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TV antiques expert launches own auction house

Posted On: 31 Oct 2023 by Irita Marriott

One of only a handful of women in the UK

TV antiques expert launches own auction house

Antiques expert and TV personality Irita Marriott has become one of only a handful of women in the UK to launch her own auction house.

The ambitious, self-made entrepreneur has registered Irita Marriott Auctioneers and Valuers for business (June, 2023) and she’s determined to make it a great success.

On September 16 she will open the doors to her saleroom in the Derbyshire village of Melbourne, and consignments are already coming in for the first auction.

She said: “I’m thrilled to be launching my auction centre in the county I call home, Derbyshire. Melbourne is a beautiful historical village, an English gem with a thriving creative community. It hosts its annual arts festival on September 16-17 and the launch will coincide with this special event.

“Melbourne Festival is a vibrant spectacle attracting thousands of people. I want to play my part and celebrate the launch of my business at the same time. My auction centre in Williams Yard, Derby Road, will open during the two-day event. I plan a special window display and look forward to welcoming visitors.

“Opening my own auction house is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now the time is right. I have the knowledge, experience and expertise, plus numerous contacts in the industry who are keen to collaborate with me.

“I am proud to be able to do this. I arrived in England from my home country of Latvia at the age of 20 to build a new life. I had no idea where my journey would take me. I’m thrilled it’s led me into a profession I love.

“The auction business has been male dominated for a very long time with only a handful of women running salerooms. I am looking forward to adding to their ranks and helping to blaze a trail for women. I plan to build on my previous business success and offer the general public the best possible service.”

Irita, 39, moved to England in 2004. After seven years spent working as a retail manager at a garden centre in Bradford, her passion for decorative antiques and collectables led her to start working as a dealer in 2012.

She said: “I loved it but it was hard work. I’d get up at 3am to travel all over the country and abroad to source and sell items at antique fairs. And I did that whilst caring for my two sons. From the moment they were born, they joined me on my very own version of an antiques road trip.”

Such was Irita’s Midas touch for sourcing exceptional objects she built up a loyal clientèle all over the world. The businesswoman, who is completely self taught, also worked as an antiques valuer at a renowned Midlands auction house for seven years.

This broadened her knowledge in specialist areas. As well as handling and assessing a multitude of fascinating objects, she learned how an auction saleroom operated.

She said: “It was a steep learning curve but when you love what you do learning is easy. I am quite driven. While working hard to gain more knowledge, I recognised the public’s passion for antiques had sparked several TV shows. I wanted to be part of that, to be known for what I do and love.

“Most people are head-hunted for TV work but I was a bit cheeky! I contacted Antiques Road Trip to offer my services. I was fortunate enough to gain an opportunity on the show.

“I’ve now done six seasons of Road Trip, three seasons of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip and recently started filming for Bargain Hunt. I’ve also worked on The Greatest Auction for Channel 4. When I wake up in the the morning I sometimes have to pinch myself because I feel so lucky to have a job I love. It’s brought me so many opportunities.

“But sourcing and selling antiques and collectables is ultimately what I do. Now my sons are a little older, I’m ready to take my business ambitions further. But to do that I need to move with the times and embrace change.

“Covid altered the antiques and collectables business. Before lockdown, people flew from all over the world to buy at antique fairs. Covid stopped all that.

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