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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Posted: Aug 21 2010

It didn’t seem that long ago I was doing it tough in Northern China trying to negotiate my way around and having some cabinets shipped home. Now they have actually arrived…all 43 pieces as well as lots of little interesting items. Having containers arrive is such a major deal. For anyone who hasn’t done it or even seen inside one, it’s amazing how much you can fit into them. It’s also amazing how much weight people can physically lift, especially when you don’t really have a choice. The whole experience can be really daunting. Australian customs is the most stringent in the world, so they can hold up your conatiner for a day or two with minimum notice, which when you’re just a little shop on the coast can make it awkward trying to put friends and family on notice within 12hrs of being notified that “It’s on the way”. In a 2hr period the container needs to be unloaded completely so organisation is obviously the key. Having friends and family memebers that are fit and strong is also a great advantage, actually it’s a necessity for us. It was pretty exciting that’s for sure. There were lots of “Ooooaaaarrrr that’s a nice one”. At the end of the day Tara and I were actually on a high just looking at them all. We felt like kids at Christmas.

So…”Why buy 43 cabinets?” – well…the availability and price of Northern Chinese antiques has been a bit of an issue for us. They are getting more and more popular for obvious reasons and there is a limited supply in Australia. We would troll through what was available to us and always felt a little disappointed that none of them were what we wanted or liked, or we would finally get a nice one, sell it and then couldn’t get anything similar again. We thought if we could go straight to the source and buy quite a few, we would have better quality in every piece – we would love them all, because we picked them. As well, we hoped that buying direct we would be able to offer them at a much better price. Customers from Sydney could actually get a cabinet off us and have it delivered cheaper than buying it locally in Sydney – if they could find one they loved. The bit we love is that each piece has a more personal connection for us.

There are still many in storage here (and a couple at home), but a precious few have made their way to the shop floor. I have taken a few shots of some “in-store”. Every couple of weeks I’ll take a few more shots so eventually you will have met them all. For those that don’t know – “nǐ hǎo” is Mandarin for hello, and it doesn’t get much better from here for me. With limited Mandarin we tended to do a lot of smiling to get us by.

Danny

From top to bottom

Gansu Cabinet (80-100yrs) $690 – 95 x 45 x 87
Gansu Cabinet (100yrs) $2200 – 161 x 45 x 84
Gansu Cabinet (80-100yrs) $720 – 89 x 42 x 90
qinghai chest (100yrs) $620 – 77 x 44 x 53

If any of these interest you or would like to see more – email us at enquiries@fewandfar.com.au

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