Every Object has a Story. Be the Storytellers.

While managing the @EveryAuction Twitter account, I came across @DoeandHope, which is the handle for Doe & Hope, a seller of rare and unusual antiques. Although they are based in the historic medieval village of Blunham, England, they have managed to captivate a worldwide audience with the marvels and oddities that they sell. Among the items featured on their website are this vampire slaying kit


A Rare Primitive Antique Vampire Slaying Kit Images provided courtesy of Doe & Hope.

and this Lion Skull


A Good Large Upper Section of a 19thC Male Lion’s Skull Images provided courtesy of Doe & Hope

These are indeed rare and unusual items that are quite interesting in their own right. But what really sells them is the way in which they are presented by the team at Doe & Hope, whose guiding philosophy is that "every object has a story, and we are the storytellers." Beyond the professional and compelling photographs that accompany each item are the stories that are told about them.

Take, for example, this old workbench. Many auctioneers and estate sellers would be satisfied describing it simply as an "antique butcher block table", or something similarly simple. But not Doe & Hope. Look at their description:

Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth / Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890-1900
Width: 22 inches
Height: 25 inches
Length: 39.5 inches

The heavy-set two inch rustic block top over a pistachio painted frame with H-shaped stretcher and square legs, the distress to the paint commensurate with age, survives from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century.

Remaining in a highly desirable original condition, or what we like to call ‘barn fresh’, the rustic block oak top has a wonderful patina, with a host of character blemishes, knife marks and old stains, in keeping with its age and heavy use. There are also symmetrical four holes drilled through the top. The oak shows some old worm to small areas, though the whole remains very sound with the painted legs and stretcher worn in keeping with use.

This butchers block-esque workbench come coffee table is very much on song with today’s interior trends and its totally unashamedly original farmhouse condition means it provides a generous dollop of rustic charm.

By creating such informative and witty item descriptions, Doe & Hope manages to add value to the items they sell in the form of quality web content, which increases their advertising appeal. The Doe & Hope website performs equally well for their human audience as it does for the search engines that index their website. And with all this wonderful rich content, Doe & Hope is also able to feed it's hungry social networks all the relevant media that can possibly be shared, liked, tweeted, posted, and emailed. If information is power, then these are some powerful item listings.

The problem with creating really good item listings is that it takes time. Most auctioneers and liquidators know a great deal about the items they are selling and can talk about them at length, but they cannot justify spending the amount of time necessary to catalog all of their items the way that Doe & Hope does. If they could just dictate the item descriptions rather than type them all, then these sellers would be more likely to follow suit.

Thankfully, such a solution does exist.

The Mobile Cataloging Application from AuctionMethod gives users the ability to catalog auction items on their handheld tablet or smartphone. Using voice recognition technology, the app allows users to dictate item titles and descriptions, transcribing the text as they speak. There is no further need for data entry, although it helps to have a pair of human eyes review and edit the information before making it public, especially if you want to add some style to the listing. I will post another blog entry later showing what I mean. I posted a blog post to show what I meant.

Regardless whether you create simple item listings or lavishly detailed stories about the items you sell, you can become a more efficient seller using the online auction software service provided by AuctionMethod.

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