Zoe Rigby and Tom Feeney of Agapanthus Interiors run a beautiful antiques, resoration and interiors shop in Stockport’s historic Old Town, stocked with a changing range of antiques and contemporary items, from antique furniture, to chandeliers, homewares and pieces for the garden. Their philosophy? ‘To look for unique, eclectic, lovely old pieces and sell them just as they are, or renovate with some creative reinventing.’ We caught up with them for a quick chat about business.
What is the unique appeal of antiques?
Owning a piece of history that can’t be reproduced in the mass market and being proud of continuing its journey.
What areas/items are currently selling well?
Antiques from different periods come in and out of fashion. Antique shades made into pendants are selling well. Chests of drawers. Painted furniture. Chandeliers that are stylish yet not too fussy.
Which are the ones to watch/future sellers?
Furniture to be used in the kitchen like big glazed dressers and kitchen islands. Classic chandeliers, such as Bohemian crystal, that fit well in modern and period houses.
What antiques do you have at home/collect and why?
Beautiful antique lighting, as it’s our speciality. Colourful antique wine glasses, they look pretty and get well used. Antique rugs, can always find a spot for a new rug.
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
We are already seeing a rise in early computing items, particularly in gaming.
How is the industry changing and are you optimistic for its future?
We are always optimistic! The internet has everything from auctions and the accessibility of stock, to how we sell. Anyone can become a dealer now by selling through eBay or even Instagram.
Is new technology good for the trade and buyers/collectors?
We embrace new technology. It’s great for selling but it also opens up the market for everyone which makes buying harder.
Tell us some trade secrets – what key questions should buyers ask?
Always ask for the history of an item. If you can give the items history to the potential buyer it will help you price it right and sell it easier. Focus on one aspect and learn as much as you can. We buy literature on lighting.
What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?
In terms of antique lighting I’d buy a WAS Benson snooker light, plus a snooker table, plus a room to fit it all in!
You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?
I’d buy the best chandelier I could, restore it, sell it and buy two more. That’s the game.
Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations and why?
Belgian and French markets. You can do four in a day and buy a decent Merguez sausage along the way.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
Buying anything just because the price is good. Buy what you love not just for profit. You then end up with a shop full of items of your taste.
What do you consider the high point of your career in antiques?
Restoring the lights and winding mechanisms at the Whitworth art gallery was fantastic. Supplying and fitting many of the lights in Kate Moss’s house was a great job.
Are antiques attracting younger buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach out to them?
It’s harder for young people to get on the housing ladder, which, in turn, affects what they buy. Many young people would prefer to spend their money on events than objects. That’s fine by us and we are happy to wait till they hopefully have a home for filling with big items.
What advice would you give to people new to antiques who want to learn more?
Go to fairs and antique shops and chat with the sellers. Many have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to explain what they do.