Remember the Future

As I write from Venice, Carnevale is taking place outside my window. The calles are filled with men and ladies dressed in carnival gear strolling alongside canals. The most popular place to finish one’s stroll is of course Caffè Florian on the Piazza San Marco. The theme of this year’s Carnevale is “Remember the Future” – taken from Salvador Dali’s quote “I prefer to remember the future.”  As we come out of this pandemic, and life starts to have a semblance of familiarity, I think about how much closer we are to these memories. In the last quarter of this newsletter, I share a list of upcoming antique fairs in Europe where we’ll be taking clients on real life antique buying tours (and continuing our virtual services). I think this new world – in which we will be living post-pandemic will be like this – with a foot in each world, virtual and reality intertwined. To quote an old Arby’s commercial from my childhood…“Different is better.” 

Hey Diva Readers,

As I write from Venice, Carnevale is taking place outside my window. The calles are filled with men and ladies dressed in carnival gear strolling alongside canals. The most popular place to finish one’s stroll is of course Caffè Florian on the Piazza San Marco. The theme of this year’s Carnevale is “Remember the Future” – taken from Salvador Dali’s quote “I prefer to remember the future.”  As we come out of this pandemic, and life starts to have a semblance of familiarity, I think about how much closer we are to these memories. In the last quarter of this newsletter, I share a list of upcoming antique fairs in Europe where we’ll be taking clients on real life antique buying tours (and continuing our virtual services). I think this new world – in which we will be living post-pandemic will be like this – with a foot in each world, virtual and reality intertwined. To quote an old Arby’s commercial from my childhood…“Different is better.”  The opportunity we have now is to choose the best from the last two years to take with us as we return to the future lives we all long to live.  A lot of what we’ve shared virtually and digitally as a company has changed the way we do business at The Antiques Diva & Co – and our Instagram lives, virtual buying tours and podcasts will continue. 

I’ve been talking…have you been listening? Listening to my podcast – that is! Each week on The Business of Antiques Podcast, I interview guests who share a wealth of information on how to become an antiques dealer and how to run an antiques store.

Eve Oliver – PR & Marketing Manager for IACF organizers of premium antiques fairs in the UK including Newark, Ardingly and Shepton Mallet – writes “I’ve been listening to your podcast and it’s incredible! I can’t get enough of it! I’m low-key obsessed at the moment!!!!

Carson Kressley – of Rupal’s Drag Race and ORIGINAL Queer Eye for the Straight Guy kicked off the New Year on the Business of Antiques podcast by talking about his love for antiquing while traveling abroad.

Meanwhile, James Gooch joins us from England’s own Doe & Hope, as we explain how antique dealers can be cool hunters, Rich Shell talks about his new concept store in Colorado Springs – Evan Guy, and I personally share my END OF YEAR REVIEW. Here’s a pro hint…this end of year review works anytime you want to re-evaluate when you are in building a life and business you love. Your New Year – New Business – New You – can start today. My favorite episode is EPISODE 10 of Season 2 – You and Me – Me and You – where I debut my singing career (spoiler alert: I sing off key), as I tell you all about HOW we at The Antiques Diva help Antique Dealers increase their profit margin through sourcing, business coaching & development, antique dealer training, marketing services and website development. 

As a Business Coach for Antique Dealers, I’ve learned that one of the most important things I do is help antique dealers determine, define, and execute their strategy to achieve the goal of building an antiques business that supports the way they want to live their lives.

As we kick off 2022, I repeat this question – you’ve heard me ask you 1 million times already in the last decade – What are your dreams? How do you want to be living your life? 

Answering this question can be as simple as asking yourself “How do I want to start each day?

My morning routine is sacred. And confession? I’m pretty pissy when that routine gets disturbed. I wake early. But that doesn’t mean I rise early. I stay under the covers two or three hours after my eyes open spending time thinking, reading, snuggling with the cats but mostly writing in that hour between wake and sleep when I can hear myself so clearly. My dream is to write a NY Times best-selling memoir – and I’m the girl who turns dreams to reality – so I’m pursuing my writing the same way I pursued my building my career in antiques. One step at a time. For me having a work schedule that allows me to take that time daily to write in the morning is an essential part of HOW I want to live. (You can read some of my musings at

One of the things these last two years of the pandemic have shown me is I need to travel. Not the manic way I did before. I like my life now. Going to the gym. Regularly seeing friends. Connecting with them on an intimate level. Taking Italian lessons. Sleeping 8 hours a night.  But Diane Vreeland said it best – “The eye has to travel.

I’ll never forget the day I was sitting at Ombre del Leon overlooking Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and the Venetian lagoon with my friend and director #watchthisspace Radek Wegrzyn and he asked the question – “What is your core need? 
I responded quickly, “Security.” I was having a horrible time making decisions about my divorce because I was afraid of financially taking care of myself. He laughed. “Toma, I can assure you if Security was your core need you wouldn’t be sitting here today.” 

I sat for a moment. He was right. I answered again.

My core needs are Adventure and Beauty. Independence. Flexibility.

Security was a reaction against those words. A reaction to try and attach my parachute to the airplane when I jumped.

This winter I felt the need to travel.  So, in December and January, I took an extended trip traveling across France. I drove from Venice with my 2 cats to Paris, Normandy, Biarritz, and beyond…. I ended the trip at Relais Mont Blanc. (Visit to read all about these adventures). During these days I took time to think about my priorities for 2022. I chose my words of the year… Yes. I said Words. Normally I choose just one. I chose Receive. But another word came to me… FLEXIBILITY. 

This year I chose to Receive rather than make things happen – I’m really good at making things happen, but this year my mantra is “not by force but by grace.” Rather than demanding things go exactly as I want them to… I’m open and ready to receive the right opportunities that come my way.

Successful Antiques Businesses Have Successful Habits.

Here are a few tips from me – Toma Clark Haines CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co – on some questions for you to ask yourself – and answer – about your antiques business EVERY MONTH. Copy & Paste these questions into your calendar so they pop up on the first of each month!

  • Review monthly sales. Where did the sales come from?
  • What was the most profitable thing you sold last month?  
  • What was your most profitable sales day? And why? 
  • How can you repeat this?
  • Have you noticed that you always sell a particular vendor/supplier’s inventory first? How much of your current inventory comes from that vendor?
  • Any idea where the leads were generated?
  • Have you checked your website numbers?
  • What about your newsletter? What was your open rate? Did you send one last month? Will you send one this month?
  • How is your social media performing? 
  • Did your followers grow? How did they grow? 
  • What singular effort brought in new followers?
  • What’s one new thing you can do for marketing this month?  
  • What outstanding bills do you have?
  • What outstanding inventory are you waiting to receive?
  • Is there anyone who owes you money? Have you chased them down to receive those funds??
  • Did you pay all your bills on time? (It’s good karma, what you put out gets returned to you)

Here at The Antiques Diva our mission is to EDUCATE and EMPOWER our clients. But here’s the question… What do YOU want to know!? Write me and let me know what questions you’d like us to answer.


One of the coolest things to cross my desk recently were these fabulous Mid Century Holophane Parisian Street Lights.

We helped a client source these recently through our virtual antique tours and buying servicesThese street lights were made in France in the 1960s, and they have been converted into pendant lights.

We found these from 600€ per piece to 1000€ trade export price, plus our 10% buying service commission. A key element of these antique Parisian street lights is the borosilicate glass – which filters the light good enough for instagram – evenly illuminating the area surrounding it casting no shadows. Most of the pieces we found were 40 cm diameter (or 15.75 inches).

While they are not in perfect condition and have wear according to their age (as one dealer wrote, imagine all the French school kids who threw rocks at the lights after school!”) – they have been restored and are ready to go – Adapted for the USA! Lighting is a great way to add impact and flair and glamour in your antique shop.

Did you know we even work in Murano and mainland Italy and can have handmade chandeliers made for you?



Oh la la…It’s Paris Shopping Chic this March 2022.

As you know Maison Objet and Deco Off changed their dates from January 2022 to March 2022 – which means for the first time ever it coincides with Chatou – La Foire Nationale a la Brocante e Jambon, which is hands down one of my favorite flea markets in France. And to make matters even more interesting – this occurs in conjunction with the Chartres Deballage – wholesale only trade fair.   

10-20 March Shop Chatou Flea Market 

23 March Shop Chartres Deballage

24-27 March Shop Maison Objet 

23-27 March Shop Deco Off

We are offering a SPECIAL PACKAGE:
WHEN YOU BOOK 4 DAYS this March 2022 GET 1 FREE

Inquire for details.


Would you like to join us for an intimate breakfast in Paris on March 27, 2022? While our big Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch was canceled in January 2022 due to the pandemic – we are still happy to meet you for champagne at the Puce de Paris on Sunday 27 March during the new M&O and Deco Off dates. 


Our speciality at The Antiques Diva & Co is sourcing for and with “the trade”. Join us to shop the TRADE ONLY Antique Fairs in the South of France by shopping the deballages in conjunction with antique warehouses, flea markets, and one of a kind boutiques.

Feb 20, 21 & 22

March 20 & 21

April 24, 25, & 26

May 22 & 23

June 26, 27 & 28


One of the biggest advantages we are offering antique dealers is the opportunity to be everywhere at once. Even when you can’t travel abroad, you can join us for some virtual Antique Tours in England and France. In England, let Gail McLeod, VP of The Antiques Diva & Co, give you the inside source on decorative antiques. We’ll take care of all the details – custom plan your shopping experience, liaise with international shippers, negotiate, translate, and be your “back office” support team in Europe as we help you buy antiques abroad and ship them home sweet home.

Email me,, to book your appointment to schedule your virtual antique tours which allow you to shop in Europe from your armchair. Availability is first come, first serve and booked in 1 hour increments so make sure to reserve your time-slot today.

31 March – 3 April – Bath Decorative Fair

23-27 March – Chelsea Antiques Show
(make sure to listen to the podcast interview with Sophie Woods about this show

4-8 May Battersea Decorative Fair

13-15 May Petworth Park Antiques Fair

26-29 May Henley Decor Fair

And Last But Not Least – book either a virtual or REAL LIFE Antiques Tour right here at home with me in Italy – at Mercanteinfiera. We can do virtual appointments or real life shopping tours 

March 10 & 11 TRADE DAYS Mercanteinfiera

Mamma Mia, this newsletter has been a whirlwind. As I write it – it feels like we’ve settled into a new normal. No – the world won’t be what it was before. And we wouldn’t want it to. We don’t want to lookback – but to go forward – better than ever before. 

As I close, I’m using an OLD photo of me from a photoshoot with Susanna Ollmann just before the pandemic. With our Carnevale theme, I couldn’t resist but to use this photo I never got to share! 🙂 I’m in many ways softer. More serious. Less polished. More me. I’ve handled hard things and I think as a result I am more open to going with the flow handling what life throws at me. I suspect we all are changed in a million little ways. What I know is I’m ready to step into the future with all the knowledge of the past evolving the way I live my life and do business. And I want to help you do the same. Book your free consultation to find out about Business Coaching for Antiques Dealers

I encourage you to email me your questions and concerns and tell me what topics you’d like me to cover in this newsletter and on our podcast The Business of Antiques. And I ask one great big favor? Would you go to wherever you listen to podcasts – iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts – and subscribe and leave us a 5-star review. This helps us get sponsors, achieve higher ratings, and reach more listeners. Lastly, if you’re not following me on Instagram, make sure to follow today @RepublicofToma and @TheAntiquesDiva

Warmest regards and Bonne Shopping!


Toma Clark Haines – CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co

A Different World

When I last wrote a blog post we lived in a different world.  I simply stopped blogging here on Antiques Diva last year for a variety of reasons – both personal and professional.

But Baby I’m Back!

When I last wrote a blog post we lived in a different world.  I simply stopped blogging here on Antiques Diva last year for a variety of reasons – both personal and professional.

But Baby –and just in time for the holidays – I’m Back!

Whatever your view on the pandemic – we can all agree on one thing – the world is now a different place. The last two years of NOT traveling – of being in one place – of finalizing what felt like a neverending divorce – of spending a lot of time alone – at home here in Venice – has changed me too. I am in a different place.

I’ve spent the last two years reconsidering not only my travel-based business but also my entire way of life. Finalmente I learned Italian (Non parlo bene italiano ma sto facendo progressi.), and somehow I think in learning a new language – new words and new ways of saying things – I was also teaching myself a new way of thinking. 

With time in one location I was finally able to be consistent in going to the gym. I am incredibly proud of myself because I went to the gym every week for a year. #IHaveBunsofSteel. Perhaps my favorite thing I’ve done during the pandemic is learn to drive a boat in the Venetian lagoon. It’s a metaphor in a way – learning to navigate new waters with a variety of opposing forces – currents, winds and man-made waves from passing vaporettos.

I loved my pre-covid jetset way of life – but being grounded has grounded me. It has balanced me. I have different priorities. From a business perspective – taking the time to re-evaluate my company has made me a better business person with a higher profit margin and diverse revenue streams. 

When the pandemic hit, I thought I would lose my company. We lost 90% of our antique tour business for the year within a single week. When times are tough – I always do 3 things: 

  1. First I cry like a little girl. Crawl under the covers and hide. Take a really long nap. And probably drink too much wine.
  2. Then I get smart. I call it the Hunting and Gathering phase. I process. Evaluate. I ask both myself and others a lot of questions. I read. I listen to podcasts. (Check out mine wherever you listen to podcasts, click the hashtag for direct link) #BusinessofAntiques. I learn. I spend a lot of time thinking about things. Sometimes people see that thinking as non-action… but thinking is the most important part of my process. It’s sort of like learning to drive that boat…  when you learn to drive a boat you have to take time to feel the water around you.
  3. And then I get even smarter by refining…Refine. Refine. Refine. This is my pattern. As my mom (and Nietche) always said, #WhatDoesntKillYouMakesYouStronger

If you don’t polish antique silver – the silver darkens. For silver to truly shine, you need to keep polishing it.  

Refine. Refine. Refine. 

Who you are today is not who you were yesterday or who you will be tomorrow. This is true for you as a person, but it’s also true for you as a small business owner. Your business will change over time as your needs –and those of your clients – and change. You have to keep polishing – refining – your business the way you would do silver.



As a company The Antiques Diva & Co is known as being the world’s largest company offering antique buying tours in 16 countries. Tourism came to a stop in 2020. As soon as the stores and flea markets were reopened post lockdown, I began offering VIRTUAL ANTIQUING TOURS  (You can WATCH a slew of the promotional tours of the Paris Flea Market, Antiquing in England, and the South of France on Instagram @republicoftoma to get a feel for the experience)  

During a time when our client base couldn´t travel abroad – we brought the experience of being abroad VIRTUALLY to you through video. Now, even though the borders have opened again post-covid – and Americans are allowed to travel to Europe – we continue to offer both in person/real life antique buying tours as well as virtual tours depending on the clients needs.

The reality is – even when it’s not a pandemic – clients can’t always travel abroad. Sometimes it’s faster to fill a container via Facetime video calls and Photos than to take a trip. Plus, it saves you a bundle of money on traveling expenses! We have spent the last 9 months refining the process of sourcing via video so we can now offer you the best experience based upon months of trial and error in what works…and what doesn’t.



Join me – or a member of my team – to do a #ToTheTrade Virtual Tour of an Antique Fair by booking a private tour slot. (email me

Shop with us at the Wholesale Deballages in the South of France, Brocantes, The Decorative Fair at Battersea Park in London or in Bath, Mercanteinfiera in Parma as well as the Paris Flea Market, Ile sur la Sorgue and more. 

The Virtual Tour takes place on Facetime or Whats App Video. 
You Have to Wake Up Really Early.  But – video phone – by waking at 3am or 4am – you can literally shop with us LIVE as we shop the wholesale antiques fair on your behalf! That means you get to interact directly with our vendors. We inspect objects together. You are even involved directly in negotiations. You get to ask all your questions LIVE!

These video tours are supplemented by sending a slew of targeted PHOTOS of inventory. 
Most of our vendors give us first dibs when they have new inventor. With global sourcing being a competitive market – having first dibs gives our clients an advantage over their competitors.

My team then sends you targeted customized photos each week – until your container is filled –  based upon what we are receiving from vendors and what we are discovering in our travels.



WIth global supply chain issues and a world wide shipping crisis – there will be delays for receiving inventory in 2022. The only way to beat it is to have good connections, realistic expectations on delivery times, and inside information on which shippers are successfully navigating the crisis. But here’s the deal…if you would like to receive your inventory in the first half of 2022, NOW is the TIME to BE Proactive. You need to start buying NOW if you’re going to want to have a container by end of SPRING/EARLY SUMMER. Once we have confirmed clients who have started sourcing – we are able to work with our shipping contacts to BOOK your container or GET YOU on a WAITLIST for and EARLIER delivery of goods.

Our unique advantage in this industry is our BUYING POWER. At any given moment we have up to 7 containers at sea. Your advantage in working with us is that you have not just your buying power as a dealer who sources in Europe once or twice a year – but rather the buying power collectively of all our clients. 

If you can’t wait for a container – consider restocking your store temporarily with smalls and accessories.  We have an entire album of frequently available accessories we can help you with to give your antiques store a refresher while waiting for a container. 





I started my business The Antiques Diva & Co in 2008 at the height of the global recession. It was the worst possible time to start a business. And yet… troubled times are when there is the most opportunity. My business became a huge success because of that recession. While a lot of dealers were getting out of the business – and a lot of stores were closing – others were making the decision to take the plunge into sourcing globally. And I was there to help them buy antiques overseas. My company was their solution for learning the ropes quickly on how to buy antiques in Europe. Providing solutions for antique dealers is our Sweet Spot as a company. Along with my team, I work to identify the problems and come up with a variety of solutions to help antique dealers run successful antiques businesses while living the life of their dreams.

Well-positioned antique dealers have thrived in this pandemic as sales of furnishings and interior design products have reached an all time high. 

Over the last two years, I have spent the majority of my time working with clients in our Antique Dealer Training and Mentoring Program 

In our Business Coaching for Antiques Dealers, my colleague and I have helped our clients refine their entire antique businesses – helping clients develop multi-prong approaches for online sales as well as for in person shopping experiences.  

Additionally, at The Antiques Diva & Co we started offering Marketing Services for Antique Dealers – helping clients to rebrand and market their business. We started a service building websites for antique dealers and offered monthly content management services for our clients newsletters, and we have even done social media for clients. Confession: I may or may not have pretended to be my client more than once on social media commenting on interior designers Instagram posts to help my client build relationships with the right designers. I know what to say to each designer to help my dealer client make the connection faster and smoother. Once there is a rapport, I step out of the social media scene and let my client take over from there!


The Republic of Toma 

While you were not hearing from me often here on The Antiques Diva blog these past two years – I WAS blogging. I was just not blogging where you usually find me. Or on the topic you normally expected. I started a new blog, The Republic of Toma. 

The website is still underway, and the identity is not fully developed as I have a million new ideas brewing that I will corral heere eventually. But for now, if you want to read my personal musings – about life, love, and other mysteries – follow me at the Republic of Toma. I will keep you informed when additional product launches are on the way!


The Business of Antiques: 

In the spirit of keeping you informed, it’s with great pleasure – I announce THE BUSINESS OF ANTIQUES podcast IS BACK with Season 2. 

For the 1st episode of Season 2, we sit down for a conversation with Erin Gilbert, VP of Sales, for Chairish comparing various sales strategies for selling antiques and telling you Why You Should Be Selling on ChairishNext up is LAPADA CEO – When Freya SimmsTalks People Listen. Followed by a fabulous conversation with Rich Schell on The Advent of the Concept Store.  I personally think the concept store is the future of antiques. We even talk auctions with KC AUCTION HOUSE.

I have a slew of subjects scheduled from talking about the shipping crisis, to discussing why concept stores are the future of antiques, and how to do an end of year review for your company then preparing a marketing plan. Stay tuned.  

 Make sure to subscribe wherever you normally listen to podcasts – Itunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, or TuneIn Radio.

Announcing Our New Sponsor: The British Shop! 

The British Shop transports fine art, furniture and antiques by air, land and sea around the world. David Hockney once said “Art has to move you” and The British Shop offers a service which moves ART AND ANTIQUES with personal care delivering care. Whether you’re shipping an entire container or a few items via consolidation – The British Shop is your solution for shipping antiques from Europe to the USA. Schedule a CALL with Malcom Disson of The British Shop by visiting their website Tell them you heard about them on the Business of Antiques Podcast to receive a special offer on your Insurance for your delivery!

My Mission:
Net Net over the last Two Years at The Antiques Diva & Co we have updated our business so we are a full service consultancy for Antiques Dealers – helping clients with everything from sourcing antiques to providing shipping solutions to educating dealers and offering business coaching and marketing services. Mamma Mia, my goal for 2022 is to get a new website that really shows who we are and what we are doing.

In Simon Sinek’s book, The Infinite Game, he tells the story of the difference between presenting at Microsoft and Apple conferences ( Microsoft spent their conference talking about how to beat Apple, while Apple talked about helping teachers teach and students learn.  This story made me smile. I realized as CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, I’m playing The Infinite Game. My objective is to stay in the game and to continue to serve the antiques industry overall listening to your problems and continuing to provide solutions to help you as an antiques dealer be more successful, have a more profitable business, provide structure and confidence, and most importantly help you to live the life of your dreams while pursuing your dream of being an antiques dealer. After all, Dreams Do Come True.

Call Me.

Or rather, let me call you.  I’m offering a free 1 hour business consultation to help you change the way you do your antiques business.

Happy Holidays. I promise I won’t wait so long until my next post.

My warmest wishes, 

Toma Clark Haines – CEO The Antiques Diva & Co 

Founder Republic of Toma



And the Winner Is…

Drum Roll Please…

And the Winner Is... Announcing the Winners of our #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime at the Paris Flea Market giveawayThe AD&CO team had so much fun reading your stories about your 1st visit to le Marché aux Puces… thank you for sharing your adventures, and the treasures you’ve discovered!


Diva Readers share my passion for the hunt, and the determination to get that special piece back home again! Every piece in our homes tell a story about who we are, and I loved learning more about our Readers!


The winners of The Antiques Diva & Co #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime at the Paris Flea Market Giveaway are:

Grand Prize 1 Day Tour at the Paris Flea Market  5 Changes to win our Paris Flea Market giveaway.png

Bev Martinets

1st Prize Aidan Gray Paris Flea Market CandleStick

Daphne Dunn

3 RunnerUps – DesignHER copies by Julianne Taylor

Jenny Conkin

Suzette Bannister

Ruthie Staalsen


Congratulations to our winning stories!!! And thank you so much to everyone who entered!!!

Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva