As I write this I’m in NYC for a series of PR and marketing meetings on my top secret new furniture line The Antiques Diva Collection for Aidan Gray Home, and heading out tomorrow for Fall HPMKT (get the details here: I’ll be leading a Happy Hour Tour at the Antiques & Design Center on Friday at 4pm, have office hours at the Aidan Gray showroom from 2-4pm on Saturday, on Sunday at 10am morning I’ll be at Theodore Alexander, introducing their illustrious all-new Castle Bromwich Echoes collection! Plus on Sunday I’ll be doing an HPMKT Instagram Takeover – #DivaStyle! If you haven’t been, High Point Market is nothing but fun and hard work and great people and fabulous design! (And in case you’re worried I’m working too hard, after Market I’m heading south to Key West for a bit of R&R with a few of my besties from our Paris days! Sadly, laptop, iPhone, and sketchbook will never be far away…)
The newest MUST-DO in the design world is Southern Style Now! Last year I attended the inaugural SSN in New Orleans, where not only did I hear fabulous speakers, see the latest in Southern design style and trends, make a few mega-contacts, and eat and drink fabulous N’awlins style cuisine, I also led a walking tour of New Orlean’s premier antiques and design neighborhood with the fabulous Shaun Smith!
Southern Style Now Festival and Showhouse
This year, Southern Style Now being held in one of my favorite cities, Savannah, from November 9-11, 2017. Southern Style Now is ideal for interior design professionals, and it’s open to the public: so it’s not too late to get your tickets and get your Southern on! This year’s festival is packed with dynamic speakers, discussions, trolley tours, book signings, and of course, parties!
This year’s keynote speakers are covering design topics on everything from their design inspiration to decorating outdoors to entertaining Southern style to what designers really think about their clients!
I’ll be leading a VIP antiques tour:
CITY SIGHTS – VIP ANTIQUES TOUR
Join The Antiques Diva, Toma Haines Clark, on a trolley tour of Savannah’s best antique shops. Sip champagne, see the sights, and score some treasures to ship back home!
- Friday November 10 11:30am – 2pm
ALL-ACCESS VIP PASS
All-Access pass to all Southern Style Now events, including keynote speakers, panel discussions, book signings, artisan workshops, parties, networking lunches, Design District Sip & Stroll, Hostess City Celebration Cocktail Party, and Southern Style Now antiques and architectural trolley tours.
$350 now through September 30
$375 October 1 through October 31
$450 November 1 through November 9
SOUTHERN STYLE NOW™ / TRADITIONAL HOME SHOWHOUSE GALA RECEPTION
Thursday, November 9, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Guests are invited to tour the second annual Southern Style Now Showhouse, presented by Traditional Home, enjoy cocktails and meet the designers and sponsors. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Historic Savannah Foundation.
Follow #SouthernStyleNow for details on the 2017 Festival, and 2018 and beyond!
See y’all in Savannah!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Spring High Point Market
And it’s a wrap. Another High Point Market came and went in a flurry of silver fox fur, fantasy designer inspiration tours, champagne soirees and late night foot baths soaking my aching toes. Yes. I might be the only person at Market who does it in stilettos, but how else will I earn the right to call myself the CEO in Stilettos?
The Antiques & Design Center at High Point Market stole Market as the MAIN attraction – literally anyone who was anyone in the design community was seen sourcing there. I took a huge group on my annual Early Bird Champagne Tour and was delighted that Ruthie Staalsen of DecRenew did an Instagram Takeover for IDS National and Instagram LIVED my tour allowing viewers not at Market to experience this #NoPassportRequired Antiques Diva® tour in America. So many of our fabulous clients are now selling at shops in America… that it occurs to me, maybe I should be doing more than just PR antiquing tours stateside #WatchThisSpace
Behind every diva… there is a secret. All those fabulous jewels you see me wear? Yep… IF they are not part of my new TCH Collection that’s in development – #WatchThisSpace – then they are often on loan… I want to give special thanks to a fabulous dealer at Market. Donnie Grissom at the HPMKT ADC loans me gorgeous real jewels each day of Market so that I can not only call myself a Diva – but also give those gals on Dallas a run for their money. He knows my philosophy is that MORE is MORE. We start the morning with a blank canvas. Usually, a wrap dress and a fabulous pair of heels and then Donnie begins adding the accessories. Turquoise brings out my eyes, he informs me. That brooch strung on a necklace hits the perfect spot on the décolleté. Never wear a big bold ring on the same hand as your bracelet. And when it’s not my TCH COLLECTION or Donnie Grissom’s jewels bedazzling me… it’s often Nancy Price loaning me Aura. Having friends to help style me at Market makes all the difference in being camera ready!!!
All modesty aside… We knocked it out of the park on our Global Sourcing Panel at Aidan Gray Home at High Point Market. But don’t take my word for it… watch for yourself. I handed my colleague my phone so they could Facebook Live it and as luck would have it, about the time my data-roaming reached freak out mode, Nick May of the Chaise Lounge podcast came along and began his Facebook Live of the event. CEO of Aidan Gray Randal Weeks, Wendy Estes of Layla Grayce, Susan Jamison of Bridget Beari Designs, and Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill of Mitchell Hill discussed their experiences in sourcing antiques overseas, manufacturing furniture in Asia, and doing design projects without borders. We highlighted what the problems were – red flags to watch out – dove headfirst into the topic of international antiques and furniture shipping – as well as discussed the simple fact that Global Sourcing could change your business… and change your life!
One of my favorite showrooms at Market is always Currey & Co – this market they launched Bunny Williams lighting line. Meeting Bunny was a dream come true… She’s a Design Icon and one of the women I most respect in this industry. As I shook her hand I had a PINCH ME MOMENT as I said, “I’m Toma Clark Haines,” and she said, “I know who you are. You’re The Antiques Diva. You’re Amazing. You’re the lady who is making antiques mainstream.”
More and more, Market is full of these Pinch Me Moments. When I was introduced as Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár last fall they launched a fragrance in my name “Toma”. To this day it is still one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. It was incredibly exciting when a former client on a tour recognized me hanging out in the booth and came to chat with me. When she saw that there was a fragrance in my name she said: “I must buy it!” While Pandora has sold cases and cases wholesale for retail stores across America this was my first time I was there when a purchase of my signature fragrance was made! It tickled me pink.
Speaking of la vie en rose… this Market was chocked full of exciting opportunities. Imagine my surprise when James Swan of Million Dollar Decorating Podcast impromptu interviewed me while I was touring market as did DesignerInc. Mark Cutler whipped out the camera and gave me their 10 questions on design. You’ll be surprised to learn what I wanted to be when I grew up… (okay… spoiler alert… a veterinarian) and, “What my least favorite thing is about working with designers?” For that, you’ll have to stay tuned. I will be providing links for both as soon as available. Style Spotters Gary Inman and Courtney Allison featured us at Pandora de Balthazár on both their whistle-stop tours of Market Square.
In the midst of this… meetings with new and long term clients are the real reason I go to High Point Market. What many people don’t understand is that we don’t just do antique buying tours, we do design inspiration tours. Many of our clients are furniture manufacturers seeking to source samples for developing their next line. I fear I might be running out of ink in my Tiffany Blue ink pen signing confidentiality and NDA agreements after this market.
Net net… This High Point Market was a whirlwind. Thanks for the memories.
Until next Market,
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Darlings, London is Calling… and you’re invited to join me – VIRTUALLY that is!
I am live streaming my LAPADA presentation Feb 23, 2017, when I broadcast on Facebook LIVE while I speak at the Houses of Parliament for the 9th Annual LAPADA Conference at the House of Lords!
My talk as CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co is on establishing client trust and creating international business relationships, addressing factors such as the influence a customer’s decision making has in buying from one dealer over another as well as what creates a sense of trust in establishing long-term international relationships with clients. I’ll discuss the main drivers in creating trusted relationships between buyers and sellers, offering tips on how to develop these relationships and how to best communicate with American clients.
This year’s LAPADA, the Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, Conference will focus on how art and antiques dealers can trade online more securely, better protecting themselves and their clients. Experts will impart professional advice on a range of topics from dealing with cyber-attacks and protecting clients’ data to how to comply with Distance Selling Regulations and understanding copyright laws.
How To Watch My LAPADA Presentation on Facebook LIVE
- When: Feb 23, 2017
- Time: 3pm-3.45pm GMT – For those of you on the other side of the pond: that’s 10am EST and 9am CST and 7am PST
- Where: Go to my personal Facebook page: Toma Clark Haines to watch my presentation live.
If you’re not available to join us live, the video will stay on my Facebook page after the live broadcast.
Read more about my LAPADA presentation on Establishing Client Trust here.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Please mark your calendar
and join us on Sunday, January 22nd!
Toma Clark Haines will be moderating an all-star panel about Global Design with Brittany Chevalier, Design and Market Editor of Luxe Interiors + Design, Alexis Audette, Design Director of Beacon Hill Design and Thomas Hamel of Thomas Hamel and Associates. Please join fellow designers and influencers for yet another fabulous Diva brunch following Maison & Objet & the Paris Déco Off 2017!
Please RSVP by emailing parischampagnebreakfast@gm
The Arbor International Antiques & Interior Design Show in Round Top
They say “Everything is Bigger in Texas”. Well… Hold onto your cowboy hat handsome because Big just Got Bigger! The Arbor International Antiques & Interior Design Show in Round Top, Texas has become one of the biggest nationally known antique shows in the USA. Three times a year Antique Dealers from more than 13 countries set up shop on the fields outside of a small dusty town in Texas called Round Top, Texas… Population 90. Forget all your images of Texas towns… Gone are the tumbleweeds replaced by gorgeous antique linens, pickup trucks are used for hauling 18th C French armoires instead of hay bales, and cowboy hats give way to some of the chicest-most-connected-in-the-know buyers in the USA coming to either stock their store or simply buy for their own personal pleasure!!! Of course, a Diva Never Reveals her client list, but I can tell you that a number of my clients are selling at Round Top Texas!!!
Of course just like shopping the Paris Flea Market can be overwhelming – which means you need an Antiques Diva Guide – the same is true with Round Top! And lucky for you, The Antiques Diva is Doing Round Top Texas, leading not one but three fabulous No Passport Required Antiques Diva PR Champagne Tours! And best of all baby, it’s free!
Antiques Diva Champagne Tour – No Passport Required
Join me for a glass (or two) of champagne – and meet my favorite vendors at Round Top!
- Friday, September 23, 2016 – 11 am
- Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 1 pm & 4 pm
- Sunday, September 25, 2016 – 11 am
Arbor Antiques Show Tents – Meet at the Stardust Martini Bar for check-in and champagne 15-30 minutes prior to the tour start time.
How to Reserve your Champagne Tour:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot in one of the three tours. Space is limited in each tour, and you won’t want to miss my insider tips on shopping Round Top Texas!!!
On our tour we’ll not only point out antiques from around the world giving you Global Sourcing Tips – but we will give you inside information on the vendors, telling you:
- who’s got the best loot
- which vendors you must be following on Instagram
- we’ll talk about how to use what you find
- we’ll even give you a Diva-Education – telling you about the major antique periods and styles available for sale at the Arbor International Antiques & Interior Design Show!
You’ll learn how to identify key characteristics utilizing modern day metaphors (and I might even tell a dirty joke or two simply for the sake of helping you remember your Louis).
We are also going to focus on the antique trends in Europe and Asia… I’ll be arriving in Texas after two months on the road, shopping my way through Asia while setting up our Antiques Diva Asia Tours and the information I gather on the road is all part of our Design Trend Scouting. Learn how those trends will influence what’s happening in the designosphere in the USA. My goal is to take antiques out of the past and bring them into the future of design
Join me in Round Top Texas at Arbor Antiques Show for a Diva Styled Champagne Tour!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
I was recently in the Big Easy speaking at Southern Style Now Conference organized by Robert Leleux, former editor of Domino Magazine. Part of my time there included leading a Antiques Tour of Magazine Street, taking the group to my favorite antique dealers in New Orleans! Because I’m all about sharing secret antique sources with you — I had to write and share my Top Antique Shops in New Orleans list! In no particular order –
1) Shaun Smith Home
Shaun Smith is one of those guys that everyone loves. He’s as gorgeous as he is nice. I got to know Shaun when he was a client of The Antiques Diva & Co, shopping with us in Italy. While he certainly is a charming southern gentleman, he’s also got great style which is reflected in his store and interior design business. His inventory is eclectic, which makes his store fun to peruse. We spotted everything from an enormous model of a horse (life size) to antique Italian paintings.
2) Mac Maison
Michael Carvine has been in business for 20 years, and his refined store proves that good taste never goes out of style. Highlights here included fabulous antique lighting. From chandeliers to sconces, everything seemed to shimmer! There were also some gorgeous 18th-century Italian pieces that caught my eye immediately. I love dealers who can bring classic European pieces to the US… after all, that’s what my business is all about!
3) Karla Katz
I think I love Karla Katz’s store as much as I love her story! Years ago, she started off by just renting a stall in a larger store. As she bought more and more inventory, her space got larger and larger. After a while, she decided to take a leap of faith and start her own booming business… today her shop is absolutely stunning and draws some of the design world’s top buyers. In fact, while we were there, Bunny Williams and Suzanne Kasler happened to be shopping!
4) Anne Koerner
Anne Koerner, in my opinion, is one of the best Swedish antiques dealers in the USA. She has an incredible knowledge and can talk to you intelligently about any of her pieces. Going into her shop is like having a “history of furniture” lesson. Another thing I love about her store is that she mixes works from local artists, often juxtaposing modern art with antiques, and that is what we love at The Antiques Diva & Co!
5) Uptowner Antiques
Owners James and Roslyn take an adventurous approach to antique dealing. They not only buy & sell, they also restore pieces. James’ father was a furniture restorer and this has carried on into the business today. The couple travels to Europe to purchase pieces that need restoration. They then bring them back to their workshop in the US and restore everything impeccably. From traditional French pieces to Mid Century Modern (which happens to be James’ personal passion), they’ve got some really lovely pieces. Hint… if you go into the shop ask James about Mid-Century Modern… he was collecting MidC before MidC was cool. Hashtag #Trendsetter!
Speaking of trendsetters, Melissa Rufty and Adrienne Casbarian have found a niche in the design world. They specialize in the last 10% of things you need when decorating your home. I like to call it the jewelry for the home- lamps, small tables, art, accessories, etc. While we were there, Robert LeDeux fell in love with a lacquered parchment coffee table in the store and said it was his favorite piece on Magazine Street! My god, my problem… how to choose just one favorite piece in their store. I want it all.
7) Patricia Thompson
Patricia Thompson has been in business for over 15 years. She travels to France twice a year and shops all the famous trade fairs, bringing back fabulous 18th and 19th-century French inventory. A secret to her success is that she only buys things she personally would live with… and mamma mia, if this is how she lives at home, then next time I’m in town I’m inviting myself to stay chez elle. Perfection.
Speaking of perfection, Sarah, the owner of Balzac, has been in business for 20 years, but she never thought she would be an antique dealer! This is actually her 3rd career. Previously she was a lawyer then a stock broker. She now uses her business acumen when running her store which has fabulous lighting pieces along with a wide variety of mostly European inventory. I could have spent the entire day in shop. She knows her pieces, understands her inventory and her clients needs. First Class.
9) Kevin Stone
Further down Magazine Street than the others is none other than Kevin Stone. It may be a bit of a jaunt, but you will be rewarded as it is the largest store and Kevin’s personality is as fabulous as his inventory. Hmm… I fear there might be a photo of me sitting on his lap at his desk drinking champagne. He’s also an opera singer and if you’re lucky you can catch him singing in the shop…. if I were you and I were making a purchase I’d consider a personal song from him a requirement in lieu of a discount.
Empire has a very elegant atmosphere. From 19th century painted Italian furniture to Mid Century Modern lucite tables, this store has got style! They also have fabulous serving pieces and entertaining accessories.
11) Wirthmore Antiques
Okay really – what we do at The Antiques Diva & Co is EXCEED your expectations. So why stop at only 10 antique dealers in New Orleans. Gay Wirth has been in business for over 25 years, personally selecting each piece of inventory. Wirthmore specializes in 18th and 19th century French, Italian, and Swedish antiques. Gay encourages customers to only buy what they love, as she believes that when you purchase an antique, it should stay with you forever.
12) Gerrie Bremermann
I’ve saved the best for LAST. Gerrie is the Grand Dame of Magazine Street. She is a personal inspiration to me for both her effortless STYLE and her Entrepreneur Skills. And get this… Gerrie who is in her 90’s now actually started her career in interior design at age 42, which happens to be how old I am right now… which tells me… heaven only what will happen in the next 42 years of my life. I recently got hired to be a jewelry model for an upcoming ad campaign (#WatchThisSpace) and I can guarantee I never expected to have this on my CV, er, make that Resume in for the American readers. I find it inspiring to see other women doing what they love and succeeding at it in a Big Way making it look Easy. During Southern Style Now Gerrie received a lifetime achievement award for interior design…. And there’s no doubt why. Her store is certainly a must-see when you’re in New Orleans!
The next time you find yourself in New Orleans, I highly recommend taking some time to peruse Magazine Street, and when you pop into these stores, tell them Toma Clark Haines – aka, The Antiques Diva sent you!
Confession… just a few short weeks after I lead the antiques tour of New Orleans I kid you not Mister Leleux himself proposed marriage claiming that my antiques tour was the hit of his conference! Of course he wasn’t the only one who said that! Interior Designer Connie Seitz wrote me the sweetest note:
“It was so much fun to meet and interact with you on the Antiques Walking Tour Saturday morning. I must confess it was my favorite part of the activities associated with the Platinum VIP Ticket. Everything was perfect… the selection of sites to visit, the size of the group and even the weather! Everything went so smoothly and your hard work preparing for it was evident. I hope that next time we can take the entire day and include lunch.”
Laissez le bon temps rouler!!!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
Why Antiques are Essential to Design Today, and How the Industry is Meeting Digital-Age Demand
Think antiques are intimidating? Think again. Access to antiques—and trusted dealers around the world—has never been easier, thanks to a world where connections are made instantly through social media, a testament to the power of visual marketing. In truth, there’s never been a better time to be in (or shop) the antiques industry, with quality items and indispensable knowledge available at the swipe of a smartphone. Antiques (and authenticity) are more desirable than ever.
I was delighted to take part in a panel Why Antiques are Essential to Design Today, and How the Industry is Meeting Digital-Age Demand in Atlanta along with Beth Webb, Atlanta-based interior designer and Ben Cochrane, Caroline Faison Antique which was Moderated by Elizabeth Ralls, Editor in Chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine. We discussed how the antique market has changed, why antiques are essential to design projects across a wide range of ages and aesthetics, and how to thoughtfully integrate the quality and history of such time-honed treasures into well-edited, elegant, yet unpretentious interiors. This panel was held at AmericasMart – which opened a fabulous new Antiques floor in Building 1 Floor 2 with 90 dealers .
Antiques Are Essential to Design Today
The design industry seems to be experiencing a pendulum swing, in which many clients are at last moving away from the sameness of big-box retailers, and understanding the value of, even the story behind, independent artisans, and the small businesses who employ them. Antiques are now for everyone! Snobbery is being stripped away from the antiques scene – it’s no longer about pretentiously sticking to one period or echelon, but rather about mixing and matching and finding value in merely that which delights your eye. Antiques as a category is also being redefined. Vintage is as a relevant in today’s market as Period Pieces. And when you think antiques it’s not just about furniture – enter vintage scarves, belts, shoes, handbags, in addition to barware, art de la table, art for the walls, sculpture and statuary, and traditional furniture such as a chest of drawers, settees, tables and chairs.
I believe from a trend perspective antiques are on the upswing – young buyers value one thing more than anything else. They want to be unique – to be perceived as an individual – and one-of-a-kind finds whether for your interior or simply for wearing as vintage fashion are hot right now.
Provenance v Aesthetics
One of the questions moderator Elizabeth Rails had interior designer Beth Webb and I delve into was the question how important is provenance vs. aesthetics to our clients. Much hype has been made about the generational/cultural shift happening in the antiques and collectibles market in which Millennials have little interest in family heirlooms being passed along by their baby boomer parents – but I had say – I disagree!
I think Millennials are interested in antiques – just not interested in the way their parents and grandparents generations were!
What I find with my clients is that they simply want us to Be Real. Be Authentic. Be Honest. Be Fair. Be Generous with information. Young buyers are savvy buyers. They google to compare prices, they know how to look up authenticity, they know when they are being ripped off and they know when they’re being taken advantage of. They’re also NOT afraid to buy. And key point here… in answer to Elizabeth’s question was that I don’t always find that American buyers care about the authenticity of a piece. If the price is right, and the look is what they’re going for age doesn’t matter. Whereas 20 years ago buyers were obsessed with question “is this a period piece or an in the style of” piece” today young buyers are happy with finding something funky and fun that gives the look they’re after and could care less about museum quality pieces. An “in the style” piece from the 1950’s attracts young buyers the same as that period piece it was styled after from 1850!
Antiques Have Never Been More Accessible
1stdibs.com revolutionized the way that antiques were bought and sold, eliminating the pain points of e-commerce for small businesses around the world. Today there are half a dozen other online marketplaces that have allowed collectors to shop inventory and connect with dealers from around the world, Some would argue that antiques have never been more accessible.
All said, we decided the future of antiques is bright… so bright we gotta wear shades!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
PS Enjoy a few pics from special PR Tours I lead of AmericasMart during Atlanta Market!