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Exclusive Interview: John-Paul Savant, CEO at ATG Media

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Photo by Phil Adams

John-Paul Savant is a seasoned international business leader with 21 years’ experience, 16 of which have been spent in high growth digital companies whose success came from delivering exceptional value to customers.

He has held a range of leadership roles spanning general management, product management, customer experience, consumer engagement, internet strategy, finance, planning, and new market development, covering multiple geographies—primarily the UK and Europe, but also North America, the Middle East and Africa.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and a concentration in International Economics. He also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.


What is ATG Media’s sustainability mission? 

As a global pioneer of online auction portals, ATG is all about “Recycled Luxury” and “Recycled Equipment” – from antiques, tables, desks, chairs, sofas, and art, to trucks, dumpsters, joinery shops, electronics, and whole factories. We annually facilitate the sale of items worth over £2 billion through our websites thesaleroom.com, ibidder.com and bidspotter.co.uk. Items that otherwise would have a very limited market for resale, so who knows where they would end up. Recycled luxury is both environmental and fun.

What was the driver behind this?

We didn’t start with a mission of sustainability; it’s more just an outcome of what we do.  But we do believe that it’s important to raise awareness of the range, quality, and beauty of what’s available in the secondary market as many people still feel new is better. With vast amounts of disposable, short-term furniture and household items being sold today, we offer something different. We sell things that are made to last. People can get excited that they can find beautiful, useful things that are not new and that this is an acceptable way to buy.


Who does it primarily serve?

We serve the online buying population of the UK, US, and Europe. Our platform enables over 1000 auctioneers from these countries to reach a wide range of buyers, including art dealers, collectors, and casual consumers. We sell items ranging from £50 to £500,000 so the population we serve is broad. Our goal is to improve the buying experience to make auctions even more accessible to more people. We want to make it as easy to buy a 19th Century pine table from an auctioneer at the other end of the country as it would be to buy a new pine table from John Lewis.

What difference does ATG Media want to make in sustainability?

For each new table made, materials are being sourced, transported, treated, transported, assembled, transported, and probably then transported again from warehouse to shop. In providing the means to buy high quality furnishings and gifts ‘second hand’, the environmental costs of furnishing a house, for example, become tiny. The costs are essentially reduced down to the item being transported to the auction house and then from the auction house to the buyer.  And the same applies to our equipment and plant sales. Re-using high cost, resource intensive machinery reduces the need to make more.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

The main barrier is that buying at auction is not yet very prominent in public consciousness. We believe this is because until now, it has been logistically relatively clunky as well as being often quite confusing. Thesaleroom.com, we hope, will make it a far more retail-like experience and over the next few years we hope to make buying at auction a comfortable and streamline experience.  We are creating a ‘Golden Path’ buying experience to make buying at auction easy.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

We can overcome many of the barriers ourselves, but as we look to the future, we’ll need shipping and payments partners as well. And, of course, our auctioneers and bidders will play a role in shaping the experience that works best for them.

Is the antiques trade doing enough to support sustainability?

The antiques industry and the secondary market as a whole will struggle as individuals to make a difference, as it’s about changing broad-based consumer/buyer perceptions. We believe it takes an aggregator with the technology and vision to change the buying experience to make a real transformation in those perceptions and this is the challenge we are taking on on behalf of the industries we represent.

How can people – individuals and organisations – find out more about ATG Media’s sustainability mission?

The best way is to simply read the Arts and Antiques Trade Gazette. There you’ll see the huge range of items sold or available. You can also go to any of our websites: thesaleroom.com, ibidder.com, or bidspotter.co.uk.  And soon, you’ll be able to read more on our corporate home page. Or, of course, you can always talk to me.

What should investors know about the potential of the secondary auction market?

Investors should know that the secondary market is starting to gain real traction from investors.  More and more venture capital or private equity backed companies are emerging to tackle this huge industry. Arts and antiques alone are an estimated £110bn business globally and just 4-5% is sold online today, growing 20% plus annually. Industry and Commercial items represent another multi-hundred billion industry that is gradually moving online. The potential for consolidation, scale, and hyper growth is very real. We’re approaching a tipping point.

 

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.


While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.


One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.


1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.


4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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