Fieldings 15 years on... by Judith Woolgar

When I joined the company in January 2004 Fieldings had a small office/gallery on Market Street in Stourbridge, 10 sales a year were held at Hagley Community Centre which involved loading a van on a Friday morning with stock from the office and a store in another building then waiting for the playgroup to finish before unloading and setting up in order to open for viewing at 3pm. When the sale finished on Saturday afternoon we had to reverse the process promptly in order for the Scouts or other community group to set up for their evening event.

Moving to Mill Race Lane in 2006 was a leap of faith, we worried that we wouldn’t be able to fill 10,000 sq ft. Oh how naïve were we! In the intervening years we have often wished for elastic walls, particularly in the office as the number of staff have grown and the comment ‘that’s great, but where on earth are we going to put them?’ is often heard.

Our decision to stop accepting cheques 9 years ago was the right one as the costs & risks involved in processing them became unsustainable. We are encouraging all our vendors to accept payment by bank transfer for goods sold for the same reasons, this is particularly important as many clients are selling items due to a house move and we can be sure that funds arrive in the right place and a cheque won’t land on the mat of an empty house.

The biggest innovations within the industry have been the advent of digital photography and online bidding. The days of polaroid photos being sent in the post are fortunately a distant memory! Online bidding, for which we now offer two platforms, Easy Live Auctions and the Saleroom.com has seen a huge increase in the number of bidders, 1000+ per sale is not unusual. Online bidding allows international bidders to participate in our sale without a language barrier, a picture on screen and an amount is all that is needed, just press the big green button to bid. 

Having recently started to use the Easy Live back office system we now have a fully integrated bidding platform, stock, invoicing and payment system which enable clients all over the world to request & receive condition reports and photographs, make absentee bids or bid live, receive invoices and make secure payments quickly.  

We are often approached by people who would like to work here, we must make it look great fun. It is. We once had a customer ask if we did ‘Auction Experience days’ as her husband would love to give it a try, as a new revenue stream Nick did consider it!

If I had one wish it would be PLEASE read the paperwork (RTFP), the information you are looking for is usually on there.

Posted on 2 June 2019 in: Auction life

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