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As I sit and survey the last of the shoppers wandering through the aisles of Olympia it is with mixed emotions that I realise that tonight it all comes down. Eleven days of selling and another summer Olympia gives us a feeling of where we are in terms of the general world economy. We have had visitors from Russia, China, France, Netherlands and America amongst others and a lot of them have bought. We have also seen the local collecting community and when they have discovered something on the stall that they have not seen or is well priced they have also bought.

Coming from South Africa one always has to factor in the shipping costs which add to the base cost you as a dealer have to cover before you are in the money. I have learnt that phoning , e-mailing and posting clients tickets and details of pieces that you have, is the way to go. Not only do they feel special but they arrive in a positive state of mind a lot of the time, with the intent to buy. As with most past fairs that I have attended in the UK there is a lot of talk of how in the good old days, business was much easier and dealers made solid profits on all the fairs they did. Today this is not always the case and while the organisers have certainly done their bit, the responsibility will always be with us as dealers to bring in our own clients. The one thing that I was really pleased about, was I now have my own returning clients based in London who have spent with me before and have returned for more. This shows to my mind at least that this fair is really the way to go if you are looking for a central London trading platform at the height of the summer season.

The joy of Olympia is the sheer variety of what is on offer and many dealers at the top of their game show here. They collectively bring a feeling of the fair having the best there is, to buy in this market. Many of them will advise putting aside a few showstoppers that will bring not only media attention but sales as well. I was especially pleased to have my name and stock on show alongside some true giants in the English trade. A case in point is the wonderful silver entrée dish having belonged to Admiral Lord Nelson that My Family Silver had on show. As I said to them not only did it trump my best items, it blew us out of the water. It is a dealer such as this that I feel privileged to be alongside as soaring with eagles is really more my style.

As with the last two Olympia’s there were however a number of crushed expectations and I know how debilitating it is when you talk the talk and there is nobody who will walk the walk with you. The reality at the moment is that we are in the worst period of financial instability since the 1930’s crash and from here on out things will get better. For me doing a fair once a year in the same overseas venue allows a snapshot of the buying public and their habits and I for one can see the first shoots of green reappearing. As the financial guru’s warned us, it will be erratic for some time to come as we re-emerge back into a new normality.

As for Clarion, the organisers, I can only compliment them and it is the small things that really stand out. Dan Leyland and Wing Yan Lee doing postal drops during the fair in the surrounding neighbourhoods really shows a commitment that goes above and beyond. The advertising and PR was in my opinion better than last year and I think the social media platforms driven by Ciara Hinton are in the long run going to help bring in a younger crowd. The ‘Virtual Gallery’ found on the Olympia website really works and I for one sold a piece to a new client who saw it there and flew in from Paris to view and purchase.

Lastly it was the work put in by fellow dealers, one in particular who managed to get the fair mentioned in his local papers. This additional exposure shows the commitment that will ensure we not only ride out the present financial turmoil but will surf the wave when the market picks up speed. I really want to be on that wave and 2014 Summer Olympia could well be it.
How was your Fair this year?