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ANF Blog

In Conversation with David Steel of Tree of Ages Antiques Fairs

Tree Of Ages V2

 

In Conversation with David Steel of Tree of Ages Antiques Fairs

With a relatively short time in the antiques fairs industry, David Steel has hit the ground running with a series of well run events at high profile venues.  His company, Tree of Ages, is now concentrating on an exciting new acquisition at one of the South of England's best known venues, Epsom Racecourse, where he will take the reigns after a 32 year history of the event at this venue.  We talk to David about his journey to Tree of Ages and how he sees the antiques trade industry in the post panemic post Brexit era.

 

Silver Swan

An exceptional life size model of a swan in silver, part of David Steel's collection

ANF: Tell us about your career before you launched Tree of Ages In 2017 and how you got involved in the antiques trade and the name of the company Tree of Ages?

DS: I spent the majority of my career prior to entering the antiques industry working in hospitality. I was the landlord of two pubs. It was a full on 24/7 job and having done that for a number of years it was time for a break and a change. I have always held an interest in antiques as I find the history of them fascinating and you never know what you will find. I see the antiques industry as an extension of the hospitality industry because putting on an antique fair you want to provide an “experience” for your customers and visitors.  The name Tree of Ages reflects the fact that we are conscious about nature and that the antique industry is a part of businesses that are striving to find sustainable pathways to growth. The ages part of the name is reflective of the fact that antiques & collectables are found from any era. 

ANF: The exciting news from Tree of Ages this year is the acquisition of the long standing Epsom Antique Fair from Continuity Fairs with your debut fair on 1 August 2023. 

DS: With a 32 year history behind this well loved event, what plans do you have for the future? The racecourse at Epsom is a beautiful venue and has the space that we require in order to accommodate our stall-holders and visitors. Knowing the area very well having lived and worked in Surrey all my life, we will look to ensure the event is well promoted not just to the trade but the local communities to attract new consumers to the Antiques world. We will look to introduce new stall-holders to the event overtime as we develop and potentially look at the options to hold some weekend-based events there as well as the regular Tuesday fair.

Epsom Downs Queens Stand

Epsom Downs Racecourse Queen's Stand

ANF: You are based in Surrey and your fairs are usually based in premium locations in the Home Counties, Ascot, Berks, Stanhill Court in Charlwood, Surrey.  Do you have any plans to expand across the UK?  As a company we would consider locations nationwide provided that the venues are suitable and able to meet the requirements to hold events.

DS: With a busy schedule of fairs coming up, 1 August, 19 September, 17 October and 21 November, do you rely on a team to help you with the huge amount of work that it takes to run a successful fair? This will be a new experience for me in terms of the short amount of time between the events as I have been previously used to running sporadic fairs without a schedule of events planned in a short period of time. As a company, I have my business partner Alex who I work closely with & we have a team of part-time workers who are able to assist us in the build-up to the day of the fair and setting up the venue.   

Epsom Antiques Fair images-

A Tree of Ages Fair

ANF: With such a large existing exhibitor list, how have you been able to engage with your new Epsom clients?

DS: We took time at the last event in May to speak individually with each of the existing stall-holders. We are in contact regularly with updates about how we are progressing the fair. We send out regular emails to our stall-holders and provide social media bulletins. I also make it clear to all the traders who stand at Tree of Ages events that we are on hand for them to ask queries or to provide information to them.

ANF: How much do you rely upon technology in your day to day running of the fairs?  Has social media played a big part in your success or do you think the personal touch is most important? Without a doubt there is the need to embrace social media.

DS: In an ever changing & busy world using this medium to be able to communicate immediately with stall-holders and visitors is vital. However, there is a balancing act to perform because the personal touch is also equally important & you need to ensure that people work together in order to run successful fairs. The key to a successful event is working together because as a fair organiser I see the traders as our customers because without them you do not have an event!!!      

ANF: What is your opinion of the fairs industry post pandemic?  What is your feedback from clients?

DS: Despite the fact that I had only been in the antiques industry for a relatively short period of time prior to the pandemic, it has been noticeable to me that the fair visitor numbers has fallen since the pandemic ended. People in general have been more nervous about attending large events in particular and this I think is reflective of the country as a whole.  

epsom antiques fair image

A Tree of Ages Fair

ANF: What effect do you think Brexit has had on the antiques industry in the UK?

DS: Brexit has certainly had an impact on the antiques industry in the UK.  The most noticeable difference is the lack of international trade visitors to the bigger fairs, however Brexit has also affected the sales abroad due to the increase in import & export charges that potential clients face. With the rising cost of living also changing the way in which customers make purchases it has presented challenges for traders as we look to adapt to the current market conditions.  

ANF: Best thing about running antiques fairs?  Worst thing about running antiques fairs?

DS: The best aspect of running antique fairs is the opportunity to meet new people and work closely with existing colleagues who over time have become friends. The worst things are the anxiety on the day of the fair and waiting for exhibitors to arrive for the set-up which you hope will be a smooth process for them. As a dealer who attends a lot of fairs as a seller, I know that you rely on the fair organisers to help ease the arrival and set-up process. I don’t know how other fair organisers feel, however, there is a weight of responsibility because lots of people have put their faith in you and it has to work. And of course visitor numbers are key as well and it can be quite stressful on the day of events as you are waiting for visitors to arrive once all the traders are set-up!!  

ANF: We always ask our In Conversation clients whether they have any down time and if so, how do they spend it?

DS: I am a big football fan – an Arsenal supporter so I do enjoy being able to watch the games when it is possible. A lot of games are of course on a weekend so it is often sitting at a fair, catching up on the games through sports websites!! Also I enjoy socialising with friends and family.  I also get a lot of pleasure from researching my antiques stock, sourcing new items and watching antique programmes.

 

 Epsom_views_parking_paradering

Epsom Downs, Surrey

 

For exhibitor enquiries please contact David Steel at dave@treeofages.co.uk 

For visitor enquiries contact via this link Tree of Ages Epsom Racecourse

Epsom Racecourse Antiques Fair Dates: 1 August, 19 September, 17 October and 21 November

 



Antiques News Blog

In Conversation with David Steel of Tree of Ages Antiques Fairs

Tree Of Ages V2

 

In Conversation with David Steel of Tree of Ages Antiques Fairs

With a relatively short time in the antiques fairs industry, David Steel has hit the ground running with a series of well run events at high profile venues.  His company, Tree of Ages, is now concentrating on an exciting new acquisition at one of the South of England's best known venues, Epsom Racecourse, where he will take the reigns after a 32 year history of the event at this venue.  We talk to David about his journey to Tree of Ages and how he sees the antiques trade industry in the post panemic post Brexit era.

 

Silver Swan

An exceptional life size model of a swan in silver, part of David Steel's collection

ANF: Tell us about your career before you launched Tree of Ages In 2017 and how you got involved in the antiques trade and the name of the company Tree of Ages?

DS: I spent the majority of my career prior to entering the antiques industry working in hospitality. I was the landlord of two pubs. It was a full on 24/7 job and having done that for a number of years it was time for a break and a change. I have always held an interest in antiques as I find the history of them fascinating and you never know what you will find. I see the antiques industry as an extension of the hospitality industry because putting on an antique fair you want to provide an “experience” for your customers and visitors.  The name Tree of Ages reflects the fact that we are conscious about nature and that the antique industry is a part of businesses that are striving to find sustainable pathways to growth. The ages part of the name is reflective of the fact that antiques & collectables are found from any era. 

ANF: The exciting news from Tree of Ages this year is the acquisition of the long standing Epsom Antique Fair from Continuity Fairs with your debut fair on 1 August 2023. 

DS: With a 32 year history behind this well loved event, what plans do you have for the future? The racecourse at Epsom is a beautiful venue and has the space that we require in order to accommodate our stall-holders and visitors. Knowing the area very well having lived and worked in Surrey all my life, we will look to ensure the event is well promoted not just to the trade but the local communities to attract new consumers to the Antiques world. We will look to introduce new stall-holders to the event overtime as we develop and potentially look at the options to hold some weekend-based events there as well as the regular Tuesday fair.

Epsom Downs Queens Stand

Epsom Downs Racecourse Queen's Stand

ANF: You are based in Surrey and your fairs are usually based in premium locations in the Home Counties, Ascot, Berks, Stanhill Court in Charlwood, Surrey.  Do you have any plans to expand across the UK?  As a company we would consider locations nationwide provided that the venues are suitable and able to meet the requirements to hold events.

DS: With a busy schedule of fairs coming up, 1 August, 19 September, 17 October and 21 November, do you rely on a team to help you with the huge amount of work that it takes to run a successful fair? This will be a new experience for me in terms of the short amount of time between the events as I have been previously used to running sporadic fairs without a schedule of events planned in a short period of time. As a company, I have my business partner Alex who I work closely with & we have a team of part-time workers who are able to assist us in the build-up to the day of the fair and setting up the venue.   

Epsom Antiques Fair images-

A Tree of Ages Fair

ANF: With such a large existing exhibitor list, how have you been able to engage with your new Epsom clients?

DS: We took time at the last event in May to speak individually with each of the existing stall-holders. We are in contact regularly with updates about how we are progressing the fair. We send out regular emails to our stall-holders and provide social media bulletins. I also make it clear to all the traders who stand at Tree of Ages events that we are on hand for them to ask queries or to provide information to them.

ANF: How much do you rely upon technology in your day to day running of the fairs?  Has social media played a big part in your success or do you think the personal touch is most important? Without a doubt there is the need to embrace social media.

DS: In an ever changing & busy world using this medium to be able to communicate immediately with stall-holders and visitors is vital. However, there is a balancing act to perform because the personal touch is also equally important & you need to ensure that people work together in order to run successful fairs. The key to a successful event is working together because as a fair organiser I see the traders as our customers because without them you do not have an event!!!      

ANF: What is your opinion of the fairs industry post pandemic?  What is your feedback from clients?

DS: Despite the fact that I had only been in the antiques industry for a relatively short period of time prior to the pandemic, it has been noticeable to me that the fair visitor numbers has fallen since the pandemic ended. People in general have been more nervous about attending large events in particular and this I think is reflective of the country as a whole.  

epsom antiques fair image

A Tree of Ages Fair

ANF: What effect do you think Brexit has had on the antiques industry in the UK?

DS: Brexit has certainly had an impact on the antiques industry in the UK.  The most noticeable difference is the lack of international trade visitors to the bigger fairs, however Brexit has also affected the sales abroad due to the increase in import & export charges that potential clients face. With the rising cost of living also changing the way in which customers make purchases it has presented challenges for traders as we look to adapt to the current market conditions.  

ANF: Best thing about running antiques fairs?  Worst thing about running antiques fairs?

DS: The best aspect of running antique fairs is the opportunity to meet new people and work closely with existing colleagues who over time have become friends. The worst things are the anxiety on the day of the fair and waiting for exhibitors to arrive for the set-up which you hope will be a smooth process for them. As a dealer who attends a lot of fairs as a seller, I know that you rely on the fair organisers to help ease the arrival and set-up process. I don’t know how other fair organisers feel, however, there is a weight of responsibility because lots of people have put their faith in you and it has to work. And of course visitor numbers are key as well and it can be quite stressful on the day of events as you are waiting for visitors to arrive once all the traders are set-up!!  

ANF: We always ask our In Conversation clients whether they have any down time and if so, how do they spend it?

DS: I am a big football fan – an Arsenal supporter so I do enjoy being able to watch the games when it is possible. A lot of games are of course on a weekend so it is often sitting at a fair, catching up on the games through sports websites!! Also I enjoy socialising with friends and family.  I also get a lot of pleasure from researching my antiques stock, sourcing new items and watching antique programmes.

 

 Epsom_views_parking_paradering

Epsom Downs, Surrey

 

For exhibitor enquiries please contact David Steel at dave@treeofages.co.uk 

For visitor enquiries contact via this link Tree of Ages Epsom Racecourse

Epsom Racecourse Antiques Fair Dates: 1 August, 19 September, 17 October and 21 November