Monday, 8 July 2013

A New venture

Well its been awhile since my last blog a lot has happened we have held 2 vintage fairs.  If any one say's it's easy don't believe em.  Norton Canes community centre was our first event.  It was also the first fair held there so lots of promoting and work to do for this one.  I do all of the organising and promoting myself a lot via the internet well I have to have some excuse for sitting on the laptop all day. 

The venue was found back in April of this year
The venue found now the planning measuring the room working out how many stalls we can fit into the room making sure every one has enough room.  There is nothing worse than going to a fair where your squashed in you can't get around the stall and me being on the plus size not being able to get behind the stall, because the organiser is too greedy and wants to get too many dealers into the available space.
The room is bright with easy access perfect for fairs. Measuring done now to the floor plan 33 stalls all with easy access with room for a 6ft paste table in front. 
Now all we have to do is get the dealers to stand the fair not an easy task I might add where do you find 33 people willing to take a chance on  a new venue.  This is where all my years in the trade come in useful.  I have lots of friends in the antiques trade some we have known for over 20 years and bless em they did us proud I didn't fill the stalls but we manged to fill  27 not bad for a first event.
The banners ordered and the first one up before the end of April
For 2 months promoting with a vengeance leaflets designed and printed 5000.  Distributed to every antiques and collectors fair we stood and some we didn't thanks again to friends in the trade who took leaflets to their fairs.  Adverts sorted in the trade magazine.  No end of promoting via Face book.  As well as this fair we had the Avon road fair to promote which ran the week after.
The week before adverts go into the local newspapers
The day of the fair glorious sunshine what a day wonderful for car booting but not good for indoor fairs.  Now the stress starts with a vengeance will we get any one through the doors.  There's a big fair on in Derby will they go there? 
The dealers did me proud they bought some great pieces. The fair looked fantastic really good quality.
All we needed were the people to come.  First trade buyers arrived at 9am then at 10am we opened the doors to the public.  No queue at the door just a couple drifting in was it going to be a disaster.
Slow is not the word we had customers trickling all through out the day by the end of the fair we counted 108.  Not good I would have liked at least another hundred to cover costs
Some dealers did ok others did really badly I chatted to all of the dealers on the day and can sympathise with them not taking any money, as the organiser I want them all to do well.  All I can say is hand on heart I did everything I possibly could to get people through the door.  The weather was against us the first really decent day of the year.  I know I would have rather been outside.  It was a gamble doing a fair during the summer months but hopefully getting the fair up and running during the summer will give us time to build for the winter months when they should be much busier. 
Not a complete disaster but for 3 months work planning and outlay the return was very poor. 
Look on the bright side we have another on the 26th of July all those that came hopefully will come again and tell their friends and bring more people.  I am still promoting this and our other fair.  I am determined to make this one successful it is such a nice venue.
I have dealers booked into do the next one so it's all go again.  I am glad that even though we didn't have a totally successful day the dealers who have rebooked do understand that these things happen and short of me doing a rain dance and praying for rain there was not a great deal I could do.
Lets hope the next is even better.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Confession of a hoarder (collector)

Well its another wet and miserable rainy day in England.  You would think we would be used to it by now.  Bring back the sun.  It has given me time to think about sharing a secret. I am a hoarder.  Not in the piles of rubbish and crap you see on tv type of hoarder.  I like nice things and I like to collect. I have been hoarding for 40 years plus.  I think I get it from my parents.  Also self confessed hoarders.  I always remember my dad saying once he might not have a lot of money in the bank but he has a lot of nice things.  Well that's me.  If I see a piece I must have I buy it.  I see it as my pension fund lets face it with interest rates so poor at the moment my money is better invested in something I can see enjoy and preserve for future generations.  I only buy what I like every thing else I sell. 
I have 2 main collections my glass and my pin cushion dolls
My glass this has been my main collection for over 30 years I collect Monart glass from the Ysart family I will also stretch to Vasart dating from the 1930's to the 1950's made in Scotland Perth this is just a small selection. 
All free blown each piece is unique you can have the same vase same colours same size same shape but they will be different
My partner Chris tried for many years to buy me a covered bowl (the one on the left)  We kept being outbid now when you put £750 on a small covered dish you would expect to buy it but no.  I got very lucky one day on Ebay this one got listed on a buy it now for £145 a real bargain.  It wasn't listed for very long.
I say this is my expensive collection as most pieces I buy are in the hundreds of pounds thanks to people on TV making people aware of how wonderful it is.  It's a pity the experts don't always get it right and they buy pieces that are not Monart and have probably never been anywhere near Scotland.
I also collect pin cushion dolls.  This is what I call my cheap collection.  But as in the way of all  collections the rarer items become not so cheap.  It has quickly grown into another I have to save for collection.
They come in all shapes and sizes mainly made in Germany.  They date from Victorian times to the modern day.  you can still get the more common dolls from a few pounds something like the little lady in the pink dress 3rd doll from the left would cost less than £10 and was sold originally for cake toppers or soda straw toppers.  The doll behind her made by Geobles on the other hand would cost anything from £100 to £250 pounds.  Prices are rising rare finds like the fawn can command even higher prices.
I just thought I would share a few pictures today of my main collections these also have led to other collections for example the pin cushion ladies have led onto me collecting German porcelain New york and Rudelstadt  some thing that I never thought I would collect figures but there you are progression collections grow and evolve

 I could go on all day about the collections and these are just mine lol.  Chris also collects. 

That will be for another rainy day.




Sunday, 16 June 2013

Drop into Coven antiques and collectors fair

Not having a fair booked today or organising one.  What's the next best thing, looking around one doing a little networking.  The chosen venue today being Coven antiques and collectors fair.

A small venue holding around 30 dealers the fair looked to be fully booked or not obviously covered by other stall holders.  Nice light room.  I was told by a couple of dealers that the stall rent was £20. An average price for fairs now.  

The quality was fair to medium not many antiques but plenty of collectables from all price ranges.  Plenty of costume jewellery and one lady selling gold and silver. 

The fair is a regular one being held every 3rd Sunday in the month.  This was the last one until September. 

I didn't find much to buy only this

Lock Worcester bamboo vase and a piece of costume jewellery. 
You can always tell when a fair is not too good the atmosphere of the place is very depressing dealers are quick to drop prices without asking.  The dealer who sold me the vase dropped the price by £10 with out my asking.  I know it was quite when I was there but it wasn't too early in the day.  I arrived just after 11am. 
Not that I minded as I was happy to have paid the asking price. 
Talking to the organiser she said that they didn't usually  have a fair in May and June but as the dealers had requested it they had put one in.  This may account for the poor attendance while I was there.  Even so people were drifting in slowly and I have had reports from one of the dealers who stood the fair that it did get busier in the afternoon.

Mission accomplished morning out looking for new stock leaflets distributed to dealers a very profitable morning.  Why profitable when I wasn't selling?  I hear you ask.  Well I was taught from a young age you don't make your money when you sell an Item you make the money when you buy it.  If you don't buy it right you won't make money.

Coven antiques fair was an ok fair not too big a nice village fair.  Worth dropping in for a nosey around just in case you pick up that special piece.  I will certainly be keeping an eye on the calendar for the next one.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Whats the difference between Vintage and craft?

When is Vintage Craft

Yet again I have spent the better of 2 days sending messages back and forth explain why a lady can't stand at one of my fairs. 

I wonder what has the education of a nation has come to when people assume vintage is crafts.  No its wrong craft is not vintage.  If your going to have a craft fair have a craft fair if your going to have vintage fairs then have vintage but not a vintage fair that is all crafts and the odd vintage dealer thrown in just to make the numbers up.  Then call the craft dealers vintage inspired because they use reclaimed fabrics.  Its still crafts.  Don't get me wrong there is a place for these type of fairs and dealers are doing very well with them and organisers.  But can't you call em what they are Craft and vintage fairs. 

I organise Vintage collectors fairs.  Dateline fairs of pre 1980's and advertise those fairs as being vetted so why is it I have to explain to people that we don't have craft stalls and we don't do cup cakes (to be discussed at a later date).  Do you not know the difference or what dateline means. 


Vintage is any item that is made after 1920's any item made before the 1920's is considered antique.  A vintage item can be any age even 1 year old basically any second hand item is vintage (of another age).  Within the vintage criteria there are Art deco, Art modern, Retro.  As time moves on these vintage items will in turn become antique. 

Dateline fair

A dateline fair is a fair where no item on display is after the date of the date line for example a 1980's dateline means nothing made after 1989 can be shown at this fair.

So if it was made after 1990 you can't show it but if it was made before it's fine.  I hope this helps to make it a little clearer.

Craft fairs

Definition of craft is something made from something else by hand.  whether the materials used are new or reclaimed the item is still a craft item.  If vintage fabrics are used the item is still new it has just been made.  Now here's where it gets tricky if a craft item has been made previously and been used then it is vintage. Reworked items are still craft if you make a cushion out  of a scarf its craft.  Curtains into an outfit its still a new outfit just made. 

I hear lots of names being bandied about like vintage inspired hell its new most of the fabrics used are new too. 

I hope I have helped in some way in defining the difference between Vintage and Craft.  I know a lot of people are getting confused.

The view of a few of our regular dealers Claire Cole and her daughter Maisie.  They work hard to find real vintage stock.

my good friends Ray and Joyce have a mix of vintage and antiques
That's me rant over I am sure I will still get people asking if they can stand with there vintage inspired crafts made from vintage fabrics and I will be explaining the difference once again.  But at least know I can tell them to go read my blog and blog off.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A week of antiques fairs

Uttoxeter race course

A busy week for us started off with 3 days at Uttoxeter race course, setting up day on Friday we started out at 9am loaded up and arrived just after 11am.  The weather couldn't have been better glorious sun shine with a slight breeze perfect for stalling up out side.   By 5pm we had finally set all the tables up and unpacked the stock ready for the off at 7:30am the next morning.  My partner Chris had to work on the Friday so it was just myself and my parents stalling out on the Friday.  My parents were staying over night with the stock while I travelled back home to spend the night there.  Then both Chris and myself travelled back at 6:30am on Saturday morning.  We arrived back at the racecourse at around 7:30am just in time to help get the covers off and finish stalling out.  The first customers started to arrive around 8am.  

Saturday was very busy lots of customers all very interested and looking to spend money we even had a few international buyers on their way to Lincoln and Newark.  We finally covered the stalls and packed up for the night at around 6pm.

Sunday was a little quieter but still a good day the weather was perfect not too hot and not too breezy the international buyers were still with us and boy did we help them to spend their money.  There are a few nice pieces on their way to Japan and America as we speak.  Don't get me wrong they will spend but it has to be the right price. 

Uttoxeter was an enjoyable fair highly recommended 2 days stalled out side £40 bargain one of the cheapest fairs in the Midlands and one of the nicest organisers too. 

Back home Sunday night finished unloading by about 8pm weekend over time to get ready for the next event.

Have time to slip in the regular Wednesday market at Penkridge

Then onto the next

Oswestry show ground

Fair number 2 again a 3 day fair setting up on the Friday then 2 days trading over the Saturday and Sunday.  Weather forecast was glorious sunshine once again and the dealers were making the most of it the place was packed with caravans and motorhomes.  After the weather we had last year every one was making the most of it.  We usual stall out by the buildings but there were so many there we ended up being the other side of the paddock.

My partner Chris was working again so it was just me and my parents for the duration of the weekend.  We arrived in good time around 11:30am then the hard work setting up the stalls and the caravan  for the weekend. 

Any one who thinks being an antiques dealer is an easy life forget it. 

The fair is much the same format as any other fair early starts late finishes.  The weather was hot blazing sun.  Saturday we had lots of visitors to the fair but why they came no one knows they certainly weren't spending money and they weren't even looking at the stalls people just drifting past no parcels in hands.  After speaking to a lot of dealers every one was the same no one spending.  The only people spending were the dealers who had just come straight from Lincoln and Newark trying to restock  ready for their next fair.  A very poor show.  A lot of what we call the bargain hunt brigade they watch the tv and think they know it all and us dealers are rolling money and just want to give our stock away for next to nothing they don't see the hard work we put into finding the stuff.  I am sure they think we are given every thing we have. 

When you have a so called customer ask a price on an item for £3  then proceed to ask if that's the best price I am sorry but how much do you think your going to get knocked off.  Some of these people are down right rude. 

The Sunday was not so well attended but the air show may have had a lot to do with that but at least the people who did come were looking to spend a bit of money what a difference people walking around with bags of stuff they had bought and showing an interest not just walking past in a daze. 

It wasn't the greatest of fairs which is a shame as usually it is a good one could have been the heat who knows.  Stall rents on this fair for the 2 days £70 I broke even by the time I took the price of the stock and the rent plus diesel. 

That's a full week of fairs the summer season is upon us I have nothing booked so far for the weekend but who knows by Friday.  I may just decide to drop into a boot sale and shift some of the cheap and cheerful stock.  My regular Wednesday Penkridge market tomorrow 6am early start if your in the area why not come over and say hello.  

Welcome to the Elephant

Where to begin.  I am a 46 almost 47 year old antiques and collectors dealer who has been trading almost all of my life.  I stood my first antiques fair at the tender age of 16 with my own stock and even paid my own stall rent.  My parents have been dealing for over 40 years so you might say I grew up with the trade.  I have had my own shop great experience but never again.  I do markets car boots antique fairs and vintage fairs.  When you do house clearances you  have different levels of stock.  I work most weekends and do a regular Wednesday market at Penkridge.    To top all this I organise my own Vintage collectors fairs.  A new venture for me which is coming along nicely.  We have 2 venues at the moment one in Cannock the other  in Norton canes. 

The aim of this blog is to share my insights into the real antiques trade what its realy like to stand at an antique fair from the dealers point of view.  The stuff you don't see and the stuff you do. 

The picture above is a typical set up for us at Penkridge market . 
A great local market well worth a visit
Well that's all from me today just watch this space for more to come