Posted on: September 20, 2019
Breaking Boundaries : Christina Trevanion paves way for female auctioneers
As September 22nd marks Business Women’s day, we’re putting the spotlight on our very own Christina Trevanion, founder and Managing Director of Trevanion and Dean. With 20 years experience, Christina knows of the challenges and hurdles one must overcome to succeed in the fine art and antiques industry and she is now at the forefront of a wave of female auctioneers taking to the rostrum and shaking things up in a traditionally male dominated industry.
Following university Christina began her career at Christie’s in London, firstly in the jewellery department at King Street and then in the ceramics department at South Kensington. She moved back to her native Shropshire in 2002, where she worked for Halls in Shrewsbury for twelve years with Richard Allen and as Jeremy Lamond’s junior valuer, before becoming head of the jewellery and silver departments. ‘I remember my time at Halls, Welsh Bridge with fondness’, reminisces Christina, ‘it was a huge part of my life, I remember coming up on the train from London and Jeremy interviewing me, I was the only girl he interviewed out of a stack of CV’s. He took a chance on me, and I will always be very grateful to him for that’.
It was during her time at Halls that she was spotted auctioneering by the BBC and she subsequently became a regular face on daytime television, partaking in Flog it! Antiques Road Trip and Bargain Hunt. ‘Working in television has been a wonderful experience and has enabled me to do some phenomenal things that I wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to do. It has also been great opportunity to meet fellow colleagues working within the auction world. This auction world can be quite an insular and lonely place at times and so meeting people who are in the same industry has been fantastic’.
Following the birth of her two children, Christina decided to start her own business in her home town of Whitchurch, Shropshire, with university pal Aaron Dean; ‘I’ve never been very good at doing things by halves!’ says Christina. ‘It has been an incredibly busy few years. At times when I look back now, I honestly have no idea how I managed everything; balancing TV work whilst setting up and running a fledgling business as well as being a wife and mother to two small children – life was busy! In all seriousness, I think most working parents find it a challenge to find a good work-life balance, but I feel it is important to set a good example to my children and instil within them a strong work ethic. I enjoy working, I love what I do and I find running my own business intensely rewarding’.
‘I’m also very proud to be part of an emerging band of women who are carving our own space within the industry. I have a huge amount of respect for my colleague Catherine Southonwho has successfully opened her own auction house in Surrey. Catherine and I both started our careers within London auction houses which, at the time was a very male dominated environment and there were few women in senior management roles for us to aspire to. It feels good to be part of a generation of women who are challenging the pre-conceived notion that generally women have an aversion to risk and are less competitive and therefore not as good as ‘business leaders’ this simply isn’t true.
Luckily this notion is changing, but there is still a long way to go. It can be very frustrating, and I have lost count of the number of times people have asked me ‘So when did you take over your father’s business?’. My father was a military man and my mother was a florist, sadly the expectation is that I could not have possibly done it by myself; but the reality has been hard graft, late nights, utter dedication, resilience, determination and nerves of steel, and as anyone who has started their own business will tell you – a lot of sacrifice.’
Christina has recently made several new appointments to her existing team, which is managed by Ashley Jones who has worked alongside Christina since joining Trevanion and Dean in 2015. Christina said ‘I have been delighted to welcome lots of friendly new faces’, the re-structure has seen the arrival of Ian Woodward, who has come from Wright Marshall, while two new trainee valuers Elizabeth Oliver and Simon Grover support the existing valuers; and Helena Waudby, a qualified diamond grader joins the jewellery department from Peter Wilson’s in Nantwich.
‘The arrival of our new team members strengthens and expands our existing cataloguing and auctioneering team, enabling us to continue offering a fantastic service to the people of Shropshire, Cheshire, Wales and the surrounding areas, with the high level of customer service they expect from their local auction house whilst providing them with an international platform on which to offer their treasured possessions’ said Christina.