New to the likes of the giant IACF antique trade fairs? You're in for a big surprise - IACF Blog
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New to the likes of the giant IACF antique trade fairs? You're in for a big surprise

Posted March 14th, 2017 by Philippa Curphey and filed under New-Comers Guides to Antiques Fairs

''Stroll through the flea-markets, immerse yourself in antique treasures at your own leisure, whilst soaking up the wonderful atmosphere that is vintage heaven'' 

Sounds like the epitome of relaxation and pure pleasure right?  It can be... but a bit of prep will make your antiques hunt a more successful one.  IACF fairs can require brute strength, advanced driving skills and killer negotiating power. Up for the challenge? READ ON and follow my 6 survival tips to turn your trip into a vintage victory! 
1. Dress appropriately
If, like me, you want to be ahead of the game and first in line to beat the fight for that one off piece you've been searching longingly for...then dress for speed. Dig out your sprinting shoes and get ready to pounce - treat this experience like it's a Christmas sale at Selfridges. Believe me there is nothing worse than seeing someone walk off with that antique you know there is only one of in existence. It's what I call 'major objet-envy' and it is not a nice feeling.....

2. Be prepared
Bring some help with you, as an extra pair of hands is always useful to help with lifting, carrying etc. Additionally pack yourself an A.S.K (antique survival kit) which should contain the following: tape measure, map of the fair,  porters wheels for transporting heavy loads, removal blankets for packaging/ protection of your goods and finally not forgetting a selection of high energy/calorific  snacks - you will need to keep your energy levels up at all times!

3. Money talks
Cash in...99 percent of dealers will only accept payment in cash so be sure to bring enough funds with you. Cash-points are available on most sites but are usually emptied by the hoards of buyers within the first 30 minutes. Bureau du change facilities can be found at the larger IACF fairs, but be prepared to pay a fee for withdrawals and bring some ID with you.
Barter for a bargain If you want a good deal, always negotiate- with a smile of course and don't be scared to make a cheeky offer.  Most sellers mark their prices up in preparation for a good barter so just go for it and start LOW,  If your offer price isn't accepted  then hang around until packing up time, make a final offer and the trader will usually knock a bit of cash off for a quick sale

4. Sensor-ship is advisory....
When it comes to collecting you purchases by car, ensure your navigation skills are up to scratch, otherwise you could spend most of your time trying to remember where your goods are actually located! The second challenge is trying to dodge your vehicle through the crowds of people and the sprawling labyrinth of antique stalls without causing serious damage. I'd seriously be banned from these fairs if it wasn't for my pimped up 360 degree camera, sensor-tastic vehicle.  Thank goodness for the IACF ground staff, who are always on hand to help in a car crisis!

5. Size matters
I'm talking car size and boot space, the number of times buyers have missed out on a purchase because of limited room availability in the vehicle (including myself). Using a trailer or van to ensure you have tons of room is definitely a bonus. If logistics is an issue, it's worth asking if the trader will deliver your items for a small fee. Failing that, shipping firms are available on site and they can pretty much arrange storage and shipping anywhere across the globe, which is great if you want to ship internationally or require storage facilities. 

6. Network like a ninja
These markets are a serial mingler's dream. I'm not kidding you, I have actually seen Dr. No parading around such fairs (yes the baddy from that James Bond movie AND he was stroking his Persian cat...).  Throw in a few directors chatting in code language about a major secret film, add some celebs and a few top designers (complete with their entourage) and what you have is a recipe for the best networking platform EVER! 
Never ever will you come across such a weird and wonderful mix of people - It's where Del boy meets Ab Fab but on a large scale.   Buyers and sellers alike, be sure to mingle, rub shoulders and take advice from these experts- you will learn a hell of a lot about style, antiques and design and you'll obtain an address book that even Patsy and Eddie would be jealous of. 

Sounds fun huh?  UP FOR THE CHALLENGE? Check out the IACF website where you can find out more details about the antiques fairs that are taking place all year round across the country.  If you can't make one of their fairs check out IACF's selling site which allows trusted dealers to sell antiques online to customers. HAPPY HUNTING!!

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