Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's all about quality...

As you'll read in our next column, we like antiques because of their quality. Today's economy is all about low prices, but if you think about it, you'll quickly realize that low prices are not really a good thing. Don't believe us? Check out THIS.


james conrad said...

yeah, agrees. A few months ago, i bought a new micro-wave for $60,it didnt last 6 months. So this time i didnt make that same mistake again.

Anonymous said...

The false security of 'cheap pricing' which we have embraced over the last decade has done much to undermine the mid-range retail antiques trade. It has been hard for dealers to compete with this concept, as younger consumers struggle with increased living expenses, student loan debt, etc. This is most likely the main reason for the difficulty in attracting young collectors.

Add to this the embrace of more modern forms in home decorating, and it left the traditional mid-range dealer in a hard place. With the current brown furniture market stagnation (at least on the retail end), perhaps it is a good time to be a bit more flexible in terms of pricing on the retail level to win over younger consumers. Painful to do, but definitely a key component to developing young collectors.

It is also a good idea for dealers to begin to think about promoting the style, green-ness and quality of antiques, as opposed to historical significance/rarity factor, which seems to have lost relevance to modern ears.

It seems to be very much about a need for "rebranding", and dealers learning to market themselves, as well as antiques, in a way which is more interesting to younger and progressive audiences.

james conrad said...

Good post by anonymous, i agree.

There is another problem though besides price, VIEWS. If folks dont view your stuff with their eyes, there is zero chance of a sale. In the internet world, it's ALL about views. Ditto for brick n mortar stores, views RULE.

Back to that micro-wave, i was in one of those MEGA hardware stores to buy screens for my house gutters and as i rolled by that micro display i remember thinking
"60 bucks for a micro? how can i go wrong". I ended up giving away my higher quality, works just fine micro for a "how can i go wrong" micro.

It's all about views you see.

Ed said...

Your 'relevance' article confronted a lot of the adjustments we see taking place in the market for antiques.

While the cost of living is ever rising, young collectors have a myriad of great resources to educate themselves about quality and styles - and to source objects from private collections through sites like Cragslist. Anyone willing to invest time can discover the relevance of the secondary market - and probably learn a lot about true value in the process. The downside is that internet resources fail to convey emotions - the social context, historical relevance or stage presence of pieces. This new wave of background research leaves many antiques to stand out on their individual merits alone - design, materials, build quality, condition, function for modern homes and of course price.

Servicing today's young collectors leaves the mid-range antique agent in a new place. Not only do these customers compare dealer/auction stock to EVERYTHING that is or has recently been available, they rarely appreciate the difficulty of stocking an inventory of nice pieces in good condition at mid-range prices. So the new challenge is offering pieces that appeal to today's values - and those pieces will eventually find good homes regardless of traditional or modern labels placed on them. Young collectors saying "I don't care about the antique value" are just saying their metrics for evaluating pieces are different.