My partner John and I started started selling authentic French furniture in 2008. It all started with an impromptu visit to an antiques shop in Provence. I fell in love with the armoires, so beautiful and so practical. I just knew that if there was some way of getting these wonderful French cupboards transported back to Devon I could sell them.
At that time I was working as an antiques dealer, specialising in Edwardian and Victorian compactums. Huge, heavy pieces which were amazing to look at but heavy and unweidling to move and store. French amoires seemed to be the perfect antidote - large and capacious yet fully knockdown, unassembling into easy to lift pieces.
What followed from that Provencal trip was 6 months of research, frustration and at times sheer disbelief. Initially, I sought transportation quotes and was aghast at the sums suggested. Eventually John and I decided to do it ourselves and somewhat blindly took the ferry to France, driving around making enquiries and contacts as we went.
That first trip was scary but exciting. We found some beautiful pieces and found that our customers loved them as much as we did. Since then, we haven't looked back and regularly visit France sourcing armoires for clients and for the website.
In the intervening years we've built up strong friendships with other dealers in France as well as a good knowledge of the best antique fairs, brocantes and Vide Greniers.
It all looks very glamorous but it can be very hard work. The up side has been getting to know so much of France. We've travelled widely and been fotunate enough to visit some wonderful places. The downside is the reality the buyers rarely see, lifting heavy furniture, cleaning years worth of dust, woodworm treating, and all the renovating that goes into making our armoires so saleable and beautiful.
In the years since we started importing French amoires, many others have followed suit. Competition is not a bad thing but we like to think our knowledge and experience puts us that little bit ahead.
You can see just a small fraction of the antique and vintage armoires we have sold in the intervening by visiting the French Armoires sale page and scrolling down. We're proud to have a great number of repeat customers. Hopefully they, like us, believe that l'original et le meilleur!
As well sourcing beautiful antique and vintage French armoires, we also buy antique mirrors and French decorative accessorires. To see our current stock follow the links at the top of this page.
It's always good to start a new year with fresh ideas. We've been blogging on an external site for several years now and have decided instead to start hosting our blog here, on our own website.
We are a thriving, small, independent UK business. We're proud of our customer service and of the quality of our items. We always like to go that little bit extra, whether that's arranging free delivery or providing custom assembly guides for each of our French armoires.
On this blog our aim will be to celebrate small, independent businesses. We want to help champion other service providers, who like us, put the experience of the customer first.
When it comes to buying and selling online all too often the leading websites are large US owned portals (such as a certain very well known auction site). Whilst such sites do allow small businesses to showcase their products to a vast audience they are often expensive to use, charging excessive commission. Most small businesses have no option but to pass this extra cost on to the consumer.
So, the message we want to promote is - wherever you can, buy direct. When you buy directly from a small business you benefit them by helping them to grow and most often you'll also save money. Nearly all the professional sellers on auction sites and other selling portals will have their own website. Google them, buy direct and help to keep small UK business alive!