Ashby Interiors – Our Mission is Simple – Buy, Restore, Sell.
PART ONE – BUY
I’m writing this blog in the middle of Coronavirus Lockdown and one of the things I’m really missing already is that we can’t currently go out and buy stock. Buying is more fun than selling – seriously!
PART ONE – BUY
A question we are often asked is ‘Where on earth do you get all your stock from?’ The answer is everywhere! It’s a continuous process of being a hunter. We have a large stock of restored antique lighting and as soon as we sell items, we start to worry that we need more! Martin is by far the best at this. He’s extremely tenacious in the hunt. We are often contacted by people who have seen our website and will offer us items directly or ask if we want to visit their home as they are clearing a barn or down-sizing. This is always a great opportunity for us and we have met some incredibly lovely and interesting people doing this.
Our idea of a great day out is to visit Newark Antiques and Collectors Fair working our way around the stalls, chatting with the sellers – many of whom we have got to know. If you have never been here are some tips to help you get the most out of your day visiting the largest antique fair in Europe.
Firstly it’s a long day so wear your most comfy shoes! Some buyers take a low wheeled trolley with them. Typically, you will cover over 15K steps and have aching arms from carrying your treasures back to the van. Get there early and pace yourself. If you are lucky enough to have a sunny day, the atmosphere is just wonderful. I will miss that this spring for sure…
For these events you really need to develop the art of visual filtering – the ability to look past everything else that doesn’t interest you. What are you looking for? We are always keeping our eyes peeled for Art Deco lighting, White Glass Lighting, Art Nouveau Table Lamps and Chandeliers. Of course, Holophane Lights or simply Holophane pieces are top of our list too. Sometimes we can stumble upon an individual section of prismatic Holophane Glass which we can use to complete a three part Holophane light we have back home.
Don’t forget to look under the tables and not just on top. It’s essential to have this visual filtering skill of scanning a crowded stall as there are literally hundreds of thousands of items on sale. Take your time. I’m proud to say that I am now able to spot just the end of an Art Deco Table Lamp lying in a box under a trestle table, covered in dust…waiting to be spotted.
Never forget to take a cheeky peek into the back of the van (if the doors are open) in case everything hasn’t been unloaded – we once spotted a box of fabulous opaline white glass globe lights – perfect for us!
Another good tip is to go around the site once and then turn around and walk the opposite way. Why? Well some things are just easier to spot when approaching from a different angle. Also, if you are there early (and why wouldn’t you be?) some dealers haven’t yet had chance to unload everything on your first pass. You may also get a dealer accept your cheeky offer from earlier in the day!
HAGGLING. The seller will expect you to haggle – don’t be shy! But remember not to be too cheeky as you don’t want to upset them. There’s a difference between haggling and arguing! Remember to tell the buyer that you are a trader. It will (hopefully) make them understand that you need to see a profit after the sale price and taking into consideration all your business overheads. If there is damage which de-values the item then kindly point this out. They may also be interested in taking a business card off you in case they have other stock for you in the future. Building relationships can be as important as the purchase itself.
Shopping at the antique fairs is a bit like sale shopping. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it is right for you. Focus on what you are actually looking for but allow for things to JUMP out at you too!
If you are returning to pick an item up at the end of the day then for goodness sake, make a note on the site map of the pitch number and dealer’s name. There are literally hundreds of white vans and we have experienced the panic of struggling to find a stall later in the day.
Make sure you take a break and buy an over-priced cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich – you have earned it! Sit down and do a little people-watching.
Don’t panic if you have room spare in your van or car at the end of the day. You don’t have to fill it. This means that you have been SELECTIVE. Congratulate yourself. Anyone can buy, it’s buying the right stuff that counts.
I can’t wait for the next Newark. Here’s the LINK to IACF’s site who organise the Newark events. I’m sure that as soon as it is safe to do so, we will be there, with a smile on our faces, haggling over antique lighting to restore and sell in our shop. We hope to see you too.
Maybe we will also be able to shake hands when we seal the deal…imagine that!
Take care everyone and stay safe and well.
Rachel and Martin x