supplies needed to make miniatures. “I always say I have the biggest lumber yard on the West Coast,” joked Nanos, who carries doll house miniature kits that sell for $200 plus.
Nanos is old school, preferring her brick-and-mortar place to selling over the Internet. “This is a niche, truly,” noted Nanos of her cottage industry pointing out it’s hands-on. “The miniaturist wants to touch, feel, look at, compare it to the other one that’s sitting next to it,” she said. “You can’t do that over the Internet.”
Nanos said there are less than a half dozen miniature places in all of California, pointing out, years ago, there were nine alone in San Diego County. “I’m the only one that has survived,” she said, adding she stays in business by being diverse.
“I try to have a really good selection so the mama can come in and satisfy her kid, and yet be appealing to the high-end collector, who is looking for artisan quality,” noted Nanos.
Miniature collection is more than a hobby.
“It’s a passion,” concluded Nanos. “It’s a fun journey. I love it.”
Ms. Peggie’s Place
5063 Cass St.
858-483-2621, mspeggiesplace.com, email@example.com