French entrepreneurs in London: Anne-Caroline, founder of L'Art et les Manières
Interview with Anne-Caroline, founder of L'Art et les Manières

Interview with Anne-Caroline, founder of L'Art et les Manières

This week, we went to meet Anne-Caroline Le Mintier, the founder of L'Art et les Manières: a shop for antique decorative objects.

Who is behind L'Art et les Manières?

(Anne-Caroline Le Mintier) "I am 38 years old, I am from Rennes and I am graduate auctioneer. I studied law and art history in Brittany and Paris, until passing the competitive examination which made me a generalist expert whose playground goes from Antiquity to Contemporary Art.

As a child, I spent hours tidying up and disturbing my grandparents' drawers and listening to my grandfather tell me about his collections. The collection gene that my family passed on to me characterizes me and as a history buff, I consider the object as a testimony and a reflection of society at a given moment.

When I arrived in Paris in 2006, I discovered the Hôtel Drouot and its wonders: the love of the object has never left me and I had the chance to then work in the most prestigious Parisian auction houses.

I am also passionate about the history of costume and a 19th century jewelry collector."

L'Art et les Manières, what is it?

(Anne-Caroline) "When I arrived in London to follow my husband there a few years ago, I decided to go through the looking glass and become a merchant.

I buy, I assess and I sell, both physically (on Portobello Market and at fairs in particular) and online (I have a Etsy shop) charming items, both English and French. Only favorites whose materials, authors and history touch me.

I also do object estimates and inventories on request for individuals and professionals."

Why "L'Art et les Manières"?

(Anne-Caroline) "L'Art ('Art' in english) as an admirable result, detestable and infinite in its diversity, reflection of a world and of thoughts at a time given.

And Les manières ('The manners' in english) for the men and women who are behind the Art, the beauty of their gestures, their infinite knowledge of the material they work, their talent which makes a unique piece and desirable.

When I arrived in England, I decided to get to know this country, its history and its people by discovering and studying their objects. It is an open door to a world that amazes me every day. A ribbon that unwinds endlessly and forces you to branch out your knowledge."

Where do you find your wonders?

(Anne-Caroline) "I shop everywhere, all the time! Making your passion a profession is a privilege: I don't force myself to work, I feed on what I discover.

Both online, in stores and in markets, the opportunities to meet an object are endless."

What is the difference between an antique dealer and a junk dealer?

(Anne-Caroline) "The English make little difference between these two professions whose borders are blurred. I would say that the attention paid to the enhancement of the object (its age, its price, its condition, the accompanying documentation) is decisive."

Not too difficult to combine family life and entrepreneurship?

(Anne-Caroline) "Entrepreneurship is for me synonymous with flexibility and freedom to combine a professional life and as a woman with 3 children."

How did you find your first clients?

(Anne-Caroline) "I have told certain people the story of my finds with stars in my eyes.

When we are convinced of the uniqueness of an object and its qualities, when we talk about it with tenderness, we are convincing. They left with these pieces they fell in love with."

An anecdote to share?

(Anne-Caroline) "There are many objects available to you almost without being chosen. It happens to meet them again in another context, in a window or on the neck of another person and to recognize them. Sometimes I think back to these meetings and regret not having bought certain pieces for years..."

Did the health crisis linked to Covid-19 and Brexit have an impact on your activity?

(Anne-Caroline) "The world of object dealers is very traditional and the health crisis has forced those who wanted to keep visibility to use the internet, when all the markets were closed.

Paradoxically, my activity developed a lot during the confinement, due to the strong attractiveness of online sales platforms."

Your future projects for L'Art et les Manières?

(Anne-Caroline) "The fairs are slowly picking up and I look forward to recurring meetings with my buyers.

Private sales at my home are also in preparation for the coming year. They will be presented as ephemeral collections of objects to discover, to offer and to transmit."

Any advice for a budding entrepreneur?

(Anne-Caroline) "Perseverance, ethics and humility must govern - in my opinion - the life of an entrepreneur.

I believe that there are as many entrepreneurial adventures as there are individuals and that as long as passion is driving, you have to hang on."