BALANCING OPINION WITH FACT
Do we act like we know the difference?
Look at the pieces and prices below:
PRICING IS HARD
We are free to charge whatever we think a piece is worth - I'm all for Capitalism and the freedom to ask whatever we want.
BUT... Just because something is listed for a certain price doesn't mean it will sell for that. Nor does it mean it really is worth that in our market. We must remember when seeing these listings, that something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
Sometimes people price based on their own emotional connection to an item. Have you ever been to a garage sale and found items that are old and worn priced at retail prices? I have and it makes me chuckle. They priced based the item based on their personal attachment to the item, but as a buyer, we don't have that emotional connection, usually.
Unless of course it brings back a cherished memory or it has some sort of intrinsic value to us personally.
Sometimes people buy things, OK, most of the time, people will buy out of emotion. Have you heard the expression "retail therapy"? But that doesn't mean they will pay the long price.
PRICING & VALUE
We can't always determine what's going to be hot, or considered valuable - for example, MCM. I see MCM as the old stuff my mom used to own. It's just old. Some antiques are the same for me as were to my mom. They are just old junk, unless the craftsmanship and visual appeal is stellar.
Like MCM, pieces are strictly valuable because of a current fad appealing to the current market of buyers.
Other pieces may be considered valuable because of its history, visual appeal, or quality of workmanship.
Sometimes it's just opinion, and fortunately, if the seller's opinion matches up with the buyer's, then bingo, you have a sale.
PAINTD FURNITURE/FURNITURE ART
I DO feel we have undervalued our art. What we do, and if we do it well, we should be fetching top dollar.
Part of the problem is a lack of confidence across the board when it comes to pricing, and part of it is that many have conditioned buyers to pay lower prices because of their paint slapping ways, those who do a poor job and don't put effort into their pieces.
Honestly, I think some people worship things. What do I mean by that? They have this preconceived idea that "things" like furniture and other collectibles cannot be touched and we must look at them as too valuable to do what we want with them, to change them to fit our vision.
FURNITURE IS JUST A THING
Sure, I'll be happy to validate some of the historical value placed on pieces. I would never touch a desk that was used by Abraham Lincoln because of its historical value. But I don't think that's worshiping a thing, it's respecting it's place in history. There are some pristine antiques that in themselves bring us awe in the quality of workmanship and visual appeal. I would not touch those either. That is respect for the talent of the maker and the beauty of the piece.
BUT, other than the Lincoln desk - for I'd definitely say the person who messed with it would be in error, I say "things" are just "things" and they are for our enjoyment. If I own a piece someone else thinks should be left as is, I am within my rights to decide how I want it to be. If I want it left as is, painted or even thrown in the burn pit, it's mine to do whatever. If you think otherwise, you are free to offer me lots of $$$ to take it off my hands and I'm within my right to take you up on it or keep it and do whatever I want with it.
MIGHT YOU DISAGREE?
Sure. You can disagree all you want. But ultimately, it's mine and I can do what I want with it.
Will people make mistakes? Sure. We do suggest every single furniture artist look into the "value" of each piece before touching it.
A few years ago while on a trip, we found what appears to be a very valuable Chinese sideboard that might be worth thousands at a Restore. We still have to look more into it. But originally I bought it thinking I'd paint it. But after just a little bit of looking online and seeing others that looked similar, we thought it might be a good idea to get it appraised before I do ANYTHING to it.
I'm in this business for fun, to be creative, to enjoy what I do and make $ by flipping and mentoring others to do the same. But I'm smart enough to know that the market might prefer to pay me lots of $ for it. I also have respect for history and would not want to change something that is so amazingly crafted or historically significant.
But I still say we ought not to worship THINGS.
The way some people respond to furniture is very ridiculous in my opinion. I see they push their agenda to save every piece they feel is valuable "as is", by trashing the person who owns if they express their desire to paint it or change it in some way. To me that is cockeyed. People are what is important in this life. Sure, advise, and kindly explain your position. It's OK to warn someone that they need to look into the value first. But the brutality I've seen in some people in regard to their opinion about a "thing" is not people centered - it's plain ol' worship of a "thing."
Now don't misunderstand me. I think it's great when someone has a passion for the things that color their world - whether it be antiques, current styles and fads, quality workmanship, style or painted to fit personal preferences. Go for it. Everyone has a style and values different things. It's fine. But it's imperative that we respect the preferences, desires and passions of others - it's about PEOPLE. People are more valuable than things.
I bet I get some push back - but I don't care. Some will take offense over the fact that I don't think changing a piece of furniture that they consider valuable is the end of life as we know it.
We need to support others and kindly educate them as we go along, or if we need to, persuade if we see someone is operating in error. Yet I still say we must realize the difference between fact and opinion. Our opinions are not facts. And if we think they are, we'd better back up our opinion with those facts if we want someone to listen and act on our advice. In the end, if they own it, they get to decide.
THE FACT IS...POSSESSION IS 9/10 OF THE LAW
Apply that SPECIFICALLY to furniture flipping. If you own it. It's yours to do what you want. But I do caution you to be smart about it and be sure you are doing what is best for your family and your business. Educate yourself and then make good decisions. If it seems like I'm repeating myself, I am. In posts like this, the intent is usually overlooked when there is a difference in opinions.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
Feel free to express your opinion in the comments. But be sure to back it up with facts if you think your opinion is a fact. If you'd like to read about what makes an antique valuable in our market, go to this post that I wrote in 2017 that still holds true today: Should We Paint Antiques?
With everything said and done, are you a furniture artist that wants your pieces to stand out and get noticed, fetching a price worthy of the piece? my market can help you with that from brushes that make the job easier to products that will make your pieces shine. After all, it's the attention of others that we are looking for, right? Or is it our own satisfaction of a job well done, art that is beautiful to look at? Either way, check out my market and try out the products. IT's time to create quality furniture art that we can be proud of and will last another 100 years.