That's not to say dealers abandon Craigslist altogether or quit scanning the estate sale photos for great pieces in the background. Amazing finds at reasonable prices still show up occasionally, but they're too hit-and-miss to keep a store or a shop on an online marketplace like 1stdibs or V&M stocked. (For instance, V&M suggests that dealers start with a minimum of 60 items with an average price of $1500 and add new stock weekly. Many dealers on 1stdibs list far more items...and with considerably higher price tags.) It's simply too time-consuming to be on the constant prowl for that kind of inventory while trying to keep regular store hours.
So it's necessary to figure out fairly quickly what the heavy hitters in the business do. Fortunately, there are several nationally known dealers here in Dallas whose business practices we have been able to observe. They mainly buy at auction, have a few trusted pickers who bring them quality pieces on a regular basis and have built such reputations for themselves that people are constantly offering to sell them great pieces of furniture.
We're getting there. It's become rarer and rarer for my SIL to go to estate sales or buy off Craigslist. He finds it a much more efficient use of his time and resources to monitor the auctions sites or build relationships with pickers and vintage modern collectors who frequently have good pieces for sale than to drive around town or sit in front of an estate sale at 4 a.m. hoping to pick up something, although he will if he sees something too good to pass up. Here are just a few of the pieces we've bought lately:
|Alvar Aalto wing chair, Model 41|
|Dunbar side tables|
|J. L. Moller armchairs|
|Vladimir Kagan chairs|
We've also bought a Scarpa style coffee table and a really cool chrome chandelier. All these pieces will be making their way to the brick-and-mortar store and online shop as soon as they are cleaned up/restored.