Anyone who loves fabulous old antiques and just plain good design has often faced a conundrum whenever moving or redecorating: Just what to do with the pieces that were once loved, but now aren’t quite right for you anymore? We’re talking about items that are too nice to leave to Craigslist, too valuable to bring to a thrift store, too huge for eBay, and too beautiful to sell on your own. Luckily, there’s just the marketplace for that — and it’s called Viyet.
Viyet is an e-commerce site that allows you to consign (and buy!) high-end furniture, accessories, lighting, and art. Consignors run the gamut from designers to design lovers, along with select high-end showrooms (many of which aren’t usually open to non-professional designers, giving everyone access to amazing showroom samples). While there are a few other sites that focus on pre-owned furniture, Viyet takes a different approach by involving their team of curators, who personally inspect, photograph, and determine a value of a potential consignor’s items. Currently, Viyet has curator teams in the New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Francisco regions. Today, we’re meeting Emily Everhart, Viyet’s Chief Curator, to learn more about the process and get the inside scoop on current “trends” in the fascinating world of consignment.
Why should you consign rather than, say, list on eBay or Craigslist?
With Craigslist and eBay, you have to do all of the work: photos, descriptions, measurements, assess condition… And even worse, with Craigslist you have to deal with potentially creepy people coming to your home. Viyet takes over everything.
How do you know if you have something worth consigning?
If you invested good money in the piece when you acquired it, chances are it has resale value. Viyet has curators who are experts in the resale furniture market. Using the Viyet consignment portal on the website, you can easily send photographs and any info about your piece. This will help us determine if your piece has resale potential on Viyet.
How would a potential client start working with Viyet? (Walk us through the steps.)
A good place to start is to email [email protected]. Our Client Relations team will provide you with a link to submit photos and descriptions of the items you wish to sell. You’ll hear from them one way or another within one business day. If the items are a fit for our marketplace, they will contact you to schedule a Curator appointment.
What do curators look for in products to accept?
Brand name or designer, style, marketability, and overall condition.
What should potential consignors expect in terms of pricing?
For items purchased from a retail source, we list anywhere between 50-70% off the retail price, depending on condition. For items purchased through a designer, without a retail price, we base pricing on what our experts feel the market will bear. We use several resources to determine this. Viyet is unique in that we offer a “Make an Offer (MAO)” feature through the site, so potential buyers can anonymously submit offers that you can accept, negotiate, or reject. 80% of our sales happen through MAO.
What is the most unique piece you or a curator ever saw on an appointment?
Good question. One that stands out to me is a very large (8′ tall) purple velvet headboard. I’d like to see the bedroom where that ended up.
Are pieces that are scratched, or have been painted, considered “deal breakers”?
We use a scale when assessing condition, which ranges from “Like New” to “Revive.” If a furniture piece is structurally sound, it can always be refinished or reupholstered. We have even had someone purchase a piece, reupholster it, and then reconsign the updated piece!
What inspired you to become a curator with Viyet?
My background is working for auction houses, so the decorative arts resale market was not new to me at all. I was so impressed that Viyet had managed to create a market that didn’t yet exist: a place to sell quality furnishings that auction houses wouldn’t take because they weren’t considered desirable to collectors. The Viyet team was also very compelling. Everyone works incredibly hard, shares expertise, and contributes equally.
What’s your favorite design period and why?
I love all kinds of design periods for different reasons. I love Hepplewhite-period antiques because of their clean lines and attention to form. I love Biedermeier because I think it was way ahead of its time. I love Art Deco because it represents such a slice of history-talk about material culture! In terms of what I like to live with, I tend to skew towards the mid-century modern style.
What “trends” are you seeing in terms of what’s selling best in the antiques category on Viyet?
Gustavian pieces are a hot market right now. Also Art Deco and Art Moderne; we have had several lovely pieces sell through us in the past year.
What period seems to be most popular with buyers? (We are guessing it’s mid-century!)
Yes, mid-century! I’m also seeing a trend towards later pieces, like from the 1970s and 1980s. Milo Baughman, Christian Liaigre, and Charles Hollis Jones are names that are in demand lately.