To address some of the issues you raised at the round table:
1. Should the trade bodies BADA and LAPADA merge?
I served on the BADA council for 18 years before stepping down last year and have always been in favour of a merger with LAPADA. Until recently, BADA has tended to rest on its laurels. As a trade we must look forward in order to survive in a fast changing digital age.
Apart from the cost savings to be gained in running one rather than two organisations, a single body would have more influence by sheer dint of a greater number of members.
2. Will Brexit be good or bad for the trade?
We don’t know but we should speak with one voice.
3. Will some BADA stalwarts object to the notion of being in the same club as some LAPADA members?
Words like ‘elite’ and ‘status’ are imposters and make us concentrate on internal political and egocentric issues.
Having a tiered trade organisation would, I think, be a grave mistake and would put off as many as it might attract. After all, nobody wants to be viewed as second class.
4. How do we encourage younger dealers?
Many young dealers simply don’t see the point in joining a trade association because they view it as remote, expensive and far removed from their tastes.
5. Is the passing trade disappearing?
I no longer do fairs, or have a high street shop. As far as I can tell, the internet is the first port of call.
6. Can dealers be their own e-commerce masters?
Yes, with a selling platform run by a single trade association, and not by a third party, for the benefit of its members.
The auction houses have definitely cracked it with such platforms as thesaleroom.com and so should we.
In summary, we should embrace the new and have a single trade association that promotes our industry in practical, inexpensive, digital and inclusive ways.