360 Magazine: Q&A With Todd Schireson, Abell Auction Co.
Vice President of Abell Auction Company, Todd Schireson, gives a one-on-one personal interview regarding his business as well as his family’s legacy.
Q: How does one become a curator for an auction?
A: Although I have a BA Degree in Business/Economics, I grew up surrounded by antiques and fine art through the family business. I started taking an interest in design, and knew that I wanted to work in the art world.
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to continue your family’s legacy?
A: I was working in high-end residential management and was fortunate enough to work closely with some of the most important interior designers of the day. I became increasingly passionate about art and design, and started taking more of an interest in the auction business. My grandfather and father were both co-owners of the family auction house and it was a natural step to take in my mid-twenties.
Q: What type of research have you conducted in order to keep your pulse on the millennial consumer?
A: My research comes from years of experience as an auctioneer watching what different age groups are buying. We have changed our business format to encompass more millennial buyers. We hold specialty auctions, especially featuring more mid-century and luxury goods to accommodate that market.
Q: Do you consider yourself a philanthropist? Does any of your proceeds at your auction go towards any humanitarian efforts?
A: All of the auctioneers at Abell including myself donate our time to doing charitable auction events. I recently served as an auctioneer for the Jane Goodall foundation charity auction, and have done cancer foundation auctions as well.
Q: Describe your most eclectic find for this youthful market segment?
A: Every so often we come across really fun estates in Southern California. One estate that a youthful market responded well to was a single-owner men’s sneaker collection. We sold more than 200 pairs of collectible, new, in-box sneakers.
Q: How do you select a location for your pop-up engagements?
A: We selected a location based off of a diverse, younger, affluent market. We typically use the Venice area for its walkable neighborhood and the educated art community present.
Q: What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be an auctioneer?
A: The main facets of being an auctioneer are obtaining merchandise and selling merchandise. For both you have to know your customer base, know what look is selling, and be educated about any piece that could come across an auction house.
Q: Is there anything you wish us to know about your next endeavors?
A: We are taking a 102-year-old business and bring it into the 21st century by becoming more accessible online, to reach an audience that can’t necessarily be here in person.
Q: Are you tackling other markets besides LA? National? International?
A: We have a solid base in Southern California, but have expanded into Palm Springs, Northern California and Las Vegas. We are an internationally and nationally recognized auction house; our expansion into the international markets has been a result of expanding online.