Olympia fair
Plenty of visitors attended last year's Olympia fair.. but do smaller, more select fairs make better business sense?

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Mary Claire Boyd, director of The Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia (June 26-July 2)


Mary Claire Boyd.

The first benefit of a larger fair, such as Olympia, is that visitors are offered choice as well as quality. The sheer variety of disciplines, periods and exhibitors means buyers can potentially furnish their houses from the fair with pieces priced from £100 to many thousands of pounds.

For shoppers, the chance to compare and contrast at a larger fair is always a useful one and part of the overall learning process. From a collector’s viewpoint, there is not only great choice but also more dealers to meet and start relationships with – important when building a collection.

Larger fairs can also attract dealers from around the world. At Olympia we have exhibitors from as far afield as South Africa to America and Europe (see Dealers’ Diary, page 42), some of whom only do this fair in the UK. Additionally, it is easier to attract top-end curators, not only to buy but also to take part in a talks programme.

Finally, I would say that a large fair offers a rewarding day out. There, one can shop, learn and be inspired. You also never know what you might find.

The sheer variety of disciplines, periods and exhibitors means buyers can potentially furnish their houses from the Olympia fair


Marco Forgione, CEO of BADA, leading the launch of BADA Collection at the Lanesborough (October 5-8)


Marco Forgione.

Over the past decade ‘mega fairs’ have dominated the global art, design and antiques calendar and there is no question that events such as Masterpiece, Frieze Masters and TEFAF have played a key role in promoting, celebrating and developing our sector.

Large-scale fairs have a tremendous value for buyers, collectors and the trade, presenting a wide variety of objects and styles from a broad diversity of dealers.

I am a firm supporter of larger events.

I believe, however, that curated experiences offer an ideal approach, providing an intimate environment that will benefit existing and future buyers, collectors and dealers.

The next step in the evolution of our industry is for smaller, curated events to supplement and enhance our vibrant events calendar.

Bespoke events

Dealers with similar audiences, working in close partnership, can create bespoke events, tailored to appeal specifically to their target audience, resulting in a more fulfilling and meaningful experience for both collectors and dealers alike.

The world of retail is changing dramatically and it is essential that our trade evolves to embrace that challenge.

The current key motivators in buying behaviours are convenience of transaction coupled with the quality of the customer experience.