BPM HOME is a small, family business run by Marcus and Chloe Hodges, situated just outside of Chelmsford in Essex. Spread out on a farm, they specialise in vintage farmhouse furniture along with pine tables and chest of drawers. They have specialists in restoring the furniture, and believe every scratch, dent and chip should be saved and become part of its history.
What is the unique appeal of antiques?
After moving into our previous house that was built during the early 18th century, we realised that modern furniture did not suit the house’s interior. Instead, we invested in older pieces of furniture, which then quickly became a side business. Surprisingly, as our love of old furniture grew, so did the business and within a year it had to be relocated due to its growth.
What areas/items are currently selling well?
It depends, storage always sells as everyone needs storage! But it all depends on where your client base is. We are fortunate enough to work with some amazing and talented interior designers that travel across the UK who specialise in old farmhouses and cottages.
Which are the ones to watch/future sellers?
Personally, we believe the motto: community over competition. Every small business needs help now more than ever, so they are always finding ways in collaborating with other small businesses.
What antiques do you have at home/collect and why?
Lots of chairs! Marcus is a huge chair collector, one room even has almost 12 chairs! There’s no reason other than he believes that if you come across a good comfy chair – buy it!
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?
It’s hard to tell at the moment, as everything is changing in such a short period of time. The way we buy antiques is changing so it’s difficult to know what will be the antiques of the future!
How is the industry changing and are you optimistic for its future?
Everything is changing to online, which suits consumer convenience. Since COVID, a lot of businesses are changing the way they sell items. Personally, we have always been an online business as it works well for us as a family.
Is new technology good for the trade and buyers/collectors?
Yes! If you keep up with it! Technology is always changing, and that’s a good thing. But it takes a lot of work and many headaches to keep on top of it!
Tell us some trade secrets – what key questions should buyers ask?
What restoration has been done?!
We get a lot of buyers come into our showroom and tell us how much they love certain items – however little do they know some items can take days, even weeks to get to that point! Find out what work has been done, how did it get there and if there are any stories behind the items! Some pieces have come from places you wouldn’t believe!
What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?
If money were no object, it would have to be large, pre-1840, original, painted country house cupboards
You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?
Personally, it would have to be small pieces of artwork. School paintings are generally affordable and have the potential to make a profit.
Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations and why?
Our favourite hunting destinations are the villages of Eastern France.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
This may sound a bit left-field but it would be the buyers attitude towards the seller. Sometimes, they forget the work involved in restoration and that we all are trying to make a living to provide for our families!
What do you consider the high point of your career in antiques?
Signing the contract for our showroom! It’s always been a dream of ours to have our own showroom, and as soon as we got our hands on the keys – it was a huge moment in the business where we both realised we had done it. Yes, it still needs a lot of work, but it’s getting there!
Are antiques attracting younger buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach out to them?
Yes, I think they are attracting younger buyers. Recycling and reusing are incredibly important to the younger generation at the moment – which is a good thing and something we try and promote as much as possible.
What advice would you give to people new to antiques who want to learn more?
Do your research! The amount of times at the start we had people say to us that certain items were from a certain place, later finding out that they had 10 or more of the same item – and they were not antiques but reproductions – we lost £1,000s when we started out. If something sounds too good to be true – it normally is!