The Antiques Diva: Your Dirty Little Secret

The Antiques Diva- Your Dirty Little Secret

Have you ever wondered where the worlds leading antiques dealers, interior designers – and mere antiques lovers – go to source fabulous, unique and authentic antiques? The secret: The Antiques Diva® & Co.

Buying antiques is not difficult. Anyone who can google can find an antique store to shop. The trick is in knowing with 1000’s and 1000’s of options – where to go – which dealer has the best inventory, the best prices, who offers the biggest discount, who is prone to having “reproductions” mislabeled as period pieces, who has hidden warehouses full of antiques never put online. The trick is in knowing that person (moi) who has the best little black book of antiquing sources – who has every dealer worth his salt on speed dial – who can get you after-hour appointments with dealers in their private homes or advance access to inventory before it hits the big trade fairs.   

When buying antiques it is challenging :

  • finding the best antiques dealers in Europe and Asia (they’re usually not online) – plus US secret sources where interior designers shop
  • identifying if antiques are authentic – their provenance and history – and if they’re period, how that impacts their value
  • how to spot damage, repairs and identify fakes (sadly purchasing antiques is caveat emptor – buyer be ware!)
  • knowing what to pay for antiques and how to bargain for a better price, and for dealers what return you can expect on your investment
  • spotting a great piece or exceptional value: something unique that tells a story
  • shipping your purchases back home without damage

How do dealers and designers find antiques treasures? Shhhhh… The Antiques Diva is their dirty little secret!

At The Antiques Diva® we provide antiques sourcing, buying and shipping services in Europe, Asia and America: one-stop turnkey antiques services on 3 continents. We offer four service tiers, providing you one-stop turnkey antiques services in Europe and Asia. I recently sat down with Steven Favreau of Favreau Design, and filmmaker Fabien Prauss to explain what we do at AD&CO – and how we are the ONLY antiques sourcing service to offer complete turnkey antiques sourcing services:

1. Antiques Touring Services
2. Antique Buying and Sourcing Services
3. Antiques International In-House Shipping Services
4. Antique Care and Restoration Products


Video Transcript: Steven Favreau interviews Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Steven: My name is Steven Favreau with Favreau Design and I have a dirty little secret: this is the Diva of all Divas, everybody’s secret little weapon when it comes to finding just the right antiques: the diva of all diva’s, Antiques Diva Toma Clark Haines has invited me to be with her today and I’m thrilled.

Hello Toma, it’s a pleasure to have you!

Toma: Thank you so much for having me as your guest!

Steven: I understand there are four tiers to your company?
Toma: That’s right. In fact, everyone knows us for being an antique touring company and that’s our first tier and probably our most important tier – it’s the sexy tier! Everyone wants to come on an antique buying tour! We also offer antiques buying services, in-house shipping services and in fact we’ve come out with a whole antiques product line.
Steven: Wow, I had no idea, that’s really amazing!
Toma: We want to be a full-service turnkey antiques solution.
Steven: Many of us use our own shipping companies. Why would we use you when it comes to shipping?
Toma: There are always problems it doesn’t matter who you ship with. Things go missing: if this happens is where I can help you solve the problem. I want to offer my clients a turnkey service where we’re not only helping them source antiques, but we’re helping them get it home as well.
Steven: That makes perfect sense. So my question for you: what if I just want one item?
Toma: Then we’ll ship one item! Now here’s what you need to know: the fact is it is a whole lot more expensive to ship one item than it is to ship multiple items. The more you buy, the cheaper it is when it comes to shipping.
Steven: I understand you have a new product line?
Toma: Clients were coming to me asking for antique restoration products, so we developed a line of products to meet their needs. We have wood wax and Tommy leather lotions and silver polishes.
Steven: The whole all four tiers it’s incredible! It sounds expensive.
Toma: We try to make this as reasonably priced as possible. Everything is ala carte: so we price tours by the dates – an average tour is going to run anywhere from 400 euros up to seven hundred euros per day. An average sourcing trip for a trade client is going to run three to five days but you can book anywhere from one day to 14 days, depending upon your budget. Now if you are shopping to fill a container – to fill a container is going to cost you on the low end maybe $30,000 in inventory; high-end upwards $200,000 – but remember when you bring this back you’re going to be selling it on average from three to five times cost!
Steven: Where do I fly it off that’s a whole lot of markup! So if I go on the tour I understand how that works but what if I’m just using your buying services.
Toma: In that case we just charge you a commission on top of purchase price of twenty percent.
Steven: Oh perfect! I am overwhelmed by everything that you offer. I’d like to hear: what are your three goals for The Antiques Diva?
Toma: First of all, our goal is worldwide domination! Of course we’re the largest company in the world doing what we do. In Europe we operate in eight countries with a team of 21 locally-based guides. In Asia we are in six countries with 4 locally based guides. My goal next is South America. What I want to do I want to offer a comprehensive service for my client so that no matter where they are in the world we are able to help them source antiques and shipping them home.
So that’s what I want: to make antiques accessible. The fact is buying antiques overseas can be intimidating. You don’t know where to go and you don’t speak the language. You’re afraid that maybe you’re going to get taken advantage of. Our job is to be there to help you with this process.
And three: I want to make antiques sexy modern and fun.
Steven: Thank God – tell me about the future!
Toma: I think antiques are more relevant than they’ve ever been before. In the past people decorated in entire period rooms. Now every room in every home can have an antique in it!
Steven: I totally agree: as a designer I could add an antique into my most contemporary, most modern project and you’re exactly right on that. Well I’m going to tell you that sitting here with you I feel like I have my own little dirty secret and I can’t wait to use your services! I’m sure that everyone around the world can benefit from what you at The Antiques Diva does, so thank you so much!
Toma: Let’s get shopping!
And there you have it: At The Antiques Diva & Co, we want to be your dirty little antiques secret! Contact us to book an antiques buying tour, source antiques for your, ship antiques from Europe directly to you, or for our antiques care and restoration products.

Contact The Antiques Diva

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva® 
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Author: Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America's largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.