Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Vintage & Antique Business in Our Changing Times

An recent share from +Sharon Meredith to our Vintage & Antiques Community on G+ (the article was on how retail spending is down) got me going on a topic that's been shuffling around my brain for awhile now.
Is there a shift in the Vintage & Antiques business?

I think typically retail sales are always down prior to an election and with this election being somewhat volatile and more polarizing, people are even more fearful of spending.
The bright side, more people are buying online and less in retail outlets. 
Here's where the shift comes in...I do think that brick & mortar antique/vintage shops are on the rise again and this will in turn hurt the online seller. Since the online vintage/antiques business initially hurt the brick & mortar businesses, it could be said that turn around is fair play.  

Lambertville, NJ with photo credit to Hunterdon Happening

The popularity of vintage & antiques has made the actual shopping part of it, more of a social event that appeals to a larger audience than before the "craze" began. There were always those of us who went "antiquing" but now, with the popularity of all that is vintage and antique, the age range and diversity of those who visit small antique towns and flea markets, has grown...that in turn, will slow the online businesses down. Combine that with the flood new vintage/antique online dealers over the past 6 years or so and you get my point.

Could the wheel spin the other way again, maybe... but what can you do to improve your business during these shifts? My suggestion is to stay in trend with the trends and always keep a percentage of your shop geared to the trending items (can I use the word trend one more time?:)) 

Stay on top of social media changes and who is using what to shop.

Interesting, quality pieces at reasonable prices, always sell.

Keep your shop fresh.

Take bright, clean, detailed photos from many angles. ...and as always, exceptional customer service and communication always keep the customers coming back despite the economic and/or societal circumstances.

Thanks so much for reading!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Complicated Vintage - Reproductions, Fakes and Re-Issues

This vintage life is becoming more complicated.  There are days when I feel like I'm researching fakes and reproductions more than I am legitimate pieces.  Keeping on top of what's newly faked or reproduced and documenting it, is almost a full time job!
Let's all remember that Antiques are 100 years old or older and Vintage is 20 years to 99 years (technically:)).

Reproductions are items that have been made to look like another item, with a certain degree of quality.   Many times it can be difficult to tell the two apart.  This has been going on since the beginning of time.  It is important to know the small details that differentiate the originals from the reproductions.  This could be anything from how a piece is put together to colors that weren't used in the originals or the size of an item.  You hope for some kind of signature, hallmark or backstamp, but that can also be faked.  
The older manufacturers of "reproductions" did not try to mimic a hallmark, they would just leave the piece unsigned.  Newer manufacturers are the "Fakes" and they will stop at nothing to trick you into thinking that their poor quality imitation is actually the real deal.

A Re-Issue is when an original mold is used by the original company, to make a new version of their old piece.  These are almost identical and can be identical but dating them is still crucial to the future value and the value of their original counterparts.

We try to stay on top of these continuing changes in our Vintage & Antiques Community on G+ and with frequent visits to Ruby Lane's RealorRepro .  I'm thinking that a series of blog posts might also help in keeping things current and easier to find.  Each post will feature one item or group of items from a manufacturer that is being reproduced, faked or re-issued.

Today we'll start with something easy for most of us, yet still shocking to me when I was recently given one as a gift.
Notice the intentional crazing done to make the vase look older, as well the chips/wear to the paint.
This vase is available at Hobby Lobby.  Some will say, one look tells you that it's a fake but remember that these items can pass through many hands, ending up at your favorite flea market or estate sale and being sold as "vintage".  To see it on the shelf in Hobby Lobby, is one thing but to see it when you're out and about hunting, maybe with a little dirt on it and a good story about how it belonged someone's grandmother's, to go with it...well let's just say it makes things complicated for some of our newer sellers.  Suddenly, it's being sold as vintage, another seller sees the listing, having picked up the same thing and lists it as vintage (without doing the research)....and on it goes.

Look for my next post on the flooding of Fakes in today's market.

Thanks so much for reading!