Updated: May 23, 2022
We have been running Muleskinner Art and Antiques for 50 years now. We have always had a retail shop but over the years we have found it necessary to make changes in the way we do business. From the start, we advertised heavily in the trade papers and sent out Polaroids of items to our customers around the country. We were always looking for ways to show our merchandise to the most people in the fastest ways. At one point we were doing too many shows all over the country, which was time-consuming and expensive. We have not been doing shows for over 20 years now. About 30 years ago my friend Vicki Waasdorp, a fellow antique dealer, and also a web designer, in this then-developing computer world, called me and told me to stop at her house to see something. I went over and she showed me a website that she had designed for Muleskinner. I had no idea what I was looking at as I don’t think I even owned a computer at that point. I was impressed with the design as well as how things worked but weren’t sure how to make it work for us. We were still spending a lot on print advertising and sending out color postcards, so what to do with this website and how to use it for antiques still needed to be explored.
We started by putting newly acquired items on the website once a month and sending them out to a very small email list. Not a lot of antique people at that time used email. Over time and through a lot of persistence we started building a mailing list. Word of mouth was our best friend and we were getting requests to be included on our mailing list. We have continued to grow and cull this list of names over the last 30 years to the point now where we have a great mailing list that we work from.
From a lot of trial and error, we have reached a point now where we are doing nearly all our business online. Every Monday we send out an email with all the fresh items that come into the shop. On Thursdays, we hold a “One Bid Auction” that we have developed over the last 3 years. Everyone seems to have a lot of fun with that. During the last 2 years of Covid, our business actually grew due to the fact that shows were canceled and the desire was still there to collect antiques. I was never much of an advocate for change, but I’m glad that my friends and family were able to push me into dealing in the 21st century. It’s not what I would have expected back at the beginning but it is extremely worthwhile.
When Covid broke out we were not getting the public into our beautiful shop on Main St in Williamsville. Paying the high Main St rent no longer made sense so we moved to Tac Air, a private airport behind the Buffalo airport. We are open Saturdays from 11-4 or anytime by appointment. Our always-changing website is muleskinnerantiques.com If you would like to receive our Monday email Blasts and become part of the “One Bid Auctions” just email me at email@example.com and welcome to antique dealing in the 21st century!