Sunday, 17 February 2013


A good mixed selection - Sue Stokes' boutique at Lacock, nr.Corsham, Wilts tel.079862 47501 for opening times.  Sue has used every inch to display her stock and next week it will look quite different after she has re-arranged it all.  
    After many years of trading in folk art, textiles and decorative furnishings, I have a few thoughts on buying and selling!  When funds are short and space is limited, it is quite difficult to know how to plan your stock.  Certainly you need to have a speciality (or several) so that you become known for it and people come direct to you when in need.   My own specialities are as follows: I have always dealt in tickings and in heavy handwoven sheets from France and my Website showed some examples to 'catch' seekers and buyers.  Connected with these two lines are the old French chairs which my skilled master upholsterer re-covers in dashing stripes or creamy coarse hemp (sacks and mattress covers from Brittany and the Ukraine), and they add interest to the Website and sell very well.  I know my prices are modest compared to most other dealers and I have a high turnover.   Because I travel widely in France and have a network of  helpful dealers who collect old curtains and soft furnishings for me, I have a very good selection of long sets of tall curtains and other textile goods which can be useful for interior decorators.  Our T4T Rag Markets have become a very useful outlet for the out-of- fashion and surplus stock of dealers and the customers have flocked to enjoy the bargains.  Watch the Blog for news and dates - well worth a visit!
Look under the Blog  STOP PRESS FUTURE FAIRS.
     There are certain things that are always in demand and you can learn a lot from meeting the general public at an antiques fair.  If you can get a 'corner' in something that will sell all round the year and you know all about it to encourage the buyers, it can be quite profitable, whether it is table linen in damask, candlesticks for emergencies or pretty bowls for soup,  (the French ones are keenly collected now, even by the French, for their country cottages)- it is worth having plenty and making a good show so that you are remembered  later - it is worth computer-printing some cards with this information.  IF YOU HAVE A PRINTER AND CAMERA, AND CAN TAKE A FEW PHOTOS IN COLOUR, THIS IS SIMPLE TO DO (AND THIS OLD LADY HAS MASTERED IT RECENTLY!).   Keeping in touch with the market is so very important and I think it is well worth getting rid of obsolete stock, even at a loss, so that you have cash and space to promote a new line - it also gives you some enthusiasm which you can pass on to your customers.  Also remember that you cannot expect to make a big profit on everything!  otherwise all antique dealers would be millionaires! It's very like window dressing in a shop - however clever and arresting it may be, people just get bored and don't bother to look if it's all 'the same old things' and the display becomes stale, so you must keep working at it and changing the 'look'.

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