Drew Pritchard on his book, favourite antiques and upcoming ventures
We chat to Drew Pritchard about his career in antiques, his second book and his upcoming ventures
Tell us a bit about your career
I left school with no qualifications and started off as an apprentice stained-glass restorer and designer and gradually moved into salvage and then antiques…. It’s a career that’s spanned 29 years so far and I love it.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I’m happy to travel miles and miles on the road, spend hours looking at websites and auction catalogues, all to find that one item that makes me think, “yes, I love that”. It can be broken and tattered or not need any work at all, but the thrill of finding something I love will always be my favourite part of the job.
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How did lockdown affect your business?
Like everyone else we weren’t able to travel so filming was cancelled and I had to buy everything from photographs and online fairs, which did well for us. We had to close the showroom but were very lucky in that online sales were extremely busy during lockdown both for the UK and overseas and that kept us ticking over.
Which antiques fairs did you miss the most during lockdown?
I love antiques fairs but don’t have much opportunity to go these days. Shepton Mallet is a great fair and I go as often as I can but my favourite is Builth Wells in mid-Wales – not only do they seem to have the best dealers but also excellent ice-cream and, when the sun shines, you can’t beat it.
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What are your thoughts on Instagram & online fairs?
I got involved in Instagram fairs over lockdown and helped promote them too. As time went on they became very slick and professional and there are some good dealers using them. I actually buy quite a lot from online fairs and used them a lot during lockdown and continue to do so now.
What is your favourite antique you have ever bought?
I have bought a pair of chairs that are incredibly rare, so rare that I actually can’t give any more info on them. I couldn’t believe it when I came across them and have them in my home so at least I get to enjoy them. I also have a Thomas Chippendale chair in my bedroom which is in daily use.
What is the most memorable antique you have ever sold?
I’ve not had one standout antique; they always say the next antique is your most memorable, and that’s true.
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Do you find it difficult parting with antiques?
I used to but don’t any more. At some point, I can see that I may auction my entire collection and I have to admit, that will be very hard.
What advice would you give to others starting out in the trade?
Buy cheap, add a little profit and sell it on….. read, read, read auction catalogues, books on antiques, memoirs and go to as many museums as you can to look at art, pottery, furniture… everything!
Why did you decide to write this book?
Friends, family, dealer friends had all said to me for years about writing a book and I didn’t really think about it too much. But I wanted to dispel some myths and put a few things right. More than anything, I hope it inspires people.
Competition time! Win a copy of Drew's book Man With A Van
What can readers expect from the book?
Honesty first and foremost, humour and maybe a few surprises but I’m currently halfway through my second book which I’m incredibly excited about.
What other things have you got in the pipeline?
Well we’re still filming Salvage Hunters and The Restorers on top of which we’ve got a new range of cushions coming out in March/April which I’m excited about (details are on our website), additions to my lighting range, the new book and I’ve been working with Barker & Stonehouse for some new upholstery designs, so there’s lots going on.
More from Drew Pritchard:
Inside Drew Pritchard’s converted Methodist chapel
Drew Pritchard’s sofa collection with Barker & Stonehouse
How I became an antiques dealer
How to be a successful antiques dealer
How to create country house style
The thrill of an unexpected find
Behind the scenes at an antiques fair
How Drew Pritchard got into the antiques trade
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