I am a first generation antique dealer, with a corporate background and an early affinity for antiques.
I started my career in antiques in 1991 at antique markets. Initially at Bermondsey and Kempton and then Portobello. First moving to Camden Passage, Islington in 1993 trading from a regular stall in the Georgian Village antique market on Wednesday and Saturday trading days.
Initially I sold a variety of antiques, primarily objects of vertu. I felt that it was important to specialise within the antiques business, and my stock gradually evolved towards silver plate. Specialising in antique silver plate by 1995, I first moved into a small shop in Camden Passage and then into my current larger premises in 2000.
My approach to business has not really changed, but the antique business itself and the methods of business has changed dramatically over the years.
My philosophy is that business is based upon trust, and for my clients they need to have the confidence that the item purchased gives them either the personal satisfaction for my private clients or commercial reward for my trade ones. I have always believed that my role with my trade/commercial clients is to make their business successful, to ensure that I have the right items for them with profit for them too. Our mutual success is key.
Repeat business with either my private or trade clients is critical to me and probably the key measure of success.
All of my items are picked by hand, and are individually selected. I am fortunate to have a large network of contacts across the UK who I have worked with for a number of years, allowing me to source items that fit within my box. This mutual trust at the sourcing side of my business is vital for me to have the right items available for my clients.
I have been established in my current shop for 20 years, and I have a number of customers that have followed me since my early market trading days to my current location.
The way that I interact with my clients is probably the biggest change, even for long established ones.
My shop is still open on the regular trading days of Wednesday & Saturday plus by appointment as it always was. In the past my clients old and new would visit my shop; select, pay and take away the selected items. This has evolved to the point that many of my clients will contact me remotely and ask for a selection of items. These I will then photograph and share, arrange payment and then package and ship. I am fortunate that I still regularly see my clients but there are no limitations in transacting when this is not possible.
My focus is on antique silver plate as it has been for a number of years. My client base is very international and my clients have very different tastes even within a type of object, for example style and size.
I believe that it is important to have a large variety of items, but I do not compromise on the quality of these. Each item being hand picked and restored if necessary to its former glory.
I have always had an affinity of Old Sheffield Plate and although it does not have the breadth of desirability it did, it is still an important part of what I buy and sell.