Since we’re still newbies at this game, we’ve talked to other retailers, of course, and they all agree that buying is the most fun thing there is (and thank goodness it’s fun because the other parts can be pretty challenging … but not that we’re complaining or anything!).
Finding the perfect, different and unique object – whether it’s the next BIG thing (like the Corcicle) or the one of a kind, original, have-to-have, like the gorgeous console that went home recently with a very lucky client who has a great eye and exceptional taste – is all about the hunt. Of course, in France and Belgium, where we do most of our overseas shopping, the hunt includes the negotiating process, the banter with the vendor, the learning about the provenance, the history and the tell-tale signs of what makes it old, like whether the edges were cut by hand or by machine, and what materials were used to join the corners. And of course what kind of hunt could we have without a delicious gourmet lunch, whether it’s a baguette and cheese on a rock by the side of the road or sitting in a cozy café, with real food like daube provencale washed down with fresh red wine. It’s all part of the hunt, and it’s all part of what we love.
Like finding this wedding chest from Sweden, with the dates of the weddings and the hand written provenance certificate.
Imagine our excitement to see a very similar chest, of the same vintage, in one of Cote de Texas fabulous blogs recently.
We love to imagine the uses for some of our objects after we buy them. Look at these ladders and farm utensils that we spotted at a fair in the Central France a little while ago.
And look at these two trapeze artists, showing off their outstanding gymnastic abilities, to pose for a recent ad! Well guess what … these ladders are now going off to the home of a fabulous interior designer, whose work we have admired for over five years. Yahoo!
Imagine our joy in spotting two twin chandeliers (what are the chances of that?) that just happened to fit beautifully in the twin salon of our favorite Paris apartment. By the way, we always tell our clients this: Do you want two identical chandeliers? Yes, of course! Well then buy a fabulous mirror!
And then there was this magnificent French Regence style mirror, which was missing a few parts and therefore couldn’t be sold in our store without significant repairs. We like the crustiness of it and needed to have it anyway.
Look how fab it looks in the Paris apartment?
Sometimes we don’t actually shop to buy but to get inspired by trends and or other stores, like this wonderful store in Belgium where we love to be inspired.
And can you believe this fabulous display of drawer pulls that we found on the 5th floor of the iconic BHV department store in Paris (that sells everything from nuts and bolts (literally thousands of them!) to $10K designer dresses). This display of eye candy had us mesmerized for hours.
And speaking of eye candy, sometimes it’s not just the merchandise that gets us excited!
So we’ve been thinking about all the fun we have shopping in France and Belgium and have decided that it’s just a little selfish on our parts. In fact, we’ve decided that we really need to share this with our clients. So for the first time ever, we are dipping our toes into a new trip category, and offering two buying trips to Paris next year.
Are we nuts? We don’t think so … The focus is antiques and “objets” and the hunt will take place all over Paris, which is a city we’re pretty familiar with. We think that in five days, you can find just about anything you’re looking for, whether it’s at the Puces (flea markets) or some great stores we know or a twice yearly fair for professionals that we’ll be taking our trip participants to. We’ll help you negotiate with the vendors, and then ship it home. When you’re not busy shopping, we’ll take you to dinner or to a museum or to a sunset cruise on the Seine. So if you don’t find the jewel you’re looking for, we’ll hope that at least you’ve had a great time with the hunt. Or at least the eye candy.
We do, every time.
Vive le shopping!
Ta ta …