James Broad - Timeline Interiors
James, I was interested in talking to you as a young dealer at the very start of his career! What made antiques an appealing career choice for you and do you think you have what it takes to compete against the giants in the business?
I’ve always had a keen interest in antiques, from the age of 12 I was hunting round car boots and antiques fairs for unusual items, so I think subconsciously this was the industry I always wanted to be in. The move to becoming an auctioneer is what really started my obsession with the antiques world. In my opinion age doesn’t matter, what matters is having a good eye for quality, design and being passionate about what you sell.
The one thing that I quite like about your website, is its ‘antique fair’ feel. You never quite know what you’re going to find, and you have to flick through a variety of pieces, to find the hidden gem. Is it a conscious decision to mix it up and offer something for everyone, or would you say it’s a learning curve and you’re still trying to find your place in the industry?
When I started Timeline I never wanted to ‘specialise’ in one area as I love different pieces from different eras. But some items have certainly been a learning curve; like most antique dealers I’ve made mistakes, some being more expensive than others, but this is all part and parcel, and the best way to learn is to make mistakes, right?
Do you have a favourite dealer who you aspire to, or draw your inspiration from?
I don’t have one particular dealer who I take inspiration from, but follow and admire different dealers for different things. If I had to pick one it would probably be Ray Azoulay, he has some wonderful stock and he takes real consideration and care about his brand, photos and descriptions.
I’m sure you noticed Ray’s interview in the last issue, his advice was to ‘Be discerning, be in love, don’t compromise”. In your opinion, is it possible to be in love with your stock and not compromise, or do you think sometimes when you’re starting out, you just have to buy what you know you can sell?
I do agree with Ray, I’m an antiques dealer because I love antiques. I buy what I like and hope that someone else likes it as much!
I feel like you are trying to be on your best behaviour in this interview and answering the questions rather sensibly. Give me some grit, tell me what puts fire in your belly, who is James Broad?
My passion is good design, whether it’s art, furniture or clothing, if the design’s good I’ll like it. There’s also nothing like going to an auction – the buzz of bidding on an item and the competition with other dealers is something that “puts fire in my belly”. Dealers often underestimate me due to my age but this always spices things up!