Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Glass.
Ashley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been in the estate sale business for just over 10 years, and around the antique business since I was a teen. Growing up in a home full of antiques, I loved history and art at a young age. Our Buckhead home, was even history to me, as it was built by the same man who built the Cyclorama in 1953 in Atlanta.
I remember going to Lakewood in the late 80’s as a teen and loving all of the wonderful things people were selling there. When Scott’s opened up in the late 90’s, I remember a fascination with it as well, but Lakewood was where I learned a lot about antiques, primitives, and collectibles from the dealers there. I would walk around and ask a lot of questions, trying to learn about the history of items. For most teenagers, this would have not been enjoyable, but I loved all things vintage and old.
In the mid 1990’s, while working in the emergency medical field in Atlanta, I began acquiring antiques to sell and rented a booth both at Lakewood Antiques Market and at the Roswell Antiques Market, both of them, have since closed. I loved buying items, staging them, and selling them for a profit. It was a lot of work, but I really enjoyed it. Again, during this time, I learned a lot from the other dealers, as I was about 25 years younger than most of the youngest dealers at the time. They all were fascinated that someone so young was in the business of reselling.
After doing this for many years, and purchasing items at estate sales, I had always thought that the estate sale business was something that I wanted to do. The estate sales that I went to while growing up, they were mostly one or two women, who had been hired by a family to sell the families belongings. They did not have a company name or an office, or any employees. It was just, for instance, Martha and Fran. There was no internet at the time, but everyone knew that they would put an ad in the paper and that it would come out on Thursday mornings. For the two groups of ladies that I liked the best, they would have a “CLUE” in the paper, telling you that it was them. For example, one group would say 10-4 ONLY and ONLY would always be capitalized and you would know it was them. These two groups of women, set the foundation, for a love of mine and I respected them and loved them so much. Many of my “core rules” come from these ladies, some of who have retired.
When I began doing estate sales, I was the youngest in the field in Atlanta, again, by many years, so I had to prove to many people that I knew what I was doing and had to find a way to shine from the rest.
At the age of 14, I went to an estate sale off Peachtree Battle Ave, right around the corner, from where I grew up, and the home had been boarded up for many years. I remembered wondering what would be inside of this old home. My mom and I went to the sale, which was typical estate sale back then. You came into the house and went searching for treasures. Nothing was sorted, organized, or priced. You would take items that you were interested in to the front for a price, where there was normally someone taking money at the door, with a fanny pack. As my mom and I looked through the house, she found a box of war letters and some black and white photographs of well-known people, like Mr. Haverty (Haverty’s Furniture), Mr. Davison (of Davison’s before it became Macy’s), Billy Sunday (a well-known evangelist), and she recognized Franklin D. Roosevelt in some of the photos as well.
She had me take the box up to the lady at the door and ask her how much it would be, and the answer, without even glancing into the box, was $5.00. When we arrived at home, my mom was shocked to empty the box and find 67 signed letters by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The history in the letters was amazing. The collection of letters spanned from his time as Governor of New Year in the late 1920’s to his time in the white house, as President of the United States, in the early 1930’s. A treasure of history, found in a home that no one knew existed. The collection of letters was sold at Christie’s Auction in New York City for $18,000 after being taken to the Antiques Roadshow for an evaluation and being chosen to appear on the show.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The estate sale business itself, came natural to me, but the industry is growing, and being in an industry that consists of no licensing requirements, no rules, and has no educational requirements is difficult.
Secondly, the market has changed a great deal since I started attending estate sales years ago. When I would conduct an estate sale early on, we would typically sell approximately 95% of all items in the house, leaving the estate/homeowner with every little to do. Now, with the influx of estate sale companies, the ease of buying online, and the decrease of the value of antiques and “brown furniture”, we are typically only selling 40-50% of a household in our region.
Every business has struggles at times and I have learned a great deal from the ones mentioned and look at new ways to sell more items and get more customers all of the time. Loving what I do, makes the struggles seem much easier.
Atlanta Estate Sale Companies – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
When we are called for an estate sale, we discuss with the homeowner, the items that will be for sale. We typically conduct “full home estate sales” so we want to make sure that they have enough for us to conduct an estate sale for them. Many times, the family will choose what they want to keep, not leaving enough for an estate sale. A typical estate sale cost Atlanta Estate Sale Companies $3,500 to conduct. This includes staging of all items in the home, professional photography, professional marketing, a full sale, and all leftover items donated to a charity at the end of the sale, leaving the home empty.
At times, the family might need to donate all of the household to a local charity. If the labor to run an estate sale is not going to equal the gross total sales due to the quality and quantity for sale, this is when the estate needs to think of donating all of the items. I am seeing this more and more as the market changes. Most families do not want to have to pay an estate sale company to run a sale for them, but in some cases, this happens. The goal is to get the house emptied, so that the home can be sold.
Once we accept the sale, we will decide at this time what division of Atlanta Estate Sale Companies, will handle the sale. Atlanta Estate Sale Companies, has a “vintage/antique” division, “The Vintage Girls” who conduct medium to large homes, but typically consisting of older, vintage, and antique items. Our “luxury” division sales are put on by “Ashley Glass Luxury Sales” and are typically houses over $500k to multimillion dollar homes, that are full, and typically have newer and more luxurious items in them. Our final division is “Farm, Ranch, and Land Estate Sales” which concentrate on farms and ranches in North Georgia that typically have a home and in addition, they typically have farm equipment and tools, that are not common in other sales.
It typically takes us 2 1/2 weeks from supply delivery to the charity pick up. We also offer additional services, including move-in/move out cleaning, for an additional fee.
We pride ourselves in our full set ups, our professional photography, our professional marketing, our pricing of every single item, and our friendly and professional staff. These five things are what makes us stand out as a company from other estate sale companies.
As a company, I am most proud of the work that we put into every single sale. We treat every home like it is our own family’s home. We take pride in our work and it shows.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Three moments stand out in my career.
Martin Codina, author of “Liquidating an Estate”, asked me to join a group of eight other estate sale company owners nationwide to develop the National Estate Sales Association. We have developed an informative and educational association that I think will benefits companies and consumers alike. I am currently serving on the Board of Directors as well.
In 2016, we were hired to conduct the largest estate sale in Georgia’s history… It took 5 1/2 months to sort, organize, and stage for the estate sale that was conducted in Buckhead.
For the past two years, Atlanta Estate Sale Companies won the Top Viewed Estate Sale Company for the entire State of Georgia and was in the top 50 nationwide. Marketing is one of our top priorities and being awarded for it, means a great deal to our company.
- Address: 425 E Crossville Rd, Suite 213
- Website: www.atlantasestates.com
- Phone: 6784147544
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Facebook: thevintagegirls
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/atlestatesaleco
Brandon Andrews Photography
Sarah Hunter, Phototique