"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lamplight


I have been selling 30 years of antique accumulations from the farm and barn.  It is all the stuff left over from doing the Marburger Farm show in Round Top, TX.  I have only had a booth in a mall since January, so it has been a learning curve.  

First, the mall I'm in has over 300 dealers.  LOTS of stuff.  Therefore, the dollars are spread out more.  Secondly, I have noticed that the smaller stuff sells more - OK is in a recession and the choke point seems to be around $20.00.  

The booth I'm in is about 8x8 feet; not big enough for furniture and crammed to the ceiling.  I just love the booths that are spare and styled, but my thought is, if it isn't in there it won't get sold and I have to pay rent, a commission that goes to the mall and I pay all credit card fees (they don't accept checks.) It is difficult to keep it all orderly and leave room to walk around the booth freely.  It is a lot of work. I had hoped to sell out quickly so I would't have to keep it going for too long.

And oh the joys of keeping up with my stuff.  If it is missing, they encourage you to walk the entire mall to look for it.  I did that for awhile, but quickly tired of that and wait for booth owners to turn it in to the front desk and they will return it.  I have had things missing for a couple of months. I notice things that aren't mine right away, but evidently some booth owners never come in.  I now have a new appreciation for putting something down across a store when I change my mind.  It happens a lot.

Then, there is a crazy person that comes in regularly and tears through the far corners of my booth - turns it inside out.  I'd like to smack them.  No normal person would leave a booth in that condition.  In fact, I had to remove all my textiles, like quilts and rugs, as I'd find antique quilts in a heap in the middle of the floor.

I've had a few 25% off sales, but I don't really sell more during them.  How's that?  I don't know as it would make a difference to me.  Nonetheless, I haven't had a sale this month and won't for awhile.  One item, an old metal Life Savers display, brightly colored and in great condition, sat there for two months.  I marked the price up and it sold.  I am just trying to make my money back, but will take a loss if I have to.  But, some things are one of a kind, rare, and I refuse to give them away.  Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face?  It is hard to know.  The market has changed.  Whereas, large wooden English pieces were once all the rage, you can't give them away now.  Thankfully, I don't have any.  I love primitives, but now, in Tulsa anyway, they are not selling.  They still sell in TX, but I have to wait for a buyer from TX to come through.  The younger crowd don't like antiques so much anymore - they like modern and minimalism.  

So what does all this have to do with the lamp in the picture?  I saw this lamp and bought it to see if I could make money on it in the booth.  I have only bought two things to sell in this booth.  It is French, Art Nouveau from the 1890's.  Heavy painted metal, it is also a candelabra lamp.  It is beautiful, but not really my style.  I got it all priced and ready to take to my booth, then at the last minute decided not to.  Why, you say? Because I fear the customers will try and pick it up and mess it up or even worse, break it.  I thought about putting a sign up - please do not touch - but they will.  So, I sat it in the entryway and will ponder what to do with it.

It's a whole new world in antiques.  This old antique has lost her touch. Not like the days when I was into it.



30 comments:

  1. I am going back to read your post..but I LOVEEE this lamp.

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    1. I know Monique. It is lengthy for me. It is so pretty.

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  2. OH KEEP IT.
    I go to my market on saturdays as you know when I can..one lady asked a vendor the price of something..this past sat..the lady said $40.00 ..but I would let it go for $30 ..you know what the lady said? Point blank?
    I'll come back at 4.(That's when they close and I guess she figured she could get it for nothing.)
    I hate that..ok..everyone can offer a bit less..but geesh I found that so out of line..they have to set up at 6 AM..unpack everything..stay in the heat all day..

    oh well..
    KEEP that:)
    It can MAKE a room.

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    1. I'm leaning that way. I haven't seen many like it and it is so pretty. Yes, they don't realize how much overhead goes into the price, plus, finding things for nothing days are over. I had a guy one time offer me $5.00 at the end of a show for a $55. old turquoise radio from the forties. I always ask what their best price is (and the guys always say a million dollars, jokesters.) That way I am not insulting them. Sometimes they'll say make me an offer and usually there is more haggle room. The old days they'd say wait for the end of the day, but that wouldn't sway me. I'd rather pack it up. It is a different place in the antique world than it was twenty years ago.

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    2. If that radio's a Stromberg-Carlson, I'm your girl. That's the one i listened to Lux Radio Theater and Pam and Jerry North while I did my homework before we had a TV.

      I was about to start with "Gone two weeks, and I come back to THIS!!???" over that LAMP. I'd better not let Chris see this, for I've requested a "bordello lampshade" for my birthday, and he'd be onboard for lamp and all if he knew I'm sitting here coveting it. Will you e-mail me the price? I've been in love with these things all my life---something about that sumptuous shape, like Lillian Russell's skirts.

      Moire non when I'm done unpacking, cleaning, getting trees trimmed and planning/executing a Harry Potter party next weekend.

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  3. I collect too many things and a local dealer told me I needed a booth. You have reminded me why I don't have one. Sounds like people are just so disrespectful! I agree that the current trend is minimalism, but who wants to live in a tiny house? Not me!

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    1. Me neither. I'd take Hampton Court if they'd give it to me. It is too much work for me now, the lifting, moving and packing and cleaning and pricing. I think you must really have to love doing it as I once did. It is a nice little extra income for retirees. But, if you have someone to help you...

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  4. I so know and feel your pain. When I ran my old booth, it was the interaction with the customers that sold so much. I always said they were buying a piece of me, so just get over it. Now, at the gallery, I know the staff is not helping the customer on, straightening the shoulder, making another flip in a scarf--all that stuff that made the customer know it was theirs. I know it was the same for you, holding it up, asking where they would put it and saying how the little lamp would enhance the space. Like selling the house, giving up on weaving was just a logical choice. Have you considered finding an auctioneer, or someone who would take the inventory off your hands in one fell swoop. Maybe you haven't resigned yourself yet to not getting back your investment. When that happens, it will be out of your life as fast as finding the wholesaler who wants it.
    PS--in our house, we say "one swell foop!"

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    1. Ha, I never hear that one Joanne. I actually did talk to a seventyish man where I bought the lamp and we talked about it. He had three booths and he had just bought out two different booths and their inventories. He said he gave pennies on the dollar for them:( He said in one large box, it was filled with jewelry and like me, knew nothing about it. That's a whole lot or research and pricing. No one picks up or checks on booths where I am. It is hard work.

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  5. While the lamp wouldn't fit in with our decor I do like it. And, thinking about it, may be it would. Eclectic aka cluttered is our style.
    Good luck.
    I am sorry for your work and your aggravation.

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    1. I love eclectic, my style too. I'm also OCD and want it perfect, but it never is. My family thinks I'm enjoying it and I would if I had some help. I think.

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  6. Your lamp is beautiful. I'd be worried to have it on display being "man-handled" and broken. It does sometimes seem to me that decorating trends are changing to a more minimalist style. I like a lot of stuff around me where I can see it at this point in my life, but who knows, there could be some circumstance, that minimalism could become my style. Maybe the newer "less is more" decorating trend is the result of a society where people don't live in the same place for years and years. It seems that most people move into different homes many times in their lives.

    I hope that things go better in your booth. Maybe less people are coming out to shop because of the hideously hot weather this summer.

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    1. Where have you gone Susie? I haven't heard a peep in so long. Perhaps blogger deleted you when they changed the followers gadget some time ago. So glad to hear from you as I remember your blog from long ago. Yes, I love minimalism too, but also like my stuff. Have to have my collectibles - memories. Take care and I resigned up to follow your blog. Thank you and that's exactly my thought about leaving it untended in my booth.

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  7. Donna, I think that lamp is a treasure! The thought of some careless browser damaging it gives me chills.

    What you have written about the changing antiques world interests me so much. I used to regularly visit two antique china dealers in London, and always bought something from them. They were so knowledgeable about their specialty and quite generous in sharing information with me.

    One lady decided to close her stall in Alfie's Market on Church Street when a recession really began to make keeping the stall unwise. She elected to begin selling her china online.

    The other lady was a retired school teacher whose husband would drive her (and her china) up from Surrey every Saturday to London, where Pam had a stall on Westborne Grove off the Portobello Road. We became friends and I painted some pictures of cups I'd bought from Pam, and sent them to her as thank you gifts. I would also send her one of my annual Christmas tea cup paintings. One year I received a very lovely note from Pam's husband letting me know that just a month before, Pam had died, quietly at home. Of course, I still think of her every day when I see certain items of china around my apartment. It's a dear memory.

    On the other hand, the current trend for rather minimal home furnishing on display in shops really leaves me cold. I am awaiting another pendulum swing. xo

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    1. Love that Frances. I have sold online for some time and now it has dropped off and I'm not packaging large things. It is just too much trouble. I bet there were spectacular collections there. Yes, styles have changed. Not so much shabby chic like there was for so long. I bet you do get to see a lot of changing styles in NYC. I get all the decorating magazines and that is where my knowledge comes from. I love my stuff too much to go minimal, but I do appreciate the aesthetic. Yes, I can't bear to put the lamp in my booth with no supervision. I have waited to long for a lot of my antiques and do not want to wait for the pendulum, but neither do I want to give it away for free. Glad to hear from you.

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  8. Selling antiques sounds more tricky than I realised. I'm glad to know that items moved from your area have not been stolen, but, merely, misplaced. Although it does seem a pain to have to hunt them down. I think the show 'Mad Men' helped turn the tide away from more ornate pieces to the mid-century modern frenzy we're experiencing yet.

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    1. Oh Bea, I'm quite sure some of the items have fallen into purses. The mall I'm at won't let you lock anything away. I won't take anything that is small and pricey. Got to be bigger than a bread box if it's worth anything. I have put smalls in jars (that would be easy to steal) and taped the jars shut and would you believe, yep, they have ripped the clear packing tape open.

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  9. I think your lamp is rather charming I would have thought it would have been snapped up.

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    1. Me too Elaine. I got a $75. discount too. I'm not going to put it in my booth. Too many chances for it to get damaged.

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  10. Donna,

    Don't know if you saw my "reply" above re the lamp---(and radio), and just chiming in anyway to say I watched the very first episode of "Frazier" the other night on Netflix, and he said his living room was "eclectic" decor. With an Eames chair, and Somebody's sofa, a Whhoozit's table---all, of course, before Daddy's duct-taped recliner was delivered and set smack in the middle. I love the look and the comfy enjoyment of choosing any and everything you love living with, but in his case---I'd hate to feel compelled to name off provenance before I could hand round the drinks.

    Just sent you a quick e-mail re the lamp.

    Stay KEWL, faraway friend,

    rachel

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    1. I've had my sister here for the last three days and just saw post. I will email you.

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  11. I work at an antique store on Saturdays in a small town. Things have been dismal since the bottom fell out of the economy. The store no longer makes a profit or even pays for itself. the owner has a day job and the only reason she keeps it open I think is for the tax write off. that and she does really love the store.

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    1. TX too huh. I guess so since they are in the oil gas biz too. It is OK's main commerce and OK has been in dire straights since oil collapsed. The schools and everything else are losing funds left and right. Nice that price of gas is lower, but OK has been in free fall since. I figure after rental, commission to mall and card fees, I take home about half of what I make at the mall.

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  12. What a beautiful piece.
    And very interesting to hear what goes on behind the scenes.
    I don't understand how folks can be so disrespectful of other people's property. Rude!
    Sell on:)

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    1. Thank you Sandra. It is harder to make money on antiques these days, except for midcentury modern, Nakashima and original, artisan made rare pieces - 1st Dibs type things. Yes, I'd like to be in a higher end store, but the price goes up considerably and they get much less traffic.

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  13. Donna, It seems more trouble than it's worth, I understand that. It must be maddening to have someone totally dismantle your booth without a thought! I sometimes get a person in my booth that goes around rearranging every animal on my table... I want to scream! Good grief, we've had a huge drop in sales on my $21 books! People are afraid to spend more than $20, as you said. If I were able to visit your booth, I am quite sure I'd find a dozen items to purchase. I love primitives and many other styles as well.

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    1. Yes, Jeri, we like a lot of the same things. At least you are seated in your booth. Everytime I go back, it is a mess and stuff that isn't mine in there (a broken John Wayne statue that has appeared 4 times) that I would like to toss in the trash. I have also missed stuff for months and weeks. The economy must be worse than they are letting on. The worst is the crazy person that takes stuff down that I can't reach without a ladder and leaves it lying around. Why take it down if you aren't going to buy it?

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  14. This post is fascinating, Donna, and the whole process sounds a bit of a nightmare! I'm interested to learn that English furniture is now out of fashion. Similar antique markets over here are always manned by the owner and I don't think that items are ever manhandled willy-nilly by prospective customers. I've never tried to sell although our home is crammed with a motley collection of stuff. Our most recent purchases (some years ago now) have been Hungarian and French pieces of old furniture, beds and cupboards not appreciated in their home country.

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    1. It is very hard work and frustrating that they don't police the mall more. They are too busy checking out at the front - potholders and stuff like that. Lots of garage sale stuff. It is the big oak English pieces (cabinets and what have you) that aren't selling. Guess people don't have room for them anymore.

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