Archive for the ‘Young Collectors’ Category

New Campaigns to Change Antiques Weeks

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, Twitter, Young Collectors on September 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm


I’m pleased to announce that we’re partnering with Eric Miller of Urban Art & Antiques to increase audiences for named antiques week shows across the country. The initiative is based on content, distribution and gratification.

We begin with New York’s  Americana, which comes up in January and kicks off a year’s worth of shows and commercial exhibitions. From Americana, we are branding the other weeks that so far have been comprised of multiple campaigns, each geared toward one established audience.

By trending towards a larger picture of the weeks and providing the first overview of them, ever, we will be serving the trade no one has attempted before.

We’ll be reaching out through informative content, much of it provided by the dealers and experts who join the campaign.

The website is destination oriented, even offering tips on places to stay.

We’ll be reaching out via social media, with targeted messages.

And, come Americana Week itself, a mobile app will let people on the go know where to go. Travel Tips

You’ll find more about Americana Week at Americana

The second round of the program is already in place as we begin to negotiate Nashville Antiques Week and you’ll find that information at Nashville Antiques

Be sure to keep up the show weeks at Twitter: @americanaweek and @nashivlleantiquesweek.


Like us on Facebook at Americana Week and Nashville Antiques Week.

To get involved as a sponsor, partner or advertiser, drop me a line at or

Both Eric and I are looking forward to making these weeks stronger than ever before.


Create Success by Association Now

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, business, Chinese art, Media Planning, selliing antques, Young Collectors on August 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I read in the NY Times that $1 stores are the new haunt of the middle class. It’s  instant gratification  2011 style. But that’s not good news for antique dealers and auctioneers who want to encourage shoppers to spend.  There is a way out though.

It is called “aspirational marketing.”

You see it all the time on HGTV, where realtors and decorators have created formats that make people want to buy a home, and redecorate the one they have.

You see on American Pickers, where Mike Wolfe makes junk look good. And if you think he’s not following  up those marginal picks with merch – check out his website’s line of accessories. The  guy is making people aspire to be him!

And later this week, the Keno brothers will launch Buried Treasure and people will get turned on to their brand of knowledge.

What these shows have in common is that they  educate  consumers.

They also have a distribution format – national TV – that gets the word out to millions.

And what happens then? The educated in the distribution pipeline are not content with what they learn – they want to own something that reflects their new-found knowledge.

Or, success by association with a product.  Your product, be it antique chair, Chinese jade, contemporary art.

Aspirational marketing. It doesn’t preach to the choir or attempt to mine an already established audience. It reaches new audiences and turns those new audiences into buyers.

Why? Because human nature being what it is, people want to be close to the things they like. And if they impress a friend or  boss in the process-so much the better.

So, think about aspirational marketing and how it can boost your sales.

And if you need expert guidance, you know where to come. PRT3 has several aspirational campaigns going now. There is room for another.

New York’s New Auction Houses

In Art business, Auction Advertising, Auctions, business, Chinese art, Cool Exhibitions, Young Collectors on August 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

The last ten months have seen four neighborhood auctioneers spring up in Manhattan, or just across the 59th Street bridge, in Long Island City. At this rate, NYC will soon become the wholesale auction capital of the United States

Roland Auctions in Greenwich Village

Refreshingly, most are generalists. (Of the two that specialize, Hong Kong Auctions – which has been around for about 5 years – handles only Chinese, particularly paintings.  Gene Shapiro Auctions on the Upper East Side specializes in Russian art, with  successes in American and Continental art.)

Among the wholesale houses, the properties come from estates on Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue and the nearby tri-state area. They run to the types of items rich people collected in the 60s, 70s and 80s. For instance, mid-century modern designer furniture by Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Tomi Parzinger and others is being spit out by the truck load. Modern paintings too.

The condition is often excellent and while the provenance must often be discretely handled, almost all the auction houses state the addresses property was taken from.

Because most of these guys run monthly sales, you can’t buy glossy  image laden catalogs, so it is imperative to visit their websites often.  The sites tend towards bare bones, linking to catalogs posted on Live The best way to see what they are selling is to visit the previews.

  • Hutter Auctions is on the West Side in midtown, not far from the Alvin Ailey School of Dance. It’s in a warehouse building, so you can’t peak in the windows. You must take the elevator and poke through a warren of holding rooms. Best buys tend to be traditional furniture, much of it by big name manufacturers.
  • Capo Auctions in Long Island City bills itself as a neighborhood auction houses. It draws from Long Island estates and recently featured weird items from the old Steinway Mansion. I can’t say what their best buys are but it’s easy enough to find out by checking the website and clicking  to prices realized.

Best advice – visit these venues and bid. As of this writing, you are competing mostly with dealers and that makes good odds that you will get what you want at a decent price. Another thing, often the items that don’t sell at auction get posted to 1st Dibs, where their  price increases.

Shop Antiques Online with New Social Sites

In Drive Website Traffic, events, selling antiques, Young Collectors on July 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I’m thrilled to see that new shopping sites for antiques online are cropping up all over the place. And each one has its own spin, which gives buyers of period antiques and vintage furniture more options.

The ones that impress me now are Sean Blanchette’s new Antiques Near Me, Meg Wendy’s New Focus On and Eric Miller’s Urban Art & Antiques and Calendar of Art and Antiques. They’re social because they invite feedback.

These sites offer shoppers with alternatives to 1st Dibs, the grandaddy of the “online antiques show” and arguably a leading factor in the decline of attendance at live shows. the thing that made 1st Dib was its photography and exclusivity. Not only is 1st Dibs a pricey bet for the dealers, it locks them in to an exclusive contract that prevents them participating in other antiques online sites.

The new sites tend more in touch with the buying public. Here’s a quick rundown of their features:

New Focus On homepage

A traditional approach to selling antiques

  • New Focus would like to re-direct the eye for appreciation by offering a pretty site and content with a lifestyle bent.  It offers dealer gallery of tried and tested sellers. The advantage Meg Wendy brings is  having spent a lifetime in the business of producing shows, which means she knows the dealers coming on board.
Urban Art &

A blog approach to selling art and antiques

  • Urban Art & bills itself as a blog about art and antiques, with visits to antique shows and  flea markets. Although it does have a sales section for art and art prints, the site is more about enjoyment than selling. Eric Miller’s strength is that he is a show promoter / producer and brings a  genuine love of collecting to his work.
Calendar of Art &

Simple but effective

  • Calendar of is much needed event site with map views..  Participants post their  own events which are the moderated by the site administrator.  The News Section is helpful but primarily press releases.

The functional approach with back end videos

  • Antiques Near was recently shortlisted to be one of Boston’s hottest new start ups. Here, you plug in your zip code and up comes a list of galleries in that zip along with a map. If you prefer, you can find businesses by type, i.e. antique malls, antiques shows, auctions, flea markets.  Dealers are listed by the site administrator but can enhance their listing by “claiming” their business. So far the News is mostly press releases. The Video  section seeks to be relevent. Sean Blanchette is a young but knowledgeable dealer with vision, drive and no fear of the Internet or its capability.

All of these sites are trying to reach new audiences. Whether one has found the formula yet, is still to be determined. Together, they are educating people about the benefits of shopping for the old and combining it with the new.

A Benefit for Japan at Arts of Pacific Asia Preview

In Art and the American Way, Auction Advertising, Chinese art, selling antiques, Young Collectors on March 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Road Gone / Japan

As the spring Asia arts auctions roll around and NYC galleries prepare for an influx of uber affluent collectors and art lovers, the usual excitement is colored by the sad and devastating news from Japan.  As founder of Asian Arts Week – the campaign to unify and amply  the many aspects of spring Asia Week in New York – I am particularly struck by this.

So, in a spirit of humanism, Asian Arts Week is collaborating with Arts of Pacific Asia producers, Elizabeth Lees and Bill Caskey, to turn the opening night preview into a benefit fundraiser.  Both exhibitors and guests are being asked to donate a suggested amount of $50 to the relief efforts.

Arts of Pacific Asia logo

Turning a Preview into a Benefit

With access to the quake and tsunami zones still limited, Doctors Without Borders has dispatched two teams of three already.

At this time, relief organizations are saying funds cannot be earmarked for Japan specifically. But it is our belief that Doctors Without Borders, which appears on the  CNN list,  historically performs well. Donations made through the Arts of Pacific Asia initiative will fund their work.

I join Liz Caskey in saying that it is most appropriate for lovers of Japanese art and culture and the galleries that have benefited from the work to be among the leaders of givers in  art and antiques world.

Contributions may be made by check or cash.  Any organization participating in the week’s events but not coming to the Preview but desiring to donate can get more information by sending an email to

As for myself, I will be contributing my time to get the word out and making a financial contribution as well. (Any  PR people who would like to donate time to help spread the word can contact me at

For the past several years, Arts of Pacific Asia, unlike most high level antique/art shows, has not had a benefit opening.  It is most fitting that this year, exhibitors and guests rally around our friends to the East.

Arts of Pacific Asia preview party is Wednesday, March 23 at 7W.  (That’s 7 West 34th Street.) NYC, of course.

Homepage Asian Arts Week

Consumers Find Own Level

In Art and the American Way, business, Drive Website Traffic, selliing antques, Young Collectors on February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm

The two most frequent comments I hear from the trade are:

  1. I’m only interested in the very top of the market – ten items with 14 interested buyers
  2. No one wants antiques any more – just mid-Century stuff. My business is dying

To that end I’ve been up to ears in statistics this week trying to get a grip on the market that really exists and how to tap it.

At the top of the pyramid: Merril Lynch-Capgemini World Wealth Report 2009 cites about 100,000 uber-wealthy with $30 million or more to invest. This does not include collectibles, art, etc.

The Luxury Marketing Council takes a slightly broader look at the 8.6 million worldwide with investable assets of $1 million or more.

Then there is the Mass Affluent tier (HH incomes of $150+). After that comes aspirational tier – people looking to buy “up”.

Clearly, the markets exist. Buyers at all levels have interests and their discretionary funds. While buying art and antiques kicks in at the aspirational tier, I don’t know of many people who wake up one day knowing how to shop.   This is where information leaders come in.

Information leaders?

  • Journalists and bloggers
  • trend setters
  • designers
  • photographers

All are  people who educate.

Educators rarely hit their target with jargon-tipped arrows and inaccessibility.  They do it with ease and clarity. Information leaders do the same thing. When audiences understand, they make informed decisions about design, style and purchases that reflect their individuality.

This works at the top of the pyramid and the broad base. Educated consumers find their own level. But they have to be taught. Are you speaking their language?

VIP and – Lessons in Luxury Marketing

In Art business, business, Cool Exhibitions, Drive Website Traffic, selliing antques, Young Collectors on January 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

WSJ talks VIP

With all the up-front ballyhoo and then acceptance of online selling, the first big push  to sell high level art virtually opens next week. It’s the VIP Art Show, a prelude to what Google and pals will be doing with in coming months.  This is luxury marketing at its finest.

VIP and are good for business – your business. The reason, VIP and are training your consumers.

  • They’re training them to buy without physically viewing merchandise
  • They’re training them to trust online sellers more than ever before
  • They’re training in an arena that is – sadly – still underused by sellers of antiques and arts

On the other hand, these high-level efforts also mean that if your business is primarily a brick/mortar deal, you will need to protect yourself with stronger marketing campaigns.

  • Stronger marketing campaigns mean solidifying your brand
  • Making your place of business a destination
  • Providing a good reason for shoppers to come in
  • Joining in co-op marketing programs

If you haven’t already optimized the out-reach for new audiences, this is the time to do it.

Ironically, a hefty slice of your marketing pie should go to the Internet and  contextually relevant sites. A hefty slice of time  should be spent on Facebook, Twitter, the social media. Other efforts need to focus on smart traditional media buys.

As VIP and break through the four walls with the biggest push we’ve seen so far, you will fill the repercussions in both bad and good ways.

Informed risk takers, the people who don’t hide behind old ways of doing business, who are willing to reach out to new audiences, will benefit from the efforts of VIP and

Be sure to follow both closely. These are textbook lessons in the making. You will learn from them. BTY, VIP opens next week and runs for a limited. launches in the Spring.

The New Collectors are Alive & Well in Miami

In Art and the American Way, Art business, business, Cool Exhibitions, events, Young Collectors on December 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Found: The Young Collectors

SOUTH BEACH, FL.  I’m feeling a bit like Archimedes this morning, having made a discovery that answers the question antiques and decorative arts dealers have been asking, mantra-like: “Where are all the young collectors?”

The only reason I’m not shouting “Eureka” is because the news is not particularly good. The young collectors have been leeched away from the decorative arts and antiques market by something more meaningful to them.  That something is contemporary art and artists.

Everything you have ever read or heard about the art market and the commercial fairs in Miami is true. There are thousands of young shoppers here and they are doing what antique collectors used to do. They are buying.

Yesterday, I spent about 11 hours at Red Dot, Art Asia and Scope, three big shows of contemporary art that complement Art Basel Miami.

I have interviewed dealers and artists. I have heard collectors make strategic decisions about how they will cover the shows and make their purchasing decisions.

I have been given the same “take-home” material the buyers get – everything from traditional catalogs to flash drives. I have been greeted and sold by entrepreneurs in their 30s, who reel off auction records and big name collectors as proof of the investment value of the art they selling.

And I have been jostled by dozens of tee shirt / cargo short clad buyers who look like they can’t afford bus fare.  I’ve met couples that work the shows in teams, splitting up to cover the vast number of offerings at the fairs.

By the time they arrive, they already know what sort of things they’re looking for. If they are budget conscious, they’re looking for buys under $10,000. (Cheapest pieces I’ve seen run around $8,500 for a work of art by a mid-career artist.)

Parisian Dealer with International Artist Roster

It's All About Investments

As one young and highly successful dealer told me, “It’s all about investments.”

When decorative arts and antiques dealers can figure out a way to compete with the energy level that the contemporary art market generates, the market may begin to look up for them as well. Until then, you’ll find your audience in Miami, in Switzerland, in Singapore, in Mexico City – following the contemporary art circuit.