Hence the embarrassingly long time since our last post.
A big part of what we have talked about for the past couple of years has been value. Seriously, beyond just about anything else, antiques offer solid value. For a very reasonable price, you can purchase a well-designed, well-made, American-made, sturdy, useful antique that will offer you years of beauty and use and still be worth something when you are ready to let it go. In America's current consumer environment, you just can't find that very easily. Ultimately, we firmly believe that it's this value and this quality that have the most potential to revitalize the antiques business.
To that end, you should read Ellen Ruppel Shell's Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture. Beyond being simply a diatribe against WalMart's treatment of its employees, it's an enlightening expose' of the dark side of America's bargain-priced consumer culture--from Woolworth's and the dawn of discount pricing to the sweatshops of 21st-century China. What's most revealing are the studies she discusses that point to an innate desire that we humans have for "a good deal," but that most of the purchases we make thinking they are good deals really aren't (but we all know that already, don't we?).
As those of us in the business look towards a new, and hopefully prosperous, year, let's focus some of our sales talk on quality and value. Let's face it, conspicuous consumption is so 1990s, and in today's economy, we NEED to be talking value and about getting the most for your money. This is the kind of attitude that will allow us to reach beyond our normal market (e.g. collectors) and connect with folks who just want stylish and affordable stuff to live with.