A posting by Sharon Begay, BUSI Intern
Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of talking to Hank Blair, proud owner of Totsoh Trading Post and well known Auctioneer of R.B Burnham Auctioneers about his experience and knowledge of Rug Auctions. The purpose of my visit was to get an understanding of the process of hosting a Rug Auction that will support Dine College's Navajo Cultural Arts Program. Mr. Blair’s daughters, Cheryl and Connette also provided input throughout the discussion on Rug Auctions.
On the business side of hosting a Rug Auction, the majority of the work is done beforehand, i.e. selection of location, advertising, facilities, personnel, and equipment. A successful Rug Auction is determined by the host understanding the relationship with the audience. According to Mr. Blair, who has been in the Rug Auction business for over 20 years, weavers and buyers go to Rug Auctions where they know the people running the auction. R.B Burnham Auctioneers have established a reputation of being honest, therefore they have established a following of weavers and buyers who participate in Auctions they are a part of. In addition, rug buyers and weavers participate in these auctions because they have an appreciation of the design, quality, color, firmness and originality of a rug. To me, that makes it all about reputation.
The process of becoming an excellent and reputable Rug Auctioneer is directly related to the Marketing concept of the 4 P’s; Place, Product, Promotion, and Price, which equates to putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time.
From this, I have learned that a Rug Auction must be run in a businesslike manner with the right personnel. In addition, location and advertising are crucial towards having a successful rug auction.