For Décor NYC founder Bruce Tilley, no two days—or sales—are alike. When Tilley opened his luxury consignment gallery, the seasoned collector was astutely aware of the need for a high-end marketplace. AD PRO caught up with Tilley about collaborating with AD100 designers, whether the auction houses have an impact on him, and what pieces he just “can’t give away” anymore.
AD PRO: What were the first things you filled the showroom with when you first opened?
Bruce Tilley: My gallery has two floors, with 10,000 square feet, and initially I didn’t know how to fill the space. When we first started, a woman pulled up in her Bentley and said she had changed her mind on buying a 10,000-square-foot waterfront home in East Hampton. She was left with a house of furniture that she couldn’t use, so that was great for us. We started out with a lot of traditional items, not knowing the marketplace and what would sell.
AD PRO: You work closely with a lot of AD100 designers, both buying and selling pieces. How do you approach collaborations with those in the trade?
BT: They know what they need, because every job is different. When they come in to our showroom, they never know what they’re going to see. It changes drastically all the time. Conversely, we never know what job they have on their board for the day. For the times when we know what they’re working on, I’ll give designers a heads-up on what’s coming in if it fits with what they need.
The other day, I bought dining chairs that were $1,200 each. Originally, they were somewhere around $18,000 for the set. They’re still wrapped in their original packing, and right away I know it’s perfect for a designer we work with in North Carolina. We keep a wish list with designers and try to help them match with the perfect pieces from our ever-changing inventory. Plus, we value the items at net price. We don’t value them at list.
AD PRO: How do you compare your work and your relationships with designers to auction houses?
BT: I wouldn’t say it’s a competition, because it’s a different customer and buying cycle. If I’m a designer and I need something specific for a job, and it’s a collectible item or an antique, an auction house is the place to go. I just had a designer who bought a midcentury table from us this week. We’re on the designers’ radars. They’re on our website constantly, and we send out an email once a week to notify them about new inventory. Our clients love it, because they’re not bombarded with emails constantly.
AD PRO: How have you seen the style and taste of the market changed since you first opened?
BT: It was more of a mix of styles that sold. In today’s world, we’re here in New York City with glass high-rises that everyone wants to move into. Everything is minimal now. We were selling armoires [for television sets], and now we can’t give them away. I still sell some antiques, that are what I would call “wow” statement pieces, that mix with a more modern style. Midcentury modern and minimalist modern are still popular styles. We sell Christian Liaigre, Donghia, and Holly Hunt stuff like crazy.