Tag Archives: online antiques

Things We Love: Our Customers and 10 Years of European Antique Furniture

Love is in the air in the month of February and it reminds me of how much we love and appreciate our customers who trust us to provide them with fine European antique furniture and home décor accents. Greg and I are celebrating the 10th anniversary of our EuroLux Antiques business this year. Time sure flies when you’re having the time of your life! However, we truly understand that we wouldn’t be celebrating this momentous occasion without the patronage and support of you – all of the many wonderful customers we’ve been lucky enough to meet over the past decade!

Newspaper article just after we launched our European antique furniture business

Article in our hometown newspaper The Newberry Observer just after we launched.

Ten years ago, in January 2004, we jumped out of the corporate world and decided to launch this crazy business venture. We were passionate about European antique furniture so we quit our jobs. Greg was Controller/MIS Director of a manufacturing plant and I was a Global Marketing Manager at another manufacturer.

We were willing to gamble our life’s savings on the idea that regular folks would love hand-selected, high-quality European antique furniture as much as we did, and would be willing to buy it online. My dad thought we were definitely nuts. But we felt down deep in our toes that if we didn’t try, we’d always wonder what might have been. And so we jumped off the cliff into the free fall of entrepreneurship.

Our first European antique furniture buying trip

Aimee at a market on our first European buying trip.

It took us nearly six months to get all our ducks in a row. We had to incorporate, get insurance, find and renovate a space, get a marketing plan in place, and then we flew overseas to hunt out the best European antique furniture for our inventory.

Owning your own business isn’t glamorous, as any small business owner knows. Folks that don’t work for themselves think you can set your own hours and just take off whenever you want. I always say you do have the freedom to choose which 12 – 14 hours a day you work! But I didn’t have to put on stockings, high heels, and a suit every day, and I was thankful for that, although I didn’t realize how much heavy furniture lifting would be in my future.

We sold our house in order to raise capital for the business and moved in with my in-laws, which we thought would only be for six months or so. It turned out to be nearly three years. I am so grateful to John and Kathy for keeping a roof over our heads while we passionately pursued our dream. EuroLux Antiques would not have been possible without their emotional and financial investment. Right as we were launching the business, they were retiring, so we convinced them to come work with us too. This small family business venture has truly been a labor of love!

European antique furniture - armoire

One of the first armoires that nearly made us pull our hair out in frustration trying to figure out how to build it!

Our first container of the European antique furniture we’d bought arrived in July and we were so excited. That excitement soon turned to utter frustration as we learned that all of the pieces of furniture came apart in what seemed like about a million pieces. Luckily they were all numbered as to which piece of furniture they belonged to, so we made piles of pieces and then tried to put them together. We look back and laugh now, but we had no idea how to reconstruct some of those French armoires! It seemed that no two went together in the same way. Greg and I remember staying up until the wee hours of the night wrestling with that furniture. After ten years, we probably haven’t seen it all, but we sure don’t get stumped much anymore.

Before we went online with our European antique furniture store, we started doing the antique trade show circuit during the summer of 2004. The Metrolina antique and collectibles show in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Scott’s antique market in Atlanta, Georgia, were our first shows. I’ll share stories with you from our early shows next month.

At the launch of our European antique furniture business

This photo of us appeared in that first Newberry Observer article

But in the meantime, I just want to thank each and every one of you who has helped make this “American Dream” possible. We have worked so hard and put our hearts, souls, blood, and tears into building this business. But we have always known that we couldn’t do it without you. I always try to sign each email with “Thank you for your patronage – we appreciate you!” Those aren’t just words here at EuroLux Antiques – we mean it!

We are still passionate about European antique furniture, even though we’ve expanded into Asian antique furniture and high-quality reproductions and home décor accents too. And truly, madly, deeply – we love our customers!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

How to Sell Antiques and Vintage Items

We receive emails nearly every day from people asking how to sell antiques or vintage items. Sometimes they have inherited antiques, sometimes they are just downsizing or have another reason to let go of a piece of furniture or other antique that they have enjoyed for years. Either way, they aren’t sure where to start. So here is our advice on how to sell antiques.

How To Find Out What Your Antiques Are Worth

How to sell items like this Antique Delft JarA great place to begin searching for values of antique or vintage items is Worthpoint.com. Of course, you can also explore sites where people sell antiques online, like Ebay. But Ebay only shows the last 30 to 45 days of data whereas Worthpoint has a huge database. It stores many years’ worth of information from ecommerce venues like Ebay and GoAntiques.com as well as other important auction houses.

Worthpoint is definitely worth the price for unlimited access for 30 days if you have specialty items or many things to look up. If you want to try it out first, Worthpoint offers a free trial period for a limited number of searches. You can also send a description and photos of your item to a “Worthologist” to get an expert online appraisal for a fee of $29.99, which is very economical.

I suggest the Worthpoint.com appraisal service because you’re unlikely to find an antiques dealer to give you a free appraisal. Dealers receive so many requests for free appraisals and although they are lovely folk, if they spent all day helping people with advice they would never have time to run their own businesses! So if you want to sell antiques but don’t know how to price them and don’t have time to research values, it’s well worth paying for the service of an expert appraiser.

If you are handling the estate of a relative, you may want to hire a licensed personal property appraiser in your area. Or you can contact a local auction house to help you determine the value of items. If you have rare or especially valuable antiques, you might want to find a specialty auction house. For instance, you would go to Theriaults for dolls.

How to Sell Antiques Online or Locally

Sell antiques at auctionObviously you can sell antiques through a local or specialty auction house. Or you can list things for sale on Ebay or GoAntiques or Etsy. You can even post an ad for free through your local Craigslist. You might also contact interior designers in your area to see if they could place a piece of antique or vintage furniture with one of their clients.

How to sell antiques like this Louis XIV ArmoireYou could also contact antique dealers in your area to see if they are interested in purchasing a piece outright. In this case, realize you will need to accept a wholesale price, not a retail price. Dealers have large overheads and sometimes they have to keep an antique in stock for a long time before finding a retail customer. The upside is that by selling to a dealer you’ll receive payment more quickly and don’t have to do all the selling yourself.

However, many antique dealers may only be interested in taking a piece on consignment. This is assuming that it fits with their inventory and they have the space in their gallery. Most dealers would expect to charge a 30 – 50% consignment fee, and you would be responsible for the transportation of the piece to the dealer’s gallery.

Keep in mind that it can be quite expensive to ship a piece of antique furniture safely. That shipping cost will come out of your pocket if you contact a dealer outside your geographical area. You’re usually better off contacting antique dealers in your closest large city.

Tips If You Sell Antiques Online

If you opt to sell antiques online through one of the ecommerce sites, you’ll need to write good and detailed descriptions. Even if you don’t know much about antiques, make a note of any makers’ marks or hallmarks and give exact measurements.

Take close up photos to sell antiques online

Door detail on antique 1880 French Brittany style chestnut buffet

Also take good, clear photographs from many angles. A picture speaks a thousand words! Include close-up shots of any decorative details and maker marks, and ideally show the insides of cabinets or drawers. At EuroLuxAntiques.com, we tend to provide lots of images when we sell antiques so buyers can see everything as clearly as they would inspecting the item in person. Then they are confident about making a purchase, or they can ask for more details if uncertain.

Finally, be honest about any damage or wear. People expect antique items to show a little wear – that is part of their history and unique charm and it proves their authenticity! But nobody wants any nasty surprises when the item arrives. The condition of an antique is a big factor in assessing its worth, as two similar pieces can sell for vastly different prices if one is in mint condition and the other rather more well-loved! For this reason, also be honest about the condition with appraisers if you get an online appraisal, otherwise the expert can’t give you the best advice.

If you have other suggestions for people wondering how to sell antiques or vintage items they own, please tell us in the comments box below!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Research on Buying Better Quality Furniture

Research says 40% of consumers plan to buy better quality furniture next time! EuroLuxAntiques.comI just read an interesting article saying that 40% of consumers would choose to buy better quality furniture next time they make a purchase. Also, 24% wish they’d bought more durable furniture. That’s quite a high percentage of people who regret settling for cheaper options, or who want to trade up.

Only part of the article is available at the Furniture Today magazine website, but we enjoyed reading the full print piece to learn why people say they’d now choose better quality furniture.

We don’t need consumer research to convince us! Greg and I are very picky about the furniture we choose for our customers. Whether we’re scouting for antiques in Europe or selecting high-quality reproductions, our aim is to ensure you won’t find better quality furniture than you’ll see at at EuroLuxAntiques.com.

Shoppers in the research commented on the importance of quality materials like wood for durability. They want to invest more so their furniture lasts and doesn’t need replacing so often. We couldn’t agree more with the shopper who said:  “Cheap furniture starts to look cheap after a while.” Sometimes people just find their tastes and values evolve, and they want to buy furniture that truly reflects their personality.

Antique 1880 French Brittany Armoire with fabulous carvings. EuroLuxAntiques.comWhen you buy antique furniture, you know it will be unique to you and you know it can stand the test of time. Antiques appreciate in value with age. They grow even more beautiful, with a patina on the wood and an air of being much-loved.
If a piece is so finely constructed that it survives since 1880, like this fabulous antique French Brittany armoire carved in chestnut, it is likely to serve your family very well for years. It will probably be an heirloom piece for your children and grandchildren too!

Regency Style Bedside Table. EuroLuxAntiques.comCraftsmanship is a hallmark of quality furniture, as well as fine materials. Even the reproduction furniture and home accents we offer often involves some hand-crafting. For example, this solid wood Regency style bedside table, crafted with a galleried top, fluted legs, and a dovetail drawer construction. The bedside table has a lovely veneer that is hand-waxed and hand-rubbed to create an authentic distressed effect.

Dale Tiffany Lamp with dragonfly design in hand-rolled art glass. EuroLuxAntiques.comThis Dale Tiffany dragonfly table lamp replicates an original Louis Comfort Tiffany design. It is crafted to the same exacting standards of the original. Hand-rolled art glass on the dragonfly design shade ensures the high quality of this lamp. Doesn’t it look fabulous on that Art Nouveau base?

If you’re investing in better quality furniture always shop from a reputable business. That’s especially true if you are shopping online so you can browse a larger array of choices. Ideally, you can view photos of the furniture from different angles so you don’t have any surprises when it arrives.

When buying antique furniture, the dealer should be willing to answer any questions. I spend lots of time on the phone and email, answering our customers’ questions. I want to make sure they are comfortable with their choice for their home. Check out my tips on how to buy antique furniture on the internet.

What do you have to say on the subject of buying better quality furniture? Is good value all about the price, or is there more to it? Tell us in the comments box below!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

How to Buy Antique Furniture Online

I work with a lot of repeat customers, and most of those customers started out skeptical about buying fine French antique furniture on the internet. I don’t blame them. It’s a large purchase that you can’t inspect in person before plunking down the cash. Who would be that crazy?

Luckily, many of our customers are “that crazy.” They not only took the plunge once, but they’ve come back again and again. They’ve learned the secret: Buying fine antique furniture online can be a fun, affordable way to fill your home with items you love to live with. Here are my tips for safely buying antique furniture on the internet.

1. Know Your Seller

Greg and I have been doing this for nearly ten years, so we have an online presence that’s easily discoverable by search engine. A Google search for “EuroLux Antiques” returns 96,000 results! You’ll find us on eBay, on YouTube, on Etsy. You’ll find reviews of us on Yelp and at our local Better Business Bureau. Of course, you’ll also find us on major social media sites, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.

All of this exposure says several things about us (or any online seller). It shows we’ve been in business for awhile. It says we’re engaged with our clients. It says we’re reputable.

True, anyone can fake an online presence. That’s why we’re also easily accessible by phone at 803-276-4001. We have a bricks-and-mortar gallery (see photo below) with regular business hours. If you want to discover what type of customer service experience you’re likely to encounter with any internet seller, simply call their customer service number before you make a purchase. It might be an eye-opening experience for you!

2. Browse the Seller’s Website

But don’t browse their listings just yet. Head for the “About” link. No “About” link? That could be a red flag. Search for a similar page that tells you about the seller. The information you find on the seller’s “About” page can tell you a lot about the type of service to expect from them. And in the business of selling antiques online, service is everything.

Does the About page only give company information, or do you learn something about the actual people behind the business? Most customers would rather purchase antiques from a real person, not from a faceless company.

Check to see if the seller maintains a blog. What type of information does the blog contain? The tone and style of the blog’s content can give you some great clues about the character of the seller.

Lastly, check the seller’s Shipping and/or Terms page. Make sure they offer a reasonable shipping fee and a returns policy.

3. Check References or Testimonials

If you visit our eBay page, you’ll notice we have 100% positive feedback with over 3000 transactions. I’m very proud of that track record! But it’s not the end of the story. You’ll also find a virtual book containing dozens of testimonials from our clients on our website. If you’re considering buying antique furniture online and you don’t see plenty of customer testimonials on the seller’s website, don’t hesitate to ask for references

4. Ask about Flaws

Maintain a healthy skepticism toward any antiques seller who consistently lists items as being in “mint” or “near-mint” condition. Antique furniture, in particular, generally shows the slings and arrows of wear. In fact, that’s one reason people buy antiques: They love that “lived-in” look!

If the seller provides poor photos or few photos of antique items on its website, be sure to ask for more pictures or a detailed description of the furniture by phone. I’m always eager to describe the scratches and chips on a piece of antique furniture to a prospective customer because I want them to know precisely what they’re getting. Greg always takes multiple photos of every item from various angles to authentically represent the condition of antique furniture on our website. We strive to describe colors as accurately as possible. Because customer satisfaction is our top priority, we want our customers to know that “this buffet’s marble top has a chipped corner” or “that antique clock is missing a finial.” If you’re dealing with an online antiques seller who won’t reveal flaws in his or her merchandise, you might be wary of dealing with them.

This gorgeous Henry II antique French buffet, for example, experienced a shipping mishap so we replaced the original marble top with a similar piece of granite. Note how we state that right up front, in the description. You have a right to know exactly what you’re buying — from us or any other online antiques seller!

I hope this brief guide to buying antiques on the internet helps you shop with confidence. Remember, as the customer you always have the right to ASK. Any reputable seller should be happy to field your questions and help you feel comfortable making a large purchase. I know all of us at EuroLux strive to do just that.

PS: Don’t forget you can now subscribe to this blog by email! Just use the form at the bottom.

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

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