Published: December 4, 2018
Thirty-one-year-old Lucy Grogan is vice president and director of the jewelry department of Grogan & Company, a well-established, family-owned auction house that has been in business since 1987, operating on Charles Street, in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Grogan grew up in the auction business and is frequently seen appraising jewelry on the Antiques Roadshow. A graduate of Trinity College and the Gemological Institute of America, she remembers going on house calls with her father, Michael B. Grogan, when she was 7 or 8 years old, and asking about furniture and paintings that her father brought home. She spent four years in Wyoming in auction and fine art-related positions. But she returned home, saying, “Joining the family business was not a hard decision.” Grogan understands the growing importance of well-thought-out use of social media in the context of the auction world today and utilizes various aspects to promote the Grogan “brand,” to encourage younger and first-time buyers to participate in the auction process and to assist in gaining quality consignments. The company also uses social media platforms to fill positions in the company, assuring that they will attract a “social media savvy” staff. Lucy and her high-school sweetheart married on December 1.
Grogan & Company is expanding to Maine?
Yes, we are opening an office in Portland in January. My husband and I bought a house there and will make that our home base. I will be dealing with our Portland clients and looking to expand our northern New England business. I will be running our jewelry department, as I am now, but from the Portland office. I plan to spend three days a week, every other week, in Boston, so, business-wise, little will change. We know there are many great collectors in Maine and New Hampshire and there’s room for a new face in town. Although my own expertise is in jewelry, everyone on our team is knowledgeable about all the things we sell. The exposure to all collecting categories is one of the many great things about being a small company.
How many auctions does the company do annually?
We have traditionally done four major, cataloged sales of fine art, jewelry and decorative arts a year. We have consciously decided to reduce the number of major annual sales to two a year with the intention of increasing the value of the lots we sell. My dad is an expert on Oriental rugs, and we regularly conduct cataloged sales of rugs. We have also conducted single-owner sales of high-quality collections, which we will continue to do. We have learned that when we have the time to concentrate on better quality – but less quantity – we do a better job for our consignors and buyers. We also have more fun, which is one of the great joys of a small, family business.
Tell us about how social media fits into your business plan.
For someone who has been in the auction business for more than 40 years, I give my dad a lot of credit for always being open to new ideas and different ways of doing things. This support from the top allows me and the rest of our team to experiment with new innovation and technology. Some things work and some do not, but his support remains unwavering. Social media, especially Instagram, have been and continue to be, important tools for us, especially for jewelry. I use my Instagram account (@lucyontheroadwithdiamonds) to highlight upcoming lots and educate potential buyers and consignors about the auction process. By making my posts informative, friendly and accessible, I have developed a loyal base of followers who feel like they know me. These Instagram relationships have translated directly to both consignments and sales. I feel strongly that this trust is only possible when there is a face behind the account as opposed to a faceless business logo.
How long have you been on the Antiques Roadshow?
This upcoming season will be my fourth year touring with the Antiques Roadshow. I am one of the jewelry appraisers and I have really enjoyed getting to know the jewelry specialists at other companies. There is a sense of camaraderie among the appraisers, which is essential to get through the long days. Many of the appraisers have been doing it for decades, so it is a great networking opportunity for a relatively young newcomer in the business like me and I feel lucky to be a part of it.
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