Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Some changes look negative on the surface

but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
~Eckhart Tolle

An article in the NY Times this week gives some credence to what I have been saying about this antique world.  Even in the high end world, the interest in traditional antiques has the man says, "Ack!"
They are featuring a grasshopper weathervane in the article which has a price of $425 and says "negotiable"!  Not some priceless antique!
Interestingly, a grasshopper weathervane actually has a neat back story since an original is atop Faneuil Hall in Boston.  It was made in 1742 of gilded copper with glass eyes, and it was created by Shem Drowne.  Peter Faneuil had the building erected at his own expense for a central marketplace and a town hall.  He selected the grasshopper because it was the trade emblem for a merchant exchange.  It is a copy of the weathervane on the Royal Exchange in London which was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham whose family crest was a grasshopper because the name Gresham means "grass cricket".
But, when "the Hamptons" have scaled back antique shows due to lack of interest, you know buyers of all kinds have changed not just those whose budgets have forced them to seek bargains.  And, they want things that are unique.  Still, there is something to be said about the old being repurposed.  Old furniture is made from wood not glued sawdust, and glass is crafted with care.
So, this antique/vintage market brings a new perspective to retail.  Does the item have a purpose~not I need this so I have every one in the collection.  Will this piece of pottery hold water so I can put flowers in it?  Does this piece of furniture need to be painted--not everything needs white paint as even Rachel Ashwell discovered--or will it work well as it is?
Many people comment that our shop has so much "stuff", but, in the Pinterest world, stuff drives the market.  The younger consumer is used to seeing things flash by and has no problem with overload.
Antique/vintage stores have blended into the regular retail world.  The stuffy musty shops are slowly being replaced by shops with an Anthro or Pottery Barn vibe...and those big name stores have copied many of the antique shop concepts...check this photo from Pottery Barn...could be an antique shop...
Or, take this chair from old chair with an old frame...below is the description from their site...oh, and the price - $980!  Do you think they'll do better?  Nope!
"The brainchild of designer, artist and our friend Leslie Oschmann. An American ex-pat living in Amsterdam, Leslie is endlessly inspired by forgotten treasures found at local flea markets across Europe, never taking for granted what many pass by. Old furniture parts, canvas mailbags, discarded fabric scraps and oil paintings are all transformed into everyday works of functional art, like this frame chair."

Sure, there will still be the high end shops, but, if the shows in the Hamptons have lost their appeal, the local neighborhood antique shop that will "emerge" in the 21st century will be a different kind of shop...a shop that blends traditional with repurposed and not just shelves of dishes, glassware, etc etc etc.  Key in the mix will be the styling they see in the does it fit the dé it too "precious" for a home with it affordable?  Is the shop more than old stuff?  Does it have appeal even though they are used to shelves lined with stuff in box stores?  Bottom line...what can I do with it because the new generation is not into dusting a shelf sitter!  If it has purpose, if it has a "look",  it remains valuable to the new generation of buyers.  As Coco Chanel said, "Fashion changes, but style endures."

1 comment:

The Cinnamon Stick said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post Susan...we are finding more and more young people buying our unique items. We have never been a "fine" antique store..we have always been the "make-do" store - Tony has always had the knack of repurposing (love that new word) an old tool box into a shelf, towel rack or holder of utensils...long before the new world of "upcycling" !! I feel so 21st century in my 19th century store. :)