ARSE Antiques describes themselves as the ‘new kid on the block in the world of antiques’. They offer quirky and unusual antique and vintage items. Run by Amy (Rose) and Suzie (Elizabeth), the pair says their antiques “start conversations” and are loved by interior designers and stylists looking to add interest and fun to their room and garden schemes.
The company name is an acronym of the owners’ initials; good friends who aren’t afraid to shake things up a bit and showcase the lighter side of antiques dealing. Their manner is as fun and engaging as their product range which can be found online at www.arseantiques.co.uk, on Instagram and at their antiques shop in Chobham, Surrey.
What is the unique appeal of antiques?
Antiques make room schemes more interesting. Fact. They add depth and interest to the interior design, and customise living spaces. And the more unique the antique, the more uniquely appealing it is!
What areas/items are currently selling well?
Anything related to alcohol! And that’s not just because we are currently in lockdown. Mid-century cocktail trolleys, vintage Murano champagne flutes, Art Deco cocktail shakers… are all most definitely our biggest sellers.
Which are the ones to watch/future sellers?
The future is definitely in collaborations. Antique dealers pairing up with interior designers have the edge as they are able to showcase their items within beautiful interior settings. Mixing old and new furniture is such a good look but it sometimes needs some careful guidance to get the balance right. Too much old furniture and the scheme looks dated; but an eclectic mix of vintage chairs around a new marble table is a very interesting juxtaposition.
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
Absolutely no idea. That’s crystal ball stuff and the not knowing makes it more exciting. We always encourage people to buy what they love. If it’s always cherished by them, then that’s the biggest return on investment you can ask for.
How is the industry changing and are you optimistic for its future?
We are totally optimistic for the future of antiques; in our minds, it’s never been a better time. We are in a green revolution and there is nothing more sustainable than recycling our possessions in favour of buying new. Lockdown and new social distancing measures will bring its own challenges. But for antique traders, there is no hiding from online stores – we all have to be prepared to embrace new technology, be it an eBay shop, our own web stores, or becoming approved sellers on a large online marketplace like Vinterior or 1stdibs.
Is new technology good for the trade, and buyers/collectors?
As with all things, there are some good and less good aspects to trading antiques online. You can’t handle the goods which can diminish the buying experience to a degree but as long as the seller provides thorough details and lots of photos, it can be rewarding. As a dealer, the benefits of being able to reach a world wide audience thanks to the internet cannot be underestimated. We are big fans of Instagram and we post daily @arseantiques. It’s a fabulous tool for connecting with customers and helps us build relationships with other antique dealers, interior designers and stylists. Our Instagram posts showcase our products range, varied with lifestyle images that we like to share with our followers.
Tell us some trade secrets – what key questions should buyers ask?
Well, we can’t speak for others, but we are certainly more likely to give a buyer a better price if they ask questions that start with “hello”, or “excuse me” and end with a “please” or “thank you”. There are no trade secrets – buying is about connecting with other people and that interaction is always more favourable when good manners are involved.
What antiques/art work would you buy if money were no object?
Fabergé eggs and the Mona Lisa. (And then we’d flip them on for a bit of a profit; we are antique dealers after all!)
You’re down to your last 50 quid. What antiques/art would you buy?
Truthfully, I think if we had got to that point, we’d probably just buy ourselves a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and toast our exit from the world of antiques. Either that, or we’d chuck it all on the gee-gees and use the big win stocking up at french brocantes.
What are you favourite antique hunting destinations and why?
Nothing gets the heart beating faster than an invitation to a private house sale or clearance. It’s here that you find pieces that haven’t yet been on the “sales loop” and are fresh to the marketplace. We have made some wonderful friends and contacts over the past few years who know that we offer fair prices to sellers and this has gained us access to some incredible places where we have been offered the chance to cherry pick antiques before they open up to the wider public.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that dealers make?
If you are led by your heart, it’s hard to make too many mistakes, because if you love an item, you can sell it on passionately. It might take longer to find that like-minded person but it’s worth the hunt because there’s nothing more satisfying than selling to someone who really loves what they are buying.
What do you consider the high point of your career in antiques?
This interview of course! 😉
We live for the moment and every day brings excitement and challenges simply because you don’t know what you might find out there. We love interacting with customers and people in the antiques world who share our passion.
Are antiques attracting younger buyers, and if not, how can the industry reach out to them?
From our perspective, yes!
We’re not fans of very fine antiques like huge mahogany dining tables that have been buffed within an inch of their lives, nor the finest China that can’t be released from the dust-free safety of its display cabinet. We love antiques that can be used comfortably in every day settings. Younger buyers looking to style up their home with on-trend eclectic pieces love our stock. We also sell competitively so we can be even more appealing than mass-produced furniture stores. Having a somewhat racey name (which is an acronym of our initials) also helps attract a younger audience who are often intrigued.
What advice would you give to people who are new to antiques who want to learn more?
Just go for it! Buy something you love and shout about it until you find someone who also loves it and then buys it from you. Never buy anything you wouldn’t put in your own home, and that way, even if you do make a commercial “mistake” you can keep and enjoy it yourself.