Sotheby’s Purchase of Viyet Expands Furnishing Options
Online shopping has revolutionized the way we buy everything from clothing to everyday basics. Now, we can add fine antiques, rare vintage pieces and designer furniture to the list. Whether you’re looking for a pristine Art Deco accent chair by Jacques Adnet or an 18th-century French farmhouse table, you can start your search at Viyet.com, the online vintage, antique and designer furniture marketplace that was acquired by Sotheby’s in February 2018.
Viyet.com made its debut in April 2013 as an e-commerce platform for New York City design aficionados to buy and consign preowned high-end furniture, antiques, and accessories. As of 2018, Viyet has grown to 13 markets across the country, from Atlanta to Los Angeles. In addition to preowned pieces from designers and private collectors, you can also often find new items from showrooms. As a result, Viyet lists hundreds of arrivals weekly, with the selection refreshed on a daily basis.
This level of access to great design, combined with Viyet’s exceptional e-commerce platform that makes buying and selling items simple for even budding collectors, creates a truly exciting addition to Sotheby’s. “The challenge of a start-up is rising above the noise and catching people’s attention, so to immediately align with a historic, well-known brand like Sotheby’s gives us an added layer of trust and allows us to reach a global network of clients that would have taken many years to build,” said Viyet CEO Elizabeth Brown, in an interview earlier this year on Sothebys.com. “We are also excited to begin serving Sotheby’s clients as we introduce a fixed-price format, to be considered alongside Sotheby’s traditional and online auction model.
Buying Antiques Online with Confidence
Vintage and antique items range from rare investment-quality pieces (such as a Chinese wedding cabinet with crown, offered for $9,520) to fanciful vintage accessories (such as two 1930s bronzed pirate bookends, offered for $150). Every piece has been vetted by Viyet’s curators who assess condition and authenticity in addition to verifying features, colors, measurements, and more. During an in-person appointment, curators take photos of every detail and extensive notes inform the descriptions that appear on each product listing.
Potential consignors outside of Viyet’s 13 markets can also schedule a virtual curator appointment, where they can “meet” with a curator via a video-conferencing app. During the appointment, the curator provides direction and coaching on measuring and photographing their items to be listed for sale at Viyet. The curator then uploads the photographs to Viyet’s platform.
“I’m quite confident in specialists’ ability to relay condition virtually, whether at auction or via the Viyet marketplace,” says Alex Gilbert, Viyet’s VP of sales and merchandising for 20th-century and contemporary design. “You can always feel free to request additional detail photos.” Potential buyers can speak to Viyet’s client-services team via live chat, phone, or email.
Detailed photos of items show the state or condition of the piece. “When dealing with antique furniture and decorative arts, signs of age and use (within reason) can add to the charm of a piece,” says David Walker, antiques specialist for Sotheby’s.
“In addition, values have reached a point where, in the vast majority of cases, antique furniture can be used and enjoyed without the fear of too much value diminishing,” he says. “Of course, structural changes to period furniture and condition points are always noted by the experienced Viyet team prior to listing, and buyers can shop with even more confidence now that Viyet is a part of Sotheby’s.”