Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chasing the Next Buck

The last three days for me have been spent rummaging through tantalising piles of antiques, vintage goodies and general old tat! And to be blessed with such gorgeous weather in which to do just that, made it even more of a pleasure.

Having been a stall holder in the past at these events myself, I know what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. Not only does your stock not get ruined by winds, or rains, but customers are generally in a far better frame of mind for buying and are out to enjoy themselves.

Another presence that has a bearing on a fair, is the attendance of TV film crews!! I believe there is a love/hate relationship for the filming that goes on at the big antiques fairs, particularly by the stall holders...

As you walk around the fair, it isn't difficult to miss the presenter of the show, in this case Tim Wonnacott, or the 'experts' huddled in a group with their contestants, as they make another episode for 'Bargain Hunt'.
And as you walk around it isn't difficult either to hear the annoyance from some of the stall holders...

For some I think it is too much of a distraction. Crowds end up watching the goings-on, rather than looking at the wares for sale on the stalls. This also causes a few bottle-necks, when the flow of people can't get past the camera crews sandwiched amongst the stalls.

Also, the fact that the show encourages the contestants to barter for their goods can cause some bad feeling. In my view this programme is the wrong way around - I mean generally antiques and vintage goods are bought at auction, and then sold at fairs for a profit. Those who watch the programme will know that the teams have to buy at a fair and then sell at auction, with an aim to making as much profit as they can, which they then get to keep...

It's tough enough for stallholders to sell anything, without having their customers trying to squeeze every last penny of profit from an item.
Of course it's always nice to think you've bought a bargain, but in my view the 'best price' is the one that the stall holder offers when asked, and there it should stop.
It costs over a hundred pounds (some are over £200) to have a stand for a weekend, added to that, travelling costs and the outlay for stock, a dealer's mark-up can be tight.

I had to walk away from a few treasures over the weekend, due to cost, but can at least sleep well in the knowledge that I didn't push a dealer beyond what he was happy to accept for an item. I fully accept that some dealers will 'try it on', asking far more than what an item is actually worth, but in my view they will only sell the item if someone falls in love with a piece, and what price can be put on that? - Sometimes goods are worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for them.

Of course the flip-side is the effect that these TV shows have in a positive way, in that they encourage people to visit the fairs, rather than shopping on the high street. They also educate, creating people who are more informed about the treasures to be found, and also the fact that antiques are generally a wise buy, even when a little more than its considered value was paid. Antiques are usually a wise investment and will generally either hold their value, or increase, particularly when well cared for.
This was in no way meant as a rant, I just wanted to voice my views, knowing both sides as I do; the desire to find a bargain, as well as the need to make a profit, just to pay the bills.
And just look what can be found when 'the best-price' is asked for and accepted...
I have bags to unpack in our hall (above)...Always the best bit...coming home to sort through and admire the bounty again, and to decide what can be sold and what 'needs' to be kept! ;-))

Treasures hidden behind the lovely old screen which I was pleased to buy yesterday...
Here's a sneaky peek at some of the pretties on the little green painted French table...
The ones below were found at the car bootie this morning...
And my 'best buys' from the whole weekend below...
Hope you had a lovely weekend,
Niki x


  1. What a perfect day for a fair. You do always find the prettiest treasures. I am sorry to hear your book photos are being used improperly! That is so unfair!!!

  2. Surely you are right there, especially about your own book, Niki!

    I'd forgotten about those UK antiques programmes - I don't think they do the same sort of thing over here. I certainly take what you mean about bargaining. At an antique fair, I am reluctant to bargain. At a Vide Greniers, where I am much more in my element, I know a good price when I hear one, and I just leave the over-priced stuff behind. This did get me a 'half-original price' blanket last weekend, though, when I left it behind and found the stallholder running after me! At least I didn't feel I'd pushed her into it...

  3. It looks like a fabulous fair! I would have thought that I'd died & gone to heaven should I have been there.

    I've not heard of the show that you mentioned, but it does sound like weird concept. What would have been a better premise would be for the contestants to go to the same sources as the dealers & see how they do when they try to sell the stuff.

  4. here here Niki, I agree with all of that.

    Thanks for sharing, always love to see what you have found on your trips.

    best wishes Ginny x

  5. Thank you Niki for voicing such sensible views on the Antiques Trade & its rather tenuous "relationship" with Bargain Hunt! So glad you found some treasures at the fair. Lizzie xx

  6. Hi Niki

    I'm glad you found some more wonderful goodies on Saturday as well as the ones we found on Friday. Amazing to have two gloriously sunny days at Shepton, especially when it was the extra-large one with all those outside pitches.

    Such a shame that the ideas from your book have been copied. I've seen the blogpost you're referring to and whilst she accredited it to you and your book, no non-blogger is going to appreciate that when it comes to the selling of these items at her fair.

    I know that you and I are in agreement with regard to copying, and whilst we're both more than willing to encourage up-and-coming entrepreneurs, it does grate somewhat when there is no 'variation on a theme', but just a pure copy. Adapting someone else's idea by adding a piece of oneself into a creation, thereby altering beyond recognition is fine and we're happy with that. Blatantly reproducing at item isn't, if it's being made for monetary gain. There is a vast difference between copying something to enjoy in your own home, and mass-copying someone else's idea to make money. Years ago this was illegal, and in general people respected this. Those that didn't were sued.

    Sadly the attitude today is very different. People have said to me in the past that there is no such thing as an original thought. Not quite true to my mind. And let's face it, inventors DO come up with original thoughts and ideas - our world today would be very different without such people.

    I think I should stop now or my comment will be longer than your post!!!

    Sue xx

  7. Sounds like a perfect few days to me! I'm looking forward to seeing all your goodies at the V and H. What a shame your pics have been copied, I understand your annoyance completely.Hope the week is good to you.

  8. Hi Niki. How strange! I bought a green enamel Harper mincer at the boot sale today!! Lucyxx

  9. Hi :D

    Many beautiful findings you have there... :)

    Wish you a great week...!!!

    Hugs from Malin Virginia

  10. I enjoyed reading your post, although was sorry to read your ideas are being copied, that isn't right.

    I don't even like bargaining at car boots! I figure if someone is game enough to have one then they deserve what they are asking - of course if I think something is too expensive I won't buy it. Some people then come down in price, (without the need for me to offer lower) some don't. Value is what is worth to the person who wants it in my opinion.

    Looks like a fantastic fair thought, with lots of lovely goodies, good thing it isn't near me!

  11. agree with you about copying your ideas - to me it is really not on, and a matter of personal integrity. I don't know to whom you are referring, but regardless of that, I think it is a point of principle. Nor is it very creative! I hope that you are able to resolve such plagiarism of your ideas.

    Pomona x

  12. Here, bloody,here to everything you said Niki. As far as the copying is concerned as I have said to you before you are still the original and the best and as such will have many imitators sadly.

  13. What a pretty post.. I always know where to look when I want to see some serious eye candy.. You never let me down.. I always so the same thing, You have such pretty things.. I just adore your treasures and your posts..

  14. Niki, you have the best shopping always come home with the prettiest things...those boxes you found are breathtaking...i can never find any boxes covered with old wallpaper or fabric here...sorry to hear that someone was a little too "inspired" by your book...

  15. Totally hear you on this post Niki. I actually copped flack from a private buyer at an auction recently who complained the "dealers" were pushing prices up. I nicely pointed out to her that it is the private buyers doing just that, a dealer has to add a mark up to any item they purchase in order to sell it on. It was like a light bulb went on over her head!! Very interesting area to work in the antique trade!
    ps. sorry to hear your designs are being so blatantly copied, a real shame.

  16. Lovely post Niki (even reading between the lines and deleted bits!) I always pay asking price at anything as I figure if I want it enough, I'll pay it. Everyone has to make a living. Exception was India and the Philippines where bartering was expected but even then I couldn't bring myself to do it.

  17. Lovely goodies, the screen is gorgeous.

  18. I agree wholeheartedly Niki. It is these programmes who encourage people to offer ridiculous prices at car boots/antique fairs. I hate it when people say to me 'I'll give you.....' and one day I will reply 'Well actually you won't give me anything because I don't want to sell it to you!' A polite slight reduction may be asked for but some customers are just plain rude and expect you to drop a lot. They don't do this in Tesco so why do it at antiques fairs. I kick myself when recently at a car boot a stallholder was asking £20 for a beautiful leather hatbox and a customer beat him down to £18. It was worth a lot more and I wanted to chip in 'I'll give you the full asking price!'

  19. Hi Niki
    So glad you had the opportunity to enjoy the Shepton Market as a buyer this time! You've found some glorious things too. We didn't go this time and I didn't feel I missed it as we were happily enjoying the sunshine in the garden. Sad to hear about the copying for profit... as Donna says, you are the original and unique, so please keep smiling!
    Crikey, look at all those dozens of people who constantly copy Cath Kidston/etc! But no matter what, imagination and true creativity will always shine through in your work.
    Have a good week
    D x

  20. All of your pictures are so lovely as is your new "loot!!" I so wish we had car boot sales here in the states. They look like they would be loads of fun!! :)

    ~ Wendy


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx