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The Business of Antiques

Business & Economics Podcasts

I'm Toma Clark Haines, host of The Business of Antiques podcast. I'm on a mission to make antiques sexy, modern and fun... and PROFITABLE!


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I'm Toma Clark Haines, host of The Business of Antiques podcast. I'm on a mission to make antiques sexy, modern and fun... and PROFITABLE!






Sparking Change with Katie Treggiden | Season 4 Episode 9

In today's episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co and founder of The Republic of Toma, talks with Katie Treggiden – author, journalist, podcaster, keynote speaker, and the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a membership community and online learning platform for designers, makers, craftspeople, and artists who want to become more sustainable. This episode is a journey from Katie’s idyllic childhood growing up in Cornwall, surrounded by beaches, moors, and the countryside, going fishing after school on sunny afternoons and having barbecues on the beach for tea to the bright lights of university and then a career in advertising. However, with the disillusionment surrounding what the career in advertising was giving – as Katie puts it,“the simultaneously devastating and the best thing that had ever happened” her at that time in life, and the sudden loss of her job due to the closing of her firm’s London office; this is when Katie Treggiden really started living the design writer’s life she had dreamed of as a child. Katie’s love for design was the spark that kindled her love of writing, and her severance package bought her six months to makeover her life into that of a full time writer and do that, which she did! Katie’s story, at times, seems straight out of a movie. Her passion and perseverance are an inspiration to listeners who are on their own journeys launching their dream careers in design and antiques. When Toma saw Katie Treggiden’s latest book title–Broken, and the subtitle Mending and Repair in a Throwaway World, she knew she must have this longtime colleague and friend on The Business of Antiques podcast. Broken “celebrates 25 artists, curators, designers and makers who have rejected the allure of the fast, disposable and easy in favor of the patina of use, the stories of age and the longevity of care and repair. Accompanying these profiles, six in-depth essays explore the societal, cultural and environmental roles of mending in a throwaway world.” “I think the environmental crisis brings up a lot of feelings and emotions and you can’t create a space that is addressing the environmental crisis without holding space for those emotions you know I talk a lot about,” Katie explains. “Defiant hope and that’s not about passive optimism – that’s about waking up every morning and choosing to believe in a better world and acting accordingly but you can’t do that by bypassing the fear, right? You’ve got to hold space for the fear and hopelessness and the defeat that we all feel and then enable people to move through those feelings and empower them with what they need to take action.” This episode leaves listeners empowered and inspired to carefully and thoughtfully craft their own best lives harnessing their defiant hope to spark meaningful change as Katie Treggiden has. Learn more about Katie, Making Design Circular, tackling the environmental crisis, and more at


Going the Extra Mile With John Hansord | Season 4 Episode 8

In today’s episode, Toma Clark Haines – CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co and founder of The Republic of Toma ­­– speaks with a legend in the industry, John Hansord of Hansord Antiques. John runs his family business located in Lincolnshire and has his showrooms in a gorgeous farmhouse that dates from 1693. John is on the vetting committees for some of the leading antique fairs in the UK. In addition to selling to interior designers all over the world, he’s a member of BOTA, which is the British Antique Dealers Association as well as LAPADA. He has also sold to a variety of museums, and the type of inventory John specializes in are museum-quality pieces. Not only is it amazing that you have the opportunity to buy from one of the leading experts in the UK, today you have the opportunity to learn from John. Like many antique dealers, the pandemic led John to ask if they could do business a different way. Toma believes the most important question you can ask yourself if you own a small business is “Could we be doing it in a different way?” She believes when you start asking yourself that question, that’s when real change starts to happen because you open your mind up to what is possible. Toma and John discuss the challenges and triumphs in asking yourself this question. John shares insight into serving clients in a way that builds rapport. His tendency to go the extra mile with his clients is an inspiring example for those just starting out as antiques dealers on how to best connect with clients. John’s personal touch is just another element that sets him apart. “I think one of the greatest things about our job is that every day is different whether it’s the buying or the selling. I’ve been doing it for thirty odd years and I still discover new things I’ve never seen.” While others anticipate retirement, John finds it hard to imagine wanting to retire. “I love what I do!” Filled with fascinating history of this family business and what it entails, how to go above and beyond in customer service, sourcing museum quality antiques, and living a life you have no desire to retire from, this episode is as legendary as John is. For more information on John Hansord and his incredible antiques, visit


A Two-Step with Tiffany Farney | Season 4 Episode 7

In today's episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co and founder of The Republic of Toma talks shop with public relations consultant, Tiffany Farney, owner of Digital Thread Consulting, a boutique public relations firm specializing in the art and design industry. Tiffany's company takes a unique approach in that they specifically focus on serving mission-based clients. This does not mean exclusively non-profits but businesses that have core values, core ideas, and a vision for their company. Tiffany is preaching to the choir as this is one of the basic tenets Toma shares with her antique dealer mentoring clients, as well. In her PR work, Tiffany stresses the importance of being engaging, making connections, and knowing your company's mission and vision, which ultimately creates your business' story. "I am your storyteller. I am your narrator. I am the one sitting by the campfire telling your story in the best possible way! I can tell the words, but I cannot make up your story." The two deep dive touching on subjects such as diversity, equity, & inclusion, the necessity of seeking out experts and information for yourself, how to determine what is important for your company, the power and importance of social media, as well as tips and strategies on how to take your social media audience on a journey. Both originally hailing from Oklahoma, there may even be a few powerful points involving two-stepping to George Strait, and how the Taylor Swift Heiress Tour is 1000% worth it! They speak of the profound benefit of finding a community that provides a safe space to connect with each other and get advice from people who truly understand where you are coming from ­– which is what this episode makes you feel like. You feel like you are in the room with friends giving each other a safe space to be their authentic selves. Making the decision to start with a PR firm is a very specific point in a company's journey and not everyone may be at that point, but Toma wanted to introduce you to Tiffany Farney for when you are ready. In the meantime, this episode is full of absolute gems to get you to that point! You can find out more about Tiffany and Digital Thread Consulting at and follow her on Instagram @digitalthreadconsulting.


Business Strategies with Simon de Harlez | Season 4 Episode 6

In this episode of The Business of Antiques, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co and founder of The Republic of Toma, visits with Simon de Harlez of Deulin Antiques. Simon is a Belgium antiques dealer who runs his store from his family’s 18th century castle, the Château de Deulin. Even after all of Toma’s travels, Deulin remains one of her favorite chateaux to this day. Simon is a dealer she has personally bought from, someone she considers a friend, and who she honestly considers a role model for antiques dealers entering this industry. Simon specializes in what he loves: Scandinavian antique furniture. This is the first rule - but what you love and you can sell it because you have passion. Over the last three seasons, Toma has repeatedly emphasized the need for dealers to diversify their income streams, stressing the importance of selling in multiple ways. Simon had diversified his antique shops income streams. He has created a comprehensive antiques business that Toma deems worth a case study for dealers looking for various revenue streams. Not only do they showcase and sell antiques out of their Château de Deulin and online, but they also rent it as a bed and breakfast, allowing clients and customers to come and stay overnight, touring their warehouse and shopping on the grounds as well as enjoy a comfy stay. They sell at deballages in the South of France and also host an onsite antiques fair that not only benefits their antiques business but also lifts up other dealers in the region. Simon’s father continues to work with him, restoring furniture and being an integral part of the company. Listen in to discover even more ways this business sells antiques. This episode is full to the brim not only with solid business strategies to help antiques dealers learn to diversify their income streams, but also incredible sourcing tips, the advantages of buying straight from the dealers place (or Chateau in Simon’s case), madcap tales of Toma’s driving escapades, and the fabulous why and how of once you become an antiques dealer, you’re likely to stay one for the rest of your life. You can find more about Simon de Harlez, shop from him, or set up your own adventure to his chateau through his website or follow his Instagram @deulinantiques. For more information specifically about the chateau, go to:


A History Lesson with Robert Schreuder | Season 4 Episode 5

In this episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, sits down in her home in Venice with long-time friend Robert Schreuder. Robert is a Dutch dealer who began as a lawyer, but after 6 years working at a law firm thought, “Well, this is not all there is in life.” After studies in Leiden, Bordeaux and Bologna, alongside his legal work, Robert threw himself into building an antiques business from scratch. He has created an extraordinary collection specializing in the Grand Tour and Empire period. Toma and Robert discuss the Grand Tour and the antiques that come from this tradition. “When you are an antiques dealer, you sell an object, but you sell much more. You sell the story around the object. You sell emotion.” Robert explains. One of Robert’s specialties is in Grand Tour souvenirs and this niche is foundational to Robert’s business. Toma and Robert deep dive into the power of niche–how bringing your passions into your business is not limiting your success but actually fine tuning it. People recognize your brand. They remember you. When you are enthusiastic about what you are selling, that is actually what attracts your clients. The two touch on important topics such as how the value changes depending on where you buy it, who you’re selling it to, what your brand is, what marketing you have around your brand, and how these things determine what you’re able to charge for the object. These are all nuances in the industry that help a fledgling dealer find their place in the chain. While many dealers Toma speaks with are running multi-generational businesses, Robert has built his business from the ground up and offers unique insight to individuals breaking into the business. This episode is a history lesson, an antiques dealer how to, and a warm conversation among friends all wrapped into one action packed hour. For more information on Robert Schreuder and his antiques business, go to or follow him on Instagram @grand_tour_antiques_amsterdam


Every Home is a Stage With Cathy Whitlock | Season 4 Episode 4

In honor of Toma’s 50th Birthday we celebrate the release of her 50th podcast episode. They say that all the world's a stage and for Cathy Whitlock, the decor of that stage is the very best part. In this episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, enjoys visiting with one of the most glamorous women she knows, someone she gladly counts in her inner circle tribe of fabulous women – Cathy Whitlock. Cathy is a book author, freelance print and digital features writer, editor, international speaker, content developer, and the list goes on. Her passions for travel, film, and design are reflected in all of her work. Cathy shares, "My motto is to go in the direction of things that you are fascinated by, that interest you, that are your passion. And for me, since I was a little girl, I've always been into movies. My parents took me to Gold Finger at like the time I was eight, I had a mad crush on Sean Connery. I have always been a big movie goer. I love to write, and I love design, and I've just kind of cobbled it all together and made a career." Always a go-getter, Cathy moved straight to NYC immediately after college and went to work for Universal Pictures in marketing and PR. When years later, they moved everyone to the west coast, she stayed because she was dating somebody at the time. After she got married, everyone was always telling her, "I love your apartment. I want you to help with mine." And she realized she wanted to be a designer so she went back to school in NYC and got a degree at Parsons in Interior Design and became an Interior Designer. "Then years later, I was standing in a Park Avenue apartment in this woman's place, and she was going on and on about this movie and how she wanted the apartment to look like the movie set. And a lightbulb went on in my head and I thought 'film and design' – so related and I started writing about it and I pitched Traditional Home an article and they gave me eight pages, which kind of launched my career, and then I got a cover story, and then Harper Collins, my editor, saw it one day in a news stand and gave me a call and I got a book deal. So that's kind of how it all happened." Toma's intuition has proven to be a solid guide yet again in bringing to the "podcast table" another mind with a unique perspective but brilliant business insight for antique dealers. The two creative women delve into the world of antiques from a completely different jumping off point illuminating unique and innovative avenues of earning potential for dealers around the world. Their discussions about antique shopping, the absolute dream that is the Paris Flea Market, Hermes scarves, the power in choosing the lifestyle you desire, and the magic of Chintz will wrap you up in their mysterious Scorpio sorcery. To learn more about Cathy Whitlock, be sure to check her out at, Instagram @catwhitlock and her books – wherever books are sold.


Adjusting Her Sails with Tressa Mills | Season 4 Episode 3

Serial Entrepreneur and Antiques Dealer Tressa Mills of Lakeshore Event Center is a master at one of the most valuable skill sets that exist for those working in the business of antiques. "Tressa artfully adapts,” Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, explains of her consulting client. Years ago, Tressa signed up for one of Toma's free hour-long phone consultations and then attended one of her Antique Dealer Training Events in NYC. From the very beginning, Tressa made an impression. As Toma has happily followed Tressa's career, she has witnessed and taken note of the grace and style with which Tressa adapts her antiques business. Like a sailor anticipating the changes in the wind, and the shifts of the tides, Tressa artfully adapts. This is the single most important skill set an antiques dealer can possess. On this episode of The Business of Antiques, Toma and Tressa talk about the journey that has been Tressa's fascinating second career. After selling her successful business in the food service industry in West Michigan and taking a two week retirement, Tressa followed her heart to the business of antiques. Signing herself up for an intense three years self-trained "antique college" in which she sold in markets, booths, auctions, and always experimenting, finding what worked and what didn't - she moved forward with her new learned information. After those three years, she purchased "the best antique store in west Michigan." She spent the first five years evolving it from where it was into all that she believed it could be and thoroughly enjoyed her years working with the amazing antique dealers who sold with her. But as we all know, the winds have certainly changed over the past several years, and those left standing are those who have been able to shift their sails. Once again, Tressa has done so artfully. Tressa's "best antique store" has adapted and shifted to fill a gap in the industry that Tressa saw. Tressa is filling a niche by seeing the need for an auction house operating somewhere between the top auction houses and the low end ones. Following the death of her mother and the downsizing of her father's estate, Tressa realized the sacred privilege in helping others re-home their family treasures. Listen in and learn from the fascinating journey of Tressa's business. Hear how Tressa confronted her fear of social media from a time when she asked Toma, "Can I just show my grandchildren? Do I have to show my face?" to the social media rock star that she now is. Spoiler alert: the secret is having fun – crazy, crazy fun! Which is how Tressa explains her brand new venture with Lakeshore Event Center – West Michigan's Premier Auction House where alongside of many of the antique dealers who have been working with her over the years, they have developed an exclusive higher end, curated, auction that they do on the Live Auctioneer platform where they host one auction a month and it is indeed crazy, CRAZY FUN! Tressa loves the "amazing and magical" place where the wind has taken her and has found joy yet again in antiques and walking alongside people to help them find the right new homes for their family's beloved treasures. An episode full of insight, wisdom, and the importance of following your heart. Lakeshore Event Center Live Auctioneers Instagram @LakeShoreEventCenter


Hadley Keller - A Voice for Antiques | Season 4 Episode 2

Toma Clark Haines CEO of Antiques Diva & Co and Founder of The Republic of Toma, clearly believes that antiques are an essential element in the interior design industry, so whenever a leader in design writing champions antiques, Toma takes notice. Hadley Keller is one of those champions. She is one of the writers that most promotes antiques in the design world. Hadley Keller is a long term design writer and editor, having worked for many of the leading publications in the industry. She got her start at Condé Nast under the editorial direction of Tom Wallace and learned so much from him. When he left, she went to work for architectural Digest which was then run by Margaret Russell. Under Russel, she moved from a Market Editor to the digital side and finally helped to create AD Pro. She was also lucky enough to experience working at House Beautiful where the print side and the digital side were more intermeshed. She is currently serving as the Director of Editorial and Community Engagement at Design Leadership Network ­­– a membership community of top architects, interior designers, landscape specialists, and design professionals. DLN is probably best known for the Annual Summits they do every year in a different design capital in which they provide a week long combination of wonderful inspiring speakers and behind the scenes tours immersing their audience in the design scene of that city. Last year was in Rome. This year in October, they will be in Mexico City. DLN provides a unique opportunity for peer to peer networking among leaders in the design industry. In today's episode, Toma and Hadley discuss their favorite fairs, stores, vendors, and markets around the world, including some in the U.S. as well as some "must follow" Instagram accounts in the world of antiques and design and how Instagram can make an impact on your business for the better. A few secret resources you don't want to miss just may be revealed in the mix as well. And of course, as a writer – Hadley shares one of the antique dealers best secret weapons in selling antiques – the power of story. Her insight will inspire antiques dealers to remember the romance surrounding the objects they have in their collections and help them better know how to share those stories in order to maximize communication and benefit their businesses. And finally, a bit more of how DLN is a potential resource for antiques dealers as well. Full of fast-talking brilliance, you will want to have a pen and paper handy to take notes. For more information on Hadley Keller and DLN, you can check out and as well as follow her on Instagram @hadleykeller and DLN @designleadershipnetwork.


Synchronicity with Robert Passal | Season 4 Episode 1

Some would argue that the world of design needed Robert Passal in it, and the universe was vested in making it happen. Toma Clark Haines, CEO of the Antiques Diva and Co and Founder of The Republic of Toma happens to be one of them. In our welcome back from the summer episode, Toma has the sheer joy of interviewing one of her design heroes and dear friends, New York Luxury Residential and Commercial designer, Robert Passal. She’s considering hanging a bronze plaque in her guest bathroom saying “Robert Passal Showered Here” after his last trip to visit her in Venice. Follow along as the two discuss their origin stories and the role The Artist's Way played in starting their businesses. Robert became an interior designer after “Doing” the book and Toma launched “The Antiques Diva.” In both instances, history was made. They talk about the importance of classic traditional design as a foundation for interior design and then how the next step in design (and life) is trusting your instincts. Toma talks about how she believes Robert's ability to "trust his gut" has been central to his success as one of the popular interior designers in America. Whether you are trying to grow a thriving business as a designer or an antiques dealer, this episode is filled to the brim with advice that will help you take your business to the next level. Toma and Robert discuss the very fine balance one must strike when learning how to profit in the design world. Other topics include: the thrill of the hunt, how relationships are key in this industry, and the often overlooked bottom line. And if you stay with them until the end, you will be rewarded with a very special birthday story and how "for $18 bucks, you can become anything you want to be." This is not an episode to miss. It is truly a treasure trove of terrific business advice. For more information into the world and design of Robert Passal, you can check him out at or follow him on Instagram @robertpassal.


Get Schwung | Season 3 Episode 21

In today’s podcast, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva and Co, visits with Rudy of Collected by Schwung, a wholesaler in High Point, North Carolina, and known by many as Schwung Home. Collected by Schwung is “a creative studio with the heart of a collector and the hands of a maker. They imagine, design, build, and gather an endlessly evolving family of desirable objects that bring energy, warmth, and pleasure to personal spaces of every kind. They are obsessive accumulators—of objects, stories, and people. They’re constantly growing their unique archive of useful, whimsical, and beautiful pieces that have lived—and will live—for years and generations to come.” This episode is chock full of the secrets of the antique-sellers universe. Self-described as “passionate creatives and obsessive collectors,” they buy in France, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, and Chechnya. They then restore the items in Poland and ship them to their 60,000 square foot show house in an old hosiery mill in High Point, North Carolina where they sell these unique treasures to designers and industry insiders. A born entrepreneur, Rudy got his start when he sold ice cream in Antwerp on these special tricycles he made. He was selling ice cream in the antique district when he became captivated by the antique stores and what he was seeing. He began interacting with the dealers and listening to their stories. He became so enraptured with the world of antiques that he ended up selling the ice cream tricycle business and buying into one of the antique stores. Schwung has 25 people involved in making the magic happen, but Rudy and Dominique handle all the purchasing. “The purchasing part is always the biggest success of whatever happens after,” explains Rudy, and Toma enthusiastically agrees. “The first criteria when I purchase something is if I really, truly want to have that piece for myself—if I had it in five years, would I still be happy with it? This automatically transfers to your audience. The pieces that you curate—they tell the right story. They have the right quality to find a new home.” Rudy and Dominique have done an amazing job of bringing the European experience stateside and then elevating it beyond what you see in Europe. “They truly take it to the next level—it is destination shopping at its best. You must make the trip to visit Schwung Home in real life. There is nothing else like it in America,” Toma encourages her listeners. They have worked hard to create a space where they want to be and you will too! Rudy and Dominique not only sell exquisite antiques, but they create lighting fixtures that are truly out of this world. “We’re collecting the antiques and creating the heirlooms of the future. Dominique was a jewelry designer that is now a designer of lighting. After all,” says Rudy, “Lighting is the jewels for the home.” Join Toma and Rudy for a lesson in buying, collecting and creating. Learn the photography tricks that make their antiques online as close to reality as possible for their buyers. And listen in to absorb a wealth of essential industry success strategies. When Toma first entered their showroom in High Point, it took her breath away and she had one thought: “Now this is how we do it!” If you have a passion for antiques and a desire to learn and grow your antiques business, you will not want to miss this episode!


Be Your Best Self with Friar House | Season 3 Episode 20

In this episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of the Antiques Diva & Co., visits with Victoria from Friar House Antique Jewellery. Victoria is not only a fashionista whom Toma admires, but she specializes in antique engagement rings, antique diamond rings, and Art Deco jewelry. Friar House sells to many traders all over the world and has been established within the antique jewelry trade for 25 years. They opened their retail shop in December of 2004, situated in the small historic town of Battle, England. Battle played its part in the course of English History, and it is where the famous 1066 Battle of Hastings took place. Friar House itself is a 17th century shop house dating from 1623 and is the perfect backdrop and home for the exquisite jewelry Victoria painstakingly curates for their collection. Victoria has bought and sold thousands of pieces all over Europe and the USA, selling at international jewelry trade fairs. Victoria truly believes that you never stop learning. In this episode she shares a wealth of knowledge she has learned on her jewelry journey. Friar House was one of the first antique jewelry online sellers in the UK. It is this progressive approach to selling, antiques along with her authenticity and style, that made Toma want to interview Victoria. “Whatever you’re doing, you need to be authentic & true to yourself,” Victoria encourages Toma and the listeners. “Jewelry is so symbolistic. It sends messages and is meaningful. Jewelry is so significant. It has an emotional attachment.” When people are buying antiques, they are not just buying an object – they’re buying a story. “There’s something strange about antiques,” says Victoria. “Antiques choose you! You have to let the piece choose you.” Antique jewelry is so unique and one of a kind that it is not for everyone, but, if you’re looking for a spectacular Art Deco, completely restored or refurbished jewelry that has patina and personality, then Friar House just might be the place for you. While they are known for their extensive range of Art Deco and vintage engagement rings, they also have a large selection of eternity rings, gemstone jewelry, including pendant, earrings, and bracelets suitable for all occasions. Toma and Victoria discuss all of this magic as well as the power of knowing your client and being able to say no when it’s not right. The episode is overflowing with inside tips such as Instagram strategy, what makes a business work, the importance of being comfortable in your own skin, and how anytime there is strife in the world – there is an opportunity in business. To find out more about Victoria and the work she is doing at Friar House Jewellery. Follow them on Instagram @friarhouse_antiquejewellery or visit their website: . SPONSOR - Get Ready to Be Diva-ed - Diva Education that is!!! We’re hosting an Antiques Diva Educational Retreat Join your hosts Toma Clark Haines - CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co and Gail McLeod, VP Antiques Diva & owner Antique News & Fairs for learning the Business of Antiques. When: OCTOBER 2-6, 2023 Where: You’ll be based at Hemswell Court Hotel each day visiting world renowned antique fairs, centers and dealers nearby Sunday 1 October, 2023 Arrive England and check into Hemswell Court Hotel Welcome drinks at 6pm courtesy of The Antiques Diva. * As we anticipate jetlagged guests - dinner at...


Toma Talks at The Point HPMKT | Season 3 Episode 19

Today's episode is a little bit different in that Toma would like to share with you a talk she gave that was recorded live at The Point at High Point Market. While interior designers continue to face an uncertain supply chain, they are turning to antiques as a solution more and more. By sourcing and warehousing antique inventories, designers have the opportunity to build a storehouse of unique objects that not only please clients but increase profit margins. In this episode, join Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co - the world's largest antiques touring company, and Interior Designer Andrea Hysmith for a lively discussion on how the antiquities marketplace can be utilized by interior designers for business growth, offering an actionable plan to increase profit margin by adding sourcing and warehousing to your business model. They discuss the basics of how to source and ship antiques globally and various pricing models for antiques. As Toma introduces the episode, you will notice a slew of sounds around her because, in an effort to meet her phenomenal podcast producer Jason Perrier's request for a podcast this week, she recorded her intro at Newark Airport on route home from Highpointe Market where she has been speaking on The Business of Antiques. While at High Point, Toma led a couple of tours of the Antique and Design Center, where she also looped people around the Highpoint Market grounds taking them to some of the outer antique dealers that are not as easily located. She sings the praises of a great new antiques warehouse called Odette, as well as one that's been a long-standing fabulous dealer called Shwung Home. Toma plans to have both of those dealers on a podcast coming up. Toma also shared this via Instagram Live, and this is the converted file, so the sound quality is not going to be as great as it usually is. If you would like to see it as an Instagram Live, you can go to @TheAntiquesDiva or her other instagram account, @RepublicofToma. Toma felt like the conversation was really relevant so she wanted to include it on the podcast in an earnest effort to continue to provide you with regular content even when she is traveling and a little limited on time for her regularly featured content. We hope you enjoy this episode. This post is sponsored by our Antiques Diva Educational Retreat:


Aidan Gray–Leveling Up! With Carissa Tarver | Season 3 Episode 18

In this episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, talks with Carissa Tarver, whose delightful demeanor and excellence in service in her role in Customer Service and Sales for Aidan Gray Living is invaluable to the company. Carissa is a lovely face to the company and her enthusiasm for helping clients is contagious. Founded in 2003, Aidan Gray turns 20 this year, proving itself as a long-standing feature in the industry. Aidan Gray represents a love for interiors, design, and authentic products that exude “European Grandeur”. Their products are made by hand with authentic materials such as solid wood, rustic metals, antique mirrors, old painted finishes and silk. It is that European elegance that is the foundation of Aidan Gray. Carissa joined the company in 2017 with no actual prior experience in the industry but years of excellence in customer service. She firmly believes that “without a good customer service team, your company is NOT going to be what it needs to be”. On Carissa’s first day, she was tasked with making calls in the office of their new location and she asked a man who was helping with the move if he could please move a paper box into the office for her. They gladly obliged her request. and it was not until the end of the day that she realized she had made the founder of the company, Randall Weeks, move a paper box for her. When she apologized the next day, Randall told her, “No, I liked it. You were direct”. This direct approach to communication is exactly how Carissa gets so much accomplished. Her advice, “Never ever think where you’re going to end. Just keep on pushing and then there will always be growth”. The push continues at Aidan Gray as they level up yet again! They started with a simple zinc finial, which led to a chandelier, then sconces, then lamps, then case goods, then upholstery, then collaborations and pillows and decor and just about anything you can design – but, designed in such a way that the viewer says, “Oh I know where that came from – that’s Aidan Gray”. It is their attention to every last detail and quality that drew Toma to collaborate on her furniture line with the company. “He’s one of the only ones that I felt like was truly making the antiques of the future”, explained Toma. “His work will stand the test of time”. The latest level up includes original paintings created by Randall, which can be viewed in Atlanta and will also be showcased at this year’s HighPoint where Aidan Gray has their own building at 201 N Main Street, Highpoint, NC 27260. If you are one of the many progressive antiques dealers who are learning to embrace the idea of “more than antiques” to create a profitable well-rounded business, Aidan Grey has the type of items that blend beautifully with antiques. To see for yourself all the beauty and what that next lovely level has to offer, be sure to check out or follow them on Instagram @aidangrayhome. You can also reach out to Carissa Tarver directly at or call her at 469-568-8700 ext 7003, and be sure and visit them at Highpoint and at the Arbors this year at Round Top! This episode is brought to you by The Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray .


Get Diva-ed! With Gail McLeod | Season 3 Episode 17

In today’s episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, talks to the Queen Bee, a force to be reckoned with, and a beloved and respected leader and representative of the antiques industry–Gail McLeod. Gail is truly one of the most connected women in the world of antiques. She is not only the Vice-President of Antiques Diva & Co but the owner of Antique News & Fairs, Co-Organizer of the Bath Decorative Antique Fair, Director of Business Development for the EU for Ronati, Founder of National Antiques Week, and known by many as “the fixer”. She makes all the connections and pulls all the strings and also has been a dear friend and mentor to Toma for the past decade and a half. Gail often talks of the post-war mentality the industry has been facing after the pandemic. She joins Toma to talk about some very exciting things that are brewing at the Antiques Diva & Co. “This is a time of great creativity,” shares Gail. “But it’s also a time of great adjustment.” When they opened the borders post-pandemic and Toma was finally able to visit Gail this past October, she was gobsmacked. “Once I was finally able to travel again, it had been three years, and the entire British antiques industry had changed– where not only had you had the pandemic but also Brexit. Truthfully, I was worried.” Thankfully, she found a British antiques market bursting with possibility. Toma told Gail, “The first place you took me, I immediately thought, ‘There’s nothing to be worried about.’ First of all, the inventory was not only there but more importantly was the DIVERSITY of the inventory - and the QUALITY!” Toma thought, “This is why we buy in Britain. It’s not only restored, but British dealers really understand what the Americans are looking for.” Gail agrees, “They understand the American taste, and they curate in a way that American buyers can find accessible. And truly, in the UK, it’s showroom to showroom delivery.” Gail explains the difference of a Diva tour with UK dealers. “On a Diva tour, buying in England is a bit like being in a gentlemen’s club. You have an entry into a world that you wouldn’t find if you just went knocking on a door and saying, ‘Oh, hi! I’ve come from Texas.’ But if you come in with a Diva, the tea tray comes out, introductions are made, the story is told about each piece and relationships are forged. That little black book starts to get populated.” For this very reason, Toma & Gail and the whole team at Antiques Diva have a very exciting new development to share with you. Get ready to get Diva-ed! That’s Diva Ed. As in Diva Education. We are launching an Antiques Diva Educational Retreat. SPONSOR - Get Ready to Be Diva-ed - Diva Education that is!!! We’re hosting an Antiques Diva Educational Retreat Join your hosts Toma Clark Haines - CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co and Gail McLeod, VP Antiques Diva & owner Antique News & Fairs for learning the Business of Antiques. When: OCTOBER 2-6, 2023 Where: You’ll be based at Hemswell Court Hotel each day visiting world renowned antique fairs, centers and dealers nearby Sunday 1 October, 2023 Arrive England and check into Hemswell Court Hotel Welcome drinks at 6pm courtesy of The Antiques Diva. * As we anticipate jetlagged guests - dinner at your own leisure so you can go early to bed! Monday 2 October, 2023 Meet & Greet fellow tour members in a Welcome to England Brunch with Will Thomas, Managing Director -


CLOTH & KIND (and Kismet!) | Season 3 Episode 16

It seems almost destiny that Krista Nye Nicholas and Tami Ramsay ended up as business partners bringing their brilliance and beauty to the world with their nationally-recognized interior design studio, boutique trade showroom, and online shop known as CLOTH & KIND. In this episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of the Antiques Diva & Co — the world’s largest antiques touring company – has a chance to visit with Krista and Tami and learn a few of their secrets for this incredibly successful partnership. They truly are a dream team with a design philosophy deeply rooted in their “shared love of creating spaces that are warm, inviting, layered and infinitely livable,” and an origin story written in the stars. Krista and Tami actively engage their clients in the creative process creating just the magic you might suspect. Serving both residential and commercial clients in their own backyards of Ann Arbor, MI and Athens, GA and throughout the entire country, “CLOTH & KIND offers full service, highly personalized luxury interior design services.” The two first met on Pinterest (when the platform was in its infancy) chatting online over a pin showing a vintage rattan chaise lounge that Tami had reupholstered in a Susan Hable fabric. Misunderstanding and believing the absolutely gorgeous piece to be for sale, Krisa cried “sold” and, though there was no business transaction to be had that day, a meeting of the minds was made between the two of them, and they continued to converse and develop their friendship online, following each other’s Pinterest boards and design blogs. They were both independently practicing as interior designers, they were both living in small college towns (albeit in totally different parts of the country), and they had a real shared love and passion for textiles and patterns and design in general — but the two had much in common. They were instant kindred spirits. A year or so after they met on Pinterest, they decided to meet at a design conference and, within just three days, had decided to go into business with one another. There is one thing they both emphatically agree on. “Alone, neither one of us would have ended up where we are. There’s just no way. It took our combined vision, skill set, design sensibilities, and all that type of thing to get us where we were going,” says Krista. “That’s kind of the beauty of it – in that neither of us alone would have been able to accomplish all of that. It’s almost like a mosaic if you will. I echo what Krista said, our skill sets are very different but very, very complimentary,” adds Tami. Inspired collaboration is what they call it, and it’s kind of magical. “When we very first met in person at this design conference and decided to go into business together, I came home and was in bed that night with my husband, and he was asking questions, and I almost felt like I had an affair and was like ‘I met somebody and like we’re going to go into business together.’ It was a really really vulnerable scenario and he – because he’s the person that he is – was extremely excited. But, at the same time, he was like, ‘But who is she?’ ” Tami laughs as she shares. “He knows me so well and he couldn’t actually believe I had decided to partner with somebody. And I was like ‘She dreams so big. It’s like it doesn’t even occur to her to be scared. And that was so mind-blowing to me. Because I’ve been very successful by all accounts in my life and have pretty much done anything I wanted to do, but I’ve also chosen things that I knew were also very attainable for me. So it might have appeared that I was being bold, but I was being bold to a degree I was comfortable with. And I was just so taken back by this joie de vivre that she had. I just wanted to scream ‘Why are you not scared?’” It’s a business marriage of perfectly...


It Feels Like MOMENTUM! | Season 3 Episode 15

Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co – the world’s largest antiques touring company – visits with a very special guest – Richard Burgoin with Arthur Swallows Fairs. Richard, along with his wife Anna and his brother Marc are second-generation fair organizers. And with their all hands on deck approach, there is a third generation learning the ropes as well. Richard and Marc’s father, Peter, launched the first ever Arthur Swallow Fair in 1995 in a disused hangar at an RAF Airfield in Lincolnshire. Around 50 dealers attended, and it became a regular fixture growing exponentially. Even at their young ages, Richard and Marc enjoyed shadowing their father and helping out with the setting-up, lifting, and carrying, and they soon got a taste for the ‘trade.’ When they left school, they joined their father working alongside him until 2008 when he retired. They continue to host some of the friendliest fairs, markets, and shows in the country welcoming everyone from collectors, dealers, and interior designers to home renovators, props stylists, and small business owners. They also welcome families and encourage the younger generation to discover the joys of hunting for beautiful old treasures, not to mention the environmental and financial benefits. The Burgoins take great pride in creating and running events which brilliantly serve both the trade and public, hosting everything from fast-paced, one-day markets to relaxed, three-day boutique home shows at several locations around the UK. The Arthur Swallow Fairs strongly focus on the antique, salvage, and vintage market with quality, provenance, affordability, and sustainability at the core of what their exhibitors offer. Their Antiques & Home Show held at the Lincolnshire Showground in Lincoln is especially aimed at the trade. This show is held on set Tuesdays in March, May, August, October, and December. To check dates on any of the Arthur Swallow Fairs, you can go to their website. The Antiques & Home Show is an unmissable event for collectors, interior designers, independent retail buyers, set-designers, prop buyers, landscape architects, restaurateurs, and those passionate about creating a stylish living space. It offers visitors everything from fine antiques, art, pretty vintage, salvage, industrial, jewelry, curios, militaria, glassware, china, gardenalia to the unusual. Another very popular Arthur Swallow Fair is The Antiques & Salvage Market which is always held on Saturday (see website for specific dates and times) at Cheshire Showground near Knutsford (just south of Manchester). Visit the beautiful Cheshire countryside for some top quality antique and salvage rummaging from around 200 excellent dealers, perfect for both the public buyer looking for unique items for your home and garden, or a trade buyer looking to restock your shop. And one mustn’t forget their Vintage Flea Markets which are held on certain Sundays at the EXO Centre at Lincoln. And to round their fair experiences out, they offer the incredibly popular Decorative Home and Salvage Shows. These three-day outdoor boutique style events are set in stunning countryside locations aimed at those who love to source beautiful pieces for the home and garden. Laid out in marquees, shopping arcades, and outdoor pitches spilling out onto the grass brocante style, the stylishly displayed stock is suitable for all from trade and home buyers to stylists and props buyers. Some of the challenges antiques dealers have faced with Brexit got Richard to reflect on and reminisce about the heyday of popularity of UK antiques back in the 1990s when his father first started the fairs, and there would be as many as 3,500 stall holders from all over Europe buying and selling antiques. Richard began to...


The House Directory | Season 3 Episode 14

Today’s episode features Angel Tan, CEO of The House Directory, the leading UK website for every interior design source under the sun. You will recall in Season 2 that Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, announced they are now doing MORE THAN ANTIQUES. As always, the quest is to help make your antiques business more profitable, and one cannot ignore the age old joke among dealers, “Once again, I’ve paid my rent on pillows and candles!” In order for an antiques store to be profitable, you have to think outside of the chaise lounge. A brilliant way The Antiques Diva & Co do this is by helping their clients not only source antiques around the world but also one-of-a-kind handmade and artisanal goods. Toma has personally followed The House Directory for more than a decade, and “personally” in this instance means not just as a business contact but as an avid user in her own decorating. Toma first utilized the site to decorate at least 50% of her home in the Netherlands back in 2010. As a long time fan of the site, Toma is excited to sit down with Angel Tan – a relatively new CEO – who took over a year and a half ago when the last of the founders decided to step down from this 22 year old venture. Angel is a fellow antiques enthusiast with a passion for bringing timeless classics into her home and a penchant for mid-century modern. “I just love the juxtaposition of antique pieces in a contemporary environment. The older items, so full of character, can just sing more in the calmer, more minimal space.” The House Directory is an online sourcebook for interior designers. They curate the resources in their list. Angel originally encountered the founders over a decade ago. The House Directory started as a series of books under House & Garden magazine. Serendipity allowed that many years later – Angel discovered that a friend’s mother was one of the founders, and Angel began her journey working with The House Directory. Angel spent years training and working as a qualified architect, has founded several businesses, and also took a foray into teaching. She brings this wealth of skills and knowledge to the table in her oversight of The House Directory as it strives not only just to be a resource but to also educate people in as many areas related to design in the home as possible. In addition to the directory, they have a bi-montly newsletter as well as a blog. The site has 21 categories (which were the same categories that the founders initially put in the books) and hundreds of sub-categories that can be searched alphabetically by the company name and through the sub-categories – making it an incredibly flexible and user-friendly site. Many of the companies that are part of The House Directory have been with them for the entire 22 years, but Angel shares that they are always on the lookout at trade shows and events and on social media for companies that they think would be a good addition to the directory and to which they extend invitations. There is also an online application so that businesses who feel like they are a good fit and would like to be considered for The House Directory can apply. The House Directory has a great listing of antique dealers, which is an area that Angel would really like to grow. “Decorating with antiques is one of the many ways in which interior designers and home-owners can be more sustainable,” shares Angel. Angel and The House Directory have recently partnered with Gail McCleod of The Antique News and Fairs (and also VP of The Antiques Diva & Co.) to bring a special advertising offer for dealers to join both sites at once! (See link at end of post.) While The House Directory will continue to offer excellence as a go-to online resource, Angel sees the company returning to real life in the future starting with an exhibit...


Where Everybody Knows Your Name - Jane Juran & The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair | Season 3 Episode 13

Often referred to by dealers as “The Decorative Fair” or even simply “Battersea”, The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair is THE fair among fairs. If Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, could choose only one antiques fair to attend for the rest of her days, it would hands-down be “Battersea”. Filled to the brim with “complete and utter jaw-dropping eye candy,” it is the one fair that Toma could simply not live without. So, it is her joy to bring you today, Jane Juran, the owner of The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, located at Battersea Park in London. Toma shares that if you take the top 1% of what is at the Paris Flea Market, then “Battersea” is what you get. Featuring 140+ exhibitors offering traditional and informal antiques, 20th century design and works of art, plus a seasonal focus on garden and exterior-related decoration including furniture, objects, planters and statuary – The Decorative Fair is London’s largest and longest-running major event of its kind. Jane shares that after missing four fairs due to COVID-19, The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair is back with a vengeance – citing that the fair in January as one of the best in years. Opening queue at “Battersea” is one of Toma’s very favorite things to photograph as they are known for the waiters coming out with trays of glasses of champagne for those waiting in line. “It’s like any party!” shares Jane. “You work so hard getting ready that we’re just so happy when we get the queue that we like to give everyone a little drink.” Fast approaching its 40th anniversary, the fair was first launched in Battersea Park in London in 1985 by antiques dealer Particia Harvey. Attendees are met not only with a drink but with specialist dealers from across the UK displaying their carefully-gathered collections of country house antiques, art nouveau and deco designs, mid-century classics, glass and silverware, decorative textiles and rugs, out of the ordinary lighting and mirrors, collectable curios and objets d’art, jewelry and unexpected treasures alongside art and sculpture of all eras and styles from traditional to contemporary. In her travels around the UK, Toma often encounters dealers with a secret stash that, when she inquires about, they simply tell her, “Oh, that’s for Battersea.” Jane confirms that a lot of the items found at The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair are new to market in London. The mind-boggling range of items date from pre-1700 to the seventies, while art extends to the contemporary, and prices range from under £50 to £50,000+. A trip to The Decorative Fair can help you decorate every room in any type of house from top to toe in myriad tastes, from extraordinary to understated, opulent to folksy, formal to fun. Jane takes great pride not only in the impressive inventory one can find at her fair but also in the warm, friendly, welcoming environment they have managed to maintain over the years. While attendees come from all walks of life, including the occasional well-known celebrities as well as the top interior designers, there is a comfortable, accommodating feel at the fair. They do a lot to make shopping at Battersea Decorative Fair easy. Hosted in a great facility, there is a shuttle bus that runs from Sloane Square just down Sloan Street into Battersea Park. There’s also lots of parking, which is unusual for London. The event is dog friendly and when you need a little rest or sustenance, they have a place to sit and have a cup of tea or something to eat before you shop again. Although not a dealer herself, Jane’s husband David was an active participant and dealer in the fair early in their marriage in the 1990s. Jane was always involved in the administration end of things and, at the end of 2008 – wanting to keep an antiques dealer at the helm, Patricia sold the fair to David and Jane. David ran the fair and Jane was the support, but, after David’s sudden death in...


Time Management with The Antiques Diva | Season 3 Episode 12

Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, checks in after a whirlwind time at Paris Design week where she hosted The Antiques Diva Champagne Brunch at Marche Dauphine and sponsored by Modern Antiquarian. The fete was on Lunar New Year. Nearly 300 guests sipped champagne and ate on croissants whilst celebrating the Year of the Rabbit at Toma’s favorite market within the Paris Flea Market. #watchthisspace Not only was Toma hosting the party but was also filming the pilot for her upcoming TV show. On today’s episode, Toma shares her time management system. She is often asked, “How do you do it all? Do you have a clone?” And the truth is she has a great team, but a recent inquiry from a writing friend got her thinking about one of the most important things she talks about with her business coaching clients: Are you using your time wisely? Are you looking at what’s going to make you the most amount of money with the time you have? We all have to think about how we are spending our time. Toma has a unique time management system that she has created and used for the last decade that can help you work more efficiently and make the best use of your time. For years she has simply drawn her own system out on a piece of paper (although she is excited to be developing with her sister a printed/printable version of her system that she is testing and refining now). At the beginning of each week, she divides a piece of paper into seven days. At the top of the page, for each day she writes her MIT (Most Important Thing), then on each day she lists her Top 3 (after the MIT). Then her actual appointments are scheduled in for the day. And, finally (and she tries to never neglect this), she will put in her self-care for the day. By taking these simple steps, she has now assured that not only will her top four most important issues of the day be dealt with, but she will make all of her appointments, and she will not neglect herself in the process! Toma then divides the bottom corner of the weekly page into a list for each of these categories: Administration, Marketing, Creative, Sales, and Financial. By looking at these categories individually, she is able to utilize an effective time-blocking technique. Simply having her to-do list organized in this manner facilitates time-blocking or task-blocking. She is able to do all her financial stuff at once. She can go in and do all her sales oriented tasks at once. She is able to address all of her creative activities at once. When she has a time-block to use her brain in a certain way, it allows her to function better/more efficiently. Toma hopes this system can help you to create your fullest, happiest, most financially fruitful year yet. Stay tuned because she is starting to schedule the line-up for the next 12 episodes here on The Business of Antiques where she will be bringing you business coaching for antique dealers and other creative entrepreneurs. While we will always do private one-on-one consultations, we are looking to feature live consultations on the podcast so listeners can experience and learn from you. If interested, please send an email at to have your free consultation on the podcast. But never fear, if you desire an unrecorded consultation, Toma is happy to oblige that as well. The key point is that she would love to help you succeed in your antiques business!


Porte Italia- “The Doors to Italy” | Season 3 Episode 11

In today’s episode, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, talks to Emilio Lenarduzzi of Porte Italia. The name Porte Italia literally means “the doors to Italy”. Over the years, Emilio and Toma have discussed the name of his family-run Italian furniture company. Emilio wondered if the name was appropriate. Toma’s response is always, “Most assuredly, yes,” because the Lenaduzzi’s open the doors to Italy to their clients by helping international buyers source handmade, hand-painted Italian furniture. All of their furniture is made in in the Veneto (the region in which Venice is located). Every region of Italy has its own traditional cottage industry. For over 400 years, the Venetian tradition has been using these same traditional paint techniques that Porte Italia uses today. What the Porte Italia family-run business does aligns perfectly in conjunction with antique dealers who run concept stores selling more than antiques. While the furniture may be newly crafted, the Venetian traditions and techniques have been around for centuries. Porte Italia is selling tomorrow’s antiques in their finely crafted furniture that honors the traditions of old and will last far into the future. Toma proposes a few ideas to Emilio on how Antique Dealers could work with Porte Italia. While carrying their line (or a few piece from a collection) in their store is an interesting idea – Toma points out that Dealers don’t necessarily have to carry Porte Italia’s line in their store to sell it. They could offer these products for sale by catalog to their clients as a 3rd party seller. Porte Italia does custom – so dealers could have their favorite pieces eplicated – creating their own co-brandsd line -– or choose to redecorate a piece in the Porte Italia collection with their own pattern and color ways. Toma ask Emilio “What if a client has a picture of an 18th century bed – could the dealer work with Porte Italia to have a custom bed created from a picture for their showroom, and then clients could either purchase the bed outright from the dealers showroom or have the product available to be customized and drop shipped internationally?” “Absolutely” says Emilio. Finding an antique bed isn’t easy. When/if the dealer is able to find an antique bed to sell, they will have to order a custom mattress, and custom bedding made that is the sizesof the antique beds are not modern standard sizes. There are some things – such as beds – that are simply more practical as contemporary pieces. Porte Italia makes fantastic work of scaling these antique pieces up for more contemporary interiors while maintaining the beauty of the original antique. Porte Italia’s amazing four-poster beds are one of Toma’s favorite things in their store. Toma has been a personal client of Porte Italia since before her move to Venice. Because of their devotion to going above and beyond in customer service, she became quick friends with the family. As luck would have it, she found her home in Venice near the Porte Italia store. She pops in regularly with a new idea for their artisans to create – or she confesses – she has bribed Emilio more than once with a glass of wine to come over to her apartment to help her change a lightbulb! Now that’s customer service! Emilio’s father founded Porte Italia and has been forging relationships with Venetian artisans since the beginning. Emilio shares that these artisans are not only their colleagues but their friends. Porte Italias offerings go far beyond beds. They do handmade, hand-painted furniture of all kinds including chairs, side tables, chandeliers, Venetian mirrors, lampshades of any kind, hand-painted canvases, and more. They even send their artisans around the world to install painted-ceiling canvases that are custom-created for