Life as an antique dealer: we have the inside story and top tips on picking up a bargain As the daughter of an antique dealer, it isn’t surprising that Lauren Cooke got into vintage. Her childhood home was full to the brim with antique furniture, kitsch collectables, huge shiny pots, and it is impossible to deny their influence on her taste now she’s grown up and has flown the nest. Lauren met up with her dad, John, to chat to him about his life as an antique dealer and to find the roots of her vintage love. Lauren Cooke: How did you set up your business as an antique dealer? John: Getting into antiques was completely by chance. We were squatting in London and inspecting Bath as a way out. On the bus to view a property we saw a blighted inner-city shop to let. Two months later we were in, selling crafts on commission. I always think how lucky we were to get it, I had hair halfway down my back at the time! LC: So how did that turn into selling antiques? John: Well, obviously we made no money at all from our first enterprise, but a year later a friend’s aunt died, leaving him with a house full of antiques. After this, we took him on as a partner and went into house clearance. Antiques are a matter of picking it up as you go along , knowledge comes from making mistakes and all your experience.