As child growing up in western Oklahoma, Toma Haines remembers looking at a globe and telling her mother she wanted to live in Venice one day.
“She said ‘Oh, no you can’t do that,’ which made me determined to travel even more,” Haines said.
Haines is from Sharon, a Woodward County town of about 135 people. There were 23 people in her graduating class. Today, Haines calls herself “chief executive diva” of The Antiques Diva & Co., Europe’s largest antiques touring company.
The Antiques Diva offers private European tours for serious shoppers who want to find the best deals on antiques. The company offers guided shopping tours in France, England, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands. By the end of 2014 the company also plans to offer tours in Switzerland, Portugal, and Scotland.
Haines has connections with some of the best antiques dealers in Europe and the company also helps clients arrange for shipping and take care of other logistical matters.
She founded the business in 2008 after discovering that her friends and acquaintances were asking for her help finding the best places to shop.
When her husband B.J. Haines’ employer Ernst & Young merged with the French consulting firm Capgemini, the couple moved to Paris.
Though Toma Haines once had a successful career in advertising in the United States, the French government denied her a work visa. So for her first years overseas, she nurtured her passion for shopping, discovering all the best places to find antiques in Paris.
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More information about The Antiques Diva is available at antiquesdiva.com.