Newel’s first participation in an antiques show, Avenue Antiques & Art at the Armory Show, has been an incredible learning experience. While I might be critical of some aspects of how we could have done a better job, the overall effect on the public perception of our method of presentation was superb. We attempted an innovative dramatic approach to displaying a sampling of our diverse inventory, and the startling and confounding reaction of the crowd was in evidence with the number of people who stopped to just take pictures of the booth.
People who go to these shows want to see something new, and most were surprised not only by the over-the-top design but the juxtaposing of 18th, 19th, and 20th century inventory in the 4 vignette setting. Today, style and taste trump connoisseurship. Nobody under 50 would think of living in a period 18th Century French interior, or English, or American, etc. It is not only boring but “style-less” to live in such a narrow formula. Perhaps the only period that this one style formula works is with 20th Century modern and contemporary designs. And if I read some shelter magazines, absolutely nothing in a room, short of an upholstered cushion can work fine. That’s not what I aspire to, nor the crowds that comes to the Avenue Show or any type of antiques show.
While I suppose the goal of doing a show is to sell, sell, sell, our priority was to create an image for our firm and get attendees excited about coming to our showroom and warehouse. After all, it is there that we have our strength in number of styles and periods of decorative arts. The ability to ultimately translate sales from the show will ultimately be measured by visits to the store and web site. The follow through will be the critical measure of our success.
As for the show experience, I think that this one had a certain ambiance that I found to be more to my liking. No overabundance of boring brown wood or intimidating stands. A Winter Antiques Show it was not, but thank goodness for that, as I want to be part of something that isn’t so predictable and lackluster. The mix was good but could always be better and I hope our attempt at being a bit outrageous will be contagious to other dealers and encourage others to be more creative in their presentations.
Now that the show is over, I must contemplate the future of this medium. When, how, where do I attempt to put this effort on again. Perhaps I should wait several weeks to assess the post show responses. Perhaps, but if “The Show is Newel”, then the next big project I will attempt, will be a new state of the art showroom at Newel. Let the 1st floor renovation begin!