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Sourcing: a guide to the online marketplace

The way we source home furnishings has changed forever. We give you the lowdown on how to stay ahead of the curve.

Today it is easier than ever to source furniture and accessories online. The web has become our marketplace and industries had to adjust to survive. Unfortunately, many antique galleries and boutiques have not had the marketing know-how or budgets required to form an online presence. The industry has suffered as a result with the focus shifting to the larger distributers.

The past decade’s trend for mid 20th century shows no sign of abating. With design houses increasingly using their archives for inspiration, the market’s interest in this era has also been piqued. Demand for original designs by pioneers such as Mies Van Der Rohe, Charles Eames and Eileen Gray have highlighted the difficulty in locating these items held mostly by independent suppliers. 

Thankfully a solution has been provided via the birth of a new online market place. Pioneered by Michael Bruno, his online portal (1st Dibs) provides an ability to search for a variety of products all sourced directly from independent boutiques around the world. 

This has proved to be an enormous success, appealing to both the interiors industry and general public alike. It has also provided a springboard from which others created their own versions. 

Here we break down our top three online marketplaces that will help you find that one of kind piece you’ve been looking for: 


1.  The Giant: 1st Dibs

Founded by Mark Bruno in 2001, 1st Dibs is the first and largest online portal featuring many of the world’s finest boutiques and galleries. Originally designed to link dealers and designers, 1st Dibs offers a diverse range of products from furniture and art to real estate and jewellery. Favoured by many of the today’s top designers such as Tom Ford and Diane Von Furstenberg, the company is active in 16 global markets and represents some 2,000 dealers.

2. European Chic: Pamono

Berlin based Pamono focusses on the European market. Their carefully curated marketplace is made up of handpicked dealers, allowing you to “shop the boutique collections of cities across Europe, directly from the comfort of your own home’’. Their wide selection ranges from designer classics to unknown gems, as well as up-and-coming contemporary designers such as Lovely & Co. In terms of style, you are just as able to find mid century classics by Borge Mogensen and Arne Jacobsen, to more futurist works by Paul Kelly.

3. Unique & Affordable: The Mint List

London based, The Mint List offers a range eclectic, vintage and tailor made products. Founded in 2012 by Camilla Kelly,  her online market place has become to go to source for ‘industrial glamour.’ The site is made up of partners who sell through the list with Camilla curating the collection to feature the pieces she wants on the site, “that way I can create the right feel and bring everything together.”

 Featured in host of publications such as How to Spend it and Elle Decoration, the Sunday Times magazine advised “if Sotheby’s is a little out of your price range then The Mint List may be what you’re looking for.”

In addition to their core furniture and lighting, The Mint List offers a fantastic collection of miscellanea ranging from vintage letters, sculptures and artworks to rugs and wallpaper.  Many of these are vintage and one offs. They have recently included an interior design service that will advise on how to recreate their style in your home.


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