Monday, April 30, 2012

Pricing Antiques

Hi this is Leigh and we want to delve into Prices in the Antique world.   Before I started buying and selling antiques, I had been in the gift business.  I had owned with my husband, at the time, a gift shop outside of Williamsburg Va.  I had learned there that you took a double mark up on items from wholesale to retail.  We had to pay rent plus 10%, so we sometimes took and extra 10% to help make ends meet.  I was able to do this by hunting up the very best deals on the nicest items I could find.  The better quality and the more unusual the better.

So when we went to buy and sell antiques we acted upon the same principles.  Pricing is a fine art.  If a really nice item and you price it too low,  people will think it is not good.  Too high and they think that you are out to take advantage.  Items need to be priced right.  But how to do that with no real guide lines as they had in the retail world.

Before "Lewis Trimble"  we dealt in more traditional American Antiques.  After all I came out of Williamsburg Va and a background in American and some impressionist art that my Dad had in his Art Gallery.  I actually practiced pricing the way we did in the gift store.  It was then that I noticed a strange phenomenon.  I was buying luster ware.  And all of a sudden the prices started to sky rocket.  Why was it so popular all of a sudden.  A friend came into our shop and wanted several pieces and asked if I had seen the show that Martha Steward had done on Luster ware.  All of a sudden everyone wanted it, and the law of supply and demand kicked right in.  Then we saw this happen again and again.  Like the mad dash for the shabby chic, here now and gone in a flash.

Being able to know what will be popular and what will hold it's value is a real talent.  Somethings are here one day and disdained another.  Quality is one of the things that make a difference as does uniqueness of design.  The power of the people in supply and demand always makes a difference.

Follow auction results.  Especially in large cities such as Wrights in Chicago or Rago outside of two large cities in Lambertville New Jersey.  Here You can see items and their designers achieve stardom.

Just like the the early American fine pieces of furniture,  the architect designed pieces of the deco and early modernist era are now in high demand.  Not but so popular at the time, these pieces were mot produced on a grand scale.  Many were made with the same love and fine craftsmanship as those fine pieces that dominated the auction market for years.  The fact that there are only so many along with the uniqueness of design and the quality of the workmanship makes for the perfect formula for very hot items both in the auction houses and in the shops that carry these items.  Some things will always be sought after and in high demand.  You just need to study the market and know real quality when you see it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marbro Lamps

Awesome Swedish Hour Glass Shape Pair of Marbro Lamps with custom hand made stainless steel Shop

Whenever we are out shopping for our shop and we come across lamps marked Marbro, we know we have a real find.  The Marbro company was founded after WWII by two brothers named Markoff.  They had a three story building in Los Angeles CA where they sold antiques and porcelains and made custom lamps.   They manufactured high quality lamps from pieces, parts from all over the world.  They wholesaled only to interior designers, specialty stores and fine furniture stores.  Their original wholesale prices ranged from several hundreds up to two or three thousands dollars apiece for their lamps. These orders could take up to three months to be delivered.

Pair of Swedish Glass Lamps

 No wonder on the secondary market that their prices have sky rocketed on sites such as 1stdibs.  They had a discerning eye when it came to design.  The glass for their lamps was blown in Sweden and Italy, the porcelain from China and Japan as well as Italy, and their brass came from India.  They also made custom pieces from items that people would bring into their shop.  It was difficult for them to come up with matched pairs of particularly their hand thrown and blown pieces as the sizes varied somewhat on the individual pieces.

Marbro Italian Pottery Vase Lamp
Unfortunately for us there is no longer a Marbro Lamp Company, but if if you look in the right places you just might find a lamp or even a pair if you are really lucky.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Billie Haines Designer, Actor

Lamps by Billy Haines

William (Billie) Haines born January 2, 2012-December 26, 1973 was an actor in the early movies to the 1930's and later became an interior designer.

  He was born in Staunton VA. and ran away at age 14 with a boy friend to Hopewell VA an area at that time was known for it's immorality. ( This little bit of information amazed us as Hopewell is a small town that we pass through going other places, but it was a boom town over night in 1914 due to the establishment of the largest guncotton mill in the world at that time.)

Sconces by Billy Haines

He left his acting career, because he refused to deny that he was Gay. So much better for the world of design.  He and his life time pardner Jimmy Shields embarked on their new dual careers of both antique dealers and designers. They designed for all of Hollywood's Royalty. They were modern before modernism, and decorative at the same time.  They epitomized the old Hollywood Glamor. They have come back into style with Hollywood Regency, although Hollywood Regency never obtained the purity and classic style of their designs.  His designs are still produced today.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Garden Week and Photo Ops for the" Local Scoop"

For Information of 2012 Tour

Every now and then, we do something to rock the Northern Neck of Va.  Next week is the Garden Club of VA House tour.  All the ladies from the early married to those in their seventies and eights go all out visiting all the sites on tour throughout the state.  These ladies come in like a gaggle of geese. Dressed in their Sunday Best.  So we dress our windows for shock and awe.

We look more like a store in Manhattan rather than a traditional antique shop in Virginia.  It is always interesting to see the reaction that these ladies have to our shop.  Some will walk right by the show windows ignoring all the tantalizing pieces we have on display.  Others will come in and not be able to understand the design quality of the shop, and yet there will be those who will revel in the quality and uniqueness of our items.  We live for these people.  they make all our hard work worth while.

Recently we have done a complete overhaul of the interior of the shop.  Last week, Lewis had a photographer come in to do a photo op for an article the "Local Scoop" is doing on young  entrepreneurs.   We hustled trying to make the whole shop look really good.  So wouldn't you know, they only shot one area, and it was not one where we had staged.  Lewis was told what colors to wear and they took great pains to poise him. He did as he was told but I could imagine him groaning mentally.  The article will come out in their June issue.

Monday, April 2, 2012

So Why The Northern Neck ?

Our shop is located on the Northern Neck of Virginia, in the Town of Kilmarnock.  This is a popular area for people to have second homes and to retire.  My family originally from the Norfolk Va. area, have been visiting this area for generations.  The Tides Inn in Irvington Va. has been a vacation destination for many, many years.  My grandparents stayed there in the 1950's.  The Northern Neck is an area almost completely surrounded by water.  The Chesapeake Bay lies to the east and the Rappahanock River to the west.  In between are lots of smaller rivers and creeks that cut in land allowing for a tremendous amount of water front.  The seafood particularly the blue crabs, oysters, and fish are plentiful and fresh.  Every home on the water has crab pots out. These crabs are free for the taking.  People come for bird watching. They come for kayaking.  They come by car and they arrive by boat.

Families from both Richmond.,Williamsburg and Northern Va. come for their weekends.  It is said that as soon as they cross over the bridge to the Northern Neck that the pressure of the daily grind is lifted from their shoulders, and they breath a sigh of relief. 

So why do you ask do we have our shop in a small town on the Northern Neck of Va.?  Why not.  We first came as visitors ourselves as part time people.  Some how the Northern Neck got into our blood.  The style of living is a slower pace.  The rent on Main Street is highly affordable allowing us a much larger space than we could get anywhere else.  The customers come to us.  The internet and the website 1stdibs allows us to sell across the globe.  This is the benefit of the internet.


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