Thursday, July 21, 2011

Antique Store Wisdom: Sales Trends and Surprises

Last week I gave you an honest picture of my sales numbers at the antique store. This week I wanted to answer your questions about sales trends and surprises I've encountered over the months of selling at an antique store. Here goes:

How can I determine if my merchandise will sell?

1. Try to sell it, sometimes you have to take the leap and test it. Unexpected things will sell.
2. Look at it and ask yourself, is it something you would buy from an antique store?
3. Examine what sells in the antique store you want to set up shop in.
4. Ask the antique store owner what sells, ask them for their opinion of your merchandise.
5. Curate a "theme" to improve sales. (Shabby chic, industrial, kitschy, etc.)

What sells well for you personally?

1. Useful Items: like spice racks, tea pots, and cooking pots.
2. Animals: animal-shaped objects or items with animal printed on them sell quick!
3. Unique Kitsch: Unique art and kitschy items sell well for me.
4. My Art: Art from my past shows sells well here, they match my booth's playful aesthetic.
5. Patina: Metal objects with patina have sold quickly. People love that classic antique look.

What are sales trends that have surprised you?

1. Owls Don't Equal Sales: I've had owl items sit on the shelves for months, even after mark downs!
2. Record Flop: I haven't sold a single record. Maybe you need a big selection for these to move.

What have been your biggest individual sales?

Large Art Pieces. I sold two detailed fabric art pieces. One for $45 and one for $50. I price unique pieces higher when I feel sure that the right person will find it and pay more for its one-of-a-kind qualities.

Plans to Increase Sales Numbers: Remember, I'm scheming to increase sales. I'm producing art prints, original art, crafts, and grab bags that compliment the Thrift Core booth's playful style. In addition to keeping the shop stocked with a wide variety of interesting goodies, I think this will help me increase sales. I'll let you know what works!

What sales trends have you noticed while reselling? 

Past Antique Store Wisdom Posts:

[2/02/2011] 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 
[3/03/2011] The Answers to Your Antique Store Booth Questions
[5/03/2011] The Four Month Update (A Candid look at my Sales)
[5/11/2011] Finding the Best Antique Store
[6/02/2011] The Vintage Cabin's Expert Reselling Tips
[6/09/2011] 10 Action Steps to Improve Booth Sales, NOW!  
[6/07/2011] Antique Store Wisdom: The 6 Month Update
A Frank Look at the Sales Numbers
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.3


  1. Its so weird you haven't sell owls one would think they are the first one to go. On the records part what kind of records are them? That completely depends on buyer, for example I love rock but I could buy records from movies I love, or 50's jazz or dance records. Maybe the records buyers dont know they can find their goodies at your shop.

  2. Miss Lou: While I had sold owl items, they don't fly off the shelves like you'd expect.

    The records selection was kitschy like the rest of the booth, Pound Puppies soundtrack, Alvin and the Chipmunks, silly stuff.

  3. i think owls are over. i've passed on them while thrifting knowing they won't sell anymore.

    lately, i've been selling more "mod" things than kitschy. MCM and other stuff that's similar.

    also, anything 80s is selling.

  4. Drew: Perhaps the reign of owls hath finally ended. Although I'm sure a super unique mod owl would still sell...

  5. Sales of original art and antiques are down, while sales of anything for the kitchen (vintage or not) are up. Translation? People are sticking to needs - possibly needing to cook at home more than before? $1 tee shirts seem to be more popular than $8 designer dresses.

  6. Hi Van! I only sell online, but I've noticed similar trends. The other things that do well for me are bags - totes, luggage, camera bags, etc. My old industrial tool/tackle boxes do well too. And I agree, anything 80s is hot! I'm still having a lot of success with owls, but I try to limit myself to owls with a unique look as well.

  7. Shevawn: I think you're right about $1 shirts versus $8 designer dresses.

    I'm trying to "Walmart Approach," adding lots of low-priced items ($1-$5) to the booth instead of focusing on a few higher priced items.

    I'm trying to keep an eye out for practical items to resell as well.

  8. Flo: I'm always keeping an eye out for appealing bags, totes, camera bags and industrial tool boxes. Those have sold well for me, too.

  9. Van, it's funny that you and I are at the same shop and I sold six owl things this month. Thats my best seller this month. What also sells well are kids books.

  10. Trilas: Very strange indeed. I did notice a couple of your owl bits remained though, it's not a universal first-seller hot item like we all thought it would be!

  11. Yea, you're right they are not as hot as they once were. It just took the right person to come in and buy the owls I had this month. I still have a few left but whoever the buyer was she brought a few owl pieces. Like you said in your blog " just wait the right person will come along."

  12. I'm still a sucker for kitschy owls. I went to an estate sale today and found an owl lamp for 3 bucks, and I had to get it. Fits with my 60's/70's decor theme I've accidentally got going on in my room. It's funny how letting my favorite thrift finds determine my decor led it in a laid back, retro direction. No complaints here :)

    [love, love, love your blog posts. keep 'em comin'!]


  13. Trilas: Yep! A funny thing about your stuff- you must have been set up at Fan's and Stove's Antique Mall because I saw the same vintage batman coloring book in there. It had to be the same coloring book, I loved it ;)

    Now you KNOW I hunt too much. It was in a clandestine spot, too.

  14. Dani: I bet vintage owl lamps of any kind are still hot items! I'm glad you love the blog posts, thank you for your comments!

  15. :) this has helped me with my business assignment. we had to create our own business, and i chose an antique store, and this has helped me see what sells and what doesn't!
    really good blog!


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

Like us on Facebook

Related Posts with Thumbnails