Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Interview: Jan Constantine on ITV's Auction Party

Jan Constantine’s time on television has almost come to an end (for now, at least).  If you’ve somehow managed to miss her appearances so far, you’ll be able to catch her one last time on ITV1 tomorrow at 2pm.

Whether you’ve been watching or not, though, we’re sure you’d love to hear about her experiences on the show.  We conducted an interview with her this morning to give you all the answers.

Jan during the interview, with a lovely cake baked today by one of our work experience students

Have you been to many auctions before?  If so, what did you bid for?
Yes, many times but the biggest thing I ever bid for was my house – I needed nerves of steel for that one, as it was only the second auction I’d been to in my life – I’d only won a glass-fronted cupboard before that!  Then it became a habit!

Which Auction Party auction item was your favourite and why?
I loved the Lloyd Loom table and chairs, with a lovely floral theme, that my opposing team in Richmond upcycled with the help of their expert Michelle Ogundehin – it was beautiful but sadly didn’t fetch half its value on the night.
Also, in the Alderley Edge auction, I loved the giant basket crammed with hand-made chocolates, donated by local chocolatier Simon Dunn. It was actually auctioned as 12 baskets of chocolate – and the lucky winner got to choose his own bespoke chocolate basket every single month for a year! That was amazingly generous.

What did you think of the teams you worked with while on the show?
All of them were great – so enthusiastic because they were all on a mission to make money for their charities. I’d say the most successful auctions were the ones where the charities were well connected and were able to muster up a good crowd for the night. I think the Manchester crowd was very generous - donating items, allowing huge discounts on our purchases and also in the auction room where they really got behind the girls creating a big celebration.

Jan (centre) with the Alderly Edge team (5 Stars Children's Charity) 

Why do you get so excitable about furniture?
Do I? I didn’t realise that! I suppose I just like to find a bargain that can be transformed into a profit for the charity.

What was it like working with Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen?  Have you worked together before?
It was great – you never know what he’s going to say next – so funny, he had the team and the crew in stitches most of the time.  He’s on the ball, very articulate, very knowledgeable – you can’t get away with anything when he’s around!  I haven’t worked with him before but I have worked with Jackie, his wife – she buys from me for her shops sometimes.

What do you think of your new nickname?
A bit naff – I’m hoping it doesn’t stick!

I'll do everything in my power to make sure it does.  Should I buy you a van for Christmas?
No thanks; a sports car would suit me better.

Finally - how would you like to give blog readers some tips on upcycling sometime next week?
If I have time… I’m going away for a few days, but I’m sure I could give you a few simple tips!

Unless the office syndicate wins the lottery sometime in the next few months, it seems pretty doubtful that Jan will get a new sports car for Christmas... but she can dream.  

Thanks for reading, and make sure you’re back for more on Friday – we have another special treat on its way for you, and we think you’re sure to enjoy it!


  1. Jan Constantine's cushions are a real luxury touch to any home thank to her fabulous designs and unique fabrics

  2. Thanks for the comment Lauren! Glad you enjoy our products.

    JC x