Tash Francis of The Urban Vintage Affair has been passionate about antiques since childhood, and launched her antiques and lifestyle brand and website www.TheUrbanVintage Affair.com last year. Her website offers a collection of antique and vintage pieces, alongside traditionally crafted products, all chosen for twenty-first century living. Tash says she is a believer in quality craftsmanship and working towards a more sustainable way of living. Her current motto is: #LookAtAntiquesDifferentlyWhat areas/items are currently selling well? We are currently selling many interesting old glass bottles, and small antique silver plate vessels are doing well. Items that are functional and appealing to the eye will always be a winner.What do you think are the current ‘good investment’ items – ones to watch? I would suggest anything unusual, especially if it’s something you have never seen before, and if it also has a makers mark then it can be researched. The history and the value is likely to be the story behind the item. I find that for something unusual and unique there will always be an interested person wanting to own it, regardless of price. This is looking at it as an instant investment or quick turn around. For long term, I say buy what you ‘like’ as it’s you that will live with it.What antiques do you have at home?I have so many, but my main collection is leather suitcases, which I use for storage, they are my wardrobe and shelves. They are timeless and will always be a trendy item in the home, especially when stacked up. I also have a lot of antique cutlery. My antique cutlery is kept it the kitchen drawer, not in special pouches, they are used and sit alongside some of my modern, handmade ones.What do you think will be the antiques of the future?I’m supporting independent designers today that hand-make furniture and homewares using traditional methods for our website’s ‘The Sommeliers Urban Bits’ category. I’m currently working with several independent designers in producing some quality handmade, slow made products. These I believe are the antiques of the future.How is the industry changing and what will it look like in the future? Unless more young people inherit a love for antiques I feel that the majority will stay in stately homes or end up in museums. I’m referring to the big pieces, as modern homes have no room for antique dressers and commodes. We no longer have servants to polish the silver or clean the unnecessary ornaments. So any unusable antiques that take up our time and space will be less present in residential homes. I imagine less bricks-and-mortar retailers and more online presence for the future, so the useful and sellable antique items get smaller and easier to dispatch to the customer.Tell us some trade secrets – what are your top tips for buying antiques?I’ll give you two:
- Make sure your smart phone is charged so you can research on the go, especially if you’re in a ‘buy now’ situation.
- When shopping at fairs and markets, look towards the back, at the closed boxes and cases in the corner or underneath pieces as you never know what you might find in them.