30 In Their Thirties: Aaron Siepierski, Founder and Owner, Aaron’s Estate Sales, Birmingham

Aaron Siepierski pulls his truck over to do a Zoom call and explains he’s spent “many, many nights studying and researching” how to make Aaron’s Estate Sales in Birmingham more successful.
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Aaron Siepierski // Photo by Trever Long

Aaron Siepierski pulls his truck over to do a Zoom call and explains he’s spent “many, many nights studying and researching” how to make Aaron’s Estate Sales in Birmingham more successful.

The first book he bought when starting out 12 years ago helped him understand and evaluate antique metal-mesh purses. “I found one in a house and needed to know everything about it,” he says.

Siepierski also loves Mid-century Modern artifacts, and collected them for a while, but then stopped. “I realized my targets and goals weren’t to have stuff, but to help others relieve themselves of stuff,” he says.

Siepierski often refers to being helpful as a fundamental part of his service. He notes that estate sales are often an emotionally fraught time for clients, so empathy is just as necessary as being savvy about Eames chairs.

“We find a lot of people come to work here because they have a passion for helping others versus just looking for a job,” Siepierski says. “Or they have a passion for antiques or collectibles.”

The team books 1,600 appointments a year, but only takes on 300 estate sales. There are 150 cleanouts, on average, as well. Siepierski started in the profession by doing cleanouts for a Southfield neighbor’s firm, and eventually became a certified appraiser. He also launched an online division, Block Auction House.

“One of the other services we’ve been asked for, over and over again, is to sell the real estate. We’ve just recently launched our real estate company, and we find that it’s going to be a pretty big endeavor for us as we move forward.” The brokerage soldbyvie.com — new in February — listed 11 properties right away.

Siepierski refers to estate sales as a “cottage industry,” and says he’s worked on processes for scaling up: “I want to help all (58 million) seniors in America downsize,” he asserts. To get there, look for Aaron’s Estate Sales to emerge in new markets beyond metro Detroit, where they do about 40 auctions per month.

A challenge in consolidating the estate-sale industry is establishing and maintaining trust and credibility. Five years ago, Siepierski was instrumental in founding the National Estate Sale Association with other companies from coast to coast. NESA adopted a set of bylaws and a 21-point code of ethics to provide self-governance.

“Having that for my business helps me think on a bigger scale,” he says.

One metric for gauging the company’s growth is the quantity of supplies needed for a sale and the means of getting them there. At first, only a modest box truck was required. Then a van was needed. Staff members also began using their own vehicles. Now there’s a fleet of three vans and a box truck.

The fleet could grow further. And expect Siepierski — “I know way more about tools than I should” — to continue filling his head with facts. “I have to be a generalist and a specialist at the same time.”