Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Buyers are Getting Younger Thanks Heavens

There is plenty to read about these days about the graying heads of antique buyers--and how in five-ish years no one will be buying antiques because there are no young buyers..  This gloom and doom is certainly depressing as I hope to have my toe in the business till I croak.

But our experience this year in particular indicates that the vintage and antiques market does have a heartbeat--and with folks who do not get AARP magazine each month.

Independently,  Dear Husbola and I came up with the observation after the August Elkhorn--"Gee-the crowd is skewing younger these days."  We noticed more and more folks with school age children and on many occasions parents were describing and talking to the kids about the items.  We saw many kids carrying things they had obviously purchased.  We saw many young women--obviously in their 20s and 30s buying things--good good good.  And young couples buying.

Our shops are seeing younger buyers.  No more is it only gray heads wandering through thinking about the old days and saying "I remember my mother had one of those."  BLAH!

Now--we are certainly stocking different things than we have in the past.  We still work hard to stock the quirky the unusual and the "don't see it everyday items" that we so love to sell.  The repurposed market has exploded--buying widgets and fashioning things from them that are decorative and vintage.  I think that dangerously borderline on crafts--and we have not moved into that phase.  Taking an old rake and turning it into coat rack or buying a brown brown brown 1940s dresser and painting it all over with chalkboard paint is NOT going to happen in our garage--but I appreciate the new wave of customers it brings to the market.

Sales this summer have been very strong in all our venues.  Those folks who are lucky enough to have some disposable income seem to be spending--even if the average purchase price is lower than it once was.

Gotta run now.  I am on the trail to tracking down some of that chalkboard paint...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Elkhorn Antique Flea Market August Report

Dear Husbola and I were worried that the August Elkhorn might be a hot hot venture and we would regret signing up to be dealers.  August shows can be so hot--that it is uncomfortable to be selling in an unairconditioned building and the customers are so hot and sweaty that they just slog past your booth--not interested in much of anything.

Nice nice surprise this last Sunday that we awakened to dry weather in the 50s not the 90s and actually had to wear jackets the first few hours of the day.  Shoppers were out in droves--and selling was brisk both during set up on Saturday and on Sunday.  Buying was good on our end too-that always has to be factored into a show--dealer sales are paramount--but if I can scoop around and get goodies for resale--all the better.

Here are some general pictures of the market--enjoy--and consider going to the next market on Sept. 25th.  The May and September markets are reported to be the biggest and the best.






What is next on our antique calendar?--auctions auctions and more auctions!  Our shows are over for the year--so now we have to amass the treasures to continue selling in three shops in the fall and winter and even get a head start on the spring shows.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Midwest Summer Antiquing Observations

While roaming the Midwest this summer-a few observations come to mind about the current antique climate.
My version of a Top Ten List--

1.  Auctions are well attended--and prices realized are very strong.  There are not as many auctions-probably because fewer people are able to move from their houses due to the housing market slump.  But every auction we have attended this summer has few "bargains".  Dealers have to "go to the wall" for good unusual items.

2.  More and more women "of a certain age" are getting tattoos.  Can't help but smile when I think of what that unicorn and trellis of flowers will look like on that skin on a nursing home resident in a few decades.

3.  While we are on the case--there are too many people who should not be wearing shorts. Really people--didn't your mother tell you to look in a mirror from all sides before you leave the house???

4.  Summer sales and longer days does not necessarily mean that a mediocre antique shop gets any better inventory than in the heart of darkest winter.  Poorly run shops that do no advertising stay mediocre.

5.  Rest in peace Sandwich and Kane County.

6.  Viva La Elkhorn!  Alive and well and thriving.  Good management and clean--always a winner. (next Elkhorn Aug. 14)

7. Stock market volatility storms are being weathered by antiquers better than they were in '08.  Those who have disposable income to buy antiques are continuing to do so.  Thank you America!

8.  Buyers are not afraid to make really low ball offers on items.  We always counter offer and sell 90% of items we give reduced prices on.  But buyers are getting more gutsy with their offers.

9. More antique shows should go to the one day format.  Any one day shows we attend are jammed-and buying has been vigorous.  Two and three day shows are a waste of time and cost dealers precious overhead.  Never underestimate the thrill of "buy it today or the show is over" mentality.  The only winners on two and three day shows are the promoters.  They can charge more in booth rent and the tire kickers still attend on subsequent days.  Ask a few dealers--have a 12 hours one day show and see what happens.

10.  Buyers are out and about this summer in the Midwest.  More shops are folding--but that is still the "market correction" that happens in any industry.  If a dealer's sales are down--the usual indicators should be reviewed--is your merchandise fresh? Accurately priced for 2011 and not 1992?  Same old same old still does not sell.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gathering of Friends Antique Show Union Illinois Follow-up

This past weekend, we exhibited at the Gathering of Friends Antique Show in Union Ilinois.  The brainchild of my friend Lynne Eltrevoog, the sale took place on her fabulous farm outside this little "blink of an eye and you miss it town" in northern Illinois.
Illinois weather this summer has been challenging--and our first show day on Thursday was a doozey.  We were dodging raindrops most of the day--but the customers came-and came and CAME.  The weather improved on Friday and Saturday--and people kept coming in spite of very warm temperatures.  Please wander through the pictures--if you missed it--the show will be returning next year--date to be determined.
Farm Owner Lynne Eltrevoog and promoter of A Gathering of Friends Antique Sale





Just a note to all you antiquers--Lynne has barely BARELY scratched the surface--(did I say BARELY) on the farm finds in her barns and out buildings!

Sad Farewell Beautiful Lady of Paris

Adieu Belle Dame.... View from the beautiful blooming park behind the cathedral.