Saturday, November 21, 2015

Five Reflections from an Antique Dealer on a Snowy Saturday

Inches and inches and inches of snow have fallen Way Too Soon here in Northern Illinois.  Plans to work on some inventory clean up in the garage have given way to making chilli, digging through the Christmas closet and cleaning the burner drip pans on The Old Girl (1951 stainless steel Chambers stove in our kitchen)

This past week we headed to our shop space at Odana Antiques in Madison WI.  It was a day trip to slot in some fresh inventory following a really good selling period.  A few observations.

1.  Dealers in group shops tend to stuff their booths with waaaayyyy too much inventory.  Tables covered.  Walls covered.  Pathways blocked by too much stuff.  Less is more.  It has taken lots of harping from Dear One and I am finally listening.  Like packing a suitcase for a trip.  Lay everything out on the bed. Then pack half of it.

2.  Victorian Furniture.  Forget it.  No one wants it.  Many of us own it and love it.  But none of us will live long enough to have it come back into fashion.  Hard reality but reality.

3.  Mass produced stuff is selling for a song.  Wait--maybe dealers should be paying the customers to take it away.  Unless it is funky and from the 40s-50s-60s.  Our experience is that an item will sell if it has "the look" even if it is mass produced.  But to define "the look" is quite elusive and hard to explain.

4.  Condition is everything.  Everything.  Amazing to see dealers still trying to sell chipped, cracked and dinged stuff.  NO ONE WANTS IT.

5.  Pop up shops and shows  of one day duration is where it's at.  Following facebook and a few antique websites--the expensive to set up  multiple day shows may work for a few, but it is no longer the most successful venue for selling vintage and antiques. Average age of attenders at static multiple day shows?  Old.

6.  The antiques business is still enjoyable.  We often say "money does not just jump in your lap."  We work hard at it.  We are always refocusing what we are selling.  Part of the thrill is that you never figure it all out.

7.  What do the Paris photos have to do with this post?  Absolutely nothing. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

No More Concrete or Cast Iron Please

Dear One  and I spend many good hours wandering around looking for quirky things to sell.  There is nothing that makes a dealer smile more t...