Today we are talking to Sophie Wood – the fair director of the Chelsea Antiques Fair & Fine Arts taking place March 23-27, 2022. And let’s talk location location location because Chelsea is held in the Old Town Hall in London on Kings Roach in an iconic building. When 2 Covet – an online aggregator site for fine art, jewelry, collectibles, and antiques – bought the Chelsea Fair, they married technology with experience giving their vendors at the fair a multi-prong approach to selling antiques in the 21st century. As a fair director Sophie Wood, understands that it’s all about the experience – not just the for the customer but the vendors.
Toma and Sophie discuss how Sophie’s international background gives her an edge in dealing with a diverse client base as well as how at its core antiques is a people business. As Toma always says, people do business with people not businesses. If you want to get ahead in antiques, it’s about networking and ever judging a book by its cover! Sophie confesses she started an online floral business during the first lockdown and she talks about that entrepreneurial spirit. Toma adds that a florist plus antiques dealer is a genius idea and shares other ideas such as a clients antique shop slash wine store. Sophie agrees that you’re not just selling antiques, you’re selling a lifestyle and that includes passions and hobbies as well as art, antiques, and collectibles.
The Chelsea Antiques Fair & Fine Arts has some of the best dealers in the world selling at the fair, and Toma tells that if you can’t travel to London you can still shop the fair. Book a Virtual Shopping tour with Antiques Diva Vice President Gail McLeod to do customized trade sourcing at the fair. Sophie explains why a personal shopper can be an added advantage. And she goes on to give tips to dealers who sell at fairs – explaining how booth installation makes a difference. She encourages vendors to edit edit edit and remember less is more – as well as keep restyling and rearranging the booth. Toma emphasizes the importance of holding inventory back for the fair so buyers at the fair get never before seen inventory.
Toma then explains that The Antiques Diva has grown up. The two discuss how the Chelsea Fair elevated the market positions of the Fair and the Antiques Diva & Co through good marketing and branding. The The Antiques Diva & Co now offers a full range of marketing and social media services from helping to build newsletter templates to assisting with Instagram or building new websites for antique dealers – in addition to their in person and virtual antique sourcing tours.
Elevating your brand is essential for antiques dealers to garner new business and catch the attention of sophisticated client bases. It’s not just about what you sell but how you sell it. Sophie closes the podcast by telling potential fair directors important advice on if they want to start their own antiques fair.
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