1 How did you get your start?
I really started twice. The first time was in 1977, at university in Bradford, buying large Chinese ceramics in and around the city and selling them in Brighton.
If only I knew then what would happen to this market. I’d love to get my hands on almost any of the large pieces I sold back then.
The second time was in 1988, with a passion for Art Deco and a collection which filled the house.
2 What got you hooked on the trade?
My first fair. I spent years buying and then weeks carefully cleaning, pricing and packing our stock. I bought stands and a table cover, then packed the car, not really knowing what to expect. It was mad – the trade devoured 75% of our stock in the first hour and we were off and running.
3 What do buyers look for when buying furniture these days?
It tends to be the ‘usefulness’ of a piece of furniture above all else. It must do what it is supposed to do perfectly, regardless of its age.
Country furniture still has a solid following as it’s not too precious and works well in today’s homes.
4 How has the market changed?
Hugely, of course. The depth of passion is still there, but the breadth – the number of customers – has been significantly reduced.
The rise in interest in mid-century modern and Arts & Crafts is great to see although the decline in 19th century furniture is not so good. Antiques now follow fashion.
5 What is your advice to new collectors?
There is no substitute for research. If you are looking into an area which you love, it’s great fun and can be rewarding.
If you would like to be featured in 5 Questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org