Latique.com Launches First Product Based Social Media Site for Antique Dealers
March 25, 2010 (DALLAS) Latique.com, a Dallas start-up, announces the launch of the first product based social media site for buyers of traditional antiques and fine period art.
According to Julie Garrett VanDolen, Latique.com co-founder, Latique.com listed more than 400 traditional antiques and classic home decor items at launch in early March 2010. It currently showcases nearly 700 antiques from 30 top level dealers in the United States. The number of dealers selling through Latique.com is growing daily.
Latique.com uses social media techniques similar to those found on Facebook and Linkedin are being utilized to reach out to the Internet generation, young marrieds and new homeowners.
The format of combining an online marketplace with a social media component offers an experience that both educates and engages. The ultimate goal of Latique.com is to build a community of antique buyers who appreciate traditional antiques and classic home décor.
By networking users with dealers, designers and like-minded friends, Latique.com fills in where overburdened antique dealers have left off. It teaches new buyers about styles of the past that work with their contemporary lifestyle.
The social media aspect also helps recreate the excitement of retail shopping, where browsing and conversation are integral parts of a successful experience. Both new buyers and seasoned collectors can engage in online dialogs with sellers and knowledgeable experts before making the decision to purchase.
“We believe that relationship between the retailer and client can extend beyond the store,” says the Julie Garrett VanDolen, the 30-something co-founder of Latique.com. “We want information about antiques and decorative arts to be accessible to everyone at any time.”
In keeping with the efforts to broaden the market for antiques through social engagement, Latique.com features an online magazine. The Latique Magazine includes a monthly Founders Letter that updates users on trends, home fashion and the evolution of classic style. Another section offers insights from top designers. Joseph Minton, a Texas designer with an international reputation was featured in the launch issue. Future interviews will showcase young designers who blend contemporary with traditional for a fashion forward look.
Insider blogs, written by members of the antiques trade, offer yet another level of transparency that is not usually associated with the selling of fine period furniture. The blogs, although mostly intended to bring dealers into the new era of online selling, also allow users to get a feel for the practical aspects of selling antiques, an area that has often been cloaked in mystery.
Latique.com has other features that set it off from the spate of online antique malls. For instance, the home page changes every time an antique or decorative item is added. Dealers’ business cards and specialty announcements march across the home page, rotating each time the page is reloaded.
Carol Sims, a visitor to the site left this comment. “I like the fresh, timely approach to making Latique a social shopping site. It will be nice to see this fun, sociable interaction grow into something really meaningful and fun.”
Dealers are equally excited about being a part of the new community. As retailers have seen a decline of walk-ins during the suffering economy, they are in dire need of new grounds to market their goods.
“This is the future of the arts and antiques community,” said James Eddy, proprietor of Colonial Arts, a San Francisco based antique dealer and a Latique.com dealer. “Buyers let their fingers do the walking in the era of Internet. We (dealers) need to expand our view of our customer base to increase revenue.”
Latique.com, is the first product based antiques site to reach out to new buyers with a social media component that allows users to engage in conversation with dealers and designers. Latique.com’s tagline is “Traditional Antiques and Classic Home Décor for Contemporary Living.”
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications
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