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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Photos from May Extravaganza-

Here is the May show through the eyes of photographer Chelsea Wann. I hope you enjoy seeing the show through her eyes as much as I did. It also reminds me of a important point. As promoters and dealers we spend a great deal of time pushing the imagery that we want to be seen of our shows and inventories. Customers see what we do from their own very unique persective and I sometimes need to be reminded of that.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's none of their business, IT'S YOUR BUSINESS!!

Facebook and Twitter are the most popular, and at the same time most mis-understood social media platforms. One great source of frustration that I often experience is a conversation that goes something like this.

Dealer- "Business sure is tough"

Me- "are you trying anything different in your approach to buying and selling? Website, Facebook, Twitter??"

Dealer- "I've thought about Facebook, but I really don't want people knowing my business"

Let me get this straight you are in business, but you don't want people to know it? There is a lot of confusion about Facebook among people who feel that somehow participating in a social media site forces you to divulge your most personal secrets. Any social networking site divulges what you tell it to divulge. You don't have to have give any personal information away. You can have a presence on Facebook simply as your business. Talk about your inventory, what shows you are doing. Talk about what you love collecting or simply reminding folks that you exist.

I get tired easily of people complaining that things have changed and not willing to do anything to adapt to those changes. I'd love to see a few more people take a half an hour a week to reach out and connect with current, past and potential customers through social networking sites. Anyone up for the challenge?

It's growing again.

Not my stomach, the dealers list for Harwinton. Already 40 dealers larger than the last September show. Enjoy and check back to watch it increase in size-

A Classic Touch
Acorn Antiques
Aged to Perfection Antiques
Albert Joseph & Co.
Andrij Roman Antiques
Andy's Antiques
Antique Prints
Art & Antique Gallery
Arthur Gordon
Ashley Antiques
AWK Design Antiques
Beck's Button Box
Benting & Jarvis
Beverly Dutton Antiques
Bill Scott's Antiques
Bridges Over Time
Buckboard Antiques
by Ann Marsh
Cavern View Antiques
Charles A. Cohn Antiques
Charles Antiques
Chelsea Hill Antiques
Chimney Corner
Collection Agency Antiques
Colliersville Cottage Antiques
Country Christmas
Country Peddler Antiques
Crone's Collectibles
David Allan Ramsay
Dee's Antiques
Desjardins Antiques
Diane Belford
Dudley Hill Antiques
Easter Hill Antiques
Emma's Antiques
Etcetera, Etc.
Finish Line Collectibles
From Here to Antiquity
Hands All Around
Hartman House Antiques
Hawkins Quilts
Heritage Antiques
Higganum House Antiques
J & G Antiques
James Koester
Jamie Brown
Jim Johannes
John Darrow
John's Collectibles
Joseph Bonafede
Joseph Collins
Karen & Albert Antiquinares
Kay Baker Antiques
Kingston Bay Gallery
Kocian DiPasqua Antiques
Lepore Antiques
Mad River Antiques
Mainely Lighting
Margaret Meier
Marie Miller
Marie Rogat
Mark Morris
Mars-Most Antiques
Marvin & Leslie Wies
Mary Ann Stikas
Mason Antiques
Matt King
Memory Lane Antiques
Michele Fox Antiques
Missouri Plain Folk
Nancy & Craig Cheney Antiques
Nancy Fishelson
Nancy Hagen Antiques
Nancy Wells
Nipper's Choice
Noble Peddler
Nook 'n' Cranny Antiques
O'Donoghue Antiques
Old Lamps and Things
Old Village Antiques
Over Hill Over Dale
Painted Duck Antiques
Palisades Trading Co
Pam & Martha Boynton Antiques
Paul & Karen Wendheiser
P-B Antiques
Peter & Claire Ringel
Phyllis Pasternak Collectibles
Pottles & Pannikins
R. A. DiFillipo Antiques
Red Barn Antiques
Robert Perry
Robert T. Baranowsky
Rubley Antiques
Russ Whitmore
Ryan's Antiques
Sandy Klempner
Sandy's Estate Jewelry & Antiques
School House Antiques
Scott Bassoff/Sandy Jacobs
Seymour Fine Arts
Soll's Antiques
South Road Antiques
Sport & Spool Antiques
Steven Singer
Storb Antiques
Stu Magdefrau
Sugar Princess
Susanne Edgerly
Swank Pearce Collections
T & F Trunks
The Backroads Collection
The Jewelry Lady
The Scrapbook
Thomas Thompson
Tither & Sears
Tranquil and Tempting
Two of a Kind
Victor & Maxine Weitz
Victor Weinblatt
Victorian Rose
Virginia Kausel
W. F. Healey Company
White Orchid Antiques
Worden Select Objects
Yesterday's Dreams

Monday, July 18, 2011

The customer is alway right- most of the time.

Most Mondays start off slowly enough, but this morning I was greeted by a warm email from a disgruntled customer. I sent out a newsletter to our Harwinton email list yesterday with some basic info about the Labor Day show. Typically, I don’t receive responses to these newsletters as they are informational. Below is the text of the email:

"Your management of the grounds was horrible!
Your people should have been prepared for the rain.
Your people should have had at their disposable hay to place in areas that were soaked and muddy.
If was no fun to try to walk to see dealers that were near the muddy areas.

I and my family won't attend again if those are the conditions your management feels are okay for your customers

I firmly believe and try to practice the theory that the customer is always right-most of the time. There are clearly limits to this and an over entitled customer is not always a good one. For those of you who follow the blog, I have been very open about our experiences at the show and the areas that it didn’t meet our expectations. Here was my response:

“Sorry that the show did not meet your expectations. Might I suggest a little perspective.

Horrible is someone dying from a terrible disease.
Horrible is a natural disaster that takes the lives of thousands.
Horrible is the grammar in your email.

Have a nice day.”

Would one of our several loyal readers recommend our Harwinton show to a friend, I’m not sure we’re getting a return visit from our emailer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A first time for everything.

One of the tasks that we spend a lot of time on is corresponding with dealers on spaces. It is not uncommon for me to call a dealer and have a conversation that will end with "My husband/wife/partner is at show/out of town/not currently avaiable, can I call you back after I talk to them? Today I had the following conversation. "I like the space, but my husband is in outer Mongolia doing research and won't be back until the end of the month. I will call you if he gets in touch with me via satellite." What a strange world we live in.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ask- then listen, listen, listen.

One thing that I always try to remind myself of while I’m running a show is the necessity of listening. Listening to dealers and customers often provides key and free input on my business. Certainly many of the things that I’m hearing are simply reminders and reaffirmations of things already known. But often they are new ideas that are valuable and actionable. Companies often spend thousands of dollars on outside consultants, but existing customers (dealers and shoppers) will often provide the same level of input for free. Better yet, their input is from the point of view of someone already involved in the process rather than someone brought in for their supposed expertise.

I would also like to pass along this advice to dealers and customers. Take the time to talk to each other. What are you buying, selling? What are you interested in collecting or living with? These conversations will often lead to shows that more reflect both of your expectations. There’s an old saying is that “free advice is worth what you pay for it” but I would argue that “free good advice/input is priceless”.