Digital Estate Sale Adrenaline Rush With Everything But The House
Seasoned vintage sellers Jacquie Denny and Brian Graves founded Everything But The House in 2007 with the intention to create a full-service estate sale business. Today, you can shop on EBTH for furniture, art, coins and more from anywhere across the world, and if you or your client has a collection to sell, they’re operating in 27 US cities and counting. Their mission is to uncover all of the secret gems waiting inside every house and share them with the world. Service is at the heart of all of their efforts, utilizing innovative technology to assist buyers and sellers in the world of e-commerce.
Here, Michelle Lee, VP of Merchandising, shares EBTH’s passion for estate-sale shopping, design tips for shopping vintage decor online, and EBTH’s focus for the New Year.
Photography courtesy of EBTH
How does Everything But The House bring the thrill of estate-sale shopping into the 21st century?
EBTH offers all of the excitement of a traditional estate sale — the opportunity to own rare and one-of-a-kind pieces, the element of surprise and uncovering treasures, the opportunity to shop pieces that haven’t been touched by a dealer or an auction house — with none of the hassle. No long, snaking lines of people standing in the heat, no picked-over selection, no stress about transporting a cumbersome item back to your home. We handle it all — from authentication to delivery — and because EBTH is a digital platform, we give buyers exposure to more estate sales in one page view than they could ever hit on a Saturday. I know this firsthand, because I’m that person who’s spent more than a few weekends getting in line to wait for hours outside of a mansion.
I’m sure you get this question quite often, but how is EBTH different from other auction sites such as eBay?
All items are sorted and authenticated by a team of EBTH specialists, so you can trust what you’re buying is genuine. There is not a “Buy It Now” option, there is never a reserve, and all auctions start at $1. If someone bids in the last 5 minutes of the auction, we extend the auction another 5 minutes. This really opens up the opportunity for anybody to participate, without the fear of someone sniping at the last minute or purchasing it before the auction is over.
How did your team work with interior designer Peter Dolkas to conceptualize your office space?
Peter and I had a very collaborative process because our tastes complemented each other — I have an eclectic sensibility, I love mixing vintage and modern, and he really masters that California contemporary look. We’re also friends, so it ended up being more fun than a project or task. Peter and I started with reviewing basic floor plans, sending each other inspiration boards, and establishing our goals for the space. Then, we hopped in a U-Haul and went around town to shop and pick up the furniture. At one store they gave us two matching bags that said “Walther” to carry out vintage books. Since then, we’ve called each other Walther and Walther.
In your opinion, how does office design affect team creativity and productivity?
A well-designed space sets the tone and mood of your workday the minute you walk in. Our office is open, bright and welcoming, and we have communal areas to share our ideas. In some spaces, the art was selected for its expansive, sea-like quality, to inspire the same kind of thinking and creativity.
How does the EBTH buying process work exactly?
A user creates their EBTH account using their email and credit card information. They can explore curated boutiques, search by location, category, keyword or sales ending soon and bid on items they’re interested in. We let you know, via app and email notifications, if you’ve been outbid on an item or if a sale you’re following is ending soon.
What are some of your best-selling categories?
Furniture, art, collectibles, décor and jewelry are our best-selling categories — and we’re everyone’s best-kept secret for where to buy an incredible Persian rug.
EBTH also has a “featured” section, including curated selections of items, such as “Featured Boutique – Laid Back Living”. Do your customers tend to scroll and shop through these curated lists, or do they more frequently shop by category?
Our boutiques are great places to start on EBTH, because we’ve culled and curated standout items from the thousands of new pieces that go live every day. I consider them the appetizers to digging deeper into the product categories.
How do you typically work with interior designers?
It starts out as a mutual brainstorming of ideas and collaboration of our individual tastes and styles. We’ll then visit the site together, work up a floor plan before conceptualizing a layout.
Can you offer interior designers 3 tips of “best practices” for shopping for vintage decor online?
1. Pay attention to condition notes, but understand that something antique or vintage usually means it’s not going to be perfect — and those imperfections often add character.
2. Always measure! It helps to physically measure your space and then the dimensions of the piece you’re looking at to give you an idea of its presence in your home.
3. And finally, build off of what you already have. Shop for items that go with an area rug you own, and that way everything you buy will be cohesive with your current scheme or color story.
For the interior designers who have clients that are shy of online auctioning, what are some comforting words of wisdom to help clients take the plunge?
Start small — find a vintage Heath Ceramics ashtray or a set of George Briard tumblers. Bidding on a smaller item with a lower price point will give you a taste of what it’s like to shop an online auction, with less at stake. Shopping at EBTH is typically going to get you a better deal on a piece, since we don’t mark things up and the market (how much people are willing to bid) ultimately dictates their value. When you set your max bid you’ll never be forced to pay a price you’re uncomfortable with, and you have a 7 day window to bid at your leisure, so there isn’t the pressure of a traditional auction environment and no one can swoop in and bid at the last minute.
What’s your focus for 2017?
Our goal is to offer even more discovery points: more boutiques, extraordinary collections, style guides and featured items that show off just how much potential there is on EBTH.com. It sounds cliché, but when you’re pulling products from all over the country, from sellers with all kinds of backstories, you truly have something to offer every kind of buyer. We want to engage as many audiences as possible. And we’ll never stop telling the incredible stories of the people behind these collections. They completely enrich the products.
Contact Everything But The House