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INTERVIEW WITH ANTIQUES YOUNG GUN ADAM BENTLEY
Antiques Young Gun Adam Bentley made his brilliant debut this year at the The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, held in Battersea Park, and is now preparing to stand for the first time at the Olympia Art & Antiques Fair (27 June to 3 July 2016) as part of a pavilion of Young Entrepreneurs initiated by the organisers of Summer Olympia. Eligibility to stand on the Young Entrepreneurs pavilion is based on the being in the business for 7 years or less.
Adam is a decorative art & antiques dealer and conservator living and working in London. He specialises in fine decorative European pieces dating from the C17th to the C21st.
Hard working chairman of Antiques Young Guns, Joe Trinder, sat down with Adam to ask him about his experiences at Battersea, his plans for the future, and to see if he had any insights or advice to share with fellow Antiques Young Guns and trade professionals who may be considering standing at similar events.
Antiques Young Guns: Summarise your first time at The Battersea Decorative Fair in three words.
Adam Bentley: Exciting, challenging, surprising.
AYG: What about the experience did you find most enjoyable?
AB: I've been an art and antiques conservator in London for over 10 years, Battersea was my first real experience selling to the public (having only previously done Royal Horticultural Halls Fair a couple of times which is an entirely different league). It was incredible meeting new and interesting people, both buyers, dealers and of course those who simply appreciate beautiful things.
The response from my peers and the public really made the leap of faith and work that went into it feel worthwhile and was a big relief.
Selling things. Not in a mercenary way but there’s definitely a thrill to someone realising the beauty and value in something that you’ve owned or lovingly selected to exhibit at a fair and then passing all of its history and worth on to them and seeing them walk away feeling delighted in buying from you.
AYG: What advice would you have for fellow young colleagues in the trade considering standing at Battersea for the first time?
AB: Do it! Take the leap but go into it with open eyes. Listen politely to the advice you are given, follow your own instinct and taste to ensure that you are original and authentic, but balance this against research for what is commercial and what will ‘work’ in a commercial fair environment. Ultimately if you know what you are selling and have a genuine belief and passion for your objects, that knowledge and appreciation is infectious, making it so much easier and more likely that you will close a deal.
Logistics and planning - don’t underestimate all the variables. Think through and write down everything you need to achieve, everything you want to achieve and then produce a plan - talk it through with someone, perhaps from outside the world of antiques to stress test it.
The big no-no - don’t invite all your friends (or family) in the first few days! Having a small gathering on the stand sounded like a fab idea to celebrate my first foray into dealing before the fair and it was lovely to share it with them but ultimately you’re there to do business and talk to the buying public and trade and after all, friends tend not to buy.
Adam also spoke in detail about some of the challenges he had to overcome in standing for the first time at Battersea, how he is feeling about his upcoming debut at Olympia, and his plans for the future. To read the full interview, visit Antiques Young Guns.