Jane Walton - The Hoarde and Decorative Collective

Tell me a bit about your background and how you started in antiques.
I started as a dealer over 20 years ago and can tell anyone how NOT to do it! I had no experience, no knowledge and little money to start such a venture, but I did have a very understanding husband, though I think he changed his mind after a few years of helping me do fairs. I had been working as a legal PA in London for many years and got fed up with sitting behind a desk, which is pretty ironic given I do that a lot now, but at least it’s for myself. I had always loved architecture and I think that is why I was drawn fairly quickly to garden ornament. I was extremely lucky to meet Barbara Israel, one of America’s top garden dealers, fairly early on. She is a genuinely lovely person and we remain friends to this day. She put a lot of trust in me as a young and very green dealer, and I learnt a lot from her and still do.

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Margriet Akkerman - Design Icons and VNTG

Where does your passion for design come from?
I was interested in interior decoration before I discovered ‘design’ and had at some point planned to become an interior designer. But when I met my now-husband Pieter Akkerman, I also met his Mother Wieke who runs her store Vervlogen Jaren, which specialises in quality Mid-century furniture and lighting – particularly Dutch and Scandinavian designs. We went along with Wieke when she participated in vintage trade shows in Brussels, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Ghent. Through her, we got to know more about 20th Century design and got really enthusiastic about it.

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Woo Gilchrist
Jules Brisbane - Antiquesintents & Courtyard Antiques

How long have you had a background in antiques? Have you always been in the trade?
I have always had a love of art and antiques – my first job was at Sotheby’s, and then with picture dealers on Westbourne Grove where I spent most of my time being sent to auctions up and down the country. I moved back to the countryside and started dealing on my own in the early 1980s.

When did you first start organising fairs and how did you get started?

In 2009 a dealer friend of mine told me he had been asked by the events manager at Hampton Court Castle near Leominster if he knew anyone who might be interested in organising an antiques fair to be held in a permanent wedding marquee erected in the castle’s courtyard…

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Karyn Sparks - VE and Molecula

How did the idea of a starting a magazine come about?
I first learnt about the antiques trade in my early twenties whilst working for a newspaper company on an antiques magazine – after four years I was made redundant. By then I had such a passion for the trade that a month later, without any in-depth knowledge of the print industry, I launched my own magazine Antiquexplorer – that was back in 2000.

Most people in the trade pick up quirky items for their homes. What interesting and unusual items do you own?
I have shelves at home laden with brain coral, starfish, a shark’s jaw, boxed butterflies, etc. I also have a caiman (crocodile) the length of my sideboard called Gary, and a smaller one named George (after my granddad), a taxidermy owl called Steve and a turtle. But my house really isn’t as weird as it sounds…

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Woo Gilchrist