Palm Reading, Crystal Balls, Tarot Cards and Telling the Future...

  • November 04, 2011 12:40

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A preview of my booth (4600) at the Pier Show

Yup.  I've tried them.  And a whole bunch of other techniques.  What is happening with the art and antiques business?  I'm hearing one thing and seeing another.  I'm hearing horror stories of stuff selling for virtually nothing or not selling at all, while I see my inventory at my boutique in Center44 depleted each month with sales and rentals of my inventory are on the rise.  Huh?  Well, to further complicate and confuse the already muddy waters, I've chosen to jump in with both feet and set up at the Pier Show on November 19th and 20th.  Here's why it's confusing...  My neighbor at Center 44 reminded me of the show on Wednesday and I quickly jumped on the phone to grab a booth.  As I was dialing he informed me of a waiting list.  I immediately said that this is an indication of a great market, strong and on the rebound.  He immediately said that this is an indication of a desperate market where dealers are looking for any outlet to sell.  By the way, we are both doing the show.  Hmmm...

A preview of my booth (4600) at the Pier Show


Is past performance an indication of future performance?  Yes.  The same dealers who shopped with you, will be looking for you again.  The same interior designers and decorators who bought from you, will be looking for you again.  This is a business of relationships.  When you build a strong one, it remains so.  I've been setting up at the Pier Show for well over ten years, I've created contacts and it has always been a great experience.  Maybe it's all in how you look at things, too.  If your palms are dirty, your crystal ball cracked or you're missing a few tarot cards, you won't be seeing clearly.


I see a great future.  One with great buying and selling.  One that takes a lot of hard work.  For me, the Pier Show is an all out event.  From selecting the inventory to bring (if you don't bring it, you can't sell it - so expect a full booth from me), to loading the rental van and everything else that follows, I'm a one woman operation.  The extra fun part of waiting in line on 11th Avenue well before dawn with the other dealers who also want to do their load-ins first, is something not to be missed.  There is a sort of camaraderie there in the pre-dawn hours.  New York City is slowing transitioning from her night life to the early morning hours.  Construction sites start buzzing, sidewalks are washed, taxi drivers are changing shifts and then there's the dealers.  You'll see a few dealers standing outside of other rental trucks comparing notes or showing off some great find.  I usually hang out in my rental truck with a cup (or two) of coffee while my anticipation builds.  After hours of waiting, it happens in a few minutes we all get waved in to drive into the lot to start unloading.  And so it begins...

A preview of my booth (4600) at the Pier Show


The porters generally look my way and expect me to ask for help, I politely go about my business and unload the truck solo as quickly as possible.  Then it's time to park the truck as close as possible and run back to the pier.  What comes next takes me all day.  Setting up my booth.  Going back to the time spent sitting in the rental truck on 11th Avenue, I usually make a few sketches as to how I'd like to lay out the booth.  On paper, it looks perfect.  Then when it comes to time place everything in the booth, I realize that my drawing is generally not done to scale.  So, necessity being the mother of invention, I move everything till it all looks just right.


During all of this, the other dealers are whirling around running from truck to truck and from booth to booth.  Me?  I hang out in my booth.  Arranging and re-arranging.  Taking photos and posting status updates on my social networking sites. I always want everything to look just right for opening day.  After a long day, 14 hours or so, it's time to head home and get ready.  


The pre-show energy and excitement is dwarfed by opening day.  Long lines are the norm.  Customers barging through gates and down the aisles, it reminds me of a field opening at Brimfield.  Each of those customers is running to their favorite part of the show or to their favorite dealer because they have built relationships, too.  Like I said, this business is built on relationships and when it's good, it's very good.  The traffic throughout the day remains strong and so do sales.  A few years ago, Sundays usually started off slowly, but recently they have been almost as strong as the Saturdays.


So what does all this say of the art and antiques market?  That it is stronger than ever.  That when dealers are actively buying the best and most interesting pieces, the customers will always want to shop with them.  That when you're willing to go the extra mile or more, you'll be rewarded for it.    

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20th Century by HKFA - To the Trade

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