Running a business is time consuming but there are perks too. Working from home? Check. Creative control? Ditto. Autonomy? Yep. But the role of business owner also requires diligence, communication and money management skills, efficiency and great time management skills. Apparently auctioneering skills come in handy too. Sometimes I need to get out of my office, off my computer and head out for the ‘hunt’. As a designer, I love creating, collaborating and . . . hunting for products to add to my ever-growing inventory. Time to head to an auction, right?

I attended my first auction a week ago. Drove a long way, only to discover my ‘lot’ was happening near the end of the auction. Hmmm. Time to drive back home, then return late at night. Still, I had to sit in a room hovering over 90 degrees, waiting for my ‘lot’ to come up for bid. And then crunch time. I spent the hour preceding my ‘lot’ time listening intently and observing the process. I understood half of it. How to know when someone has placed a higher bid when the auctioneer is speaking faster than my heart is beating? Subtlety. I remind myself to look for hand gestures, head pointing. Glances. I find my head swivelling, my arm raising. I’m frowning. What the heck is going on?

I passed the paddle to my other half. Help! I can’t understand what’s being said. Up goes the paddle. Down goes the paddle. Up again. Who, I’m thinking, is bidding against me? Are they planted by the auctioneering house? Bad luck? Someone with similar taste? Narrowing my eyes, I signalled my spouse, Keep bidding. Up goes the paddle, down goes the paddle.

We won the bid! Wait a minute, we have to add 12% buying fee? Really? 12% tax? Holy—–! Maybe not such a deal. I have to admit, I really wanted two specific items. A perfect pair. But I’m not a fan of auctions at the moment. My inventory requires specific pieces, and my time is valuable. Going to an auction to bid for, and hopefully win, an item of my choice, means I’m ‘wanting’ a specific item. This process, for me, creates a sense of ‘needing’ something when it may be better to walk away. Or keep my paddle lowered. In this case, I have my pair of antique, cross-stitch chairs and I’m happy to own them. But next time I’ll look further afield when I’m seeking something specific.