Woowee! Summer is here with a vengeance! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post- between a wedding in Colorado and getting our house and store ready for Track I have been flat out. My mom was not exaggerating when she told me renting for track is not for the faint of heart, but dear Lord! And of course all of this during the hottest summer on record… Did I mention we don’t have central AC? Oh, fun. As of today, we are moving to the lake for 6 weeks and it couldn’t come sooner!
Anyway- enough whining about that. Now I’m whining about Brimfield! For those of you who don’t know or haven’t been, it is a HUGE antiques market that is held 3 times a year, usually in May, July, and September. And when I say HUGE, I mean it. It is daunting. Fields and fields of tents and dusty, rusty stuff that is exciting at 11 AM and exhausting by 3 PM, especially when it’s 95 degrees out! By the time we had loaded the truck, I was hot, sweaty, and although I had on flip flops, it looked like I had on dirt socks. Nice mental image, eh?
We always seem to buy the heaviest, most unwieldy things possible when it’s just us girls, which makes loading and unloading next to impossible… note to self: buy smaller stuff!
We’ve definitely scored in the past at Brimfield, but it definitely seems to have become a retail market rather than a place to find great deals on obscure old pieces. First of all, this time, buying for the store was almost next to impossible. We at Silverwood, a “bricks and mortar” store, wouldn’t ask the kinds of prices that many of the vendors were asking! There is no way we could make any money on most of what we liked. We wouldn’t even break even- so much of what we saw was well above what we would even ask for retail. I mean, those funky, amateur paintings of landscapes and portraits of dead strangers that you see in cool, eclectic cottages featured in Cottage Living are very cute when hung together well, but not $800+ a piece cute! These are unsigned, undated, unframed paintings, in questionable condition, that someone’s Aunt Milly painted after her retirement. They would go for $15 at a country auction. Brimfield has certainly not been a dealers’ market for a while now, maybe never has been, but I felt that many of the venders were counting on the very wealthy, like the people that come avec Interior Designer, where an item’s true market value is not really a factor. Power to ‘em, I guess, but too bad for us.
Which brings me to my second point. Every year there seems to be more and more of these pretentious “industrial chic” booths, where they expect you to swallow a $1500 price tag on a set of old, metal government- issue filing cabinets from the ’70′s. Really?? But, whatever. They are cool, I guess. It’s just frustrating to think that they were probably bought at some city auction for $30. There was a very cool booth with very cool old leather chairs. They were in pretty rough shape on closer inspection, but they looked amazing all lined up in his booth together. I figured, “hey, MAYBE I’d be interested for $500″, but even that would be pushing it…. they started at $1,400! Old, crusty upholstered chars! Plus, his “holier than thou” attitude did not help my opinion. You’re there to sell, no? Be nice. Be helpful!
Again, beautiful booth, but not sure that fish is old and I don’t know how much he was because there didn’t really seem to be anyone readily available for questions. Looks cool though!
However, a lot of these booths aren’t even selling old things anymore- they are just made to look old. Now, before you yell “pot calling the kettle black” on me, as we sell many of those sorts of things at Silverwood, I am just irritated that so much of that is at a fair for “antiques”! It’s very confusing to tell what is truly old and what was made in China last month- especially because I found the prices to not vary much between the two.
In any case, we did finally find a few gems, Mom and I had a lovely day off from the store together, and the Bud Light we shared in the shade of the “food court” was delicious such a blistering afternoon. All in all, although not a great day to do business, a fun trip. I will be going again, I just hope that some of these vendors start selling to “the people” again, not to the small, select group of people that can afford to buy at their lofty asking prices.
Mmm… cider doughnuts.
Adorable custom made metal dresser that was not crazy at $600. I would not be able to buy for the store at that price, but if it were for myself, it’s fairly reasonable.
This tent was probably my favorite. I believe it was done by several dealers from New Hampshire that do a their own market every month. I will certainly be checking that out!
Cutest wicker set! (Same cute NH tent.)
Hand-made buttons in the same NH tent. Great color!
My mom has a wicker “Haywood Wakefield” fetish. This chaise with the brass corners was amazing, but in the end we decided against it because of the odd incline. You wouldn’t really be able to sit up to read or sip your cocktails, which is so very important when lounging, darlings!