Latique.com Launches First Product Based Social Media Site for Antique Dealers

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Latique.com, a Dallas, TX start-up is the first antiques sales site with a social media component. The founding team consists of Julie Garrett VanDolen and Justin Garrett, third generation antiquarians, and Jeff Garrett, owner of Legacy Antiques, Dallas.

Latique.com, a Dallas, TX, start-up, announces the launch of the first product based social media site for buyers of traditional antiques and fine period art.

According to Julie Garrett VanDolen, http://www.Latique.com co-founder, more than 400 traditional antiques and decorative items were listed at launch in early March 2010. It currently showcases nearly 700 antiques from 30 top-level dealers in the United States. The number of dealers selling through Latique.com is growing daily, as is the number of antiques offered for sale.

Latique.com uses social media techniques similar to those found on Facebook and Linkedin to reach out to the Internet generation, young marrieds and new homeowners. It is the first time social media techniques are being applied to this niche market.

The ultimate goal of http://www.Latique.com is to build a community of antique buyers who appreciate traditional antiques and classic home décor. By networking users with dealers, designers and like-minded friends, Latique.com fills in where overburdened antique dealers have left off. It provides the ideas, advice and background on styles of the past that work with the contemporary, on-the-go lifestyle.

The social media aspect also helps recreate the excitement of retail shopping, where browsing and conversation are integral parts of a successful experience. Both new buyers and seasoned collectors can engage in online dialogs with sellers and knowledgeable experts before making the decision to purchase.

"We believe that relationship between the retailer and client can extend beyond the store," says the Julie Garrett VanDolen, the 30-something co-founder of http://www.Latique.com. "We want information about antiques and decorative arts to be accessible to everyone at any time."

In keeping with the efforts to broaden the market for antiques through social engagement, Latique.com features an online magazine. The Latique Magazine includes a monthly Founders Letter that focuses on trends, home fashion and classic style. Another section offers insights from top designers. For instance, the March issue of Latique Magazine features an interview with Joseph Minton, the Fort Worth, TX designer whose work is known from Aspen to Park Avenue. Future interviews will showcase young designers who blend the contemporary with classical for a fashion forward look.

Insider blogs, written by members of the antiques trade, offer users a level of transparency that is not usually associated with the selling of fine period furniture. The blogs, although mostly intended to bring dealers into the new era of online selling, also allow users to get a feel for the practical aspects of selling antiques, an area that has often been cloaked in mystery.

http://www.latique.com has other features that set it off from the spate of online antique malls. For instance, the home page changes every time an antique or decorative item is added. Dealers' business cards march across the home page, rotating each time the page is reloaded.

Visitors to the http://www.latique.com Beta site have not been hesitant about weighing in on the new sales vehicle. "I like the fresh, timely approach to making Latique.com a social shopping site," commented Carol Sims. "It will be nice to see this fun, sociable interaction grow into something really meaningful and fun."

Dealers are equally excited about being a part of the new community. As retailers contend with declining walk in traffic, they are in dire need of new grounds to market their goods. "This is the future of the arts and antiques community," said James Eddy, proprietor of Colonial Arts of San Francisco and a Latique.com dealer. "Buyers let their fingers do the walking in the era of Internet. We (dealers) need to expand our view of our customer base to increase revenue."

Latique.com is the first product based antiques site to reach out to new buyers with a social media component that allows users to engage in conversation with dealers and designers. http://www.Latique.com's tagline is "Traditional Antiques and Classic Home Décor for Contemporary Living."

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Regina Kolbe
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