Dealing in antiquities goes beyond profit-making for Victor Choi, owner of Dragon Culture, who appreciates the knowledge of art, culture and history behind each treasured piece It's all about education and social responsibilities. My passion and knowledge of ancient Chinese art is freely shared with those who care to pop in. My aim is to encourage interest, understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture through the medium of historical artefacts to my customers. My primary responsibility involves serving as an antique consultant for collectors and museum dealers. I usually meet clients throughout the day to discuss their collection plans. Very often people come into my shop with an antique piece for a consultation on its historical value, story and significance in a specific period of time. This question and answer interaction is always a favourite part of my job as this serves as a platform to share and exchange ideas and thoughts, and learn new things at the same time. When I talk about or discuss with my customers a certain piece or topic, we often forget the time and work, and the consultation, I should say, can sometimes last until late at night. In this trade, you have to be devoted to research, which is a staple of running a successful antique business, as a lot of studying and hard work is involved. I also oversee strategic planning for the company, and sourcing and marketing. On a normal work day I review offers and updates from our suppliers. This industry can involve frequent travelling overseas to meet suppliers and clients. During my early years of training, I travelled a lot to cultivate my eye for authentic pieces and establish good connections and trust with potential suppliers. As my network has expanded over the years, my travelling has decreased. A good trader in the antique retail business needs three basic criteria: a good eye, enough capital and determination. You need a good eye to pick out authentic beauties. Having an acute market sense on the value of antique pieces is also crucial. If you make a mistake, you will lose money and your reputation. If you overestimate, you over-pay and lose money yourself. If you underestimate, your supplier will not work for you and you will lose your connection and supply. It goes without saying that having enough capital is also important. A good piece may cost a lot of money but can prove to be a wise investment. Without being decisive, even with a good eye and the capital to invest, opportunities to acquire good pieces may slip away. I also meet a lot of media throughout the day to help promote not just my business but my charity work with Dragon Culture Charity Foundation, which helps people improve basic education in rural China and offers scholarships for students in Hong Kong. To become a good antique dealer, it certainly helps if you are instinctively interested in items of cultural or historical value. The learning process is continuous, as there will always be more history to be learned. As part of my job and part of my personal pursuits, I like reading related books, visiting museums, antique fairs and galleries and learning from as many professionals as possible. I also seek out experienced collectors and suppliers in different categories to learn from them. I derive most satisfaction when a client buys a piece from your collection and gives you their endorsement for the purchase. They are voting for you with cash. The highest form of motivation for me is the trust my clients put in my expertise and passion for art.