Are Multi-Dealer Antique & Jewelry Shows Obsolete?

In 1 on October 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

To help art and antique dealers make money, I need to see first hand what’s going on in the industry.  So I spent the past few days on the road visiting high level multi-dealer antique and art shows.  From D.C. to New York,  one thing was clear: if antique shows, art shows and jewelry shows are to remain viable,  show promoters must change the way they promote.

At one show, where promoters had touted dealers on pre-show publicity in the $250,000 range, the number of actual attendees at the show on the afternoon I was there could be counted on fingers and toes.

Seasoned Collector.

Seasoned Collector-could be downsizing as easily as buying.

What’s more, they looked like seasoned browsers with little desire to make a new purchase unless it was a bargain.

Antique shows and art and jewelry shows come at too high a buy-in for dealers to have to deal with  show producers who are living in the dark ages of advertising, circa 1998 or even 2002.

For multi-dealer shows to be of any use to any one in the new economy, two things have to happen.

  1. Show promoters have got to reach new buyers.
  2. Show promoters have got to reach new buyers AND engage them.

Engaging an audience of new buyers means giving them something to talk about. It means giving them enough tantalizing information to stoke their imaginations. And, it means giving them opportunity to speak out in a community where they will be heard.

Look at it this way.  The folks in the picture are typical of new buyers.  They don’t have a lot history prior to 1982. They think antiques are something their parents owned. And they don’t necessarily understand why people buy expensive art.

New Collectors

New Collectors need to understand why antiques and art are hip, hot, fashionable.

New buyers will spend money, a lot of money, on your product as long as they are engaged in a conversation that gives them good reasons to purchase.

They will not, however, go on to build collections the way their parents did. They will not necessarily be “brand” loyal but they will be brand ambassadors.

Engaging new buyers means re-packaging your advertising. Talk to new collectors in terms they understand- through articles and photographs that reflect the way the live now.

Look at all the retail categories that have made the switch to a two-way conversation in order to remain objects of desire…

* Fashion  * Home Decor * Alcohol * Auto

* Package Goods * Publishers * Travel & Leisure *

When will Show Promoters join the party?   The time is now. To wait any longer is to render the entire antiques and arts industry moot.


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