What Happens At An Auction

I was talking to a friend the other day about some of the great things you find at a general auction, as well as the trash that can sometimes sell for a lot of money! She said that she ad never been to an auction as she has no idea how to ‘do it’.  I figured that she couldn’t be the only one out there so I should maybe write a real simple guide to auctions.

First rule is ‘be fearless’. They are there to sell stuff to you, so it goes without saying (but I will) that they are going to be welcoming and friendly (generally). It also means show no fear to the dealers you will come across – if they sense your nervousness they will sometimes try to intimidate you out of bidding against them – believe me I’ve come across it!  They will try to stand in front of you, jump bids up and stare at you when you bid. Laugh at them. Especially if you are buying for yourself and not to sell on. Dealers  need to make a profit so they have a limit they will go up to and no further so private buyers have an advantage here.

How to succeed at an auction

Turn up in plenty of time, especially if you haven’t been to a viewing previous to the actual auction. Once you arrive find out how much the buyer’s premium is – generally 15 – 20%, which is added to the final winning bid. Register for a bidding number (some places will charge a refundable deposit for your number) and then have a good look around.

how to buy at auction

Don’t get carried away! This is probably the hardest rule to follow – did you see what I bought by accident? Make sure that whatever you want is in an acceptable condition, with all necessary parts, without wood worm or dry rot (if relevant). Then set your price and don’t go beyond it! Often you will think ‘just one more bid’ but this can turn into another few bids and, before you know it, you’re paying retail for it! And don’t forget to include that buyers premium I mentioned earlier!

How to profit at auction
This sold for over £150 but the buyer plans on reselling it for £300

Also I should point out that you need to transport your purchases within a day or two (or you will be charged a storage fee), so remember your space and don’t go buying that beautiful Welsh dresser if you only have a motorbike to get it home.

Buying furniture
We had no room to transport this beauty home or she’d have been mine!

Some auctioneer’s will talk a different language (or it sounds like it) so listen carefully or you could get caught out bidding more than you want to. And don’t be afraid to offer less than they are asking for – if bidding has slowed down and they are asking for the next bid to be £50 feel free to shout ‘£47?’, the worst they will do is say no!

If you have an internet connection on your phone then use time between your desired purchases to check out eBay, Gumtree etc for current selling prices.

Once you have finished buying take your number back to the office where they will calculate your bill to include the buyer’s premium, and tax due etc.

Sometimes you will have to wait until the end of the auctions to collect your items but often you can gather them up and take them home to gloat over!

old telephones in an auction

So, what did I buy? At this particular auction I picked up a couple of chairs for a future project, 2 lovely candelabra, a new rug for my living room and 3 porcelain Disney figurines to go into my eBay verses Etsy experiment (coming soonish).

I’d love to hear of your auction experiences, good and bad.

Happy bidding,

Nikki x

2015… What’s in Store?

Let today be the start of something new!

Well I keep hinting at exciting new changes going on with us, and promising to tell all ‘soon’, well it’s about time I put you out of your misery and let you know what we’re up to!

Let today be the start of something new!
Original background from www.frenchtoastgirl.com

Firstly I am enjoying writing this blog so much we are going to commit our URL (that’s web address to us non-techy peeps) to it instead of a traditional web site. I just have to get BT (British Telecom to my non UK readers) to give me access to my account so I can redirect. Don’t worry, I will write again once I have all the details and I really hope you will follow us over to our new home.

Our next big thing is a re-launch of the shop. It had started to lose its way and become more of a second-hand store than somewhere to find great furniture that had belonged to somebody once before. Mark and I have talked lots over the Christmas holidays and have decided that we want to concentrate more on the painted and refurbished, the fun and funky. We will have to keep a little of the other stuff because people are buying it, but there is going to be a lot more of my influence in there and a lot less Poole Pottery! That being said, the shop is still Mark’s territory while I stay firmly behind the scenes.

As part of this re-launch we have decided to start selling a few extra bits and bobs… mouldings for furniture, handles and knobs and (most exciting for me) our own range of chalk paints!!!

I’ve been experimenting with paints for a few months now and think I’m happy with my recipe. The paints go on well, sand back well, and keep well. I have a small range of colours and can afford to sell them at around £10 for half a litre (I’ve still to do the math to make sure we aren’t losing or being greedy).  I have been working on the packaging and decided to go for glass Kilner or Mason style jars for a couple of reasons. First off I like the way you can see how much paint you have left and exactly what colour it is at a glance, I like that the paint washes right off them giving you a useful container to reuse and, lastly, I like the way they look stacked up on my shelf!

I love the look of Kilner or Mason type jars
I love the look of Kilner or Mason type jars

I’ve given them their own name – The Little French Paint Company – as I will be selling them independently of Big Red Barn and thought that some of the other shops I’ll be approaching might not be comfortable advertising our shop, being the competition and all that! If you are wondering Mark’s surname is French and, if I ever get around to planning our wedding, one day mine will be too. I can also use it on other things I make as it’s so generic – The Little French Soap co, The little French Candle co… get it?

So you see it’s a very exciting time for us and I haven’t even mentioned that we hope to start running classes later on in the year or that we’re trialling some silver jewellery in one of our cabinets! Busy, busy, busy, but happy, happy, happy too 🙂

What are your big plans for 2015? Are you branching out or launching a new product? Perhaps you are planning a home makeover you’d like to share? I love getting your comments and will always reply to any questions.

Nikki x

Hello Reader!

This isn’t an entirely new blog. In fact, I’ve had the WordPress address for a couple of years now and written a few posts along the way. To be fair, it wasn’t a great blog. I thought time was my greatest enemy – I have a family, a part time job and a business I run with my partner, Mark. But that’s a pretty poor excuse… I still found time to do the things that I loved, updating and redesigning furniture, making beautiful craft items for our home and learning new techniques and tricks to improve and build our furniture business.

Shabby Chic Mirror

Then it dawned on me… I should be writing about these very things that I love doing! It also meant that I could ditch our old web site in favour of an ever changing, ever evolving blog! No more ‘updating’. No more trying to keep on top of product pages. No more fighting against a Google site that just didn’t want to do what we needed it to.

So here I am, taking the first step to making something new and exciting. I have so much I’m bursting to share with you. So many things I want to show you. And more than a couple of things I’d like your opinion on!

Join with me on this little adventure Reader. Come join in my experiments and learn new things with me. And do join in, please say hello., I really can’t wait to meet you!

Nikki x