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The Business of Antiques

Antiques Dealers Training & Mentorship Program

Margaret Schwartz, Antique Dealer and founder of Modern Antiquarian

In 2014, I took a giant leap forward in my business. I reached out to Toma Clark Haines, the Antiques Diva, and set up a one-day antiques buying tour. I had no idea what I was doing, but fortunately Toma and Gail McLeod, the UK based Diva guide, were my secret weapon. Gail set up a one-day tour on which I filled a 20' container and in that one day, I learned more on the road than I had in a few years of reading about antiques.

From that moment on I knew I wanted to be in antiques full time. It took me several years, a half dozen more of these trips, and countless hours of coaching from Toma and Gail to take that leap! Antiques can be intimidating, but if you are like me and want to pursue your passion, reach out to us.

The Antiques Diva and I as well as our team of experts can help set you up for success to launch your business or bring new life to an existing business.

What is it all about?

The Antiques Dealers Training and Mentorship Program is designed to bring the skills and trade secrets of long-time professional antique dealers and sourcing experts to you. These are lessons we have learned after years of experience and a lot of trial and error. The information in this program will help you build and protect your business, define your market niche and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Our vision is to make you the best antique dealer you can be!

Our job is to equip antiques dealers with the tools and resources they need to sell antiques and become thought leaders shaping the future of antiques. Our team of experts provide a laser-focused program on how to build a business to complement your knowledge of decorative arts. Successful decorative arts or appraisal programs focus on the study of antiques, their origin, and worth; we teach you the Business of Antiques!

Our job is to offer you access.

We make things that might seem intimidating accessible by providing the necessary contacts, tools and resources to help focus your energies. You will learn how to follow a logical path toward accomplishing your goals, serve your clients, and create a name for yourself in the world of antiques. Our goal is to blend new and existing tools and technology to help you create the business you want and need in today's competitive environment.

Your USP - your unique selling position - is that you are YOU.

Your passion is antiques and our passion and expertise will help new antique dealers succeed. Our goal is to help people who have a passion for antiques and need the tools to run a successful business.

The Antiques Diva Training Program for Antique Dealers brings you the information you need on your schedule, right in your own home. Our program is individually tailored to meet your needs wherever you are in the process of becoming an antiques dealer. If you’re just embarking on the journey of starting a new business, we can help you from concept to launch. If you’re an established, successful dealer who knows you are missing sales or want to tap into a new market, we will work with you to evaluate your current business and identify areas for growth opportunities and create a targeted, actionable plan.

Our sessions are one-on-one and are highly collaborative conversations that allow us to dive deep into what works specifically for you and your business.

Learn from industry leaders and insiders

Ten Hours of 1:1 Training

Custom, private 1:1 training sessions ideal for new – and nearly new – antiques specialists who want to fast-track learning how to become an antiques dealer.

6 Core Topics & 4 of Your Choice

Choose ten modules that focus on your business needs: where you are today, and where you want to be in 1-year, 5-years or 10-years. The ten modules will be completed in six months. 

Program Overview

Antique Dealer Training Program Modules: 6 Core Modules Plus 4 You Choose


Choosing your sales model based on the antiques lifestyle you want to live is the most important decision you make when starting your own business. You can sell antiques your way: whether that means running your business from home in your PJs in a 24/7/365 online antique store or criss-crossing the US selling at antique shows and fairs. Some people want to open a store from 9-5, while others prefer to put their inventory in an antiques mall, which sells the inventory for them. We even have clients who host semi-annual antique pop-up shops or container sales when they get their new shipments as the business model. This module will help you determine the best way to run your business to fit your needs.

  • • Brick & Mortar vs Online vs Shows vs Collective vs Pop-Up & Container Sale
  • • Market Segmentation

Module 2: BRANDING

Build a brand to attract your target market. Know your demographics. Your brand - your look - dictates how you’re perceived by potential clients. If you want to sell wholesale to other antique dealers, you may need a different look than if you’re selling to designers or homeowners.

  • • Developing Your Signature Style and Look
  • • Defining Your Message and Elevator Pitch


How you buy antiques dictates your entire antiques business plan. Sourcing is the most important thing you do - it’s not just finding the items, its sourcing antiques at the right price so you can make a profit in your business. Knowing where to buy antiques and what to pay for them is the foundation for your business.

  • • Inventory Resources
  • • Restoration (do you have sources or do you need to buy already restored)
  • • Shipping Sources


When you launch your antique business, you won’t know how fast you are going to move inventory. Tracking how you sell items will dictate your future antiques sourcing and budget, including what types of items sell in your shop.

  • • Budget
  • • Tracking
  • • Turnover
  • • Storage

Module 5: SALES (presented in 2 parts)

You can markup pieces bought in Europe or Asia three to five times for resale in the US. Sourcing in Europe or Asia is a competitive edge and gives you better access to better inventory at better prices - and you can differentiate yourself from the competition. The fact is, you can likely buy pieces cheaper in Europe, and even after shipping make a greater profit than if you bought the same piece in the US for resale.

What’s the point of having a website if no one can find it? Whether you have a brick and mortar store, or an online shop, you will likely use a website or social media to promote your shop. Understanding how to get your shop found online by Google and people, and rank on Google and search engines is vital to your online visibility. Do you know what a keyword is - and how to use it?

  • • Pricing
  • • Sales Strategy
  • • Digital & E-Commerce
  • • Shipping & Delivery
  • • Where to List Online
  • • Your Own Website or Integrated Sales Platform
  • • Content Marketing and SEO


You can’t buy inventory unless you sell inventory. Attracting visitors to your shop requires you to know who your audience is and who your potential buyers are. If you have a storefront, you need local marketing strategies. If you’re selling to a global online buyer, you need to understand how photography, merchandising, pricing and shipping costs will impact sales.

Know your piece’s story: When people buy your antique, they’re not just buying a piece of furniture, they want to know the piece’s story. Today, experience and personal stories sell more than anything else. Antiques offer an experience or a story more so than buying any other type of furniture or home accessory.

  • • Photography
  • • Product Descriptions
  • • Merchandising Inventory
  • • PR & Advertising Strategy
  • • Local Press


Instagram rules when it comes to social media sales. It’s all about your look: well photographed pieces with accurate descriptions and strategic use of keywords and #hashtags will attract visitors and buyers.

Instagram is key - but don’t forget about Pinterest! This is true for both selling antiques to your audience and for buying antiques to stock your store. Yes, dealers buy on Instagram to stock their own store!

  • • Keywords
  • • Hashtags
  • • Platforms
  • • Photography & Merchandising


Bringing it all together: Course instructors will answer your questions, trouble-shoot issues in your business plan, and discuss your next steps to grow your antiques business.


Team Training & Custom Training

Does your team need training?

It is time-consuming yet critical to offer training in customer service, marketing, business development, and other topics in an up-to-date and consistent manner for everyone in your business.

We can offer that training here, and we can discuss custom course modules for your antiques business.


Bonus Content

"Source Antiques Like the Pros"

An eBook by Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, on what you wish you knew before you became an antiques dealer.

2 Online Courses:

  • How to Buy Asian Antiques
  • Sourcing Antiques and Collectibles in Europe


Interested in signing up or learning more about the mentoring program?

Let us know!

Reach out with any questions or if you would like more information on this great mentoring program!

Send us an email!


Meet the Instructors

Toma Clark Haines

CEO & Founder of The Antiques Diva & Co and international speaker on how to buy antiques, global trend-spotter and expert on design trends.

Margaret Schwartz

Director, The Antiques Diva Mentorship Program, an antiques dealer and USA based Antiques Diva Guide who started her career with Martha Stewart Living before starting the brick and mortar shop The Summer House in Connecticut and online store Modern Antiquarian.