Lee Parson grew up in a family of auctioneers, and spent his youth in auction houses watching high-end antiques and upscale household items sell for pennies on the dollar. When affluent homeowners downsize, he thought, they should get a considerable return for a lifetime’s worth of accumulations. In 2013 Lee and his wife started Aether Estate Sales Co., a full-service downsizing and asset liquidation company that manages the entire process of organizing, inventorying and selling the contents of an estate.
“Most people don’t know that an industry like this exists. They’ll just take the contents of a full home and send it to auction,” says Parson. “You may have very upscale furniture pieces that we could sell for $2,000, selling for $10 – $12 at auction.”
Parson and his team of professionals are renowned for their meticulous consideration of each estate, as well as their abundance of marketing for each sale. Oftentimes once the contracts are signed, the homeowners leave the state or country and trust Parson to deliver the keys of an empty home to the new homeowners. Each event typically attracts 500-1,500 patrons, with exceptional estates seeing up to 5,000 shoppers.
The homes are arranged to feel like a boutique. Each item is evaluated and barcoded, providing for a transparent and convenient transaction between all involved parties. Only a certain number of individuals are granted access to the home at a time, and each are fitted with shoe coverings to preserve the condition of the house. Buyers can expect to find household items of all kinds.
“We’ll sell your home décor and your Aston Martin and everything in between,” says Parson.
The company’s successful business model has recently lent itself to a franchising opportunity. Shoppers and clients are provided with a streamlined estate sale experience, and franchisees are afforded continued support and collaboration from an established brand.
“We’re now franchising our business across the nation. We see realtors being ideal for this opportunity because they already have the contacts and are doing the networking,” Parson says. “We’re in the same field, we’re just selling different things. Realtors sell the houses, we sell the contents.”