It’s pretty exciting to get a visit from a tv props department but that sort of thing is excactly what happens to Jane Watson, who runs her Vintage Antiques & Collectables business here at Heeley Bank. She started selling about 7 years ago, and has been with us since we opened. She’s sold to the BBC, theatres, pubs and restaurants and even museums.
We badgered her to tell us more and give us an insight into the life of a successful dealer. Here’s what she told us.
I’d been collecting antiques for years. My house was getting so full of the items I loved and collected, that I decided I really ought to start selling. Buying is part of the fun – I love going to fairs to find unusual pieces and it’s great meeting other dealers who also look out for items to sell to you. I specialise in taxidermy – its very on trend at the moment. I also sell advertising items such as old tins, signs, mirrors, – the quirkier the better. Also kitchenalia and pharmacy items are popular.
I’ve sold items to the BBC props dept, local theatres and a museum. The BBC’s props lady bought vintage chenille tablecloths, an owl clothes brush holder, some large trunks, some suitcases, various pieces of china , the odd chair, a gramophone and a Bakelite telephone for some period dramas being filmed at that time.
One of my regular clients buys Victorian advertising items for their pub in Scotland. Wooden crates, and religious items are increasingly popular. Victorian pews are great in modern kitchens, as are the farmhouse tables. Antiques are an affordable way of furnishing a home, they were made to last. There’s no mdf, just solid wood – quality with character, and upcycled, painted furniture is still very on trend.
It’s really satisfying when you find what that customer wants, but it can take a while as you never know where you have to travel to find it. But that’s how I’ve built up my business, with customers coming back for more as they are really pleased with what I find. That’s part of the fun, though, searching all parts of the country at varied events, enjoying new places and meeting dealers – with lunch on the way of course!
The worst part for me is letting that certain item go to its new owner, when you really want it for yourself, I think most dealers experience that every now and again. But we can’t keep everything!