Collecting Vintage China

6 Nov

Last year I started collecting vintage china to hire out for weddings, hen parties, christenings or just to make a tea party a bit special. The idea came from seeing the explosion of vintage interior styling in magazines and the new trend of having afternoon teas at weddings.

It started as a business idea but it’s become a passion. From trawling car boot sales, charity shops and vintage fairs (see our visit to The Vintage Event) to scouring ebay and having friends all over the country looking out for pieces it’s on my mind all the time. (I must be driving them mad because I have had numerous birthday cards I’ve had with a teacup and saucer on since I started!) Other kind friends have given me china given to them by grandparents that they haven’t used.

It’s also taken over my home. Where I used to have candles and other ornaments there is now china. A cluster of sugar bowls next to the television, cake stands on the living room shelves, a gravy boat holds keys, buttons and other bits and bobs in my bedroom. I have favourite cups and saucers on a display shelf and others dotted around. As my collection grows I’m having to operate a rotation system otherwise the flat will start to look like it’s owned by a mad old lady.

If you’d like to start your own collection I recommend a few rules. Firstly, set a maximum price on every piece you buy. Teapots in particular are hard to come by, I guess a lot of spouts get broken. You could pay £40, £50 or more but I have set a limit of £15 on every one I buy. Secondly, only buy what you like. At first I snapped up everything I saw but now I’m more discerning as I know I wouldn’t be comfortable hiring out pieces I didn’t like myself. But that takes me on to my third point – if you are planning to hire your collection out, don’t get too attached! Breakages do happen.

I named my vintage china hire company Millie Wilkins China Hire after my grandmother who was a tour de force when it came to catering family parties, including my parents wedding. I hope my china is used to serve many more happy family events in the future.

If you’d like more information about hiring my collection please visit my facebook page.

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