What I Learned From The Family-Owned Business

If you ask my father about what he does for living, he will answer: ‘’I am a businessman.’’

One day, he started to buy and sell antiques, collectibles and architectural elements. 40 years later, he owns the biggest antiques store/warehouse in the province of Québec.

In the 90’s, the businesstown of 800 habitants was named the turntable of Québec antiques. The nickname was related to the fact there were 15+ antiques stores in the area. Since then, only a third of the businesses survived the recession, the ones who adapted.

My father’s entrepreneurial journey taught me 5 important lessons:

  1. Be ready to gamble. Trust your instinct. Love what you do. From as far as I can remember, my father took risks. He always tried to find the unicorn in things, and in people. ‘till now, he was right. He loves what he does, as much as he would do it even on vacation. Plan what you can, the rest comes with believing in your guts and passion.
  2. Adapt, or die. From your offering, your distribution channels, to your supply-chain, permanently ask question to yourself. Status-quo is not an option. You don’t have to reinvent 100% of your business; change what you can while staying true to your mission and passion. Invest in your Web presence, be visible and adapt your offer to what the market is looking for.
  3. Involve your family and friends. It’s probably the best gift you can give them. It is also a sure way to be challenged. My father involved the whole family in the business. Each evening, at dinner, we talked about the business. How can we do this better? Do you think we can try this? How are sales? Since we all pave our way elsewhere, even today, we are still talking about business when we get together.
  4. Value relationship and customer experience. Treat everyone (employees, customers & suppliers) as you would treat your friends and family. People can’t always see the value in what you have to offer, you have to explain, educate and be honest. That’s how you win a customer for life.
  5. Make it relevant. Make it special. As a wholesale seller, my father has to attract over 30–40 different dealers from the US and Canada, every week. He uses three tricks: 1) create a community, 2) offer exclusivity on new arrivals and special discounts, and 3) use gamification to define who will choose first and make this special.

Today, when you ask about my story, I will surely talk about my parents and their business — our business. In some ways, it has defined the person I am now: a passionate, dynamic intrapreneur who values customer experience and honesty in business.

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A little about the business:

Antiquité Michel Prince has a vast inventory of antiques and reproductions. You will find that members of our highly qualified staff will be in a position to advise you in your quests in addition to showing you their special favourites.

  • 10,000 antiques on site
  • Weekly arrivals: 200 new antique objects and furnitures
  • Over 20,000 square feet

Are you a dealer or a designer? We offer priority access to new arrivals and location services.

Do you think you have an antique object or collectible? We are in a position to evaluate and purchase your items. We love Canadian furniture, especially from Québec! Contact us.


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