How Incollect Started

Our Story

John with friend and dealer Peter Tillou in 2003
                              at Peter’s home in Litchfield, Connecticut.
John with friend and dealer Peter Tillou in 2003 at Peter’s home in Litchfield, Connecticut.
John with friend and artist Will Barnet and
                              collector Larry Dubin in 2011, at the National
                              Academy Museum in New York City.
John with friend and artist Will Barnet and collector Larry Dubin in 2011, at the National Academy Museum in New York City.

It all began in 1998, when John Smiroldo was in the midst of wooing his antiques-loving then-girlfriend. She invited John, an avowed Crate and Barrel devotee, to the Newport Antiques Show in Rhode Island. He dreaded spending a beautiful summer day browsing antiques and 19th-century paintings, but then again, love (or lust) can make people do things they wouldn’t normally do. While at the show, something unexpected happened. The beautiful forms pulled John in, and after talking enthusiastically with dealers about the history and craftsmanship of the objects, he was eager to learn more. Unfortunately, there was no publication that excited him as much as the objects themselves. So, he decided to start his own.

Thanks to his company, Pure Imaging, a publishing service bureau, he and his team already had significant publishing experience. After hiring some highly qualified people from the art and antiques world, Antiques & Fine Art Magazine launched in January 2000 at the Winter Antiques Show in New York. The magazine quickly became the industry leader, surpassing established publications that had been around for decades.

After a few years in the art world training his eye and refining his taste, John began collecting modernist paintings and sculpture as well as mid-century modern furniture. Around the same time, he helmed the renovation and interior design of a 19th-century brownstone in Boston’s historic South End (his current home), scouring Architectural Digest and other magazines for ideas and designers. John found that his location was inhibiting his progress when it came to collecting and designing his home. “Boston is a great city, but there’s only one New York. Art, antique, and design shows in Boston are very limited. Galleries are disappearing or they’re downsizing due to rising operating costs. Plus, fellow collectors are tough to meet.”

John tried to make regular trips to New York, but would often miss major shows and visits to galleries because of schedule conflicts. When he did make it to a show, he would meet and converse with fellow collectors and interesting dealers, only to fall out of touch with them later. He found himself spending increasingly more time online searching for objects, rather than at a show or a gallery. He also found it difficult to manage his personal collections and keep track of items that piqued his interest at shows, in galleries, or on the internet. John knew that other art and design enthusiasts were facing similar challenges, so he decided to create a solution.

With the help of his friend, second-generation antiques dealer and software executive Scott Chalfant, John set out to build a platform that would meet the needs of collectors and enthusiasts regardless of their location or schedule. 18 months later, InCollect was born. Now, there is a singular place where users can search inventory and buy objects, connect and share with fellow enthusiasts and professionals, manage their interests and collections, get inspiration and ideas from images of the best design projects, and research their interests with informative articles published on the site.

InCollect was formally launched in August 2014. Bringing the best practices of social media to a vibrant marketplace, InCollect combines curated content and purpose-built search tools, providing the public with the absolute best experience for discovering and acquiring art, antiques, and design.

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