Decorative antiques shop Nothing New Stafford opened in 2017 and is run by Tom and Sam. The business consists of a shop in Stafford, Staffordshire and their website nothingnewstafford.co.uk. The pair also trades through various online platforms, including their own Instagram account and The Hoarde. Tom and Sam says they have a passion for originality, texture and colour. “We like antiques to be able to share their secrets from their past lives with us. Our taste is eclectic, so our stock spans many styles and time periods.” What is the unique appeal of antiques?
The unique appeal of antiques for us, is the life that they have had and the history that they hold. Antique items have a soul, they have a personality of their own as they have had a life. They sometimes come with battle scars, old repairs, but it is all part of their charm. Antiques give you a feeling, and that’s important.
What areas/items are currently selling well?
For us, seating is always popular, especially the country house look, deep-seated armchairs, turned bobbin chairs and unique carpet sofas and chairs (which are personal favourites of ours).
Which are the ones to watch/future sellers?
Good quality Victorian & Edwardian furniture seems to be on the up, especially smaller pieces of useful furniture. Pieces with original paint, time worn pieces always seem to hold a particular interest to buyers. We can’t see this changing, as they have timeless appeal.
What antiques do you have at home/or collect and why?Our home is full of an eclectic array of antiques, but we are especially keen on decorative religious items and aesthetic movement pieces. We have a natural inclination to hoard, so we accidently collect rather a lot.
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
I really couldn’t tell you, I think I’m firmly stuck in the past! It’s a difficult question, but quality never really goes out of fashion.If something is well made and of quality there will always be a market for it.
How is the industry changing and are you optimistic for its future?
The industry is changing, with more businesses shifting towards online platforms and social media, but we don’t think it’s a bad thing,
it’s a good way of broadening your market and customer base. We think selling online and the traditional shop/fair set up can co-exist, we don’t feel like either takes away from the other. With change comes opportunity, and we believe there is a lot to be optimistic about.
Is new technology good for the trade and buyers/collectors?
In short, yes. In many ways it simplifies things for buyers and sellers, and opens up businesses to many more customers than ever before. We should embrace new technology and adapt to the new ways of trading.
Tell us some trade secrets – what key questions should buyers ask?
Gain as much information about a piece as you can, dealers are always happy to tell you as much of the story of an item as they know. Don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t be afraid to haggle (but not too hard).
What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?
If money were no object, I imagine we would continue to buy what we love… Just much, much more of it!
You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?
We would buy something that we have never had before, so we can learn about it – as knowledge is priceless.
Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations and why?
Malvern Flea, as it always has a huge and wide range of dealers and private sellers so you never know what you may find there, plus it’s just a nice day out. Another one of our favourites is AS Fairs Cheshire, as there is always a great variety of interesting items on offer.Essentially, you can’t beat a good antiques fair.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
One of the biggest mistakes that buyers can make is not measuring first, as simple as it seems, don’t assume something will fit, check it definitely will.
What do you consider the high point of your career in antiques so far?
So far, our high point has been filming with Salvage Hunters at our shop (super excited to see this on the telly), but we do hope there are still many more high points to come.
Are antiques attracting younger buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach them?
Definitely. Younger people in general are more conscious about waste and sustainability, but also are savvy and care about buying unique items for their homes.
What advice would you give to people new to antiques who want to learn more?
Our advice would be, buy the things that you love, things that you would have in your own home. Focus your learning on those things, it’s easier to learn about the things you love and are passionate about.