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

Are you a follower of fashion?

Furniture fashion I mean, or interiors. Do you read all the glossy magazines and plan your home, or projects, according to what’s hot?

Pantone color of 2015
Do the industry ‘experts’ influence you?

I have to admit I don’t. Sometimes I will pick up a magazine when I’m shopping but usually a quick flick through, while I wait for Mark to choose a book, is enough for me. I very rarely buy one… I’d rather buy a little piece of cuteness in a charity shop or a new colour of wax.

So how do you choose? Is it the amount of work it will need to make it beautiful, or a charming little detail that catches your eye. Perhaps you are buying for yourself and need it to match your home?

interior magazines
Do magazines guide your tastes?

I’m an impulse buyer. Mark often says I like a thing more the cheaper it is but that’s not strictly  true. It is true that if a piece is going for a song I’m less afraid of taking a gambol on it but if I see something that I love, and can see it’s potential, then I will sometimes break the bank to have it.

So what makes you buy, I’d love to know? Is it budget or design? Is it saleability or potential?

‘Til next time,

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

Post Christmas Blues and How I Aim To Beat Them

2015 Bring it on

I’m one of the many, many people who hits a bit of a low after Christmas. I don’t know why, but I start to look back on my achievements and am always disappointed with the story so far! I’ve felt the start of it so far, my house isn’t how I want it, my business isn’t doing as good as it could, I don’t spend enough quality time with my kids and I don’t stay in touch with family anything like enough!

Instead of getting down in the dumps (what a cute way of saying depression and sticking a mental health sticker to my life) I have come up with a loose plan. It’s not a list of ‘new year resolutions for 2015’ but more of a system to make life easier and measurable. Every single day I am going to do…

One thing to improve my home – this could be clearing out a cupboard, making a new cushion or repainting a wall but it has to be one thing over and above the normal housework jobs that we all need to do.

One thing to improve my business – this could be anything at all from writing a blog post, researching new ideas, posting stuff of etsy or just telling someone in the street about my business.

One thing for my family – by this I don’t mean cook dinner and do washing, I mean play a board game, help with a hobby, go for a walk, make that phone call, send that email or make the trip to visit.

One thing for me – this is the one I will probably struggle to fit in! Things for me could be reading my book for half an hour, a long soak in the bath, a walk on my own in the woods or even a nice glass of wine with dinner.

2015 Bring it on

One thing a day, should be easy, right?