I’d like to share my notes from my presentation at the Palmer-Wirf Dealer School. If you are interested in getting into the antique industry, here are some tips and tricks!
To those who attended, I hope you found our Dealer School event informative and helpful. I hope to see some of you at future events and around town.
A full recap of the event will be posted soon along with a recap of the vintage fashion show from Thursday night!
Why I buy & sell antiques
History: by being involved in this industry you are preserving history! You are sharing it with the world.
Three tiers to age:
-100 years: technical definition of “antique”
-50 year mark: great place to begin. Here is where items begin to disappear, and we begin to reflect, it’s also a nice place to begin because a fair majority of the people who wore/played with/etc. items are still alive, offering up good resources.
-20 years: new definition of vintage
The sooner we preserve the more we will preserve
Many items have a history and a story you can share these when you sell an item. Additionally, having the provenance of an item can increase the value, such as documentation.
Green: Going green is bigger than ever right now. Between the reusable grocery bags and hybrid cars trying to reduce our carbon footprint is a big deal! By being involved in this industry you are not purchasing anything new and you aren’t selling anything new! It’s the ultimate way to recycle!
Economy: By buying and selling in this kind of business you are participating in a strictly local economy – your city’s economy, your state’s economy and your country’s economy. If we ever want to get out of the current situation we are in, we need to start buying more locally!
Now, some items you find may be a little worse for wear – and that is where you crafty people can get involved.
Upcycling is the notion where you take something that can no longer serve its original purpose or is damaged beyond original condition. Recently came to light in the wake of what Colin Firth’s wife wore to the Oscars: 11 different dresses of good condition were cut up and used to make one dress. This is NOT what I’m talking about, but it is a deviation of the idea.
This can be done with:
Clothing: torn or stained or what not.
Jewelry: broken bits, one earring, etc.
Options on where to sell
Great stepping stone! No big commitments (month-to-month). Many places have people who work there and you don’t have to! Others it is an option, others require it. Just do some research to find the mall that will fit your needs. If there are no vacancies, most malls have a waiting list.
-Rent: Portland ~ $2.50/sqf, Eugene ~ $1/sqf
-Commission: ~ 10%
-Credit Cards: ~ 3%
-Some malls combine fees: 12-13%
Flexible – able to do antique shows and flea markets quickly by simply pulling items out of your space.
Why I sell online:
-Delicate items, extra small items of clothing that I worry about
-My space is very small, and I don’t have room in my space for all of my inventory
-Auction: With or without a reserve or a buy it now option
-Buy It Now: With or without the make offer option with option for automatic declines under a certain amount.
Fees: vary on item category, selling price, some photos are free, others cost $, some feature cost extra (ex: bolding, sub headers), stores, monthly fees, but come w/benefits.
Ability to upload up to 12 photos
Homemade, vintage (20 years or older), & crafting supplies
Community with forums and you can feature favorite items, create “circles” for people who you are interested in or sell similar things.
Fees: 20 cent listing fee, item up on the website for 4 months, Etsy takes 3.5% of selling price
Ability to upload up to 5 photos
Key elements to selling online:
Be knowledgeable about your product: do research, if it has a story – share the story
-using a coin or ruler to offer scale
-If you’re going to get involved in clothing – buy a steamer
–USPS is a great resource for estimating shipping
-buy a scale, about $40 at Target
-Flatrate boxes are a good option on a lot of items
Policies: Before you open up shop, cruise around other shops & sellers to check out their policies, and decide what you want to do w/regards to shipping, returns, etc.
Create a page
People “like” it
Upload photos of inventory
Customers can upload photos of them with their items
Twitter: Offers quick updates, constituently in communication
Craig’s List: make a listing for your booth. I had a wassily chair when I first opened, highlighted it. Great place to find events for finding inventory – estate sales, etc.
EstateSale-Finder: Find ES in area, as well as garage sales, auctions
Vintage Fashion Guild: once you develop yourself with a brick and mortor or online, you can apply to join. They update with tweets of items from their members. Also a great resource for finding out info about clothing items you sell.
MailChimp: E-mail newsletter, free if you are sending under 2000 e-mails