I’m so excited to announce that I will be leading an online course for MyAntiqueSchool! #WatchThisSpace
MyAntiqueSchool is a fabulous resource for antique lovers whether you are new to the antique world or a connoisseur. It is quickly becoming the go-to place to learn from the world’s antiques experts and discuss topics with other antiques enthusiasts from around the globe.
MyAntiqueSchool has filled a need in the antiques world by bringing together experts on almost every niche antiques and collectibles subject. Launched earlier in 2016 through MyOnlineSchool LTD, MyAntiqueSchool has rapidly become the first online antiques school with a broad range of classes which are taught by an array of acclaimed authors, broadcasters, and dealers from around the world.
CEO and Founder Elspeth Briscoe says,
“MyAntiqueSchool solves an important problem for globally disparate enthusiasts in fragmented industries like antiques (ie there are millions of us foraging for information from a relatively few experts – but we are widely scattered!). The antiques and collectibles industry has literally millions of people passionate about niche topics, but who can’t easily get access to experts nor unite with one another in a single sharing community. We are giving enthusiasts a thriving place to connect, wherever they are in the world. A place where not only can they share questions and answers on a peer to peer basis, but also connect with world-class experts who they’d never normally meet. I’ve always been passionate that the internet could be used more effectively to unite people who are driven by a shared interest or cause. MyAntiqueSchool is the perfect place for these niche communities to aggregate, as we have the best experts in the world, a unique classroom, and now an area where everyone can share questions and answers. We even have a virtual antiques shop café so please do pop by and have a chat!”
What’s most exciting is that the students are as diverse as the teachers. Hailing from 55 different countries, students enrolled in the online courses have an opportunity to share with each other on the online forums and discover what’s happening in other parts of the world regarding the antiques industry.
Our friend, acclaimed author Judith Miller says,
“I’m excited about the initiative and believe that MyAntiqueSchool will give enthusiasts from around the world first class education at their fingertips. There is so much rich information and craftsmanship out there within our expert community that risks being lost if we don’t find new and innovative ways of reaching out. MyAntiqueSchool is the logical step to ensure that the world’s true experts can pass on their incredible knowledge to the next generation of enthusiasts worldwide.”
Expert tutors (in addition to moi) include:
Judith Miller – author of more than 100 books on antiques and interiors, including the highly acclaimed Millers Guides. Judith is a regular on the UK Antiques Roadshow, which is one of the BBC’s flagship programmes. Judith teaches ‘An Introduction to Antiques’ and ‘Art Deco’.
Expert dealer, broadcaster and author, Mark Hill shares his wealth of knowledge on Mid-Century Modern Design, with a very popular course.
Leading art and antiques specialist Marc Allum gives a fascinating insight on how to build a varied and interesting arts and antiques portfolio with his course ‘An Insider’s Guide to Building a Well-Balanced Art & Antiques Portfolio’, and with a complimentary course teaches both professional interior designers and enthusiasts how to combine the classic with the modern to create truly original interiors on ‘Buying Art & Antiques’ for Interior Design.
David Rago, one of the leading experts from the US Antiques Roadshow gives a rare insight into the Arts & Crafts Movement in the US, and based on his many years of experience teaches students how to spot good arts and crafts items for collection or for resale.
David Rago, Antiques Roadshow and new expert MyAntiqueSchool tutor says,
“I’m looking forward to being part of this global initiative and meeting my first students from around the world. My first course with MyAntiqueSchool is now bookable and is on Arts and Crafts for the US market, which for me has become a lifetime’s passion as well as work. I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge with my students and plan to go on and develop more courses with my team of experts.”
Other courses include Fine Jewellery, taught by leading gemologist Joanna Hardy, How to Value Fine Art, Understand Ceramics, Buying at Auction, English Silver.
And last but certainly not least, me, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva! We are currently working on a TOP SECRET TOPIC that Will BE REVEALED SOON!!!!! Hint… It may involve filming the course in South East Asia!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Antique French Furniture – Louis 14th, 15th and 16th
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, will speak at the 2016 NESA virtual conference on Antique French Furniture – Louis 14th, 15th and 16th
On September 19 – 28, NESA will present a Virtual Summit to the Estate Sales Industry. Topics will include Art, Jewelry, Antiques, Collectibles, Insurance, and The Law.
Founded in late 2015, the National Estate Sale Association (NESA) is the first non-profit trade association formed by and for the estate sales industry.
As my niche brand has grown I’m being asked more and more to speak around the world at furniture fairs and interior design centers giving advice to other entrepreneurs on running and operating their niche businesses. One of the most frequent things I am asked to talk about is how I started my business. But perhaps just as frequently as telling my story of how I went from being a 1 woman firm to becoming CEO of Europe’s largest antiques touring company, I’m asked to explain what my job even is! This was perhaps the biggest challenge my business has faced since its inception—a lack of awareness that the service we offer even exists!
People have heard of tours and they’ve heard of antiques… But what are Antiques Buying Tours?
Educate Your Clients
My first job as an entrepreneur is to educate my clients – what I do, how I do it, what benefit my service gives them, and why they would want to use my service rather than attempting to do it themselves!
You’re already reading my blog so perhaps you’ve figured this out:
we take clients shopping on one-on-one customized antique buying tours to help both private clients as well as trade professionals shop for antiques overseas in 8 countries.
Our client tells us what they want and we make a personalized plan for getting them to the most number of potential purchases in the shortest period of time.
- We save our clients time and money.
- We translate.
- We negotiate.
- And most importantly, we have relationships.
I’ve said for years that “Antiquing in Europe” is a secret society and if you’re introduced properly by the right names in the industry you’ll receive better service, better prices and more access to even better inventory. When you walk into a dealer’s store (or their private home or warehouse) on the arm of your Antiques Diva Guide you’re not just walking in with your buying power – but the buying power of all our clients!
Communicate What Makes Your Service Valuable
More to the point… when a new antiques dealer opens shop in Europe we’re usually the first to hear about them… which means while you might be able to use Google to find some of the dealers we visit on our antique buying tours… there’s no way you would find all of them! Our database is always growing and we’re always one step ahead of the game. Because we know the dealers personally we’re not only able to get you better prices – but we’re often able to get after-hours appointments. On more than one occasion I’ve even been given the keys to antiques warehouse whose owner was away on holiday, and go in and poke around without the vendor! And we’re operating a turn key business here – once the buying is done at The Antiques Diva & Co we either liaise our clients with a 3rd party shipper or work with our own in-house shipping firm to help clients get their purchases home sweet home across the pond.
Educating Your Client
Getting the message out about what we do is as important as doing it – because if people don’t know what we do they won’t know to come to us to do it. In this month’s Entrepreneur Blog as part of our continuing series I want to talk about the importance of educating your client. As an entrepreneur in any niche market, educating the public and potential clients on what you do and how you do it not only adds value to your business but it is imperative for the success of your small business.
Ask For Help
Once people understand your services or product, it’s important that they are able to find your website so they can contact you! That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. For me, SEO feels like a foreign language. I am not a tech person… Heck, I work in antiques… I like old things and I still write my To Do List on sheets of paper! I’m an old fashioned girl living in a technology-driven world. So what’s my first rule of business? Ask for help. Set aside your pride and ask someone who knows more than you to help you with what you need. They can implement an entire SEO strategy for you – or they can simply write a plan that you follow yourself.
From the very beginning my blog has been essential in getting readers aware about our services. My business started as a blog and readers began emailing asking for a service and a business was born. More often that not clients find us not by googling Antique Buying Tours – but rather by googling one of their questions about their upcoming European buying trip they are desperately attempting to coordinate themselves. They stumble upon our website while searching for answers to their questions about shopping abroad and voila, we’ve got a new client!
Be Generous With Information
Whether on my blog or when I speak on where to go antiquing in Europe – I give away ALOT of INFORMATION. I tell people HOW they can do it themselves!! People often ask me why I share so much free information about antiquing abroad – where to go and what to do. The answer is simple. By sharing information, I am able to get more clients. It establishes me as an expert, thus giving potential clients more trust in the benefits of working with my company, and okay…let’s face it, I genuinely like helping people, so it’s my pleasure to share information. That’s why I got into this industry! At The Antiques Diva & Co we are INCLUSIVE. We are having a fabulous time shopping in Europe and we want you to come along with us and enjoy not only the fun but also the unprecedented access to the best antiques Europe has to offer.
PR has been imperative in educating the industry not only on what services we offer, but also what the advantages are of buying overseas. Just one example of those advantages is the fact that antiques purchased in Europe can get a markup of 3 to 5 times cost when sold in the USA. We also take the intimidation out of buying antiques overseas by taking clients by the hand to our vast list of sources.
People are often afraid of buying overseas… what if I get ripped off? What if a vendor tries to sell me a fake. While I can’t guarantee we won’t be fooled… I can guarantee that if we experience a vendor OUTRIGHT LYING to our clients… We don’t return to that vendor and that vendor doesn’t just lose 1 client… but potentially 100’s. All of these things make our services valuable! Being able to communicate that succinctly is so important, especially when your business is just getting off the ground. Think about what core benefits your company offers – write them out – ask clients for their opinion on what benefit you offer them – and then USE that information to craft your company message.
Just Do It
For a niche industry like this, you’ve got to know how to get started. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – The best way to get started is to JUST DO IT! Don’t hesitate, don’t let fear of not knowing enough stop you – jump into the deep end and start swimming. You may need a flotation device at first… but you have to really do your job before you realize how little you actually know about it! You learn by trial and error. For me, the most important thing I do is build my little black book of contacts on both sides of the pond. I have to simultaneously keep building my potential client list as well as my vendor list. At The Antiques Diva & Co we don’t sell antiques – we sell relationships. We introduce buyers to sellers, bridging the international gap. If we were a dating service – we’d be matchmakers, madame’s of the antiques industry.
The most important asset we offer cannot be bought – you need relationships in order to be successful in this industry and many niche industries.
Get out there, make yourself known, go to the places where the people in your industry gather, meet potential vendors, meet potential clients. Network like you mean it. Meanwhile, learn all you can. Be a jack of all trades. In my industry that means I have to dip my manicured hands into antiques, learning the entire process – from how to restore antiques, to appraise antiques, to ship antiques. The more you know about all aspects of your industry the better you’ll be. Keep Learning.
Use All Your Past Experiences
I also recommend using all your past experiences when it comes to starting a business in a niche market. What have you done in a previous life that can benefit you now?? The best training I had for working in antiques was working in advertising and marketing in both Boston and Cleveland before moving overseas. I had big name clients such as Dunkin Donuts, Target, McDonalds and Pearl Vision. Doing their marketing was the best education I could have had before starting my own company. From the beginning I employed the same level of brand management and marketing strategies in my own campaigns as I would have with big brand clients. While today The Antiques Diva & Co is a small but international company – working with a team of 21 locally-based guides in 8 countries – as a brand we have a big brand presence within a niche part of the interior design industry. In fact, one of the leaders in my industry, Dwayne Clark, recently was quoted as saying I have one of the best niche businesses in this industry.
With a very small budget when first starting my company, I invested initially in graphic design. Giving my company a strong recognizable logo was key in building brand awareness. I was then able to employ guerrilla marketing techniques through social media to spread the word about our services, establish our brand presence and personality. When working in promotion marketing and advertising my strength had been in new business development, coming up with multiple ideas for campaigns and solutions to a variety of industry challenges. It trained me to have flexibility in my mind – in my way of thinking – aiding me to react swiftly with clarity of thought to changing dynamics and perhaps most importantly, to see clearly ways in which I can increase and broaden my current business portfolio. It also trained me to recognize when it’s time to change. We recently launched a new website which was desperately needed, and you’ll see we have a new logo. AD&CO is growing up and it’s time for a new look that represents our brand and our audience better. As always you have to be willing to change, to be flexible and roll with the times. As an entrepreneur running a niche brand your job is not to do everything, it’s not to know everything… all you have to do is know the right people.
Whatever business you want to start, as an entrepreneur it is important to be able to define your role in the industry, communicate the service or product you offer and why it adds value, and then get the word out there that your company exists! Most often, entrepreneurs are responding to a need they see—something that’s missing in the market that people can use. Remember, get in front of the right people, and then give them what they want! When your company is serving them and adding value, it won’t be long until others come knocking on your door.
Your CEO in Stilettos,
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
The role of High Point Market When It Comes to Global Sourcing
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, discusses global sourcing and the role of High Point Market and it’s exhibitors, whether it’s manufacturers and showrooms seeking inspiration or antiques dealers buying around the world to bring to Market, we often hear the motto “High Point to the World” but the World also comes to High Point, with Kim Faison of Kim Faison Antiques, Cecil Adams of Currey & Co and Randal Weeks of Aidan Gray.
Moderator: Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
Sponsored by Chairish.com
For details visit www.hpadc.com
The Paris Flea Market – Paul Bert Serpette – Names The Antiques Diva© & Co Exclusive Market Guide
PARIS, FRANCE (PRWEB) JUNE 30, 2016
Marché Paul Bert Serpette at the Paris Flea Market – celebrating its 70th anniversary this year – names American-owned company The Antiques Diva© & Co– Europe’s largest antiques touring company – as their Exclusive Flea Market Tour Guides as part of their rejuvenation project at the “puce.”
“I am thrilled to congratulate Paul Bert Serpette on 70 years as an innovator in the international antiques market. It’s a dream come true and honor for my company to be named the exclusive and only tour guide of the Paris Flea Market Paul Bert Serpette” says American expat Toma Clark Haines, CEO and founder of The Antiques Diva & Co. “For years buyers seeking to source antiques abroad at the Paris Flea Market or in anyone of one of our 8 tour countries found buying abroad on their own unattainable. They didn’t know where to go, how to negotiate, or how to get their purchases home. I’ve built a company to help people source antiques abroad doing everything from custom planning antique buying tours to translating, negotiating and even shipping purchases home sweet home across the pond! Perhaps our most popular antique buying tour is our Paris Flea Market tour and the jewel in the crown of the puce is Marché Paul Bert Serpette.”
Marché Paul Bert Serpette is the flagship entity of the Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen. Globally renowned, the Paris Flea Market is the single largest antiques market in the world attracting nearly 5,000 visitors every weekend. The Marché has become a destination for collectors and dealers from around the world, including celebrity collectors, for its vast array of furniture, silver, design, vintage clothing and antiquity from every era. Traffic at the famous Marché aux Puces has increased in part through use of antiques buying guides such as The Antiques Diva© & Co. Toma Clark Haines has been shopping the Paris Flea Market for over twenty years and has watched the Marché evolve from when she first visited the market until today when The Antiques Diva & Co has become the largest antiques touring company in Europe working with a team of 21 locally based antiques buying tour guides.
“We could not be more delighted and enthused by the work of The Antiques Diva© & Co which brings an influential international clientele to the market. Their passion and energy each time they visit us at Marché Paul Bert Serpette invigorates buyers as well as our vendors,” says Marion DuFranc, the Market Director. “It’s all about relationships. It’s a symbiotic dance – The Antiques Diva & Co gives our clients insider access and we supply clients with quality unparalleled inventory.”
“The Marché’s climate has changed significantly since I began shopping the market nearly 20 years ago.” says Clark Haines. “The increasing trend of mixing modern with antiques as well as eclecticism in décor means that today there is not only a greater variety of objects to sift through, but a greater enthusiasm among a new generation of collectors, dealers, designers and everyday tourists alike. The market encompasses an area of over 7 square miles – navigating the puce can be an overwhelming experience. At The Antiques Diva© & Co our team of local flea market guides know the market like the back of their hand. Our job is to help clients find the exact area of the market that has what they are looking for – maximizing their time, translating, negotiating and liaising with an international shipper to simplify the process of buying abroad. We save our clients time and money by custom planning their visit to the Paris Flea Market, and helping negotiate their purchases.”
Marché Paul Bert Serpette changed hands in 2014 when the Duke of Westminster sold the recently renovated market to Jean-Cyrille Boutmy, CEO and founder of Studyrama. Since Boutmy’s takeover, the Marché has modernized and rebranded with added services and accessibility, as well as enhanced marketing and communication initiatives. The educational component has also been a focus, drawing younger collectors to St-Ouen.
Clark Haines jokes, “We are in essence ‘Antique Matchmakers’ – bring together the love of antiques and commerce.” Marion DuFranc concludes, “With a long history of attracting collectors to this chaotic jungle in the north of Paris, the Marché Paul Bert Serpette is excited to have Haines on board. Our successful growth is contingent on having experts like The Antiques Diva in our midst as our exclusive guide. We’re excited for this relationship and our future together, particularly this year as we celebrate the 70th year of the market!”
Toma Clark Haines is The Antiques Diva® – Chief Executive Diva of The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe’s Largest Antiques Touring Company. When this tastemaker is not on a buying tour, Toma is also a freelance travel and design writer, an international public speaker, an interior decorator and social media guru. She is a champagne connoisseur, a vintage Chanel addict and her hobbies include driving fast cars and gourmet cooking. Traveling extensively for work, she divides her time between her home in Berlin, Germany and traveling in each of her company’s tour countries. Follow her antiquing abroad travels on Facebook at The Antiques Diva® & Co or on Twitter @TheAntiquesDiva. Her blog The Antiques Diva was recently voted Top 100 Interior Design blogs by Modenus.
Book a Custom Tour with The Antiques Diva & Co,
the Exclusive Guide at Paris Flea Market Paul Bert Serpette
Dear Diva Readers,
hen a client who is a fashion designer in India booked an Italian Vintage Fashion Tour he asked our advice on some extra things – post tour – to do while traveling in Florence. Naturally my locally-based Diva Guide Susan had a plethora of fashion shopping tips in Florence for both a designer seeking inspiration as well as for mere shopping mortals simply wanting to drop some dough!
Take a step back in Fashion History by visiting some of Florence’s famous fashion museums! The Gucci Museum is worth a visit as well as the Ferragamo Museum. For something different visit the costume gallery in the Palazzo Pitti which houses fashion from the 17th to 20th century. The Palazzo itself is beautiful immersed in the Boboli gardens on the Oltrarno which is the south side (or “other side”) of the river.
Naturally you’’ll want to stroll along Via Tornibuona as this is where the well-known fashion designers such as Prada, Loro Piano, Pucci, and Cavalli have their shops. And if you’re a bargain hunter like I am, plan a trip to the Designer Outlet Mall in Val di Chiana. Your hotel in Florence could organize transport – it’s only 40 minutes outside of Florence and for serious shoppers it’s worth the trip! Note to readers – it’s where I’ve personally bought a slew of my Italian purchases over the years from a fantastic pair of Tod’s for 35 Euro to Gucci sandals for less than 50E… Hmmm, if I keep writing this list of shoe purchases this will be a long, long list! Suffice to say, if you’re looking for Italian fashion and a bargain then this is the THE place to go.
For women’s fashion you must visit Luisa via Roma, Via Roma 19-21r, in Florence. This is on the same street as Eredi Chiarini at n° 16 which is a fabulous men’s fashion store. Playground, Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 31/A should also be on the must shop list list.
Perhaps my favorite ambiance for shopping in Florence is at the Farmacia Santa Maria Novella. This beautiful old chapel is the original store and it still belongs to the nuns who create these wonderful perfumes, potions and lotions. Nearby is Frasi, a great men’s shop in Via Dei Federighi 7/R, above all for ties and accessories.
Leather shops abound all over Florence – watch this space, we’re helping a purse designer shop Florence soon so we will have a slew of tips to share with you from that trip – but if you’re looking for leather shops it is pretty much guaranteed wherever you are in the city you will find them. It’s hard to mention one leather shop above the others.
Nothing says Diva like a fabulous hat… and Borsalino in Via Porta Rossa at 40 r has a sensational selection. Another historic desitination is Casa dei Tessuti in Via dei Pecori, 20-22-24r. This shop is very old fashioned from the outside but they have a huge variety of high quality clothing textiles, and custom made suits, shirts, etc. They embody a total respect of the tradition of hand-made goods, and for fashionistas handy with a needle and thread they also offer basic courses on tailoring and costume history.
Paolo Romagnoli is located on the narrow street of via Parione at 54/r, A little tailors shop that makes suits and jackets, pants and skirts, shirts and even belts and ties. Prices range from 120E to infinity.
Last but not least… why yes, we at The Antiques Diva & Co tend to be fashionistas… let’s not forget our CORE BUSINESS is Antique and Vintage Shopping Tours so I would be positively remiss if I neglected to mention a few of the designer vintage stores in Florence! Ceri Vintage in via dei Serragli, 26r; just west of the Santo Spirito area is one of my favourite streets for finding antiques and midcentury! Last but not least – consider Pitti Vintage at Borgo Degli Albizi, 72r and Nadine, Lungarno Acciaiuoli 22r must shop destinations for the vintage fashion shopper.
Now before I love you and leave you… I would never leave you hungry. I’m certain if you’re like me you have folders bulging with a slew of restaurants marked for your trip to Florence but knowing of a few more places to nosh is always nice when traveling abroad. You can combine fashion and a bite to eat when visiting the department store Mercato Centrale – go to the top floor for a fabulous view and taste of everything Italian. Trattoria ZaZa in the market square outside is also great. La Menagerie http://www.lamenagere.it in via Ginori is perfect for lunch, brunch or supper but does get busy – you may need to call ahead to book a table. On the other side in San Ambrogio is Il Cibreo offers both a bistro and restaurant. South of the Arno are some smaller fun restaurants in the antiques district … Go out and explore… It’s really hard to eat badly in Florence. And when the day is done remember there are also a bunch of roof bars to sit enjoying cocktails and the view while reflecting on your purchases! One of my favorites is along the Arno river at the Hotel Continentale vicolo dell’Oro 6r.
The Antiques Diva & Co (with help from Tuscan Antiques Tour Guide Susan)
A Day at the Paris Flea Market Les Marché aux Puces
Any antique lover can agree—shopping the Paris Flea Market is the ultimate dream! I mean seriously… it’s the stuff Bucket Lists are made of! At The Antiques Diva & Co, a day at the Paris Flea Market Tour is one of our most popular tours, and with good reason! From the atmosphere to the inventory and even the food and wine, a day at Les Puces de Paris is a day well spent.
In Paris, going to the markets is a normal part of life. From a cultural standpoint, Europeans are used to buying many items at market – they don’t go to the grocery store to buy their fruits and vegetables – they shop their local market! They even buy their cheese, meats, bread, and flowers at their local market – so it’s no surprise that when the weekend arrives, heading to the Paris Flea Market is a national pastime. Of course… if you lived in Paris, wouldn’t you shop there every week? What a great way to score beautiful antiques as well as enjoy the company of friends. Whether you’re the type of shopper who scans the stands quickly or the “take your time and enjoy” type, you’re sure to get plenty of exercise and fresh air as you peruse mile upon mile of market!
All that walking is sure to make you hungry, and that’s certainly not a problem in Paris! Comfort food and yummy street food is available in the markets themselves. Who couldn’t picture themselves nibbling a fresh croissant and sipping a café while enjoying live music from a solo musician or an ensemble on the street, soaking up the atmosphere that is the Paris Flea Market.
What Should You Expect at The Paris Flea Markets?
Originally, The Flea Markets were so named because of the actual FLEAS which permeated the outskirts of the city and found their way into the goods being sold on the streets there! Hmm… That doesn’t sound so dreamy, does it? Well, the fleas have fled, and today Les Puces is the best place to find all sorts of pieces at just about every price point. Antique furniture, jewelry, linens, art, rugs, silver, and just about anything else you can imagine can be found—if you’re up for the hunt!
If you’ve got a specific shopping list, that’s great. We always ask clients if there are any pieces they really want to find, that way we can guide them to the perfect dealer. However, it’s also important to remain open, as you may stumble upon the perfect piece you didn’t even know you needed. This is what the French call Coupe de Foudre…. Struck by Lighting, Love at First Sight. I always prepare a list before I shop… and then just like trying to find the perfect man, the one who doesn’t have what you’re looking for, might actually be the one that steals your heart!
There are definitely different types of stands to be aware of when shopping Les Puces. Some dealers have massive spaces in actual buildings—these are more like stores, with highly curated inventory that is displayed beautifully. Other areas of the flea market are more akin to a rummage sale, where the thrill of the hunt must be your primary reason for going. Here you’ll find that perfect treasure amid a box of junk, tucked under a table, or back along a wall. (It’s not a bad idea to bring a pair of gloves and some hand sanitizer if you plan to get down & dirty while searching through boxes.) But hey, that’s where you find the best deals! While we may be Divas, we’re not above rummaging for the perfect find! Hmm… I still think the tax man should allow me to tax deduct my manicures.
While most of the vendors are permanent stalls, the fact is the items being sold are one of a kind… and if you hesitate… someone else might just buy it before you do. If you like it, if it’s the right price, the price you’re willing to pay, then by golly buy it!
When To Shop The Paris Flea Markets?
The Paris Flea Market is open on Saturday and Sunday – with some vendors also opening on Friday and Monday. While historically people think of getting to the flea market early… the early bird doesn’t necessarily get the worm in Paris. The French like to sleep-in and so the market doesn’t really start going in full swing til 10am. Also – be aware of French holidays… the vendors are a skeleton crew in end July and August when the Parisians flee from the city in order to take their month long holiday! Shopping at the Puce is slim pickings then… so if you’re planning a trip to Paris to shop the Flea Market DO NOT go during this time!
Why Choose The Antiques Diva & Co?
As the only official Exclusive Guide of the Paris Flea Markets Paul Bert Serpette, The Antiques Diva & Co has been chosen because of our long term relationships and close contacts with les Puces. The best way to get a bargain at the Paris Flea Market is to be a local… And it just so happens we are! We can typically save clients via negotiations on antiques what they pay for our tour. Plus we save you time in addition to money. We custom plan a tour for you, helping you navigate the many markets and thousands of vendors to find just what you’re looking for. You don’t waste time digging through things you’re not looking for, but rather maximize your shopping time (and dollar) on a pre-choreographed tour.
Plus… we’re just fun. Not only do we take the stress out of your day by translating and negotiating on your behalf but we tell you inside stories about living in Paris, our favorite haunts, secrets about Parisian life. But buyer beware… the very first Paris Guide I hired was a client who was so obsessed with shopping the Puce I asked her, Why don’t you come on staff and help lead these tours! You might just fall in love with Paris and decide to move overseas!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how you can book an Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Tour!
Toma, The Antiques Diva®
The Antiques Diva’s Shopping Tips for the Paris Flea Market
For first-time visitors to The Paris Flea Market, there are several things you should know before heading out for a shopping day. While many antique lovers build up an image in their mind of an easy-breezy day of strolling through a flea market set in a romantic neighborhood, the reality is that there are some tips that can help you find the market and navigate your way through it. As the only official approved Exclusive Tour Guide of the Paris Flea Markets Paul Bert Serpette, The Antiques Diva & Co is here to help with shopping tips for the Paris Flea Market! Here’s our advice when it comes to shopping the famous Puces de Paris!
The first problem many people have in getting to the market is actually finding the Paris Flea Market. I can’t tell you how many people have emailed me saying, “I went to the Paris Flea Market, but all I saw was a shabby little market outside the metro station selling t-shirts, suitcases, stolen watches, and designer fakes! What did I do wrong? Where is the Paris flea market of my dreams?” Check out a blog I did here for directions on finding the ACTUAL Paris Flea Market.
St-Ouen is much larger than many people suspect. With 15 markets and nearly 2000 vendors in more than 7 miles of antique-filled alleyways, the only way to navigate is with a map or an Antiques Diva Tour Guide. Fortunately we know the market like the back of our hand, and so when you shop with us we’ll take you straight to the vendors you want to see, cutting out the areas that aren’t on target for you, navigating the flea market based upon the types of pieces you’re looking for. Many new art shops and vintage fashion boutiques as well as new antique dealers have opened in the last two years, making St-Ouen a cool weekend destination for Parisians as well as foreign tourists. Watch this space… a new hotel is opening up actually at the market! Now that’s what I call convenience.
This is an issue many people struggle with – how to bargain, what’s appropriate, and is it expected? There was a time, many years ago, when tourists were optimistic about finding a bargain at le Puces. One of the biggest questions I am asked is “Can you still find a bargain at the Paris Flea Market?” Back in the good ole days, it was a hodgepodge of vendors with a melange of inventory. This meant that a shopper may have been able to unearth a valuable treasure in a stand otherwise filled with junk. Let’s just put it this way… there are no long any fleas at the flea market. It’s gorgeous quality inventory… in fact, so gorgeous its almost ALL the stuff that you want to bring home with you. The market is now set up in permanent stalls – which means it can feel more like a retail experience than some Paris Flea Market virgins expect. So the question is – can you get a bargain at the Paris Flea Market? Absolutely!!! And want to know the best way to get bargain? Use our guides. We do volume business. The vendors know us and know our guides. They know we are coming back week after week and that our clients are pre-qualified shopper. You’re not given the tourist price on an Antiques Diva Paris Tour – you’re given the local price – because the vendors have relationships with us and know that our clients MEAN BUSINESS!!
Part of our service as the only official tour guide of Paul Bert Serpette at The Paris Flea Market is to translate & negotiate on our client’s behalf. But if you’re not with a guide (silly you!) what should you do? You need to ask. The easiest most polite way to ask is simply say, “Is that your best price?” It allows the vendor room to negotiate and sometimes they will surprise you by offering more of a discount than you expected. If you’re shipping with a reputed shipper who will give export papers you can tell the vendor it’s for export and automatically you can get a discount! For more tips on bargaining, check out this blog I recently wrote about What to Buy & How at the Paris Flea Market.
Whether you’re the type of person who prefers to stroll through the market, taking in every stand, or a power shopper who treats shopping like a sport, chances are you’re going to need to refuel at some point. When hunger strikes, there are a few options for food at The Paris Flea Market.
For traditionalists, there is the Bistrot Paul Bert where one can enjoy a classic steak frites on Rue Paul Bert. My god, their French onion soup is so good that they don’t allow you to order only it. There’s also Le P’tit Landais on Rue des Rosiers where indulging in foie gras and a salad is the perfect lunch. For something new and hip, Philippe Starck’s Ma Cocotte has been serving a wide variety of foods since 2012. And believe it or not le cheeseburger has become impossibly hip in Paris… and its on le menu at the Ma Cocotte.
However you envision your day at the Paris Flea Market, we’re always here to make it easy and enjoyable so you’ll not only come away with some treasures, but also with a lasting memory. In French souvenir means memories… and when you shop with The Antiques Diva & Co you’re buying memories of your trip to France.
For more information on our Paris Flea Market Tours, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to custom plan a tour for you!
Toma, The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Architectural Biennale and then onto Antwerp sourcing antiques through our Buying Service for a client who didn’t have time to come abroad…. And yet, I’m already scheduled again to hit the road this weekend going to England for the Grand Opening of a “new” Antiques Warehouse! Well, as they say… everything old is new again!he dust has barely settled from my recent trip to the USA speaking on buying antiques abroad followed by a quick jaunt to Venice for a Salon during the
This new antiques store is the result of a marriage made in heaven – but quite an unusual union! Stuart Atkinson and Kiel Shaw owners of Fontaine Decorative and Martin Johnson and Paul Wong owners of Martin D Johnson Antiques have been friends for a long time, both trading in the coastal South of England counties of Kent and Sussex. Both businesses rank at the top of the decorative trade tree but each retains its own unique style and character, enough so that the boys all go buying together in the South of France without falling out! Based on this close relationship, synergy of business style and many ‘planning meetings’ in the restaurants and bars of England and France, they are trail blazing a new way to trade by opening a monumental warehouse together just outside Lewes, East Sussex, which opens to the public on Monday 13 June 2016.
Gail McLeod, our Antiques Diva Agent leading our England Antiques Tours has worked for a long time with both businesses, both in her role with my company leading English antique buying tours as well as her own business Antiques News and Fairs. As our Roving Reporter on the Ground in England – Gail explains:
“Martin Johnson Antiques is a family business which has traded in the High Street in Seaford, East Sussex for nearly 30 years, moving from dealing in silver and semi formal oak and mahogany to the uber decorative look they are known for both at home and in the US, dealing in C17th, C18th and C19th English antiques and a mix of decorative French furniture, industrial pieces and mid-century furniture.
Another successful arm of the business is their line of bespoke commissioned pieces using recycled industrial equipment and elements, uniting antique components with more contemporary materials, sourcing locally and in France.
Martin and Paul have become expert property hounds over time, buying and restoring a number of neglected beauties and they worked hard to get planning consent to convert their Seaford premises to residential use so that they could decamp to a more user friendly space for their huge business – parking and loading are key to the life of a dealer to say nothing of ceiling height. This all came to pass in 2015 when permission was granted and they found their new warehouse on a beautiful farm just outside Lewes and the future became clear.
Over in Kent, The Fontaine Boys, as they are known by most people, who had started their career in the Lewes area some 20 years ago, had also been busily acquiring and restoring cherished buildings and their first Margate showroom was once Margate Town Laundry. This too had parking, loading and ceiling height issues so they let it to a well known animation company and acquired a warehouse showroom in nearby Broadstairs which opened in 2015. They too are property junkies and they also acquired an unloved shop in the centre of nearby Ramsgate which is currently being transformed into a retail showroom and will be the next Fontaine Kent outpost.
From their humble beginnings setting off for their first adventure in France 20 years ago, Fontaine are now established and experienced French decorative antiques dealers and members of LAPADA – The Association of Art & Antique Dealers. Their informal and relaxed approach when it comes to buying and selling antiques has attracted a cool and loyal following – hipster antiques and collectables expert Mark Hill wrote, ‘Stuart and Kiel who run Fontaine are veritable alchemists when it comes to display. Their innate skill and eye at sourcing objects of beauty and desire are unparalleled, but it’s what they do with it that marks them out as truly top-flight dealers and decorators’.”
At The Antiques Diva & Co we cannot wait to for the launch of this union – and we’re utterly certain the result will be The Best Antiques Warehouse in England. The Martin D Johnson Antiques & Fontaine Lewes collaboration will be styled in a room set showcase layout choreographed by period and style. We’ve had a sneak peek into the space before opening day and can attest – it’s warm and inviting and almost loses its industrial cloak when you enter the very smart offices area – squashy sofas and good coffee on tap! The venue will be an absolute boon for visiting trade – always on a deadline, who can now see a high volume stock from two of the key suppliers in the industry under one roof.
Happy Shopping Mates!
The Antiques Diva®
CHAMPAGNE EARLY BIRD TOUR ANTIQUE & DESIGN CENTER
No Passport Required
The early bird gets the worm at the Antique & Design Center with Toma Clark Haines, owner of Europe’s largest antiques touring and buying service company, as she takes you on a tour of the major antique periods and styles to identify their key characteristics utilizing modern day metaphors and featuring inventory found at the ADC in High Point. No passport required.
Focusing on the antique trends in Europe, The Antiques Diva(R) is taking antiques out of the past and bringing them into the future of design.
Visit www.hpadc.com for details