Tip Thursday- How I Built The Antiques Diva & Co

Dear Diva Readers,

I am often asked how The Antiques Diva & Co came to be.  The short answer is that serendipity played (and continues to play) a huge role, not only in my business, but also in my life in general.  But there are many things, including my blog and social media, that have helped develop and maintain my brand and business.  Last month I was asked to speak at the Design Bloggers Conference about the role of social media and content building a luxury brand.  For me these were huge aspects in creating and developing my company. Let me share a few tips with you from my journey that will hopefully inspire you as you live out your passions.

Before my blog was born, I lived a life that led me to discovering my niche.  After I gave up an advertising career to move to Europe, I was looking for a career in a suitcase.  A friend recommended I read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way.  This book helped to narrow my focus and discover my passions.  It helped me discover the red thread that had run throughout my life.

I decided to write a book and promote it on The Antiques Diva blog.  Then the financial crisis of 2008 happened.  My book didn’t get published and I felt like a failure.  But blog readers began to email me, asking if I could take them on a tour.  I said YES and it changed my life.  It wasn’t what I planned…it was even bigger.  Five years later, I own Europe’s largest antique touring company.

Toma Clark Haines

A major lesson here is be open to opportunity.  You may plan one thing, but life may hand you a different plan.  Don’t get so focussed on what you’re doing that you miss an opportunity.  Say yes.  Take a chance.  Do something unexpected.  Be willing to fail.  It’s not how you fall but how you get back up that counts.  Create a niche and then diversify.  Find what makes you unique and explore that opportunity.

My business would not exist today were it not for my blog.  I did not set out to build an antiques touring company.  I recognized a need and I filled it. Once I started a company, I intentionally set about using social media and content building to market my business and connect with potential customers.

By being the expert in the field of antique tours and sourcing, my company has a reliable base to build relationships with customers.  I believe this has been key to building and maintaining a successful business.  At The Antiques Diva & Co we know where to go, how to get there, what to buy, and most importantly, how to get it home.

In sum, The Antiques Diva & Co has been a fun, interesting, and rewarding journey that is constantly evolving to fit the needs of our customers and the ever-changing world.  Many readers have commented that our focus has shifted more towards the trade – and again that was answering the need.  At one point about 2 years ago I looked at my tour bookings and realized 75% of my clients were antique dealers or interior designers… that said, we still service tourists and love nothing more than helping all clients find that special thing they’re looking for.  It’s been a wonderful journey leading antique buying tours and owning a company that has grown by leaps and bounds since it’s inception.  And I hope that you all will continue with me on this journey as you also explore your own paths!

The Antiques Diva®

The Antiques Diva

4 Responses to “Tip Thursday- How I Built The Antiques Diva & Co”

  1. Donna Shaw says:

    Oh, Toma, wonderful post. So good of you to remind us of the paths we choose.

  2. Donna Shaw says:

    I meant to tell you how proud of you I am, and leave you this saying that I think fits your journey to a T. “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Louis Pasteur

  3. This was so inspiring to me. I work a 9 to 5 job and have been wanting to get out for awhile. But I want to start small with something on the side. I love design and fashion so I started a blog last week. I recently starting following your blog, and facebook page. I also watched some videos of you on Youtube. They are fantastic. So thank you Toma for inspiring others to pursue the dream.
    http://ahomeforelegance.blogspot.com

  4. Love this post. One of my BFF’s is currently working her way through The Artist’s Way…she loves this book – work, but so worth it, she says. You are an inspiration, my dear, smart, extremely hard working, and a joy to know. “At The Antiques Diva & Co we know where to go, how to get there, what to buy, and most importantly, how to get it home. ” That is all true, but your success comes from an incredible love for what you do, your amazing talent to befriend everyone and make each day a joy, how much you care about the details and making your clients happy, your amazing customer service, and your diligent, hard work.


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