Shake It Off!

A small fender-bender adds up to $5k

I haven’t been in an accident since I was a teenager…  So getting hit was quite a shock.  But I think it was worse for the young woman who hit us.   

But here’s the good news:

  • No one got hurt.
  • The other driver took full responsibility.
  • The Traverse was still drivable.

So all we had to do was wait (45 minutes) for the police to show up to write a report.  And file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.  While we waited we got to know the young woman who was driving the other car.  She’s 17, just learning to drive and made a rookie mistake.  I think that’s happened to all of us.  And before we finished up with the business side of the accident we met her sister, her mother and her boyfriend — all who came to support her!  Pretty nice, huh?!  

By 8PM Friday night we were finally back on the road and headed to Oklahoma City.  We had another little adventure that night at the hotel involving a different young lady — dressed in a very tight, very small black dress coming out of a hotel room.   But I’ll leave the details of that story out of our G-rated blog!   

The next day was Saturday — and I have to admit that it was not our best day.  There wasn’t a problem with the people we met that day or the places we visited.  I just think we were still a little shook up from the day before and some of the fun had worn off.  So after one stop at 23rd Street Antiques where we purchased a lovely flow blue pitcher and a Blue Aurene Steuben vase we headed back north.

Sunday we stopped by the Overland Park Antique Show.   Wow.  Okay let me say that again.  WOW!

  • Okay, it cost me $6 bucks a person to get in. 
  • And Yes, there were only about 50 vendors. 
  • BUT Talk about high end.  I’ve always said WE carried high end, but these vendors REALLY had HIGH END
  • AND  the vendors were willing to deal!  

We saw more Tiffany, Steuben, Loetz, Pairpoint, Flow Blue and Brilliant Cut Glass at this show then we’ve seen in ALL OF OUR BUYING TRIPS PUT TOGETHER.  It was magnificent!  And as I walked the aisles I kept finding things that took my breath away.  Honestly — this show is worth the drive — even if all you are going to do is ooh and aah.   The vendors were VERY knowledgeable and the education itself was more than worth the door fee!

Don't Let the "American Gothic" look fool you. These two are a HOOT!

I have to admit at first glance we assumed everything was going to be out of our price range.  WE WERE WRONG.  Yes, there was a lot of high end art glass.  And high-end art glass is not cheap.  But we found that the majority of the vendors were very reasonably priced.   

Mom found out that this was the place for a Good Deal and a Good Time!

We also assumed that prices would be “firm” in this kind of venue.  Once again, WE WERE WRONG.  We found that with very little haggling we were able to negotiate a discounted price. 

This show was GREAT.  And no doubt about it…we WILL BE BACK in 2011!

So that’s the story of our 2010 Fall Buying Trip. 

  • We spent 5 days on the road together.  
  • We opened the door to build relationships with 4 more dealers. 
  • We learned a ton. 
  • And we purchased 97 new items.   

All-in-all, even with the Wham Bam  I think it was a valuable way to spend our time and money!

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On the Road Again

It’s that time of year!  Yep every fall we go on a buying trip.  Two years ago we headed east and spent some time in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.  Last year we spent most of our time in Kansas and Nebraska.  And this year we’re headed to Oklahoma.

To get ready we’ve:

  • Completed an inventory — so we know what we currently have in stock
  • Ran customer purchase reports — so we know what we’ve sold in the past 24 months
  • Ran profit reports — so we know where we’ve actually made money
  • Reviewed our client wish-list — so we know what people are still looking for
  • Scoured the internet looking for out-of-the-way places to pick up antiques
  • Planned a “potential” route

Now comes the fun part.  Wednesday afternoon we hit the road.  Our plan is to get south of Kansas City by dark.  Thursday morning we’ll go to our first “official” stop…and from that point on all bets are off.   

At every stop we’ll ask the same question to everyone we meet including the gas station attendant, the waitress, the shop owner and even the woman walking by on the street.  What’s the question? 

“In this area — who should we be talking with about antiques?” 

What’s amazing is that 1)  People actually know and 2) People will tell us!  And based on those conversations we may head to an area antique store.  We may end up in someone’s attic.  Or we could get invited to a local dealer’s home.  But no matter what — it’s  an adventure.

One of my favorite adventures was when we visited a dealer’s barn.  It was located right on a gravel road and everything was COVERED with gravel dust.  Seriously — it was so thick everything in the barn was grey.  And our first thought was THIS IS A WASTE OF TIME!  But we walked through, picked some pieces off the shelves, wiped them down and found a couple of low-end pieces that were priced right. 

As we were paying the man we asked if he knew anyone that had high end Victorian Glass that they might be interested in selling.  And all of the sudden we were ushered into heaven. 

The dealer took us through a door that lead to a great room where he lived.  What a difference.  The place was clean as a whistle.  There were actual lights that highlighted everything.  And three of his four walls had built in display cabinets full of RS Prussia, Brides Baskets, Pickle Casters, Pigeon’s Blood, Old Amberina, Vaseline and Cameo glass.   

He was protective and VERY selective about what he was willing to give up — but we made a deal on four stunning pieces! 

You know, at every show customers AND vendors ask us “where do you find such good stuff?  And this situation is a perfect example.

  • We’re not afraid to ask questions.
  • We treat people well — even if we think we’ve been sent off on a wild goose chase.
  • And we do our best to be personable.  

This dealer does not advertise.  His place was out in the middle of nowhere.  And we couldn’t have found him even if we knew how to find a needle in a haystack.  And yet — we were able to buy four pieces from him THAT WERE NOT ON THE MARKET.  

“In the good-of-days” (that many antique dealers like to reminisce about) all you had to do was know your stuff, go to garage sales and Goodwill and then simply put out your merchandise at a local antique show or flea market.   In those days even rude and obnoxious dealers made money.

My have times changed!

  1. It’s much harder to find quality antiques
  2. There is more competition then ever before
  3. What took years for many dealers to learn is now readily available on the internet
  4. Customers KNOW what things are worth

So really — how do you find quality antiques?  How do you make money?  And how do you stay in business?  

  • We’ve found out that it pays to be curious. 
  • We found out it pays to do your research.
  • We found out it pays when you willing give information to others.
  • We found out that it pays to listen. 
  • We’ve found out that it pays to be kind.  
  • We found out it pays when you don’t have to sell something for “what it is worth.”
  • And we found out that it pays when you treat people well.  

Lucky for me — that’s sounds like the kind of values my parents taught me years ago.  Thanks Mom & Dad!

Girls Weekend

I’m not just an antiquer — I’m also a golfer.  So when the Kansas City Metro Chapter of the EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association) invited the Des Moines Chapter to join them for a golf outing in Grove, Oklahoma — I jumped at the chance.

The carpool picked me up bright and early on Friday morning and we headed south on I35.  We had a 6 1/2 hour drive ahead of us — and I had antiquing on my mind!  

I love to drive I35 because Missouri has this antiquing thing figured out.  Every 45 minutes there is a GOOD antique shop — just off the highway. So you can drive 45 minutes — and then shop for 45 minutes.  Drive 45 minutes.  Shop 45 minutes.  Yep — it takes a lot longer to get to Kansas City — but it’s worth it! 

Now, if I had had my way — we would have stopped at every antique mall in every small town between Des Moines and Grove, Oklahoma.   But alas — I was a passenger on this trip.  So I had to strategize. When would we require gas breaks?  When would nature call?  How long would our knees last?  And if I could only convince them to stop once — what would my 1st choice be… 

The Enchanted Frog

I love this place.  They have great dealers with beautiful merchandise.   But the one thing that makes them stand out is that the people behind the counter really know their dealers and are more than willing to call them and negotiate for you!  And if you are looking for something specific — they know just where to look.  Did I tell you I love this place?

My golf mates were very kind — and agreed to stop.  To save time I had planned to just shop 3 of my favorite dealers — but the gal behind the counter suggested I look in two additional booths.  And that ended up being good advice.  I found an unusual RS Prussia Hidden Image Shaving Mug for one of our regular customers.  And two pieces of Czech glass that I know will draw a lot of attention in Oronoco

I admit I wanted to spend more than 30 minutes shopping.  And for the rest of the trip — every time I saw a sign for a mall or spotted that antique flag flying — my heart fluttered and it broke my heart to drive right on by.   But I know I’ll be back.  

Earlier this year we decided that it was time to do a little picking in Oklahoma and Texas.  And now I have a travel plan in mind.  I-35, US-71, I-44 — here we come!