Hemswell Antique Centres

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How to become an antique dealer

How to become an antique dealer at Hemswell Antique Centres


The antique market is a lucrative business that trades efficiently in history and nostalgia. As a hobbyist, it can be a fun way to sell collectables collecting dust in your attic. As a professional, it can be an enjoyable and unconventional way to make long-term returns. 

Now is the perfect time to learn how to become an antique dealer. After decades of flat-packs filling up homes, traditional furniture is back in demand. Designers are creating unique interiors with a blend of contemporary wares and centuries-old items. Metallic pieces made from antique brass and copper are also back in fashion: tin was one of Pinterest’s top interior trends for 2019

Where do you start on your path to becoming an antique dealer? From the dos and don’ts to the hows and the whos - read this guide.

How to become an antique expert

1. If you have zero experience with antiques, get a job in the industry. That could be in a shop or centre as a general staff member or at an auction house as a porter, valuer or even auctioneer. 

2. During this time, build up your stock. If you’re reading this, you should have a passion for antiques already. Become an expert treasure hunter and get to all the best buying spots first (find out where antique dealers get their stuff below).

3. Specialise. Which categories appeal to you? Ceramics? Toys? Perhaps you want to go down the oriental route? Find what you love and learn everything there is to know about the area, including who your most valued customer(s) will be. Read antique dealer blogs and magazines, visit online forums, talk to dealers and buyers alike.

Where do antique dealers get their stuff?

Knowing where to find pieces to build an inventory is vital. The most popular places to buy antiques are at antiques centres, fairs, shops, or general and specialist auctions. No dealer wants their reputation tarnished from selling fake goods, but you can guarantee you’re buying genuine, quality antiques at centres such as Hemswell.

The cheaper you can find a quality piece, the more profit you’ll make. Jumble sales, car boot sales and charity shops are also great places to uncover undiscovered antiques, often for pounds and pence. Estate sales are another inventory source for antique dealers, however many items sell at market value, so it’s hit and miss whether you’ll nab a bargain.

How to open an antique store

Thoroughly research how to open an antique store that’s legally compliant and you’ll save lots of time, money and headaches. Hatch a plan and establish yourself as a business - taxes, bank accounts, insurance and all the necessary permits and licences need to be in order before you begin.

The best way to test the water and show you how to sell antique wares in your own store is to sell them in other places first. Set up a stall at an antique fair or loan a table at a flea market. Lease space or a cabinet at an antiques centre, or perhaps consider a combination of them all. You’ll share a part of your profit, but your antiques will be seen by a larger pool of buyers. At Hemswell Antique Centres, these include overseas buyers from 25 countries, private and trade customers such as Beamish Museum, Television Studios, The National Trust, a wide range of boutique hotels and retail stores. Interior designers love us - and so do our antique dealers.

Once you’ve made clear profits and got a solid footing in the industry, market yourself. Learn how to sell an antique and grab the opportunity of online selling. Enquire how to rent space or a cabinet at Hemswell Antique Centres and we’ll give you a guided tour, advise which building would best suit your stock and explain how our dealer dashboard works to start selling with your own web page within our high-ranking website. Hemswell go that extra mile to create maximum exposure for our antique dealers. We are very proactive on our social media platforms and have recently integrated Instagram with our website allowing us to tag products and direct customers back to the website who can then in turn buy your items now.

Online vs in store

The Internet has helped dealers deliver antiques straight to the buyer - cutting out the middleman and their fees in the process. It’s made it easy for anyone learning how to sell antique pieces and created a more accessible marketplace for anyone buying them. 

Still, online antique stores can never replicate the thrill of an in-store trawl. Buyers can’t examine an antique on the web like they can in a shop or centre - and dealing face-to-face with them means you can sell with a smile.  

As Europe’s leading antiques centre, we give dealers a place to showcase their wares to private and trade clients across the world. Our professional, uniformed staff will sell your antiques for you, going above and beyond for our resident dealers. Don’t worry about delivery and logistics either - that’s all done on your behalf at no extra cost.

Read more about the benefits of being an antiques dealers at Hemswell and give us a call for an impartial chat - we’ll help you start your dealer journey. 

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