Welcome to my latest Sparkle Session, featuring the ladies behind Bourne Antiques. In case you are new here Sparkle Sessions are a series I started on my blog more than five years ago featuring interviews with female entrepreneurs from all industries and walks of life. For example, I have interviewed an author, a shoe designer, a prominent chef, the founder of a skincare line, a fashion illustrator, and more! Today I bring you a fantastic mother daughter duo from Texas. And like a few of my last post Lindsey is a female entrepreneur I know personally, she is also an expat in London, and I have had the chance to get to know here over the past two years through our mutual charity work. however, today is not about that, it is about their incredible business Bourne Antiques where I interviewed both Lindsey and her mom, Kathy. Without further ado:
Kathy: Back in 1981, I was a mom with two young children and in need of an outlet. Antiquing had been a treasured hobby passed down from my parents, and so at first I just sold glass and porcelain but no jewelry. At my first show I had just $700 in inventory but sold out of almost everything, and I began to see the opportunity at hand. So I went shopping. Rhinestones were really trending in Houston at the time but I noticed that the trend hadn’t caught on yet at a flea market in Kansas City. There were lots of rhinestones for sale at very cheap prices and so I bought nearly every one that I saw. By the time I left the dealers there were calling me the Rhinestone Queen. I returned to Houston and was able to sell the rhinestones for a good profit. From that time on jewelry became a mainstay of my inventory and the rest is history as they say.
How are you spreading the word about Bourne Antiques?
Starting small and mostly grassroots efforts as we get our feet under us (selling online). Lindsey has built social media accounts to reach new customers and Kathy leverages word of mouth at our shows that we do each year to transition some of our regular in-person customers online. We just started to collect email addresses to share news via email– we aren’t the best at self promotion.
Our in-person shows are only in Texas (Round Top show twice annually is the main one), but online sales have widened up our geography to the US, and we hope soon to sell globally. That is the main reason we started selling online: to reach more people. And with the current climate, it is vital.
Getting a good deal should always come second to how much you like the piece. If you don’t love a piece, you won’t wear it; even if it was free.
Lindsey: This is so tough because the online inventory is all of my favorite pieces. I selected the things that I would love to have myself so it is bittersweet when something sells. If I had to choose, I would go for the vintage gold lion pendant. It’s hefty weight and the fierce design make one feel powerful, but it’s small enough to be quite versatile. I love versatility. Kathy: The Georgian rose gold diamond necklace (shown below) that we have for a limited time just took my breath away when I saw it. It is hand crafted and truly a work of art. In all my years doing this, I’ve never seen anything close to it. A true knock-em dead piece, and I was able to find it at such a good price that we are able to offer it for a steal (which makes me excited!).
Lindsey: “Jewelry is like the perfect spice. It always compliments what is already there” DVF Kathy: “You can’t cry on a diamond’s shoulder, and diamonds won’t keep you warm at night, but they’re sure fun when the sun shines.” Liz Taylor
We take as much care with our online customers as we do our in-person customers, making sure they are happy and satisfied knowing they got a good deal on a special piece of jewelry. Our customers receive personal attention and we love helping people find things too– only a small fraction of our inventory is up thus far so we have also worked with customers to find something particular they are looking for. And if we don’t have it, we like to hunt for it!
Kathy: The current holy grail piece is platinum filagree earrings with diamond accents from the 20’s. Antique earrings are harder to find because they are a pair. Lindsey: I am just starting to do the shopping for the business and so I am more of a “know it when I see it” type of shopper, keeping certain trends in mind as I go. Over time I’m sure I will have conquests.
Lastly, is there anything you would want to tell my readers?
Lindsey: Buying antique/vintage jewelry from a trusted dealer is the trifecta of shopping: it is very eco friendly, usually gets you a lot for your money (much more than mass retail stores), and gives you something storied and unique. Not to mention that you are supporting a small business! Kathy: On the entrepreneur side of things, take measured chances. You have an idea? Test it out. Tests go well? Figure out the best first step and be relentless to make it happen. Listen to your customers and keep in mind economic and cultural trends.