Why the Love of Vintage Kitchenalia?

This week I picked up this fabulous 1950’s TG Green easimix mixing bowl bowl and got chatting with a lady online who said she had at least a dozen vintage mixing bowls, she just couldn’t resist them.

vintage mixing bowl

1950’s T G Green Easimix Mixing bowl

Now I am like this with rolling pins, although I don’t have a collection (as I won’t allow myself to, not until one day when I find my forever home) but I can’t seem to stop myself buying them! I have had some fab ones including this Lord Nelson ‘Gaytime’ pattern one, ceramic ones are my favourite to look out although to use I still prefer my vintage marble rolling pin that keeps the pastry nice and cool.

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Lord Nelson ‘Gaytime’ rolling pin 1960’s

I must confess to loving most kitchen related vintage and usually have a good stock of it in my etsy shop. I love it for three reasons:

1. The look of it, it is just oh so much lovelier than it’s modern equivalent

2. The practicality. In generally it seems to work better and last long I guess it comes from a time when everyone (well the females at least) cooked and backed everyday. It was made to be used and to last!

3. The history. As you are mixing your Christmas pud in a vintage mixing bowl or arranging breakfast on a vintage tray you can’t help but think of all the people who have used it before. I personally believe there is a little bit of magic that gets into your cooking and makes it taste better if you use vintage implements.

Now don’t even get me started on vintage storage jars!!

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To see my current range of vintage kitchenware and other home ware items why not visit my etsy shop?

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ReChicVintage

Or  my facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/rechicvintage

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Charity shops and Dealers – The ethics of buying to sell on.

As I started my new blog and was sharing my experiences of vintage buying something happened while I was out vintage hunting that upset me a little and left me pondering..

I was in a charity shop the other day browsing for new finds when a female customer struck up a conversation with the woman behind the counter. They were talking across me as I stood in between them by the bric-a-brac and so it was impossible to avoid eavesdropping as I pondered the merits of some 1960’s glassware. The customer was looking at the clothing and complaining about the hike in prices over the last year. The shop assistant was explaining that the item she was looking at was designer, they lady said she ‘knew that but still, the days of picking up a real bargain were gone’. The shop assistant replied that ‘the charity needed the money’. The lady customer said that she blamed the ‘dealers coming in and snapping up all the bargains and pushing up the prices and how could they when it was a charity?’ Of course she had no idea that the quiet lady browsing next to her was one of those very heartless dealers she was talking about! So Anyway the shop assistant made some none committal noises and stayed on the fence and I made my escape feeling a strange mixture of ashamed and indignant.

This little encounter got me thinking about the morals of buying from charity shops to sell on, something I had never really thought about and I have neither boasted about or denied that it is something I do. I once ran a charity shop for a local charity that I believed in with all my heart and far from discourage dealers I was glad to see them as they were far more likely to buy older items and knew the true value of things other people might not. Indeed items the public might see as over priced often seemed cheap to the dealers.

Ironically I have often heard dealers complain about the rising prices in charity shops and many have stopped buying from them altogether. For my part I apply exactly the same approach to charity shops as I do to any where else I buy, i.e does the price plus my margin allow for me to still sell it at an attractive price to a customer, if the answer is yes I buy it and if it is no I don’t. I would NEVER haggle in a charity shop nor would I return goods. On the few occasions I have made really good money out of a charity shop buy I have been back and given a donation to the shop where I brought it although I haven’t explained why.

Anyway here are my thoughts on buying to sell from these shops and how I came to the conclusion that actually in my book it was just fine plus some myth busting at the same time.

a) Prices in charity shops have gone up as a direct result of government funding cuts. With less money coming in though government funding charities now have to operate as businesses to survive. Many are relying on their charity shops for their main revenue. This has nothing to do with dealers buying from them.

b)Dealers need to constantly find new stock so there for they can be dependable customers even when the weather is bad or the time of year is wrong. Contrary to popular belief most dealers do not have access to the back room of charity where they cream off all the goodies. I for one have never had such an arrangement and think very few do. I would go so far as to say that charity shops need the support of dealers to survive.

c)Dealers use their knowledge and expertise to add value to a product and place it in the right market place for maximum price. They may have spent many years making purchasing things in error and losing money on things to gain this knowledge, they probably still do from time to time. d)Many charity shops do now sell at online or physical auction houses. Online auctions have also make it easy to look up values of item which is another contributor to the price rises.They do not generally have the specialist clientele that many dealers work hard to attract with their knowledge.

e)Charity shops get their stock for free and us vintage dealers have to (rightly) pay for it which means we are behind until we sell it and at least in my experience, rarely make more than the charity did on a sale and sometimes we may lose, meaning that the charity shop did indeed get the best price, other times we may not. It is a risky business.

f)Finally just because I am a dealer doesn’t mean I am anything other than another person trying to make a living. I am a single parent of an autistic child and I can not go out to work in a regular job as he does not cope in childcare. What I make from buying and selling is what we use to survive, it puts food in our mouths and clothes on our back. I work very hard to find the right items to sell, things I feel passionate about, I do not just walk in to a charity shop and clear the shelves. I visit 10 or so shops every day and may not find anything at all in a week but still I need to be checking regularly. It is not like us dealers are all seeing and ever present, anyone can pick up a bargain if they are persistent enough. I feel there is plenty for all dealers, bargain hunter and casual buyers. We all want different things which is what helps charity shops work.

To sum up I am a great supporter of charities, I think dealers are necessary part of the income of charity shops and I don’t believe we push up prices in them. I hope that people realise that we are not monsters we are just people trying to make a living and I for one am very proud of what I do and know I go about it with a strong moral code and not without considering others livelihoods be they charity or individual. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments box below.

If you wish to see some of my items or hear more of my ramblings you can find me on facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/rechicvintage

Top Tips For Successful Vintage Shopping Part 2 – Buying at Auctions

A lot of people are fearful of buying at auction or unsure of how to go about it but is is not hard really and can be a lot of fun! There are a few simple things you need to know to get started and then you can buy with confidence.

There are two different types off auctions ‘specialist’ and general. Often the ones you see in films and shows where it is all very hushed and clean with matching seats in between things in cases are specialist high end auctions these can be for anything from fine art to toys and are the place to buy if you are a specialist dealer or collector and the place most likely to get the best price for a quality specialist items.

The other kind of auction is the general auction which in many ways are much more interesting. Here you will have a mixture of items put in by members of the public or dealers and can also include house clearance and bankrupt stock, These types of auctions can seem like organized chaos to the newly introduced, with things piled high from mobility scooters to antique oil paintings. Often crowded and dusty places but they are nearly always highly efficient and know exactly what they have. All items will be catalogued and have a lot number, many lots will have more than one item, all lots will have a lot number attached which will correspond to the number in the auction catalogue.

To begin buying at auction all you need to do is register, you would normally do this on the day of the auction and involves filling in a simple form with your details and handing it in at the desk. In exchange for your details you will receive a bidding card with a number on which you should hold up for the auctioneer to see when the hammer falls and you have had the successful final bid. At the end of the auction you take your bidding card to the desk and they will tally up what you have brought plus costs and give you an invoice which needs to be paid before you can remove any of your items, Most auction houses have a strict deadline or paying and removing purchases which can be anything from a few hours to a few days, do check what the policy of the auction house is and don’t just assume it will be the same as the previous one you went to. Now you have the basics here are my 5 top tips:

1.Buy a catalogue. You may want to save a pound or two by skimping on the catalogue but I can’t understate it’s usefulness (unless you are only interested in one or two items at most). It may give you additional information on condition, age or items included in the lot that are immediately apparent, however do not rely on this use it as a starting point but be your own judge, everything at auction is sold as seen and buyer beware.

2.Take time to view well. Most auction houses give you a day or two to view before hand, make sure you allow adequate time to do so and avoid buying on speck as it may lead to costly mistakes. Look closely at condition, check all the parts are there and that it is what it appears to be, fakes, restoration pieces and pieces that have been cobbled together out of two different pieces can all turn up at auction. Look for items signs of wear that denote age, pick it up and feel it if t seems to light too heavy, to warm or two cold something may be wrong with it, look at fixings are they the same age and condition as the piece?

3.Set a maximum price. It is easy to get carried away at auctions so while you are viewing jot down what you would like to pay in the catalogue next to the piece and stick to it. Whatever you do do not get into a bidding war, you will end up the loser even if you win when you realise you are out of pocket. I sometimes add a plus the amount if it is something I really like to tell myself it is ok to go a little over if just a little more might win it as it is worth it but generally I stick to what I have written down. Word of warning though if you have a bidder in competition next to you keep you maximums out of sight, they may not be above a sneaky peak! Also don’t forget to check and factor in the auctioneers commission and vat before you decide your maximum as that can soon add up, these amounts vary from auction to auction and should be displayed on the wall and in the catalog. Keep a rough running total of what you have spent all together so you don’t have the embarrassment of spending more than you have with you!

4.Make sure the auctioneer can see you. Choose you spot carefully and sit or stand where you can easily be seen when a lot comes up you are interested in. Make a clear signal to the auctioneer by raising you or card or nodding and make eye contact with him or her if possible. Contrary to popular belief you bid if far more likely to be missed than one taken in error by scratching your nose or similar!

5.Keep an eye on your buys and move them as quickly as you can. Once you have paid make sure you have all the lots written down you have won and none you did not buy and hand it to the porter (most auctions have one) who will bring it to you (although not to your car sadly!). Do check the items in the lot are all there, if all is not as it should be raise it with the porter in the first instance. Sadly although most auction goers are honest items are known to go missing, most auction have something in place to guard against stealing but it is still not unknown. One final thing although it has lead to very comical experiences for me in the past – do make sure you have sufficient space in your vehicle to fit it all in especially if you live a way away from the auction house being on the motor way with a stuff antelope tided to the roof may be neither advisable or legal! I hope I have inspired you to check out you local auction house but be warned they are addictive!

See my finds on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/rechicvintage or on  Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ReChicVintage

Top Tips for Successful Vintage Shopping – Part 1 Markets, Car boot sales and Fairs

I have spent almost two decades now making a living from rummaging around in other peoples junk in search of treasure. I often get asked how I regularly find such great items and the answer is it is about 90% persistence. If you make it part of your day to scour the junk and charity shops, part of your week to visit local markets and car boots, part of your internet browsing to look through auction sites and catalogs and part of your life to always have one eye out for a vintage gem then you will have luck too.

Don’t worry though if your love of vintage hasn’t reached these heightened states of obsession (yet at least!) as there are many ways you can get the best out of your vintage shopping even if it is only the most casual and occasional occurrence.

I am going to give you my top tips on buying first of all concentrating on markets and car boots.

1. Get there early. There is no point wondering in at midday expecting to snap up a rare piece at a bargain price if it has been open since 7am. Do your homework, find out what time sellers arrive and if you can be there as soon as you can after that (bare in mind some do not let the public in until stalls are set up though). Although things do get over looked on occasion it is the early bird who has the greatest chance of catching the worm.

2.Be Nice. Smile, be polite and build a little rapport with the stall owner, even have a laugh and a joke, this not only makes things more pleasant for you both but means you are far more likely to get a good price if you decided to haggle which leads me on to tip 3.

3.Don’t be afraid to haggle. Now I find that buyers mainly fall in to 2 categories; those who will haggle and those that won’t! Personally I feel the successful bargain hunter is a mix of both. Personally I would say don’t haggle unnecessarily if they are asking £5 and you know it is worth £50 why beat them down for the sake of it? It is harsh at best. However if something is a little out of your budget then never be afraid to ask for the price to be dropped. Anything from 10 – 25 %  discount would be in most traders comfort zones but asking for 50% off with an aim of reaching about 30% is ok and you never know you might just get the 50% from time to time. If they won’t drop the price after a minute or two of trying then decide if it is worth it or not and walk away if necessary but not just for the sake of it, never take it personally. Traders may of paid to much themselves for an item or be sorely in need of the money to pay bills, never forget they have to make a living too.

4.If you like something keep hold of it. If you see something on a stall you like the look of pick it up while you are thinking about it, give it a good look over for signs of damage and don’t put it down until you have decided it is definitely not for you. Boot sales in particular can be fast moving and someone just may come and buy it while you are thinking about it if you don’t have it in your hand! While you are holding it carry on looking as you may see something you like more or that you can buy to and perhaps get a better price on several items.

5.Have a rummage! Now by this I do not mean go turning out peoples cars before they set up , something I find very rude and would not do myself, but look under the stall and through boxes that are open and out for you to do so. I have picked up things even late in the day using this tip.

6.Be selective. Visit the stalls first who look like they may have something you are looking for, if someone has a collection of modern lampshades you are unlikely to find a Ming vase amongst it so perhaps look on a neighboring stall first and come back to it once you have exhausted the more likely looking stalls. You do just never know though so keep your options open.

6.Try not to get carried away. Less is sometimes more and when things seem cheap it is easy to get carried away and just buy for the sake of it but if you find that missing cup for your Victorian tea set for just 50p but then spend £20 on a boot full of items you have no real use for then the cup ceases to be such a bargain.

7.Transport it home with care. Perhaps take a box and some newspaper with you to wrap delicate items as stall holders often don’t have any wrapping. Having found your treasure it would be a shame to break it on the way home wouldn’t it?

I hope you enjoyed my tips, find me on facebook for more vintage loveliness!  https://www.facebook.com/rechicvintage