Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Answers to Your Antique Store Booth Questions

 I've been happily nestled into my booth at Southern Crossing Antique Mall for two months now, and I'm enjoying the experience. In this post I answer many of the questions you've sent me about setting up shop in an antique store near you. I'd love it if others with more experience would leave their tips in the comments.

Can I sell my art or crafts in an antique store booth?

Every antique store I've visited is deliciously eclectic mix of vintage items, newer stuff with vintage flair, hand-crafted goods, and art. If it's allowed at your local store, I highly recommend trying your luck and selling your arts and crafts at the antique store.

I have tons of vintage stuff at my house- should I set up shop in an antique store?

Find a nearby spot with reasonable rent and try it out! You'll never know what will sell unless you try it.

What should I do if the rent is too high for me to set up shop?

You definitely have to calculate to make sure you have enough merchandise to cover your rent and make a profit. If you don't have enough, this might not be the venue for you. If you do, brainstorm on creative ways you can make the rent (like creative booth staging, or sticking to a certain theme).

 Should I do a lot of research, or should I get started right away?

If you have a huge amount of items to research, try putting items in your shop that you're comfortable pricing first. Otherwise, set aside a chunk of time and get that research out of the way so you can get started!

My parents have an attic full of antiques they want to get rid of- should I set up shop and sell them?

If your parents are receptive, absolutely!

I have some items that are worth serious money, how should I sell them?

You might want to try listing the item on Ebay first to see if a collector will buy the item for the best possible price.

No matter what, I never make any profit from my booth. What should I do?

If you still want to pursue the antique store route, take a break to research. What sells well at the shop? Look at what others buy, have a discussion with the store owner about top sellers. Consider online reselling options like Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy or moving to another store with more foot traffic.

  [All photos in this post taken by me in the Southern Crossing Antique Mall]

Setting up shop in an antique store isn't a quick or easy road to wealth. You're more likely to be successful when you display plenty of merchandise, switch up your booth staging and inventory often, and pay close attention to how shoppers react to your changes.

Previous Antique Store Wisdom Posts:

Don't Underprice Your Items
[2/10/2011] Should You Rent a Booth at the Antique Store?
[2/16/2011] Stage Your Booth Like a Pro and Increase Sales
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  1. your tips are always great and i love your pictures they have so many interesting things to look at!

  2. Great tips! We actually started going around pricing booths - they do have some emptys, but often a waiting list for the desirable spaces.

    This is maybe a dumb question (or maybe you're going to answer this in future), but, besides rent does the antique store owner typically take a cut of what you sell? Also, how do they handle taxes, 1099s, or whatever...

  3. More close ups! I see a planter I want to purchase!! Email me!

  4. A La Modern: Good Questions!

    - Nearly every antique store will request a percentage of each sale. Southern Crossing Antique Mall asks for 10%. The average amounts are between 10%-25%.

    - In most cases to file your taxes you'll need to obtain your own 1099-MISC form. Antique stores should provide you with monthly sales receipts that will help you substantiate your fees and profit.

    1. Do I need to 1099 the store, or the person I pay the booth rental to?

  5. Hi Barbara!

    I will definitely get you close-up booth photos. However, none of the pictures in this post are of my antique store booth. These are photos of other booths in the labyrinthine store.

  6. Great post, Van. I hope you are enjoying it AND making a profit above rent. I am getting resistance from family about trying this, but know I will take the plunge. Your posts are giving me good points to argue.

  7. My sister and I have had our booth for two years now. When looking for a space I think these things help to increase sales:
    Pick a location where tourists shop, a historic town that has frequent weekend activities to draw visitors.
    Select a booth in a shop that's not too big, if there is a lot to look at your booth may get passed over quickly.
    Choose a first floor location.
    We are in the center of the shop so its like we have two booths. We have really nice tall shelves that allow us to hang items on the back side.
    Tour antique malls for ideas of booths you like. I never liked booths that are hard to move around in, so we set ours up to be narrow and open to the walkway. We get traffic entering and exiting the floor.
    Move and add items often. Sometimes right after we move something that's been in the booth for months we sell it the next day.
    Specialize it can help your booth stand out and look less cluttered. Every month or so we feature an item and group a lot of them together, right now we have kitchen items. We are planning to do Travel next.
    We have more then made our rent every month except the first two months and it took a litttle time to get fully stocked.
    Don't wait to have everything perfect. As long as you can pay the rent yourself and you're dedicated to stocking and managing a booth you'll have fun seeing what sells, and if you don't try you'll never know if you can make a profit.

  8. Jolene: Thank you so much for these valuable tips! I will definitely being applying these myself.

    I love the Antique Store experience. No huge profit for me yet, but I look forward to making it. And I love how my silly booth of kitsch makes people smile and laugh.

  9. I second Jolene: Move/add items often. I would even add, remove items. If something isn't selling and it has been all over your booth for 6 months, remove it for a month. There is something to be said for buyers who are waiting and waiting, then the item disappears, and it's reappearance makes them realize how much they want it.

  10. I've been at this for a few months now and I'm covering rent but not making much beyond it. I think the best tip is to keep merchandise fresh and rotated on a weekly basis something I need to personally work on.

  11. I have a bronze of Napoleon sitting on a horse pointing to the right with his arm straight out. It has a plackard on it that is rubbed off almost completely, but it says Napoleone, 1806, 82/400. I have searched everywhere online and cannot find one photo of this piece. There is a signature on the jacket that looks like Botteglia or Bottegliano. It's a beautiful piece quite ornate, with gold on it, stirrups, even a hole where the horse excreets. Really detailed, and is a silver patina for the most part. Any help figuring out what this piece is or what it is worth would be great appreciated. If you email me, I can send photos:


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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