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:
- First I cry like a little girl. Crawl under the covers and hide. Take a really long nap. And probably drink too much wine.
- 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.
- 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.
VIRTUAL ANTIQUE TOURS
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.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
BOOK a FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTING CALL WITH ME to DISCUSS SOLUTIONS TO YOUR BUYING AND SHIPPING NEEDS
MORE THAN TOURS:
OUR ANTIQUE DEALER TRAINING PROGRAM & MARKETING SERVICES
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 Chairish. Next 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 https://thebritishshop.com/. Tell them you heard about them on the Business of Antiques Podcast to receive a special offer on your Insurance for your delivery!
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 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEOftmUJ6a4). 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.
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 https://antiquesdiva.com/
Founder Republic of Toma https://www.republicoftoma.com/
In this month’s header photo taken last week in Cambodia I am sunburnt. I am sweaty and just after this photo was taken I found a mosquito stuck still alive in the sweaty goo of sunblock at my hairline. In spite of all that I still I took to my standard diva pose even though my butt seriously hurt from hiking.
This January before going to Cambodia I was in Las Vegas speaking at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. (The flight from Vegas to Siem Reap was h-e-double-hockey-sticks… 10,135 miles and 4 layovers but I digress…) In one of my presentations at KBIS I gave a presentation in the DMM Design Milk / Modenus Talks Lounge called Strike A Pose where I taught attendees how to take a good photo. Everyone has to have a profile photo for their social media – so you might as well look good!
The thing I noticed about this photo is I look tired, but I look happy. More than that, I look content. And I’ve determined content is a better feeling than happy. I had just come out of hiking in the jungle to the top of Kulen Mountain and I had overestimated my ability to go those last 3 kilometers. But here’s the thing: Hiking in a jungle to the top of the most sacred mountain in Asia is like jumping out of an airplane and deciding at the halfway point you want to go back. That description of me on the mountain is how I feel about who and where I am today.
A Few of My Cambodia Photos – click to enlarge
The Business of Antiques
It’s 2020. And this is my first blog post of the new year. I suspect my content manager is about to have a heart attack that I missed blogging in December, January and February. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging. The problem? I want to be intentional about content. And intentional isn’t easy. Several years ago I was on a hamster wheel – trying to blog X times per week for SEO and I reached a point where creating content had sucked all joy out of blogging. I hired someone to help – but I found the blog not representing my vision so last year I made the decision to write once-a-month longer personal blog posts which I’ve loved doing. All was fine and dandy until… I launched my podcast The Business of Antiques and all my energy went into getting it up and running and I dropped the ball on blogging. (I’m sorry readers 🙂 ) And by the way, speaking of the podcast – if you haven’t listened to my episode on Marketing For Antique Dealers you must – its my favorite podcast to date!
One of the hardest things for me is juggling all I do. Business traveling, speaking around the world, mentoring clients and taking them on Antique Buying Tours, managing my Antiques Diva Team of Buying Guides in 16 countries, designing jewelry and furniture, marketing those as well as my main business, dealing with taxes and business administration and finances, and writing my book, as well as the content for my blog and other social media in addition to podcast… it’s a lot. And I don’t do it alone. I couldn’t. I have a fabulous team who helps. But I’m trying to manage it and sometimes I fail.
And like the juggler who keeps adding balls in the air until one ball – if not all of them – drops, I’m also juggling Life. In my personal life I am dealing with trifecta of problems from finalizing The Divorce, to dealing with visa issues and facing a tax audit. Nietzsche says “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I think that’s what I liked about my photo. I am tired. But I looked strong. Maybe I’ll never be a size 6, that’s not in my linguine all’astice and 3rd glass of prosecco lifestyle, but I like who I am becoming even if dealing with life issues sucks more energy than I care to admit.
What I’ve learned during these times is I Must Keep Calm and Diva On. I’ve also been using this time to clear my mind and reflect. With one decade closing and another one beginning it’s important as Marie Forleo explains, “to look back, celebrate your wins, acknowledge your growth, extract the lessons and set the right goals for the upcoming year.”
It’s a new year. A new decade. And a new Toma. Yes, I’m still your Diva. But maybe I’m Diva2.0, or rather… make that Diva2020. As I look back at 2019 and forward to 2020, I think about what my resolutions are both personally and professionally.
Resolution #1 Be Intentional in Expressing My Authentic Voice
You might have noticed as I change, the tone of this blog is changing. Yes, I’ll always have stilettos and pearls. I’m your Diva afterall. But when I look back at my life journey, I went from being a daughter to a bride to a diva… and from a diva to me.
Resolution #2 Make Time for Wellness
Wellness is not a luxury, but a necessity. I love a good luxury spa hotel, but I’ve learned wellness is not about going to a great resort but about self care every day. My sister and I were talking this weekend and she said “I’m not sure I even know how to do self care.” For me, that means getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, but also imbibing ginger tea and lemon water, going to the gym at least twice a week (my goal is 3 but it doesn’t always happen), cooking healthy dinners when I’m at home. It means learning to Say No To Others and Yes To Me. Going for a walk everyday. Spending time snuggling with my cats. Reading books. Taking time to journal and meditate. In 2019 I formed a lot of healthy habits that have changed my life.
While staying in Cambodia at the 5-star hotel Anantara Angkor Resort in February for my writers’ retreat to work on my book, I went to the spa everyday to sit in the steam room. It was part of my process. If you’re going to write, you need to clear your mind so you can hear your voice. It occured to me, “What if I could do this every day at home? What if I incorporated steaming into my daily schedule?” Mr Steam makes that possible! They manufacture state-of-the-art steam shower systems and steam shower accessories that transform residential steam bathing.
Returning home from KBIS Vegas and Cambodia, I’m in research mode to determine how I can convert my master bath into a Mr Steam steamroom. It’s easier than you would ever think possible – and actually affordable! I’m super excited by this concept that I can steam at home!!! Steaming improves circulation, skin health, loosens stiff joints and helps restore your body after a workout. Plus it reduces stress, opens up the sinuses, and burns calories. Resolution #3 Embrace Technology
At the resort, I would call the Spa and tell them to turn on the steam and I would be there in 30 minutes. But at home, if you have a smart home, you can simply tell your Smart Home to turn on the Steam. One of my sponsors with Design Hounds at KBIS in Las Vegas was Control 4, a provider of automation and networking systems for homes and business offering a personalized and unified smarthome system to automate and control connected devices including lighting, audio, video, climate control, intercom, and security. I am not a technology girl. When I was married, that was my husband’s job. As a single woman it occurred to me, “Who needs a husband when you can have Control 4?” I’m getting wired and stepping into the 21st Century! In the 2020s, I’m making my home a smarthome.
Resolution #4 Finish Decorating My Home in Venice
Getting an apartment in Venice 2 years ago was hands-down the best decision I’ve made in my life. It’s my happy place. But maintaining my business in Berlin, Germany, whilst spending the majority of my time in Venice has meant that over the last 2 years I haven’t gotten everything done that I wanted to in Venice. I felt like my feet were straddling two nations as I hadn’t fully left Germany mentally as much as I wanted to nor fully settled into Venetian life.
In December I finally fully closed up life in Germany. I will go to the States to Martha’s Vineyard for 3 – 4 months this Spring and Summer while I switch my visa status so I can fully start my new life. But for my Venice apartment this means it’s time to get serious. I still need living room lights and art for my living room wall, as well as to finish my kitchen design so that it fully functions the way I want it to.
In Italy, we say “Piano, piano” slowly, slowly, step by step, but I’m ready to put a bit more kick in my step. I’ve been “making do” in my kitchen without if fully finished the way I wanted it.
Having just been to the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show “making do” is no longer an option. In French the expression for window shopping is lécher les vitrines… literally licking the windows. I was licking all the windows at KBIS fantasizing about making my home more my home. Two of the brands that sponsored my KBIS Design Hounds trip caught my attention: Thermador and Nobilia.
After “making do” Thermador’s tagline “Beyond Luxury Appliances” had me at Hello. You can get your design inspiration on here: https://www.thermador.com/us/experience/inspirational-design. They offer seamlessly integrated sleek design perfect for a contemporary lifestyle. And while I may work in antiques, I like contrast. A sleek modern kitchen contrasted with Rococo and Gustavian decor. Afterall, it’s all about the mix. Meanwhile Nobilia’s nod to history impressed me. Nobilia kitchens are known for their modern design, exceptional quality and their extremely good price to value ratio but their origins employ many of the ideals of the Bauhaus movement harmonize the distinction between the fine and applied arts while reuniting creativity and industrial design.
Resolution #5 FOCUS; Where Focus Goes Energy Flows
I’m becoming more intentional about how I spend my time. Every year I set a word of the year. Last year I chose Ready. This year my word is Intentional. I want to be more intentional about living a balanced life, increasing revenue for my business, and organizing my time. If I get more organized, I can focus more on what brings me revenue and when setting my priorities I’ll be able to know exactly where to best spend my time so I have more balance! I don’t see 2020 as a year for going forward, but rather a year for putting the 2010’s to bed.
Resolution #6 Give Myself Permission to Quit
One of the things I’m thinking as I’m in a difficult period personally is “What do I need to eliminate from my life?” I have a lot of goals. What I’ve learned is if you find you’re not progressing on a goal… maybe that goal is not as important as you thought it was. Sometimes we put goals on our list that are not our goals – they could be our husband’s, a friend’s or an employee’s. If you’re not making progress there’s a reason. Time available is certainly one of those reasons, but sometimes it’s that the goal doesn’t matter enough. I want to learn Italian. I also want to go to the gym. I don’t have time for both classes at this moment in my life. I chose the gym because I felt it was better for my mental health. My objective is to be CONTINUALLY reevaluating my business and personal goals and deciding if I want to Quit a Goal, Delay a Goal or Progress on the Goal.
Resolution #7: Consider Compromises and Ask for Help
For me, the last few months as work and life became too much and my blog took the hit. But… did it have to? When I ask myself that question “Is a monthly personal blog really my goal?” My answer is yes. But… why then did I let it slip through the crack? Because of time. One of the best exercises you can do for your business is to make a list of every single task you do. Then highlight those things that REALLY only you can do! You’ll be surprised how much you can ask for help on.
As owner of the company, I set the vision for the brand, and I am the voice of the company. There is no Diva without I in Antiques Diva. I want to write personal blog posts, but… if my goal really is providing consistent content I could have taken my manicured hands off the wheel and asked one of my Diva Guides for help writing a blog while I was working on starting the podcast. By being so focused on what I had to do (that’s ego talking) I missed an opportunity to provide content for you and missed an opportunity to let a member of my team shine. Lesson Learned. Sometimes when focusing on a goal you have to make compromises – and ask for help – to meet your objective.
One of the most important services we offer at The Antiques Diva & Co is our Antique Dealer Training and Mentoring Program where we work with you to help you not only evaluate where your business is currently but help you to get where you want to go. In the program we meet you where you are. It’s customized according to your store and your inventory – but more importantly, according to your strengths and weaknesses. One of the exercises I’d encourage you to do is make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. When you look at the strengths use that list to evaluate where to best spend your time. What are you naturally good at? What are your weaknesses? These are areas of your business where you may need additional training or additional help.
Resolution #8 Look for Help in Alternative Ways
I’ve always had an interest in esoteric subjects but in 2020 I’m taking more of an interest in learning about these topics that interest me. I first began dabbling in crystals by accident. I was designing my jewelry collection The Republic of Toma and met one of the editors from Thai Tatler magazine who commented that my choice of stones was interesting. That my stones told the story of my soul.
I found it a curious comment and inquired what she meant:
“Rubies and Citrines: Power, Success, Passion and Money. You’re starting a new venture designing jewelry and you’ve chosen stones that will guarantee your success. But Rose Quartz means love. You’re looking for love. Either externally or inside yourself. Aquamarine is a stone of courage. Its calming energies reduce stress and quiet the mind. Your mind is very noisy I think.”
Her comment left me frozen. In designing jewelry had I literally put my heart on my sleeve? When I looked at the motifs I designed, snakes, frogs, etc… they were all symbols of transformation. This started me on a journey researching stones and their meanings.
As humans we have intuition. Intuitively we are drawn to things we like. But our intuition leads us to what we like or don’t like, what we need or sometimes what we’re afraid of. I remember once going to the stone quarry in Italy and talking with one of the geologists about stones. I asked if he believed that stones had special powers assuming as a scientist he’d laugh at the notion. Instead he responded, “If your body needs potassium, it craves a banana. Why not Rose Quartz for love?”
While at KBIS, visiting our sponsor Compac: The Surfaces Company – the leading company in high quality decorative surfaces – I thought for the first time about the materials I’m using in my home. I’ve always wanted only real materials – granite, real wood etc, but it occured to me that just as the stones I choose to wear in my jewelry give me additional help with the problems I’m facing so then would the stones I choose in your house have the same effect. This is Holistic living.
Their stall at KBIS was filled with various marbles and quartzes. Looking up their properties, I learned that Marble is a grounding stone. It is the idea of security, strength and stability. It provides for the strength of self control and mastery of our thoughts. It enhances the powers of serenity, which is why it makes for a soothing meditation stone. Meanwhile Quartz is the most powerful healing stone of the mineral kingdom with various quartzes bringing different healing properties.
When you think of seeking help from alternative means, it impacts the entire way you live. I bring fresh flowers and plants into my house because they bring life. I use aromatherapy to enhance my mood. I often use various scents in my diffuser, but only recently did I consider what those scents meant. Here lately as I’ve been choosing Geranium Oil in the diffuser and out of curiosity I looked it up. Guess what? It reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, and tension! Definitely what I need during this difficult life period. And intuitively I knew it. In my bedroom I spritz my bed each more with lavender spray. Not only does it transport me to Provence, but it also has a calming, sedative quality and is known to promote rest and relaxation, helping it to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Antiques Diva Provence Tours
Speaking of Provence, that reminds me, before I close I want to let you in on a special offer on our Antiques Diva Provence Tours.
Book our 3 day Wholesale Trade Antiques Fair Tour
in the South of France April 6-9, 2020
and we will give you 1 extra day free!
4 days for the price of 3
We will introduce you to one of our favorite antique fairs
La Foire Aux Antiquités et à la Brocante de Barjac.
This is a 750€ savings
Learn more about The Antiques Diva & Co Provence Tours here.
Have a question about our Provence tour? Ask Toma!
Thanks so much for reading, and see you next time. I promise I won’t make you wait 3 months! In the meantime, make sure to catch up on on my podcast, The Business of Antiques.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Special thanks to my sponsors of the Design Hounds trip to Las Vegas with Modenus and KBIS: Mr Steam, Control 4, Thermador, Nobilia and Compac Surfaces.
On the first day of the Scorpion calendar, I celebrated my birthday. It wasn’t a significant birthday. In fact, it was the type of birthday you don’t typically have a party for. The year didn’t end in a 5 or a Zero. But with the turn of a page on the calendar, I found myself suddenly – as if by surprise – looking at 50 on the horizon. And the sun was low in the sky. In 4 short years, I will celebrate living half a century. I’m actually already planning a bucket list voyage for my 50th across Africa, chartering a small plane in Tanzania with my friend Dee as she turns 60 one month prior to my half centennial; visiting the foothills of Kilimanjaro’s sister mountain, Mount Meru, marveling at the magical tree houses in Tarangire and observing rare wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti Plains. But first – 46. And Castle Brando – a medieval castle situated on a dolomite lime 1200 foot mountain 1,210 ft overlooking the village of Cison di Valmarino in Northern Italy.
While growing older has never bothered me – this birthday I found myself contemplative. Whenever I need to think, I retreat from the world. These last few years I’ve needed this more than years previous. I go silent on social media. Friends text saying, “Where are you?” In this case, I had checked into the Brandolino family castle in the Treviso Hills to take time at the spa. There is no cure for aging like a variety of anti-aging treatments and a daily elixir of massage, facials and taking the waters. But I did something unique on this trip. I took a trip alone. Just me, myself and I. My room was in a wing of the castle dating to the 5th century. As I checked into my room I looked at the family crest hanging over the bed.
The family crest was riddled on one side – 50% scorpions. And while perhaps not necessarily an ideal image for a peaceful night’s sleep, it made me smile. Serendipity. I had been discussing my horoscope and what the future holds with a new friend the day before at Quadri on the Piazza San Marco in Venice. I had to laugh at the coincidence. I had come here to think about what I want out of life – and how to get it – and my zodiac sign was hanging overhead. As I lay down on the bed with a watchful eye on the Scorpions, hoping one didn’t plop from the painting onto the coverlet beside me, I opened O Magazine.
On the page was an article by Oprah’s resident astrologer Chani Nicholas explaining that Scorpio Season is an invitation to honor the life lived thus far, to reflect and review, to better understand how we got where we are, to determine what to edit, and what to bring into the future.
This past year I’ve taken a more active interest in blogging than I have in recent years – it’s been my mission – to encourage you, my readers and clients, to make sure you are living a life that is satisfying, soulful, and on purpose.
For a couple of years following my separation from my husband, I lost my voice. In fact, during that period I didn’t write my blog at all. A member of my team stepped in to help during this period. I couldn’t do it. The blog – and potentially even the business – would have died if I didn’t ask for help.
Weekly as I struggle with this life/work balance I ask myself 3 questions I learned from money expert Kate Northup:
- Does it need to be done?
- Does it need to be done now?
- Does it need to be done by me?
What I learned is that when running a business – it takes a village.
You can’t do everything yourself. And even if you want to – you shouldn’t.
My company has grown from a one-woman firm to a global empire operating in 16 countries and on 3 continents offering one-on-one customized antique buying tours because I’ve learned to ask for help. Not only would my business not have survived the emotional aftermath of my divorce had I not asked for help – but it also would not have grown had I tried to do it all myself.
I realized early on in running The Antiques Diva & Co that the best way I could serve our clients was by assembling a team of the most connected people in the antique industries. We work with local antique experts in France, Belgium, England, Sweden, Italy, Thailand, Indonesia, America and more to lead our tours as Diva Guides.
And while I’ve been working with local antique tour guides practically since the beginning, I thought I couldn’t afford employees to help at headquarters. For years I thought I had to do everything myself. And that limiting belief meant that I couldn’t grow at a corporate level the way I needed to. And then I realized I could outsource certain things.
My Team Is Your Team
And I’m here to tell you – so can you. Just like the saying goes, Mi Casa es Tu Casa, I’m also offering that my team is your team.
Our Antiques Dealer Training Program doesn’t just offer 1-on-1 coaching on learning to How To Be an Antiques Dealer – we also offer a variety of outsourced marketing services to help you manage and market your antique business. From setting up templates on MailChimp to teaching you how to become an Instagram sensation to offering copywriting services and training in branding or working with you to build your personalized Marketing & PR Plan – we are here with The Business of Antiques to make Antiques Modern, Sexy, Fun and – most importantly – Profitable.
One thing I’ve learned over the last several years is that I have to Be Intentional – both personally as well as professionally. I found myself chatting with a Greek Byzantine History Professor last week after seeing his tattoo – Omnia Causa Fuint. I asked the meaning of those words.
Everything happens for a reason.
What reason do you have today for reading this blog?
Maybe you’ve been dreaming about expanding your business and buying antiques abroad…
Or maybe, you think you’re an old dog and you can’t learn new tricks.
The Business of Antiques
Our Antique Dealer Training Program isn’t just for new dealers. We also mentor established dealers in new approaches to sales and marketing. Every day on our new Instagram page I’m giving TIPS and advise on how to do so.
Yesterday morning I received a phonecall from a well-known established dealer who said, “Okay. Your client set up a booth opposite me at…” (In order to keep his identity secret let’s just say – at a well known antiques market where all the designers shop). He went on to say… “I think I have better inventory than her. I have better prices. But she outsold me. Every interior designer who walked through the hall knew who she was. Let’s talk.”
He was right.
He was being passed by.
And he knew it.
And while this particular client who passed him by is a star pupil – she is bright and is quickly working her way up the foodchain of the antique industry – this antique dealer had 26 years experience on her. And he was aware she would pass him by if he didn’t belly up to the bar and change the way he had been doing things.
Two years ago in a surreal moment, I was asked to speak at the House of Parliament at the LAPADA conference on selling to the American buyer. I started the talk by saying, If you want to compete in today’s market – you have to be willing to change.
These aren’t your Grandmother’s Antiques – or perhaps rather I should say, Successful Antique Dealers are NOT selling antiques the way your Grandmother would have. Perhaps no other person I know lives as intentionally as my client, and dear friend, Steven Favreau of the Favrealous Factory (and his partner Dennis Wyrzkowski – aka Dennis the Monk). Steven is a trailblazer. The Favrealous Factory is a Design Destination in the USA, mixing modern and antiques with pop culture and a flourish that only one man could have created – Steven Favreau. Graffitied walls and disco balls dancing beside a 17th C Flemish Armoire, anyone? Why yes, I think I will! Book your trip to Boston, to experience the place where Magic happens every day.
While the Favreaulous Factory makes antiques modern – it also is worth a mention that if you think Millennials are not buying antiques – it’s time to think again!!! House Beautiful broke the myth on what Millennials really think about buying antiques.
In fact, mixing antiques with modern is in the Zeitgeist. I was thrilled to be quoted extensively in this article in I+D Magazine by Cara Gibbs on Modern Antiquity. The thing I’ve learned both in designing my own furniture collection – and in sourcing antiques – is that true style is timeless. This vein of thought is why I don’t mind aging. While yes, I want to do what I can to prevent more of those tiny crow’s feet from clawing at the corners of my eyes – I do treat my skin well. My #1 Beauty Secret is light-reflecting Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Foundation. And just like I use a trip to the spa and frequent applications of SkinCeuticals (not to mention a stash of the French pharmaceutical phenomenon A313 as my personal pommade), on antiques you can also use lotions and potions. That’s why I created my line of Antiques Care and Restoration Products.
I always joke with clients who expect an antique to be perfect that just as we get wrinkles as we get older, you can’t expect an 18th C chest of drawers to be perfect. Patina on antiques is like the laugh lines I have in the corner of my eyes. In my own home, I have a gorgeous 17th C Spanish Secretaire which I slather with my lavender-scented Antiques Diva Wood Wax. I must confess… the only greater feeling I’ve had than polishing a piece of furniture in my home with my very own line of Antiques Diva Furniture Wax and Serum has been deciding where to place my Antiques Diva Collection Neo-Classical Console I designed for Aidan Gray or wearing my Republic of Toma jewelry.
The Republic of Toma
By the way – Did you know I changed the name of my jewelry line? When we launched the collection, we named it after me – The TCH Collection (The Toma Clark Haines Collection) – but I realized I made a mistake when the first press mentions began rolling in and we were referred to with transposed initials – the THC collection – the component in marijuana! A name change was essential. But what name? My team of content managers said Keep It Simple. Just Toma. You might say Toma Only (for those of you who read my recent blog of this title), but somehow that felt too personal to use only my first name. I wanted my other company to represent me. To be a glimpse into my world. Welcome to The Republic of Toma.
The Business of Antiques Podcast
I was interviewed recently on the Style Matters Podcast by Zandra Zuraw of The Little Yellow Couch. In this interview, I talk more openly perhaps than ever before about my personal journey and my mission in life and business. Speaking of podcasts – perhaps this is the most important thing for today’s blog post…
DRUM ROLL PLEASE
I just launched MY OWN PODCAST – The Business of Antiques!
October was #NationalWomensSmallBusinessMonth and to celebrate and encourage other women and men to become successful entrepreneurs we launched my new podcast, The Business of Antiques Podcast. Episode 1 How to Start an Antique Business is now LIVE!
On my podcast…
- I’ll tell you secrets learned in the field over the last decade – sharing my own personal experiences as well as interviewing some of the top names in the industry.
- We’ll talk to antique dealers and interior designers as well as antique fair coordinators, antique aggregator sites, international shippers and insurance agents.
- If it relates to running an antique business we’ll talk about it.
Is there anything you’d like me to discuss on The Business of Antiques Podcast? Just #AskToma and I’ll try to answer your questions and discuss your interests in a future episode.
But I need your help to get my podcast found:
- Please LIKE and subscribe to The Business of Antiques
- The podcast is available now on Apple Podcast, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn and Spotify
- And follow along on this new journey as we launch The Business of Antiques Instagram and Facebook accounts
As we close I want to say Happy Thanksgiving. I’ll be celebrating with friends in Berlin and doing some online shopping for my Christmas list! Speaking of online shopping – I wanted to offer you a SPECIAL CYBER MONDAY sale!
Cyber Monday Sale
I am offering you a €1000 DISCOUNT ($1,100 USD)
on our €5000 ($5,500 USD)
10-week Antique Dealer Training Program
This is the BIGGEST DISCOUNT we have offered all year and gets you into the program before the new January 2020 €6500 price goes into effect –
Speaking of things to book early… why don’t you plan to join me in Miami for the 2020 Original Miami Beach Antique Show January 4-8, 2020. Email me and #AskToma for details Toma@antiquesdiva.com.
Any other questions? Just #AskToma
Toma, The Antiques Diva
PS. Save the Date: January 19, 2020, is our Annual Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Brunch.
Join me January 15-19 at Paris Déco Off
Email me and #AskToma for details Toma@antiquesdiva.com
Join me at the Dallas Market Center January 8-10, 2020
Email me and #AskToma for details Toma@antiquesdiva.com.
Our 1st Antique Dealer Training Program Workshop & Buying Trip to the south of France will be the 1st week of April 2020
For more details #AskToma: email@example.com
Join me in Miami for the 2020 Original Miami Beach Antique Show January 4-8, 2020.
Email me and #AskToma for details Toma@antiquesdiva.com.
Save the Date:
Join us on January 19, 2020, for our Annual Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Brunch.
In honor of October being National Women’s Small Business Month today I recorded my first ever episode for my new podcast – The Business of Antiques.
But I have a confession. I procrastinated for exactly one month on making this first recording. Now I am super excited about STARTING a Podcast – I have a million ideas I want to talk to you about and I am beyond excited to bring you interviews with antique dealers, antique fairs and interior designers as well as some of the people who operate behind the scenes in The Business of Antiques like insurance agents and shippers as well as a slew of global antique sources on where to stop, shop and drop some dough – but I’m a perfectionist. And the reality is I knew that starting out my podcast I would not be perfect.
The first rule to starting anything is simply accepting when you’re a beginner – you won’t be perfect.
To me starting a podcast host felt daunting. The fear of not knowing enough, of not being perfect, can hold us back when we start something new. But during this time – as I was procrastinating – I like to say I was procrastinating wisely. This sounds crazy – but for me procrastination is often an IMPORTANT part in my process of beginning something new. As the 1st episode focuses on How to Start an Antiques Business I thought it ironic I was struggling with my own “getting started” issues and I share with you how you can use Procrastinating Wisely to propel your antiques business to success. I tend to be a leap without looking girl. And I’m never one to naturally want to sit down and write a business plan before taking action. But procrastination sometimes gives me the necessary time to do the leg work, to think through the necessary details so that when I leap I land safely back on the ground.
At The Antiques Diva & Co in many ways we act as your parachute, whether on one of our buying tours or in our Antiques Dealer Training and Mentoring program. It’s the anniversary of when I first went skydiving for my birthday a few years ago when my friend Lori dared me. (In addition to October being National Women’s Small Business Month – it’s also my birthday month! I’m a Scorpio which probably explains so much to you about me)! In last month’s newsletter I talked about confronting your fears both professionally and personally. I’m terrified of heights and when Lori suggested we go skydiving I said “Oh Dear God No!” She said, “Why? Are you afraid?” Minutes earlier I had just boldly proclaimed, “I will no longer make any decisions in fear.” Lori told me, “The second you jump you’ll have a moment of clarity unlike any other moment in your entire life.”
What’s the place in your antiques or interior design business where you need clarity? Did you know that often the things you want the most are the things that scare you the most??
Mon Trésor Venise Fête de Puce
Speaking of scary things… I look like I’m being chased here at the Marché Biron at the Fête de Puce last month at the Paris Flea Market. The night was a NIGHT to remember – and an absolute ESSENTIAL for your Parisian Fall Plans this time next year. Its the one night of the year the Paris flea market opens in the evening with wine and food and festivities for all the best clients of the puce in a party to end all parties. If you’re wanting an invite for the September 2020 event make sure to let us know and we’ll get you on the guest list.
Each market at the Marché aux Puces had their own theme for the festival, but without a doubt the Marché Biron took the ball with their theme Mon Trésor Venise where I was asked to be one of the judges of the Venetian Carnival costumed guests alongside lingerie designer Chantal Thomas and French journalist Tina Keiffer. The events at Marché Paul Bert Serpette and Marché Dauphine were equally delightful! In fact, I could have danced all night :).
One of my favorite vendors at the flea market is Antiquites Rodriguez Decoration located just beyond Marché Paul Bert opposite Jules Valle. Chatting with Rodriguez’ colleague Deborah Calaudiere, we discussed the recent development in the neighborhood surrounding the flea market and the very REAL concern that the area surrounding the flea market will be overrun as the commercial markets expand. The only solution for guaranteeing the flea market stays safe is to get the entire area of MAP –Marché aux Puces, the alliance of the 12 antiques markets – certified as a Unesco World Heritage site. As the official guide of the Paris Flea Market we’re joining the cause – and rallying our followers asking for your help to #SavetheFleas. One of the ways you can save it is simply by continuing to shop it. Show the vendors your support and make a trip to the Paris Flea Market part of your Paris plans when traveling internationally.
The Paris Flea Market without a doubt is the best flea market in the world.
October for me means High Point Market. I’m excited to announce that Aidan Gray Home – where I have my own furniture collection, The Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray – is launching their next licensed collection this market. Enter Diane Keaton Stage Left. The Keaton Industries Collection of Industrial Chic Lighting.
I’m also excited to announce that Interior Designer David Santiago will be using The Antiques Diva Collection in his room at the High Point Junior League Showhouse. Stay tuned on The Antiques Diva & Co Facebook Page for a Facebook Live with me and David on Friday October 18th.
One of the hot topics as Market approaches is the situation with China and the tariffs being imposed on imports. Last week I sat down with Furniture Lighting and Decor magazine to discuss the future of antiques (stay tuned for the article in the next issue) and I shared how more and more furniture showrooms are turning to me for sourcing antique accessories for their showrooms to help increase their profit margin. Across the furniture industry the discussion is that we are in a time of change. One of the ways contemporary furniture showrooms are confronting those tides of change is by bringing more experiences into their locations. Antiques inherently tell a story and take their buyers on a journey to other times and other places offering one of a kind goods that aren’t accessible elsewhere in their Design Centers or Markets. A combination of new and old seems to fit the mood of the modern day buyer and I see more and more antique dealers also adding contemporary items into the mix of their inventory with candles and pillows leading the pack of items dealers are selling.
My opinion is that ART Is leading the way for Antique Dealers looking to expand their inventory. Antiques Diva client Brooke Drake is doing an amazing job as she re-brands her store and re-launches her business. Her stall currently on display at Marburger Farm in Round Top is a fabulous example of the phrase “It’s All About the Mix.” She’s doing a SPECIAL $500 Giveaway – make sure to contact Brooke for details.
No where else do you find the Mix as well represented as you do in Asia. As I was chatting with Furniture Lighting and Decor magazine I told them the trend I see in antiques is that Mid-Century Modern is giving way to Art Deco, which works well with the paired down minimalist style that seems de rigeur at the moment. What I love is that Asian Antiques make perfect sense in these interiors to give an absolute sense of wanderlust and hint of global chicness to any home whether in Dallas or Detroit! I was texting the other night with Interior Designer Robert Passal about his new wallpaper collection (I’m considering either his circular black and white or gray marble for my kitchen) and we were discussing our upcoming trip to Miami for The Original Miami Beach Antique Show this January 4-8 #SaveTheDate to join me there – and what he doesn’t yet know is that I am going to twist his arm to join me in 2020 in Thailand on an Antiques Diva Asian Tour. Robert has led the way for the last several years in designers using Asian accents in his interiors, and his projects have graced the pages of some of the most important publications in the interior design industry.
I heard on a marketing podcast one time that in business you shouldn’t be too far ahead of the competition. In launching our Antiques Diva Tours in many ways were way ahead of the competition and the launch of the Asian Antiquing Tours has been a slow start. But do you want to know what’s interesting? We don’t get A LOT of clients on our Antiques Shopping Tours in Asia but we get the BEST clients on our Antiques Diva Asian Tours. It’s quality vs quantity. And what this tells me is that this is the next trend coming in interiors. The LEADING names in the world of interiors are buying Asian antiques and accessories. And IF the pathmakers are buying Asian antiques what you will see more and more is shelter magazines publishing their works which means the crowds will follow. One of the advantages I have in my business is having my finger well poised over the path of interior trends as I watch what the forerunners in the industry are buying our on our antique buying tours.
With winter around the corner its the perfect time of year to start contemplating your trip to Thailand where you find the largest and best assortment of South East Asian Antiques. When you book both an Antiques Diva Tour in Bangkok and Chiang Mai this December, January or February we’re offering a $500 discount if booked before November 1, 2019. Just mention you read this exclusive offer in our Antiques Diva Blog.
As for now, I need to dash. I am at my home in Venice and have a train waiting to take me to Parma to shop with interior designer Nancy Price and interior design marketing maven Chemin Taylor Smith for a VIP Mercanteinfiera Tour.
Ciao Ciao for now. Follow my stories on Instagram to get the inside scoop on what’s happening in Divaland. Trust me, there’s never a dull moment.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
September is la rentrée – the French summer holidays are over, students return to school and tout Paris returns to work. La rentrée is a time of optimism and fresh beginnings – and treasure hunting! The world famous Paris flea market – le Marché aux Puces de Paris-Saint-Ouen – is fully reopened and restocked and ready for antique shopping – furniture, jewelery, design and vintage clothing from antiquity to the 1990’s!
As the official tour guides of the Paris flea market’s Paul Bert Serpette, Antiques Diva Guides know les Puces like the back of their hand. Head Paris Diva Guide Danielle Pelletier has some news about 2 fabulous rentrée events at les Puces that she shares below
- Puces Mon Trésor: Paris Flea Market Evening Party Sept 19
- Marché Dauphine Brunch de Rentrée: Back to Work Brunch Sept 8
If you would like to attend the Paris Flea Market Evening Party or the Brunch de Rentrée – or schedule a buying tour at Les Puces – contact us!
Meet Danielle Pelletier, Head Paris Diva Guide
Danielle Pelletier is one of our Paris Diva Guides. She was born and raised in Paris and has spent her entire life going to the famous Paris Flea Market. And while she’s always loved antiques, she graduated with a law degree and also worked as a journalist. Having lived internationally as well in both Canada as well as Switzerland, Danielle thinks with a global perspective understanding both our clients as well as the local culture in France. Whether she’s leading an Antiques Diva Tour or simply shopping for herself, you’ll find her each weekend at the Paris Flea Market. As a result she has many friends who are dealers – and that inside connection gives our Antiques Diva clients an edge when shopping the fleas. Perhaps harking back to her days as a lawyer, Danielle’s top skill set is her art of negotiating. Danielle is by nature a collector and her home is beautifully decorated with pieces picked up over the years at the Paris Flea Market. Danielle’s passion is antique perfume bottles – she loves Baccarat as well as Marcel Franck, who was the largest perfume bottle maker until the 1990’s.
PUCES MON TRESOR:
PARIS ANTIQUES MARKET, MY TREASURE
Puces Mon Trésor Opening night Thursday, 19 September 2019 at 7 pm, and from 20 – 23 September at usual opening hours
On September 19th, 2019, the Paris / Saint-Ouen antiques markets celebrate the back-to-school time with their annual festive event, featuring this year theme “My Treasure.” Our special ambassador is Vincent Darré, one of the most celebrated French designers. The 12 markets and five streets will welcome visitors during that weekend, until the end of Monday 23rd. It is a unique opportunity to (re)discover the largest second-hand bookstore in France, the street dedicated to vintage fashion, an exceptional design selection as well as highly qualified craftsperson and restorers.
Vincent Darré, who is a true Parisian, is a passionate regular visitor and knows the markets like the back of his hands. As the ambassador of this year’s event, he embodies the chic, sophisticated and extravagant spirit of the antiques market, and looks at its vibrant universe with his particular cheerful gaze. He has chosen to present several visual creations, ten sets with his own touch, for photocalls displayed all over the markets like goodie bags: Vincent Darré will invite guests and visitors to play with him according to their treasure hunt.
Treasure hunt at the Puces is a must; it is a national pleasure and a worldwide passion that has no dead season. More than 5 million people visit the markets each year, and up to 150,000 guests some weekends: the Puces is the fifth largest tourist destination in France. The markets are located in Saint-Ouen, a neighboring city North of the capital. Since 1885, this fabulous place, which is also the largest antiques market in the world, is composed of 12 private markets, owned by different owners, plus five “market-streets”, and extends on 7 hectares: a unique maze of more than 1100 antique dealers. They are all experts in their specialty – ceramic, furniture, chandeliers, archeology, paintings, sculptures, vintage fashion, fashion accessories, fashion jewelry, silver ware, glassware, advertising posters and signs, vinyl records, vintage hi-fi… They all work in a booth, a house, a warehouse or even an entire street. Neophytes indulge themselves in this incredible labyrinth, whilst insiders stimulate their eye and nose. Everybody is happy to get either a sentimental souvenir or an exceptional piece that might end up in a prestigious antiques fair like Basel or Maastricht, in a private collection or even a museum.
The Puces is a lifestyle destination in its own right, yet intensely Parisian, a village in the big city: it has its own vendors, restorers, restaurants, bistros, hotels, etc. But mostly it has its humanity, made of singular destinies. From famous clients browsing the streets incognito to the most demanding interior designers, from the most unexpected collectors to the most viral influencers, from enlightened amateurs to the most radical designers, the regular customers compose the best of taste and cultures. The Puces is also a formidable source of talent building: some vendors and art dealers who run the most prestigious Parisian addresses, like Alexandre Biaggi, Pierre Passebon, Jacques Lacoste, Aline Chaste-Maréchal, Jean-Jacques Dutko started as vendors at the Puces. Some of them even go from a modest booth to the most famous Salons and Biennales in the world.
This exceptional tradition will be perpetuated with the International Antiques Dealers School, due to open in 2022, for which the MAP – Marché aux Puces, the alliance of the 12 antiques markets – has won the competition organized by Paris and the Region. Many of the decorative mainstreams were born in the Puces, many forgotten styles, periods and designers have been – and still are – rehabilitated.
All of this take a part in the popularity of our famous antiques market and make it the place to visit when in Paris, whether the visitor is an interior designer, a stylist, a gallerist, an architect, a journalist, a treasure hunter or a collector. Starting with the Astier de Villatte, relentless treasure hunters, who wrote “Ma vie aux Puces,” an addition to “Ma vie à Paris,” their guide where they give out their favorite addresses (sold at the Office du Tourisme in the heart of the Puces).
1. VENDORS: BEST OF THE BEST
From the early days, the Antiques Market vendors are the soul, the consciousness, the liveliness and the very vitality. Some of them have made a fortune, some have made a name for themselves. Others learned their way before opening their own gallery “in town.” Alexandre Biaggi, Pierre Passebon, Jacques Lacoste, Aline Chastel-Maréchal, Jean-Jacques Dutko, they all started at the Puces. The Puces vendors start trends, revive fashions, re-boost forgotten talents. Sometimes, a vendor finds a piece that will end up in a prestigious fair, in Basel or Maastricht, at PAD or Paris Biennale. It is the case for Maison Steinitz, a major vendor at the Puces for three generations: they supply exceptional pieces to the greatest museums worldwide, such as the Louvre or the New York Met, on top of being part of the major fairs like Brussels, San Francisco and Paris.
Not all the vendors were born a vendor, although a lot of them are second, third or even fourth generation. If you talk to them, you will discover that many had another life before the Puces, whether they activity was in the bank, advertising, publishing, music, real estate. Some of them come from foreign countries, cultures, horizons, like this Egyptian man who has become a specialist of Napoleon III furniture. Most of the 1100 Antiques Market vendors are ultra-specialized. Even better: they are experts. Some have had a book published like Ben Ramognigo and Marc Mineray, who wrote a monograph on Quasar Khanh, a most creative designer.
Their chosen fields of expertise are sometimes so advanced they can sound surreal: Cheese brands key rings; 1949 – 1970 French silverware; 1950s swim caps; antique US jacket and workman underwear; Luxury brand jewelry and artist sets from the 1980s; vernacular gardening tools; Furs and shoes; 1925s embroidered linen; argentic photo material; 18th century locks; Oriental rugs and Lurçat rugs; 1950s debutant ball gowns; antique men’s watches; rattan garden furniture; store signs. Or ancient books like the ones found in the maze of “Librairie de l’Avenue,” which is authentically the largest second-hand bookstore in France and spans on 600 m2 and offers 1 km shelving. Whether it is a micro-booth or a whole house, several connecting booths or a warehouse, or even a whole street like the luxury vintage shop Chez Sarah (1920s to 1970s fashion), isolated in miscellany or gathered in a single market like vinyl records in Marché Dauphine, design in Paul Bert / Serpette, antique toys in Vernaison, these targeted destinations are highly valued by collectors and amateurs. The merchants’ law, ruled by eclecticism, surprise, discovery, is here in the hands of their clients, interior designers, stylists, gallerists, architects, journalists, bargain hunters, collectors, coming from next door or the other side of the world.
2. THE PUCES: A VILLAGE WITHIN THE CITY
Paris / Saint-Ouen Antiques Market is not solely a vendor’s haven, it is a real village that sustains 3000 families. You can find there a whole network of restorers and craftsmen, some of them in booths in the heart of the markets. Add the shippers, the delivery guys, and a new type of trade: the certified guides and personal shoppers at the Puces. Among the different craftsmen you will find gilders, pedestal makers, goldsmiths, cabinet makers, upholsterers, painters, painting restorers as well as leather casing activities. The shippers offer to ship the goods you purchased, with insurance, and deliver them throughout the world at a preferred rate. Some of their offices are located in the markets, which makes transactions and quoting a lot easier for the clients. If you need assistance to be guided and helped for your antiquing, you can trust one of the six antiques guides and personal shoppers certified by the MAP (The Puces markets organization); they are all fully bilingual and know the markets like the back of their hands, and they will take you to the best vendors according to your needs.
What would a village be without restaurants and hotels? In the vicinity, you will find 32 restaurants and 6 hotels to meet your taste. You can have lunch among the vendors, taste some exceptional wines or eat with live music on, sleep in the heart of the Puces or in a hideaway in a secret garden. The Puces has it all!
You can find the complete list on our website http://bit.ly/lespuces-informations
3. THE PUCES: NUMBERS AND PROJECTS
The Paris / Saint-Ouen Antiques Market is the only one of its kind in the world. Unparalleled in its field, it is a major tourist destination, ranking fifth after Euro Disney, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre. More than 5 million people visit the markets each year, and some weekends up to 150,000 onlookers come to smell the scent of the times passed – past starts in 1999 -, capture the new trends, fall for treasures, get excited on an appealing object.
Like any self-respecting market, the MAP generates a revenue, estimated between 400 and 500 million euros a year. It is a little more than Drouot, the famous auction house that announced a turnover of 376 million euros for 2018, and almost twice as much as Sotheby’s with a turnover of 251.4 million euros in 2018 or Artcurial with their 200 million euros. For example, the combined turnover of the 10 major French auction houses in 2019 represents a total of 463 million euros at the end of the first semester. Open four days a week – two of which are normally for trades – the MAP generates thousands of transactions, ranging from 1 euro to over one million euros several times a year.
By the end of this year, the MAP will have a new commercial tool available on its new official website, as of the second fortnight of September 2019. In the beginning of 2020, a market-place is due to be issued in French and English. The vendors who have agreed to this new sales channel will be able to present one or several pieces at a preferred price and to bargain with the client live. This unprecedented large-scale project initiates a new era without hampering the intimate pleasure of treasure hunting in this endless goldmine.
Another significant future event is the launching of the Ecole Internationale des Antiquaires des Puces – the International Puces Antiques Dealers School, due to open in 2022-2023. This project, which will move the Puces forward in the 21st century, has been successfully won by the MAP in June 2019, awarded in accordance with the Greater Paris Project. The school will train a new generation of vendors recognized by a National Degree. It will be located Porte de Clignancourt.
4. TIMELESS ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, THE PUCES DNA
Before the Puces even existed, recycling was part of the Parisian society culture. This process was performed by ragmen, officially authorized to collect second hand usual objects, who sorted out and sold them to plants and workshops as a source material for reprocessing and transformation. The new existence of this raw material was then a matter of taste, artistic flair, good eye and creativity of their new owners. In 1904, the daily collection made by the Parisian ragmen provided them an income of 50,000 gold francs a year. After the Second World War and the shortage of goods, this type of recycling gets in full swing. The Antiques Market is by essence a component of environmental responsibility with regards to furniture, decorative arts and textile. Of course, not each and every one of piece of furniture, curio, lighting, object, clothing, has been produced with our modern standards of environmental sensibility, but they are now fully part of it. Everybody, vendor or client, is aware of this virtuous circle which incorporates pure affect, slow-consumerism, sustainability as well as an elegant fight against planned obsolescence. Sometimes all it takes is just a skilled restoration or a meticulous repair to revive its use. Journalists Katell Pouliquen and Nathalie Dolivo devoted a complete separate chapter of their book “Rétro-cool: comment le vintage peut sauver le monde” – published by Flammarion – to Paris/Saint-Ouen Antiques Market.
5. LIFESTYLE LES PUCES
From the ragmen dashed off as literary or poetic figures by Victor Hugo, Eugene Sue or Aristide Bruant to allegoric bargain hunter in the songs performed by Jean Ferrat or Joe Dassin, the Puces have always been a fantastic pool of personalities and talents building a phenomenal cloud of references, cultural legacy, anecdotes and human history. Poets, cartoonists, caricaturists, composers, movie makers: they all left an emotional footprint which is part of the strong Parisian identity – foreign visitors adore that.
Yesterday Colette, Colette, Anna de Noailles, André Breton, Zadkine, Francis Carco, Blaise Cendrars, MacOrlan paved the way to this «passionate pilgrimage place», described by Anatole Jakovsky, an art critic and author of “Paris, mes Puces”. Doisneau and Willy Ronis gave it a face. In the 1970/1980s, you could have bumped into fashion and haute-couture elite. Actresses like Andrée Debar or Sophie Desmarets would scour the markets on a regular basis to furnish their cottage, mansion or even store in the Village Suisse or Galerie du Bon Marché.
Stars – anonymous yet not too much – can browse the alleys without being identified. Sophie Marceau, Arielle Dombasle, Virginie Efira, Vanessa Paradis, Charlotte Gainsbourg, etc… Brad Pitt and George Clooney are regulars. Pierre Gagnaire, Vanessa Bruno, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, Lenny Kravitz, Pierre Arditi, too. Sophie Fontanel, Thierry Ardisson, Alain Ducasse and Chantal Thomass, attested to their regularity: they agreed to be filmed for the theme “J’aime les Puces” – “I love the Puces”.
Nowadays, the Puces is the playground of many movie makers, such as Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris” in 2011, the Bollywood film “Befikre” featuring the Indian stars Ranveer Sigh and Vaani Kapoor in 2016, or the latest movie of the Chinese film maker Leo Zhang “The Hunting” due to be issued in 2020 (many scenes were shot in Vernaison market).
For an exhaustive list of the movies shot in the Puces, the Astier de Villatte movie, and many testimonies, visit here.
ANTIQUES CIRCUS: A STORY IN ITSELF
Since October 2001, the Paris/Saint Ouen Antiques Market has the status of Urban and Landscape Architectural Heritage Protection Zone – the one and only in the world with free entrance! Its roots go deep into the history of the ragmen work. The guild, counting about 11,000 souls and handling 75,000 kilos of goods, was reassessed in 1883 after the police commissioner Eugène Poubelle orders all Parisians to use iron garbage bins with tight lids. The commissioner finally allows them, between midnight and five AM, to pick up their merchandise from what was already called “poubelles” – now a common French word for garbage bin. This plunder was then displayed in the different market, like those of “La Mouffe” (Mouffetard), Aligre and Porte de Clignancourt. Porte de Clignancourt was an unbuildable military zone located outside the old fortifications. After the Montmartre territory was absorbed by the city of Paris, the village of Saint-Ouen was adjacent to the big city. It had become an industrial town with a population thirty times what it was only a few years before. The mayor was Alexis Godillot, who established tanneries and military shoes manufactures. When expelled from Paris, the ragmen seek refuge in Clignancourt, adjoining Saint-Ouen, connected by a train line and two lines of the new Métro. They will settle among circus, amusement booths, bars, and open-air cafés.
In 1898, a new rule specifies that a “brocanteur” – junkman – is a “reseller of old furniture, ragged textile, books, jewelry, tableware, and other objects and random merchandise.” Soon the place will be browsed by Parisians from wealthy neighborhoods and Belle Epoque high society, who come every Sunday to have fun in bargaining, among an incredible bric-a-brac, some treasures. The first ragmen union is created. The newspapers reflect this particular lifestyle, “this picturesque Court of Miracles, this jungle where snobbish bourgeois and thugs mingle.” The term “flea market” appeared around 1904 from an anonymous source. In 1910, the Puces’ fame is definitely under the spotlights when the satirical magazine “l’Assiette au Beurre” published a full issue illustrated by Poulbot figure. And the legend is born.
When the fortifications are torn down, in 1920, the Puces (by the way, it spells with a capital letter from then on), move to Saint-Ouen, where the municipal authority responds favorably to this extraordinary human and cultural mix which sustains hundreds of families. Though entrenched, the Puces remain precarious and their future uncertain, in spite of their success. The English lifestyle dictates the idea of weekend; the Saturday and Sunday opening time doubles the attendance. The vacant lots and wasteland become a property financial issue. This is how the first enclosed markets appear. The first one opens in 1920: Romain Vernaison, an ex-licensee of Les Halles parking places, who rents chairs in Paris public parks, owns a 12 000 m2 land where he stores his chairs. He develops the idea of building pre-fab cabins and rent them to brocanteurs. Then Marché Biron is built, inaugurated in 1925 by Saint-Denis Brocanteurs Union, expelled from Clignancourt. Its nickname is “Les Belles Puces,” before being considered as the Puces ’Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Biron was the first Saint-Ouen Brocante Fair, as well as the first market to sell restored antique pieces. Is becomes a more elegant destination visited by the fashion and arts elite, and launches the trend for African Primitive arts. That very same year, 1925, following a municipal decision, the Puces are open from Saturday to Monday. The Merchant Guild is comprised of 120 members; 300 more dealers, who remain “free,” are gathered in the markets. Around the market, the landscape changes drastically when Citroën and Wonder open their plant. The bars, bistros and eateries operate at full capacity. In 1938, Amedeo Cesana, a Venetian vendor, opens the Jules Vallès market. In between had opened two more markets which are destroyed in 1942. After WWII, the Puces remains a dark spot on the outskirts of the City of Lights, a maze of shacks where nothing is insured against fire or theft. In 1946, Paul Bert market opens on rue des Rosiers, in the space formerly occupied by a garage. It is very innovative, with its 200 12m2 booths. The definitive shaped will be rebuilt in 1954. At that time, the Puces, spreading over 4.5 hectares among which 2.8 are occupied by the private markets – Vernaison, Biron, Jules Vallès etc., become an irresistible attraction again. Recycling is everywhere, enhanced by the windfall of US stocks. The ragmen have prospered. Some of them are even rich. The Puces have become a “Fantastic curiosity” and antiques dealers are now settling in. The clientele has changed, more and more international, posher and posher.
In the late 1960/1970s, the Puces sustains, not including the vendors, 2800 people among whom 400 trades, all living in the vicinity. The Puces widens when more markets open- Marché Cambo, Marché des Rosiers, Hall de la Brocante – the occupancy surface expands to 7 hectares, still remaining to this day. In 1977, Alain Serpette, the son of a vendor, opens another covered market: Marché Serpette, built without construction license… Marché Cambo, burnt down in 1990, is rebuilt in 1993. Marché Malassis, opened in 1989, is an antiques dealer market with underground parking; it is the only one built by architects. Two years later, the newly built Marché Dauphine accommodates 150 vendors under its Les Halles-style skylight.
The Paris/Saint-Ouen Antiques Market also includes micro-markets like Antica, an enclave located in Vernaison perimeter, L’Entrepôt, or Le Passage and L’Usine, and brings together the five market-streets like rue des Rosiers, Lécuyer, Jules Vallès, Paul-Bert and Impasse Simon. The total number of vendors is 1100, most of them highly specialized and expert in their fields.
GLOSSARY: HOW TO SPEAK “PUCES”
- Do not pretend you are interested in a piece different from the one you want.
- Do not say in front of the vendor: “My grandma had the same,” or, when he gave you a price “oh! I should have kept mine.”
- Price: it is of the essence to understand that at the Puces, price is never a problem, there is always a smart way to pay. Which translates by: you bargain, negotiate, make friend, you show your curiosity you thank the vendor, you come back.
- I come to see an object: it is the favorite sentence used by interior designers hunting for a piece they already spotted – and negotiated – as an excuse when they bump into a colleague or competitor.
- The “biffin”: an old Parisian slang word for ragman. Nowadays the correct word is not antique dealer, flea guy, brocanteur, but “Marchand” – vendor.
- “Biffe” is what was found in the garbage bins in the streets. “Came” is the general word for inventory, regardless what style, period, condition etc.
- 20th century “came”: everything created during the second half of the 20th century, including all the modern design from the end of WWII to 1999. DO NOT use the word “vintage” for furniture or design, but you can use it for fashion. ”Bidouille”: everything poorly restored or tampered.
- ”Rossignol”: this word is used for anything flawed, wobbly… and irreparable.
- ”Déchirade” or “Chopin”: the “bingo” piece, the miracle find you buy for a few euros but know it is worth a thousand times more.
- “Caramel”: the piece impossible to sell, like glued to the vendor’s stand for years and years.
- “Dérouille”: everything that has finally been sold.
- ”The iron stick”: used for a complicated client, hard to convince.
- “The hand breaker”: the first sale of the day, whatever the time is.
- The “déballovitch” is used for the early bird client, the “remballovitch” for the last-minute client.
Puces Mon Trésor
- September 19th, 2019 from 7 to 11 PM
- September 21st, from 9AM to 6PM, September 22nd from 10 AM to 6 PM, and September 23rd from 11 AM to 5 PM
- Vincent Darré’s scenery and exhibitions will remain until October 21st, 2019
The rest of the year…
Open Saturday 9 to 6, Sunday 10 to 6, Monday 11 to 5.
Open to the trades Friday morning.
Agence Véronique Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org +33 (0)1 47 03 15 87
David Giroire Communication email@example.com +33 1 84 79 18 09
Office de Tourisme in the heart of the Puces Paris/Saint-Ouen 124, rue des Rosiers, 93 400 Saint-Ouen
Guided visits organized by Office du Tourisme, informations at +33 1 55 87 67 50. Certified Personal Shoppers and guides: list available here.
• Porte de Clignancourt, ligne 4 – Garibaldi, ligne 13
• 56, 60, 85, 95, 137, 166, 255, PC 3, Laudonienne (Circulaire) Saint-Ouen
• Porte de Clignancourt or Porte de Saint-Ouen or Porte Montmartre
• 6 parkings available in the Marché aux Puces
TRADUCTION EFFECTUEE PAR DANIELLE PELLETIER, ACCOMPAGNATRICE POUR LE SITE ANTIQUES DIVA & CO.
Back To Work Brunch at Marché Dauphine
Les marchands, antiquaires, galeristes et artistes de Dauphine vous invitent au brunch de rentrée le dimanche 8 septembre
Vendors of les Puces’ Marché Dauphine are hosting a Back To Work Brunch de Rentrée for the September Maison & Objet design trade fair:
- Sunday, September 8th
- central aisle of Marché Dauphine
If you would like to attend the Puces Mon Trésor Evening Party or the Brunch de Rentrée – or schedule a buying tour at Les Puces – contact us!
Vive la Rentrée! Viva les Puces!
Toma – The Antiques Diva