When and why did you open the shop?
The clock business I work in with my mother and father used to be based out of our home, where we did a lot of repair and restoration work (we still do). We also spent a lot of time at antiques fairs. In 1995 we took a small shop in Chelsea, renovated it and filled up the small space. We built the business and in 2001 took larger premises about five shops down. In those days, probably more than now, this part of the King’s Road was quite famous for antiques.
What has changed?
These days antiques aren’t seen as so fashionable. Times and tastes have changed and people are now into cheap lifestyle changes, decluttering and living in a more modern environment. The market is slower than it was – although it’s definitely still there.
Why is it worth holding on to the shop?
We still do have quite a bit of passing trade coming through and these tend to be the sort of buyers you want, not bargain hunters off the internet. They come in and take the time to look at the objects and understand them.
Talk about your latest initiative?
At the moment we’re looking to rent our large basement floor of the shop to another dealer – it’s fully heated and secure and since we are always there at the shop we can always help with customers. We think it would be great to work with a dealer looking for a great spot in London who would bring their own brand of antiques, whatever that might be [visit the website above for a virtual tour of the basement and contact details].
What is one key feature of a great shop?
Having a good selection of attractive pieces at reasonable prices. It’s also important to have prices on things and to be open with clients. Otherwise they might feel conned when you start discussing a sale, and with the way technology is today people want instant information.
Given an unlimited budget how would you change the shop?
Take on a small renovation project to update our look. Maybe put in a wooden floor and include some good-quality modern items showing how you can mix these with antique pieces.
Gutlin Clocks, 606 Kings Road, London SW6 2DX