Louise Allen and Piers Newth of Oxfordshire-based Garden & Wood combine their passion for gardening and sustainability with a love of antiques. With the growing season in full swing, we caught up with them to dig around in their world
How did you get started in antiques and vintage?
We established our company, Garden & Wood, in January 2008 bringing together our love of gardening and antiques with a desire to encourage people to recycle rather than replace old with new.
What is their unique appeal?
We specialise in buying and restoring antique garden tools and small pieces of garden furniture that we sell alongside a range of garden ephemera, it is a celebration of vintage gardening in all its form.
What areas/items are currently in demand and why?
We sell a range of items from lovely old terracotta pots and garden coppers through to vintage garden hand tools such as trowels, shears and dibbers. People have become more aware of the quality that vintage garden tools offer.
What do you think will be in demand in the future?
People will definitely always want good garden tools, especially ones that they can use.
How can antiques and vintage items work well in traditional and contemporary settings?
As many of our items are still being used today they seem to work in both settings.
What items do you have at home/collect and why?
We are not really collectors of vintage garden items but we have a very good tool shed for our garden, all the tools we used are vintage.
Do you think any pieces being produced now will be the antiques/vintage of the future?
Only time will tell but sadly so many tools are now mass produced in China very cheaply and the quality is not what it used to be.
How is the antiques and vintage industry changing and are you optimistic for its future?
Our business brings together the antiques world and the gardening world, business is brisk and there is lots of interest so we are very optimistic.
How is new technology good for buyers/collectors?
Instagram completely transformed our business and continues to drive sales, it has opened up so many opportunities.
Tell us some trade secrets – what key things and question should buyers consider and ask?
When you buy old garden tools, buy the best you can and avoid wood worm and rust if you can.
What antiques/vintage pieces would you buy if money were no object?
Not sure we can think of anything that we do not have that we would like!
You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/vintage items would you buy?
Garden tools every time!
Where are your favourite hunting destinations and fairs – why those?
It is always a treat to head to the annual tool fair at Bievre, France on Labour Day.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?
Woodworm and rust, avoid if you can.
Is the antique and vintage marketplace attracting younger buyers?
Our business celebrates sustainability and that is very popular with younger buyers.
How can the industry attract more younger buyers?
What advice would you give to people new to antiques and vintage who want to find out more?
Concentrate on what you love and then every day feels like a good day rather than a chore.