Making the moves
Philip Crosthwaite has an interiors business in south Norfolk and also organises a monthly antiques fair in Hingham, mid-Norfolk, as well as triannual antiques fairs run under his NASADA (Norfolk & Suffolk Antique Dealers Association) banner.
All are cancelled in lockdown but Crosthwaite’s business, Cloverleaf Home Interiors, is doing cracking business selling on assorted antiques websites.
He said: “We haven’t run a fair since last March, although I’m thinking maybe of a May date. But we have been working flat out online in the business, selling largely furniture – things like refectory tables which I am putting into storage for customers relocating up here from the Home Counties.”
No halt to Holt
Back in 2014 this column ran a series of pieces on people who had changed the course of their lives by entering the trade.
Robin Dunkley was one. In 2010 he gave up a career in corporate banking and took both courage and redundancy to launch Holt Antique Furniture in north Norfolk. It was a success from the start.
Dunkley said: “My business has grown through sheer dogged determination with online growing year on year too. This has resulted in me taking over larger premises at Little Walsingham in north Norfolk.
“The online offering has been a great success due to daily website updates, constant acquisition of new quality stock within a specified dateline, email newsletters, high-quality images, full details of each item, size, provenance (if available) and condition reports. Social media has been pushed along all available channels. Key is keeping buyers constantly updated during their buying journey/experience from end to end. I export worldwide as far as Australia, US, Japan, New Zealand, Europe and Asia from my site.”
Dunkley, who sells oak and country furniture from the 16th to the 19th centuries plus fine art and decorative period pieces, added: “All things continue to sell well.”
After retiring from the pub trade, husband and wife team Henrietta Lewis and Alan Knight, both keen antique and vintage collectors, opened an antiques centre in 2019 in the pretty Norfolk town of Diss, close to TW Gaze, the auction house.
Despite successive lockdowns the couple are expanding their business. With the help of a Covid-19 business support grant, they are opening another centre and launching an antiques fair with their business partners, Wendy and Alf Faulkner, when government legislation allows.
Both ventures are at Stonham Barns Park, a 115-acre holiday site near Stowmarket in Suffolk.
Knight said: “The new 3000 sq ft centre is called Aspal Antiques and will sell antique, vintage and retro pieces including architectural salvage that reflect the interests of the four owners of both businesses. Cabinets are available to rent at £65 a week.”
Knight added: “Our antiques and vintage traders fair will run on the second Monday of the month at the Mid and West Suffolk Showground at Stonham Barns Park and we’re hoping to launch this on Monday, April 12, subject to Covid restrictions.”
If you are a collector of antiquarian cookery books or a Bake Off fan or both, then The Book Of Ices, published in 1885 by Marshall’s School of Cookery in London, might be for you.
The book is priced at £90 from PBFA member John Underwood who is based in rural south Norfolk. Talking about lockdown, he said: “We tend to sell from our previous online listings on the PBFA website, as customers trawl through our stock than from their live online fairs, and are still making good sales to our regular trade customers and gained more customers through our Instagram presence.
“We tend to see our website as a showcase rather than a selling site, directing customers to our new listings. We have been buying quite well and building up quality stock against future fairs.”