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 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.
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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
Last month I wrote a blog sharing details of my personal life as well as in #Divaland. While you may know me as The Antiques Diva – I joke to my real-life friends “Don’t call me Diva!” The real me – Toma Clark Haines – is “Toma Only.”
This nickname harks back to circa age 4 when my grandmother would call me “Toma Iola.” I was named after her, with my first name the female derivative of my grandfather Thomas and my second name coming from her’s, “Minnie Iola.” She was the only who ever called me Toma Iola and Little Me would get so angry. I would stomp my feet telling her, “No. Toma Only” so she then called me “Toma Only.”
I can’t help but to pause and pay tribute to the woman I was named after.
Grandma Minnie was a spitfire. She loved shoes. And the color red. She liked to set her hair before bed in green curlers. And she kept a fully stocked glass cookie jar at all times. Her hands were rough. She was a rancher’s wife. She always wore a silk scarf. And she worked harder than anyone I knew. She had a laugh that the wind would carry across the Oklahoma planes and as my dad drove me up the long dirt road to Grandma’s the wheat would dance and shimmy in excitement. When she disciplined me a smile slipped out the corner of her mouth. She let me sit on her lap when I was naughty. And I was naughty often. I would lean against her soft chest and feel at home. She would do laundry and hang her giant bras to drip dry over the old iron bath and I would gape in wonder. I took a cantaloupe from the cold pantry and tried putting it in one of her bras but the melon fell to the floor spilling seeds on the cracked linoleum. She let me wear her jewelry. She was not even 5 foot tall. She had secret closets. Closets and closets full of treasures that she let me dig through and explore wonderlands. She let me go on adventures. I would travel into her closet and come out a pirate, a secretary, a cowboy, a geisha, a lion tamer, a diva… In fact, I went into her closet and I tried on different personas until… I came out me.
The last year since moving to Venice has been a voyage in discovering myself – determining my priorities. I love my job. It’s what I would do if I weren’t working. I’m one of those truly lucky people who gets paid to pursue their passion. As a result, I work too much. And one day about a year ago I felt tired. Perhaps it was the stress of a divorce, an impressive ability to avoid dealing with my problems, an international move combined with a decade of 80 hour work weeks or a constant state of jetlag. So I decided to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I decided to pursue BALANCE – yes, I write the word entirely in caps. It’s daunting that word, it felt big and insurmountable. Impossible.
Not entirely knowing where to start I went to the gym. Not because I wanted to lose weight (though, yes indeed I needed to) but to work out stress. And then I started meditating. I took Italian lessons. I realized how utterly I suck at the pursuit of languages but continued anyway. I started Marie Kondo-ing my house before I knew who Marie Kondo was. Going room to room and ridding myself of possessions that didn’t make me happy. At the core – that was what I was in pursuit of. Happiness. I got 2 kittens – Fortuny and Fiorella and my heart swelled. I dated an Italian boy. Or two. 😉 I home-cooked dinners for lunch and sat at my dining room table in my kitchen with a cloth napkin and candles lit at a table set for one. And I continued to work. But on my terms. I took naps. I read books in my chaise longue. I rethought my business. I tried to travel less. (I failed greatly at that goal.) I relied more than ever on my team. I learned to delegate. I learned to shut down my computer at the end of the day knowing that I had 605 unread emails. #SorryNotSorry I learned to shut off. And in doing so, it turned ME on. Toma Only.
Robb Report Features Me
Over the last decade, I’ve been in 100’s of magazines, from Forbes, New York Times, Marie Claire, House Beautiful, the Wall Street Journal (even Wall Street International last week). But sometimes a journalist hones in on the essence of YOU. Hadley Keller did it in her Architectural Digest article when she gave me the moniker, “the woman in red lipstick”. Vogue’s Lynn Yaeger called me, “The Woman of the World.” And Aspire Design and Home magazine flattered me by quoting my famous mantra as I sashayed along the Seine, “I wear heels, I walk fast, You better keep up.” And Robb Report did it again, in an article on Mercanteinfiera where they quoted me extensively and starting the article by referring to me as a “Bon Vivant.”
Definition: Bon Vivant. One who lives well.
In fact, that’s such a fabulous description of me that I might request it on my tombstone.
In our Antiques Dealer Mentoring Program it’s one of the first questions I ask a client. “What do you want to be known for?” Yes. We need to know professionally what you want. But personally is what I care about. At the end of your life – What goes on your gravestone? Nothing else matters. One client answered, “She was kind to everyone” and my heart swelled. Our antique dealer mentoring program honed in on that – what it means to be kind and for her, that also meant she meticulously researched her items, shared information with everyone, created a space in her booth at Round Top that the other dealers and shoppers consider a resting ground, a respite in the middle of the Texas heat. Another client laughed and said, “She made a darn good martini.”
What are your priorities and how are they reflected in your business? When I work with mentoring clients, I want you to focus so every decision you make for your career keeps that goal in mind.
Since launching the training program, I was surprised by the number of long-term established dealers who had contacted us. We expected new and nearly new dealers but I didn’t expect 2nd and 3rd generation antique dealers and antique dealers who had been in the business 20, 30 years. The secret to success in business is to #AlwaysKeepLearning. Starting a new career in antiques is exciting – it feeds your soul to pursue your dream. But what about when you’ve been doing the job a while and you are starting to get bored? When it’s no longer a passion but a chore? How do you teach a new dog old tricks? How do you add knowledge when you know everyone and everything? You shake it up. You deconstruct it. You do a complete ReBoot. A complete RePrograming. Diva 3.0. In on our Antiques Dealer Training Program, that’s what we try to help you do, whether you enroll in our intensive one-on-one 10-week mentoring program or if you join me at our small group training in NYC April 10 & 11.
2 Day Antique Dealer Training Workshop
April 10 – 11, 2019 in New York City:
I would love for you to join me, Toma Clark Haines The Antiques Diva, and Margaret Schwartz of Modern Antiquarian in New York City for a small group 2-day training for antique dealers. This program allows you to network, ask questions and power through The Antiques Diva Training & Mentorship 3-month program in 2 days!
Learn from Industry Leaders and Insiders:
- Expert antique dealers and buyers who understand the antiques market
- How to stay ahead of design trends
- Strategies to make your passion for antiques profitable
- And so much more!
Act Fast! Workshop price returns to $2000 on April 7.
Part of my pursuit of BALANCE has been attempting to travel less – I’ve totally failed at that goal, but I like to think I’m failing forward. I’m choosing wiser when it comes to traveling. In addition to the upcoming trip to NYC to lead the 2-day mentoring workshop (I’m combining that with a trip to High Point #WatchThisSpace), I’m taking a vacation across China. And that trip is all personal. I’m traveling with a boy and attempting to go with one carry-on sized suitcase packing for temps from 30C to -10C.
(If you want to watch how I packed for that trip catch me on a Facebook Live @TheAntiquesDiva on a casual day at home WATCH.) I do have one minor shopping fantasy for the trip to China that I’ll find a piece of fabulous art to hang over my couch. By the way – the chaise lounge (right of the couch) is actually the very chaise lounge that I based my Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray chaise on!
In January I achieved 100K status on United – 100,000 miles in the course of a year!!! So what were the last few trips that helped me reach my Premier 1K status with those 6 complimentary first class upgrades for 2019? (lol – insert mental image of a champagne glass and full-reclined sleeping bed here!)
The Antiques Diva Furniture Collection by Aidan Gray
Dreams do come true. In October I fulfilled my 20 year-long dream of creating my own furniture collection: The Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray. In the slideshow below you’ll catch the fabulous (and famous!) people in the interior design trade who came out to help me celebrate at our Launch Party at the October High Point Market.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT!
The top hits in the #ADbyAC collection are without a doubt:
- the lucite Louis 16 style console
- the lucite backed chairs
- the contemporary take on animal prints on our abstract ottoman
Occasionally you have those pinch-me moments and that moment happened when a director on HGTV was talking to me after I spoke on a panel about Global Women in Design and she said, “blah blah blah… your iconic chair… blah blah, blah…” and I said, “Wait… Iconic!!?” And laughed – I may pretend to be a Diva but my feet are pretty firmly on the ground – I learned a long time ago not to believe my own press. “I would hardly call it Iconic. The collection only launched yesterday.” And she brushed my objection aside, “Yes but you know it and I know it… years later it’s how it will be referred to. So why not start now?”
All We Have Is Now
Anyone who knows me well knows that Carpe Diem is my mantra. Seize the Day. Imagine my absolute delight when I was in England recently leading a series of events for the Bath Decorative Fair and I discovered a neon sign that read, “All we have is Now.” I’ve pinned about a dozen neon signs to my Pinterest board over the last 6 months for #DesignInspiration as I started working on decorating my Venice apartment. Imagine my joy when I found this one in the Malthouse Collective in Stroud, England. Needless to say, that baby found itself as part of my checked luggage and now hangs above my chaise longue in my living room.
One of the things that have taken on extreme importance in the last year or two has been the concept of home. And while I make my home in Europe – America always feels like home to me. I sort of straddle 2 continents mentally. You can take the girl out of America, but you can’t take America out of the girl.
I’m thrilled we’ve started offering more and more #NoPassportRequired Tours:
The Original Miami Beach Antique Show
When the fair coordinators at US Antique Shows asked me to lead a series of tours at The Original Miami Beach Show I jumped at the chance. Miami? In January? You don’t have to ask me twice. A slew of antique dealers and designers from around the USA flew in to join me including Margaret Schwartz and Kelly Macguire of Modern Antiquarian, Laurent Gouon and Mimi Montgomery of Lolo French Antiques et More, Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill of Mitchell Hill, Nancy Price of Nancy Price Interiors and Stacey Tiveron of Ronati.
Held each year in January, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show is a destination antique show. Days are spent shopping the antiques fair, stocking up on amazing inventory from jewelry to mid-century to some of the best art deco on the planet, as well as a surprising amount of classical antiques; while nights out involve Cuban music on Calle Oche, dining in some of the top-ranked restaurants in America, lounging by the pool and touring the local art deco scene.
Save the date for next year’s fair: January 4-8, 2020
Charleston Antiques Tour with Southern Style Now
Speaking of our famous #NoPassportRequired Antique Tours, I’ve not had a chance to write about our recent Antiques Diva Charleston Antique Tour as part of Southern Style Now. After the success of their annual events in New Orleans and Savannah – the end of last year they moved the conference to Charleston where the antiquing is to die for! I took Southern Style Now fair participants on a 1-day tour of the best antique shops in Charleston! If you’re traveling in the South and seeking to source antiques definitely visit King Street to Shop Antiques Diva Style!
A few of our Antiques Diva Favorite Antique Dealers in Charleston include:
- Golden & Associates
- George C Birlant & Co
- David Skinner Antiques & Period Lighting
- Tucker Payne Antiques
- Silver Vault of Charleston
While not on King Street, there is another antique dealer in town that I MUST MENTION AS BEYOND FABULOUS – Wynsum Antiques where one of my favorite (and the nicest) dealers in town has an antique shop – Terry Stephenson of Juxtaposition!
As I write – Round Top is just about to start. And I’m starting to fantasize about planning our next group tour for Round Top in the Fall. Interested in joining me antiquing in Texas? #NoPassportRequired Let me know and I’ll keep you posted on this special GROUP TOUR as it develops.
While taking my summer vacation in the Amalfi Coast this summer one of my favorite things I did – besides merely lounge poolside in my BoxerinBlue swimwear under the wafting smell of the lemon trees – was visit the Ruins of Pompeii, which I talked about in a recent blog post when I announced my furniture collection – The Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray.
Pompeii continues to fascinate – Mount Vesuvius had erupted in a phenomenal fashion straight off a Hollywood movie script – perfectly preserving the ancient town of Pompeii and the surrounding countryside in ash. The result – while devastating at the time, burying the people alive – did preserve the works of arts for centuries allowing us to see frescoes from the time of Jesus. (Segway from religion to sex… ) While the frescoes in the brothels were… uhm… especially interesting… what continues to fascinate me is the lush decadent lifestyles they lived in ancient Roman times. When I think of 2000 years ago, I imagine people walking around barefoot and yet in Pompeii the rich were living in villas I’d be happy to call home today.
Pompeii was to Rome like the Hamptons are to New York. And these villas surely must have been where the profession of interior designer came about. The wealthy employed sculptors and painters and other artisans to create an atmosphere that reinforced their position in society. In addition to proper sewage, they had gyms and swimming pools, libraries and courtyards with gorgeous mosaics… but for me… it’s all about the frescoes. The villas were painted ceiling to floor with motifs that were anything from actual images of other villas to architectural elements such as porticos or even cards, rivers and coastlines as well trees, fruits, flowers, birds… But my favorite room, a kitchen in one of the villas, reminded me of my own home. The walls of the kitchen were painted with swimming fish found in the sea nearby.
At my home in Venice, I live in a small apartment a stone’s throw from the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, on a side canal just off the Grand Canal. Soon after I got an apartment here I found myself dreaming of water – which apparently is a trait of Venetians. Water is as much a part of daily life in Venice as is air and breathing. Meanwhile fish swim in the canals outside my kitchen window, they are served in every restaurant and I even have pet goldfish (Frank Sinatra Jr and Frank Jr Jr – fans of the TV series Friends will catch the joke in the name of the later). Wanting to connect the interior of my apartment to my surroundings, I decided to commission the artisans from Porte Italia to come and paint fish swimming down my entry hall. I chose to do the entire entrance in a dramatic high gloss black paint – painting the ceiling as well as walls which makes the space feel infinitely larger.
A fan of Fornasetti, I had the artisans nod towards Piero’s style. The fish swim towards a reflection pool in the middle – aka, an 18th C Gilded Mirror with the original mottled and melting mercury glass. The mirrors frame design is straight out of a fresco design in Pompeii, a basket overflowing with pomegranates and roses. This mirror created most likely between Louis 15 and Louis 16 reign reflects the notion we discussed in a recent blog – where does design inspiration come from? Everything we see and feel and do, influence who we are and our design aesthetic. Louis 16th furniture makers were heavily influenced by Pompeii, just as I was heavily influenced by Louis 15 and 16th when designing my furniture collection – The Antiques Diva Collection for Aidan Gray, which debuts this week at High Point Market.
Fall 2018 High Point Market I’m speaking on 2 panels that broach the subject of Design Inspiration. I’ll be Facebook Living both events – so don’t worry if you’re not able to be there in person, know you can always catch it online on my personal page Toma Clark Haines.
Inspiration Behind the Designs – Saturday October 13 2-3pm
Surya Showplace 4100
Join interior and product designers Mary Douglas Drysdale, Michel Smith Boyd, Toma Clark Haines (“The Antiques Diva”), Xander Noori, and Keon Khajavi-Noori as they discuss where they seek inspiration, how they overcome the dreaded creative block, and give tips and tools for recharging your creative batteries.
Designing Women of the World – Sunday October 14 1.30 to 2.30pm
Suites at Market Square Seminar Room SAMS T 1014
How do you prioritize travel as a busy designer and business owner? How do you prepare for design inspiration at a particular destination? How does getting outside of your local marketplace help your business? Join our traveled designers as they discuss these questions and many more, while giving tips and inspiration on how to incorporate travel into your design process. Panelists include Adriana Hoyos, Tina Nicole, Toma Clark Haines, Sandra Espinet, and Aviva Stanoff with Deb Barrett as moderator. Reception and book signings to follow.
Until then, Be Inspired.
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva®
Buying and selling antiques has changed dramatically since I launched The Antiques Diva® & Co ten years ago – and no one knows that more than antique dealers. Like all changes, there is both good and bad about selling and buying antiques online. For antique dealers, selling antiques online opens them to potential buyers who may never visit their shop – or even their country! – in person, but can easily view their inventory, ask questions, negotiate prices and arrange to pay for and ship their new antique online, any day of the week, 24 hours a day.
For antique buyers, the ability to buy antiques online allows them to discover antique treasures they may never have come across at home or on their travels and compare pieces and prices. It provides competitive information. Buyers get peace of mind and gain confidence when online antique dealers are screened and vetted by an online marketplace.
I love the thrill of the hunt. Personally, I love shopping for antiques in person, touching the piece, inspecting it, talking to the dealer. I love the challenge of negotiating the best possible price for an item. Practically, when I need a special antique for my home I may not have the time or money to travel until I find the perfect piece, at the right price. Being able to shop 24/7/365 from dealers around the globe has enabled me to score some antiques that I realistically would never have bought if I hadn’t sourced it online. Professionally, many antique dealers, interior designers and homeowners simply do not have the time or budget to travel to Europe or Asia to buy the best pieces at the best prices. At AD&CO technology – the internet – allows us to offer our antiques buying services, where we combine the magic of technology with our Diva Guides’ 1st hand antique expertise and personal relationships with antique dealers to buy some amazing inventory for our clients and ship it to their business or home. Online antiques marketplaces are important sources for both our trade and private clients.
The best online antique warehouses carefully choose their dealers and vet the inventory on their site. They understand that value, honesty and quality are key to making their antique marketplace a success. I’m delighted to introduce you today to LoveAntiques.com, an online antique warehouse run by IACF, International Antiques & Collectors Fairs. I spoke to Will Thomas, Managing Director at IACF, about what’s hot and selling in this uber-competitive industry.
LoveAntiques.com Online Antiques Marketplace
Tell us about LoveAntique.com: what is it, who runs it and who are your dealers?
LoveAntique.com is an online antiques marketplace located in LoveAntiques.com is owned and operated by International Antiques & Collectors Fairs, organizers of Europe’s largest antiques fairs. For over 25 years, IACF has been trusted by dealers to deliver thousands of buying customers to our fairs. Our venture into online sales in 2013 is no different with dedicated marketing and PR teams, and the largest advertising budget in the online antiques sales market, you can trust IACF to deliver buyers both on and offline.
Antiques are listed by certified dealers, their items are then approved by the LoveAntiques.com team. Only antique dealers who can prove an honest history of dealing are able to upload pieces onto our website, so you can shop with confidence on LoveAntiques.
Many of our dealers also have a brick-and-mortar antique shop and list some or all of their inventory on LoveAntiques.com.
Why did you launch an online antiques site?
With online shopping becoming the main way consumers buy products, it was inevitable that the antiques trade will be doing more and more business this way, leading to increased expansion of the online marketplace and the continued growth of the website. I have a firm belief that if you do something well, there is always a place for you in the market. Our visitor traffic is up 75% in the last year and we expect similar growth in the coming year. We’ve doubled our dealer numbers, and more than trebled the number of inquiries coming through to dealers.
Who are your customers? Who buys antiques on LoveAntiques.com?
LoveAntiques wants to help the growth of the antiques industry online. We want to bring the world of antiques online for the good of the industry, and we work with numerous publications to promote our antique dealers and their inventory, and to encourage new audiences to shop for antiques online.
The International press is a big PR target for LoveAntiques.com, with our experience of working and encouraging international buyers to attend our IACF fairs. 2 of the USA’s biggest publications, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have promoted our online antique marketplace, which has increased traffic on our site from across the Atlantic, which benefits the antique dealers on our site. We promote LoveAntiques.com to all relevant international publications across the globe.
What are your top sellers – what’s trending?
What’s most popular on LoveAntiques.com with American buyers?
The US is about 25% of our market now. The top item going to the US at the moment are the vintage wrist watches!
How do buyers pay for their antiques at LoveAntiques.com?
Many dealers accept online payments where buyers can purchase the item instantly via PayPal with the necessary delivery costs (if applicable). If however the dealer does not accept online payment the Buy This Item button will take you to a contact form, and you can email the dealer and arrange payment by other means and ask any questions you might have about the item.
English Antiques Diva Buying Agent Gail McLeod is a regular visitor at LoveAntiques.com, as a customer as well as a dealer:
I’ve known Will for years through IACF events, they are long-standing advertisers with us at Antiques News & Fairs. We often take Antiques Diva clients to their prominent shows around the UK, Ardingly, Newark and Shepton where we are able to meet a large collection of dealers in one place with plenty of fresh inventory ideal for the export market. The main shippers are also on site so we can get our purchases picked up on the same day.
I know many of the dealers personally on Love Antiques, such as Fontaine Decorative, and can source special pieces for our clients and alert them to be on the hunt for antiques that are particularly difficult to find when a client is searching for something very specific. As a lover of English garden antiques, my own shop @JardiniereAntiques will be joining LoveAntiques.com later this year because I have great feedback from dealers on the site – so I personally can vouch for the quality and diversity of their antiques! Will is an expert in SEO and the site is becoming one of the most hi-viz in the sector.
LoveAntiques.com: The Details
For more information on Antiques Diva antique sourcing trips or buying services contact us.
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
As I transform my Venice apartment into a home, I take pleasure in the process of unpacking the pieces I’ve collected and arranging (and re-arranging!) them into tableaus that please my eye. The French art of mise en scène – putting things in place – to give my home the ambiance and personality that I want to project. For guests of course, but I honestly arrange my collections for myself.
What is your definition of home? I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a house a home… for me it’s a space filled with people and laughter in the air. Fabulous smells coming from the kitchen, open bottles of wine and champagne always on tap. It’s antiques and family heirlooms, next to flea market finds and objet d’art, and the odd pieces of Ikea. It’s window boxes and shutters and flowers in every room and candles alongside cozy places to read. A real home is a mix of high and low… beautifully choreographed moments for a life well lived. I’m a natural collector. But how does one start a collection? Today my favorite dandy (j’adore being called The Dandy and The Diva!), Gary Inman is sharing with us his expert advice on the art of collecting. Don’t miss Gary’s favorite books on the art of collecting!
Featured image: William Morris textiles and wallpaper set the tone for this Virginia mudroom. The table is an antique Chippendale inspired fretwork design. English tole, majolica, and French garden finials provide character to the space. The bespoke herringbone floor is by Waterworks.
All images provided by Gary Inman
The Art of Collecting
Everyone is a collector, some just don’t know it yet. After twenty-five years of designing and decorating luxury homes, I have had many clients insist that they’re not collectors, only to become impassioned collectors once they discover their genre. Helping them find their passion has been one of the most rewarding parts of my practice. If you think back to your childhood, you’ll surely recall something you collected with unbridled enthusiasm. It can be as simple as sea shells or baseball cards, but regardless of value, nothing surpasses the thrill of the chase! The objects amassed can be costly or free, academic or whimsical, and the collection can be as small as three objects or as massive as a museum.
As an art historian, I have always admired the erudite collections amassed by legendary collectors such as Henry Francis Dupont, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Sir Richard Wallace, Albert Barnes, Richard Jenrette or Henry Clay Frick. Their mammoth collections are now available to the world at museums and historic buildings devoted to the conservation of their achievements. Some collectors become as famous at their curations which are significantly autobiographical. Gertrude Stein, Carolyne Roehm, Coco Chanel and my personal favorite, Sir John Soane are examples of this phenomenon. I encourage you to visit all the museums associated with these collectors.
So how do you become a collector? I suggest you begin by doing your homework. Read the books I’ve listed below, visit antique shops and shows, research various categories such as ceramics, silver, textiles, art, antiques, illustrations, the list is endless. Also, survey auction houses and online dealers and wait for the magic to happen. You will discover a passion that will bring you joy for a lifetime! Once you buy that first piece you’ll be hooked.
This entrance vignette gave me a chanceto indulge my passion for blue and white porcelain. I love mixing antique and modern, and high and low in these groupings. Add fresh roses for a punch of color and this becomes the perfect first impression.
There are many books on collecting, but here are three that I found to be great references:
- Barbara Milo Ohrbach, A Passion for Antiques. Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, 2004.
Commissioned paintings can be centralto an art collection. Lea Barksdale’s bold blue stripe leads the eye up the 3 level staircase. Erika Vaden (left) captured the spirit of Cy Twombly in this vibrant blue calligraphy inspired painting.
Gary M. Inman
Vice President, Hospitality at Baskerville
I just attended High Point Spring Market, a must-do on the interior design circuit, held twice yearly in High Point, NC. In addition to leading 4 events, I was an Instagram trend-spotter for High Point Market @HPMKT and a style spotter for The Chaise Lounge@thechaiselounge taking over their Instagram pages to share what I thought was Hot this Spring!
Before you read which vendors and products were the best of #HPMKT – Mark your calendars for this Fall 2018 when my furniture collection launches at High Point Market at Aidan Gray Home!
Delighted to Be an #HPMKT Trendspotter
Here are my #designinspirations from Spring High Point Market on Instagram to help you discover what’s hot, inspiring and trending:
From #TomaClarkHaines – aka – @TheAntiquesDiva: I’m channeling #CocoChanel today at the @antiquedesignct at #HPMKT with vendor #MichaelDeLoach and @CandaceDeloach. This delicious 9 foot by 19 feet long chocolate brown intricately carved coromandel screen reminds me of the one in Madamoiselle’s apartment in Paris on the Rue Cambon. The technique of craftsmanship involves layering and carving various layers of different colored clay – moss, teal and tomato – to create a #chinosierie screen. #ParisApartment #Chanel #ParisInteriors #AntiqueDealersofInstagram #AntiquesDiva #Antiques
From #TomaClarkHaines – aka – @TheAntiquesDiva: When it comes to #Antiques Pedigree talks (or in this case Barks!) #WoofWoof #DogsofInstagramWhile I love the Miid century harlequin Great Dane and early 20th C #chinosierie chest of drawers in this vignette being sold by the @firestationguy at the @antiquedesignct of #HPMKT. It’s the 19th C Mirror which has the most stories to tell…. It belonged to Marlon Brando. Oh the #StoriesItCouldTell. #Antiques #AntiquesDiva#AntiqueDealersofInstagram
From #TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: A trip to #HPMKT is not complete without visiting @nancypriceinteriordesign located in @Codarus at IHFC H220. #MixedMedia#Artist #AbbyPrice reconfigures geodes and selenite to create #oneofakind #art And while the #pretaporter pieces are divine#nancyprice also takes custom orders for personalized installations. Now that’s #divastyle #antiquesdiva
From tomaclarkhaines/”>#TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: Am I allowed to shop for my apartment in #Venice #Italywhile doing my #Hpmkt #instagramtakeover? If so – I must confess that for my apartment near the #GrandCanal I’m considering a two-tone silver rug from @_robinbaron aka #thebaroness for my bedroom. Located at #MarketSquare #SweetDreams #LaDolceVita #AntiquesDiva#VenetianInteriors #toneontone
From #TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: Mirror Mirror on the Wall… Who’s the fairest of them all? Stacey Kunstal of @DunesandDuchess is the #belleoftheball sporting @TCHCollection serpentine earrings and posing in her booth 7010 in #marketsquare where the #laquered colors on her custom made furniture and lighting are as bright as her personality! #divastyle #simplebutchic #chicinteriors #lifeofastylist
From #TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: If you’ve been following along as I do an #InstagramTakeover of #Hpmkt you’ve already seen one of the top #interiordesigntrends for 2018…. #Chinoiserie. Want to know another #mustbuy #designtrend? Faux Bois! Check out the #enchantedforest at @curreyco
Excited to Be an #TCLPStyleSpotter
The Chaise Lounge is sharing some of my favorite #designinspirations, finds and brands from Spring High Point Market on Instagram to help you discover what’s hot, inspiring and trending:
My first stop when heading to #hpmkt is always @AidanGrayHome at 201 North Main for #designinspiration and gorgeous upholstery, lighting and case goods. Utterly obsessed with their Goliath Star Chandelier! I’m considering it for my living room in my apartment in #Venice #Italy to add that #modernluxury touch and some #divastyle#tclpstylespot
One of my favorite product launches this #HPMKT is the mantel collection from @denisemcgaha with @materialsmarketing at @highlandhousefurniture showroom on 200 Steele #designingwithadeadline #antiquesdiva #dallasdesigner#highlandhouse #dmdesigns Super Chic!
Have you made your way over to @Theodore_Alexander_Official to Check out the @XanderNoori Collection? It’s being called the best new collection showing at #HPMKT spring 2018!!! Love the pod shaped forms, integrated leather banding and Zaha Hadid-esque shape shifting forms. Congrats Xander! #divastyle #modernluxe
From #TomaClarkHaines @TheAntiquesDiva for #TCLPStyleSpotter at #HPMKT
These #blueandwhitesoap bubble glaze ceramic #decorativeaccents from @howard.elliott would give a #globalchic vibe to any #interior. Special thanks to #BrandAmbassador @justinshaulis for giving me a tour of the #HowardElliott showroom #divastyle #globalsourcing #tclpstylespot
High Point Spring Market
Fall Market: October 13 – 17, 2018
Don’t miss The Antiques Diva Early Bird Tour of The Antique & Design Center High Point Fall Market!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Chattic & The Antiques Diva Make Collecting Cool with Real-Time Appraisals from the Miami Beach Antique Show #chatticlive
I recently attended The Original Miami Beach Antique Show for the first time and was gobsmacked by the size of the show and the sheer number of antique dealers onsite! Diva heaven! In addition to leading a tour of the show, I teamed up with Nicole Sawyer and Dan Thieleman, the founders at Chattic, a new way to ‘value your old stuff,’ to lead a series of Facebook Lives for Chattic! I’m on a mission to make antiques modern and relevant to younger people: and I believe technology is key! I was super-excited to introduce this new technology at the show with some real-life appraisals of people’s collectibles – right in their own home! Just as Chattic believes The Antiques Diva® & Co is the new Antiques Roadshow, I’m convinced Chattic is the new way to value your old stuff. The IOS App is coming soon – Chattic invites you to be the first to beta test the app. Go to www.askchattic.com and enter your email address – tell them The Antiques Diva® sent you!
New App Teaches You How to Value Vintage & Antique Treasures
Chattic, The Antiques Diva and The Original Miami Beach Antique show announced are all on a mission to make collecting cool and bring the antiques and vintage industry into the 21st century.
Chattic teamed up with legendary appraisers Stuart Slavid from Skinner Auctioneers who is also a regular expert on the PBS series The Antiques Roadshow, and Paul Haig founder of Haig’s of Rochester – Fine Jewelry & Objects of Art, to bring #ChatticLive; a digital TV show streamed on Facebook Live to provide viewers’ answers from experts on demand by simply sending in digital photos of their unique vintage and antique finds.
Nicole and Toma explained,
This is the first time users have had the opportunity to interact in real time, for free, with world-renowned experts in the antiques industry without leaving the comfort of their homes.
On Chattic, users can snap photos of their items and post them on the app for crowd-sourced feedback.
WATCH The Antiques Diva challenge Stuart Slavid to a Burlesque dance-off and Chattic users get answers simply by snapping photos of their unique items.
During #ChatticLive Stuart gave users actionable tips on posting photos for online appraisals.
Stuart Slavid’s Online Appraisal Tips:
- TAKE A CLEAR PICTURE:
Look at the picture yourself make sure you can see whatever information you want to portray.
- SEND SEVERAL PICTURES:
Don’t just send one picture, take several from every angle. Snap photos of the top, bottom, sides, front, back. Vague photos mean a much longer conversation than need be.
- SEND AS MANY DETAILS AS POSSIBLE:
Elaborate on the condition, dimensions, and take close-up photos of signatures or any distinguishing marks.
- TAKE SIZE COMPARISON PHOTOS:
Take a photograph of your piece next to something standard like a soda can or cell phone to give the appraiser an idea of relative size.
Chattic user Amy from Indiana learned her two vases were actually Chinese Republic porcelain, roughly 100 years old with a value of $800-$1200! Congrats to Amy!
Chattic user Halina from Florida sent photos of a unique piece of jewelry that her father-in-law found in a New York City cab in the 1950’s. For the first time in nearly 70 years, she finally got answers on this mysterious treasure.
How do you think technology can be used to keep antiques relevant to younger buyers – I’d love to hear your ideas!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
January 21, 2018, The Antiques Diva & Co celebrated our 10 year anniversary at our annual Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch. Attended by hundreds of design professionals during Paris Design Week, we started the New Year with a fabulous 10th anniversary event organized by my publicist Andrew Joseph PR, the Paul Bert Serpette Marché and our dynamic team of Antiques Diva Guides who welcomed our guests and provided mini-tours of les Marchės Aux Puces after and during the fête. Professional photography by Joachim Frydman.
Here is a peek at the festivities – try and join us in person next year! We always hold our fête on the last Sunday of Déco Off, first Sunday of Maison & Objet at the Paris Flea Market!
The brunch was held at Antiquitiés Rodriguez Décoration, a stunning antiques store filled with of antique furniture, decorative objects, art, architectural salvage and curiosities at 15 rue Jules Vallès. One of the largest – if not the largest – shops, it was an ideal setting for a party with our VIP interior designer guests; Deborah Lalaudiere and her team welcomed us to their store and so we could browse and shop while we sipped cocktails and coffee. Visit their shop at the Paris Flea Market or on 1st Dibs – you won’t be disappointed!
Our 10th Anniversary Champagne Brunch was co-hosted by Traditional Home Magazine, and our panel discussion was led by Krissa Rossbund, Senior Style Editor at Traditional Home.
Un gros merci to our sponsor CITADELLE GIN for whipping up French 75s using our Antiques Diva champagne, Citadelle Gin and a splash of lemon and simple syrup! Alex Gabriel and Paris Antiques Diva Guide Debbie Gabriel (below) are the owners of Maison Ferrand, makers of Citadelle Gin. Watch me learning how to make a French 75 cocktail here with bartender Cedric.
Guests at the party were able to get a sneak peek of a few of my furniture designs for the upcoming Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray.
As the fête was held during cocktail week in Paris, it was only appropriate that we had author Doni Belau of Girl’s Guide to Paris in the house signing her book Cocktails in Paris! Doni is also one of our US Antiques Diva Guides.
Keeping up the cocktail theme, we were delighted that root cellar designs was one of our 10th Anniversary Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch sponsors, contributing cocktail napkins from their fabric collection to our Gift Bag. Merci, Tamara Matthews Stephenson!
More behind the scenes photos are in our photo album.
We’ll be celebrating The Antiques Diva’s 10th anniversary at events throughout the year – and setting the date for next year’s Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch soon #WatchThisSpace!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
At our 5th Annual Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch I’m serving cocktails #DivaStyle:
Coco Chanel With a Dagger by Maison Ferrand
Artisanal Gin de France producer Citadelle Gin by Maison Ferrand,will make French 75s – my signature cocktail that I like to call Coco Chanel with a Dagger – with The Antiques Diva signature champagne. Not only is Citadelle my favorite gin, Maison Ferrand happens to be owned by Alexandre and Debbie Gabriel, one of our Paris Antiques Diva Guides. Citadelle Gin is made following a centuries-old method, using an open flame pot still distillation, and a traditional Charentaise pot still used in Cognac, France. Distillation over an open flame allows the complementary aromas to come together when the wine comes into contact with the bottom of the boiler. The name Citadelle honors where this gin was first authorized to be made in 1775 by Louis XVI, at the Citadelle in Dunkirk.
WATCH: Citadelle bartender Cedric taught me to make a Coco Chanel with a Dagger
Coco Chanel with a Dagger by Maison Ferrand Recipe
- 1 1/2 oz Citadelle Gin
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 1/2 oz rich simple syrup
- Fill shaker with ice, gin, lime juice and simple syrup
- Shake like mad until well-chilled, then strain into chilled champagne flute
- Top with champagne (I prefer The Antiques Diva signature champagne)
- Garnish with lime spiral
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I’m delighted to introduce our new Amsterdam Antiques Diva Guide, Mariska Meijers. Mariska is not just a Diva Guide but a Dutch icon in her own right. She’s a fellow #GirlBoss and when I’m having a bad day she’s the one I call to say “Shoot Me Now”. Then – of course – she convinces me not to jump from that ledge! For those of you who are following me on my journey as I launch a new brand – the TCH Collection – Lush Decadence Couture Jewelry line – Mariska will also be our Amsterdam distributor for the collection. And will be participating in our TCH Collection pop-up shop in Paris this Jan 17 – March 18, 2018, at Galerie Vauclair. She’ll not only provide one of her signature custom-made kimonos for me to wear to the Vernissage January 19, but she’ll also have a special edition Diva Line of pillows for sale! What makes them Diva? Accessories of course? Anyone who knows me, knows I have a penchant for feathers, furs, glitter and more… and Mariska captures that personality in pillow form!
Mariska Meijers is a Dutch artist and designer, renowned for her signature vibrant colors and bold patterns. Based in Amsterdam, Mariska moved back home to Holland 15 years ago, after having lived and worked across Europe and Asia. She is an avid traveler and collector – and both inform her eye. She loves to share her hometown with visitors and introduce them to her local sources and contacts. She has grown her art and design studio into a global lifestyle brand sold through luxury department stores and small boutiques in over 30 countries. Her store/design studio in the historic city centre of Amsterdam is a hidden gem, located in the basement of a 17th century canal house on Keizersgracht 158 is filled with her own collections and art combined with original finds from all over the world, including art, antiques, vintage, lighting, jewelry and much more.
Mariska’s work has been featured in traditional and online media, including VOGUE.COM, The World of Interiors, Architectural Digest, Homes & Gardens, House & Garden, Marie Claire Maison, Domino, ELLE Decoration, ELLE DECOR, Living and others.
- Antiekcentrum Amsterdam: a real treasure trove with over 55 dealers.
- Noordermarkt: an outdoor market only on Saturday and Monday.
- Gezusters Stoop Lampshade Workshop: I have a strong love for vintage and antique lighting. This tiny store and shade atelier has a great selection and if they don’t have it, the owner Carin will source it for you. They can also build a lamp from any object you bring in and custom make a shade for it.
In summer, picnic on a boat touring the canals – but not on one of the large touristy ones. Rent a small one with a skipper. https://www.rentaboatamsterdam.com
I personally invite you to book an Antiques Diva Amsterdam tour with Mariska and discover her Amsterdam for yourself!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva