Thursday, July 14, 2011

Antique Store Wisdom: A Frank Look at the Numbers

You've asked, so I'm telling. You wanted to know, what sells in antique stores? There's no universal answer, but to satisfy your curiosity, I'm posting my exact sales for you to make your own determinations and theories on sales trends! Go here to see what sold from January to March.
Below I have sales from April to June:

April: Flop Month!

Sub Total of Sales: $22.00
Commission: $2.20
Grand Total: $19.80

May: Improvements at last!

Sub Total of Sales: $82.99
Commission: $8.29
Grand Total: $74.70

: Better month, unexpected sales!

Sub Total of Sales: $103.00
Commission: $10.30
Grand Total: $92.70

Remember that I pay $37.45 to rent my space, so my profit margin is very small. For April I didn't make a profit at all! Also, I don't have the original prices of items since I just started tracking that recently. I have a general idea but those are just estimates.

My Efforts Aren't Full Time: I only have time to visit my booth twice a week for a few minutes to add merchandise and rearrange the space. However, I won't let low profits go on forever! Right now I'm creating grab bags, crafts, and art prints that will increase profits. 

This Pays Me in LESSONS: I haven't made a huge profit from this, but the experience is invaluable. I'm analyzing sales trends and learning retails lessons the best way, by doing. It's been a worthy investment of time and energy, and I only see myself increasing profit and learning more from here.

Next week I'll answer your specific questions about sales trends and personal successes. How are your reselling efforts going?
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  1. Yes a great learning lesson. For me it's been a struggle to rent space, not to rent space. If you don't have inventory that sells then you often end up in the red. I've slowly weeded out things that I've had longer than 3 months and totally revamping. I've recently listed a few things on etsy to see how it will go. Paying for booth space in an antique mall is out of the question at present. Rents are high and it doesn't seem that people are really shopping them at least here anyway. I tend to sell better at popup flea markets

  2. I notice that the more I put into my reselling, the more rewards I reap. If I list a bunch of stuff on ebay or consistently list a few items, my sales increase. I just rented a booth at a flea market/antique store and am working through that type of venue. Your blog is encouraging and a source of inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tonia: It's interesting to see how sales differ from region to region. Here in the South it's impossible to make liveable sales from flea markets!

  4. Hunting Tigress: I'm glad it's helpful! I'll post strategies for increasing sales and follow-up if they work next! It's true, you have to keep on it, list things, and work hard to keep making sales. Just plain hard work, reselling ain't easy...

  5. I hope business picks up for you but I think it's the same everywhere. Just have fun with it. Just the thought of finding the treasures and setting them up for display gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. : ) I recently had a tag sale and lots of people said they felt like they were visiting a shop because of the way I set up and displayed everything. It was fun. Not incredibly profitable but fun none-the-less!! : )

    ~ Wendy

  6. Wendy: You're right, it's a fun side gig even without big profit! But I -am- going to work on improving those numbers!

  7. Thanks for the insight, Van. I've often consider renting a booth at a local shop but the rents are typically in the $200 range, which is tough to swallow! How are you doing with online sales? Any luck there yet?

  8. Brian: I couldn't justify $200 for an experiment, either! Online sales don't fare so well either, but I'm working on scheduling time to list items and promote more on that end, too.

  9. Van, do you have an etsy shop? I didn't see a link to one on your sidebar. I've been having consistent sales in my etsy shop and the addition of 'circles' on their site (their social networking-ish tool) seems to have helped increase sales for me lately. As with any shop, online or brick & mortar, I always sell more when I maintain & rearrange/refresh inventory. Later this month I'm going to sell at an outdoor vintage event as an experiment. I'd prefer to be selling in a mall as well but the closest one is over an hour's drive away and with rent + gas + time, it doesn't make sense just yet. Thanks for being so candid with the results of your 'experiment.' :-)

  10. Appreciate you sharing your stats-started renting a space myself last month and worked hard to add items as often as possible. After rent and commission I too made about $95.00 not including initial cost of the items. Like you working on making changes to increase sales, but was told by the owner I had a pretty good month for a newbe. I do like skipping the step of photo taking that is required to list items in my Etsy shop (time consuming) but will continue to consider what is more profitable. Will keep following your re-selling adventure :)

  11. Into Vintage: I don't have an Etsy shop yet, I'll be opening it this weekend and I'll work on promoting it + work out a schedule to keep it updated consistently.

    It's all about finding time to keep it all fresh and update, like you said!

  12. The Vintage Bug: Like you, I'm told I'm doing well for a beginner. I'm even moving up a space because I was told I have repeat customers who seek my kitschy-fun style.

    From here I think the answer is making more lower-priced items. I'm fleshing it all out, slowly but surely! Good luck on your reselling adventures!

  13. Hey Van,
    I just blogged about my new booth today! It's definitely been a learning process...and I was thrown into it!
    A lot of the principles are the and the information gleaned is priceless!

  14. The Recycle-ista: Thanks for sharing your story, I loved reading it and learning about your experience. And I'm jealous of your big booth, one day I'll rent a space that large...One day!

    Read about Shannon's experience setting up an antique store, everyone:

  15. Thank you for being so open and honest about not being perfect at everything yet! And also for being okay with that. More than okay - happy!

    Lesson I need to learn - a positive attitude and determination works much better than giving up in a fit and throwing oneself on the couch all poor-me style:)

  16. I bit the bullet and set up an Etsy shop. I love it! It gives me something to obsess about. Also, it's a whole heck of a lot cheaper than renting out a booth in my area.
    And...I got my first sale! Within the first 48 hours of opening my shop, too. I was expecting to go at least 3 months before a sale. The really cool thing is that I bought the item (a retro camera case) for 59 cents, and I sold it for $14.99. The icing on the cake was that inside of the camera case was an unopened pack of polaroid camera bulbs (which run around 15-20 bucks on ebay), and they didn't charge me extra.

    Thrifting is fun :) Thanks for your advice! Keep it up!

    -Dani, "ItchforKitsch"

  17. cart-wheels: Sometimes you have to work your way up! It's better to keep working at it and putting ourselves out there than to give up!

    Dani: Congratulations on your new shop and sale, and I love the name! Very clever!


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

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