Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Answering Your Question: Is Your Thrift Find Valuable? (Yes, It is!)

I'm often asked about specific thrift store finds. People give me the era and the details on their lamp, purse, stove, or cup set and they want to know if it's valuable. Will someone buy it? I have one universal answer for your questions: Yes! Someone will buy it. It's just up to you to sell it!

There's a Market for Everything

If your item is vintage (remember, 90s is vintage too) there's someone out there who will want it. But being a reseller goes beyond reselling vintage finds, you can resell anything you find and be successful if you market it well and work hard to carve our your niche. And don't you dare doubt me! People resell dusty dead animals and you, too, can sell anything!

Create a General Theme

One key is to create a theme for your wares. The sky's the limit! Don't do what everyone else is doing and don't limit yourself to vintage if you don't want to. Want to resell used blenders you find while thrifting? Open your "Blend O Rama" shop and sell it!

Curate and Tell Your Own Story

Once you've got your theme, you need to curate it well. Stick to it. Sometimes you can be super specific and stick to one thing like my Blenders 'O Rama example. You might be like me, telling a kitschy, animated story with your wares. Be a little picky here, you can be eclectic, but make sure every piece you sell is helping you tell your story. 

Most importantly, have fun with it! I keep things fun by adding unexpected surprises in my art and merchandise and making it interactive and unpredictable.

Give Your Imagination a Work Out

The creativity required to be in the second-hand market is what keeps my artsy-ecclectic soul coming back to it. You have to exercise your creativity. You're an inventor. You use your resources, flex creative muscles and turn someone's "trash" into a desirable product.

Drop-kick your doubts right now hard, don't let anything hold your back. Stop asking if something will sell. I promise, there's a market for everything so that question is already answered. (Look to any TV infomercial if you still don't believe me!) Instead ask yourself, "How will I sell it?"
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  1. I have recently rented a booth at a local antique store and am very excited about it! I have to remember it takes time for things to sell, but yes, they do eventually find a new home, don't they? I love all the information you provide others!

  2. Great points, especially curating items in a similar style. I pick up things that just intrigue me, or that I love the design of, and when I look at my store, I can see a lot of common threads in the items. So even if you don't pick a specific theme (although that is a great idea and saves you from wondering if you should buy something or not), if you stay true to your aesthetic, one will gradually emerge. Granted, it's something that you hone over time, but you'll get there!

  3. Lisa: Congratulations on your new booth, you're going to LOVE setting it up and watching the sales roll in. I hope the information helps, but feel free to ask questions :) Good luck.

  4. Beth: Thanks for pointing that out, curating doesn't have to be as deliberate once you've developed a natural style.

    Mine is colorful/kitsch/cartoony, even my kid nieces and nephews can spot it in a crowd. ;)

  5. I'm working on my theme now before I launch my Etsy store. I like to find and sell so many vintage things it's had to pin down a unifying theme. Great advice!

  6. Great advice! There truly is a market for everything. I kind of love that actually. On a related note, are you listing that squirrel thermometer? I'm obsessed with it. :)

  7. Nichole: Sometimes being completely eclectic IS the them :) I love shops like that.

    Eartha Kitsch: It sold in the Antique Store the first weekend, I knew it would, it has that unique quality with a bit of patina antique store shoppers love!

    It sold before I even got to enjoy it, actually ;) I love it, too.

  8. Oh well! My search continues! :) This is the second one that I've ever seen in photos so there must be more out there.

  9. I agree, someone somewhere wants what you've got. I think it's about finding your audience. Whether you are working a booth at a market or using Krrb.com to reach neighbors, I think you fancy it, someone else will as well.

    The good news is that if it doesnt go, then at least you like it enough to hold onto it until it does!

  10. I too want to jump on the re-selling bandwagon...but I've got to figure out which route to take. I think I might just collect stuff for a while and then rent a booth at the flea market to see what happens. I'm not sure if I'm ready to commit to a monthly "mall" fee. I just want to get my feet wet first and see if I can handle the pressure. The on-line route seems too time consuming and I don't want to worry about all the shipping procedures. Any suggestions for a newbie? I know I've mentioned it before but I find stuff all over....in fact, just today I just picked up a gallon size bag of vintage buttons (on the original cards) for a $1.49...I don't need them but someone will appreciate them!!

  11. Jessica: Great point, selecting items you would buy yourself ensures you enjoy them until it's their time to go to a new home.

    Carla: I'll be writing a few detailed posts on starting a reselling venture of your own soon. I can say now, make sure you have plenty to start with, and don't sell at the flea markets around here- not worth it, trust me!

  12. Van! I love reading your posts like this, I find them inspiring!

    Can't wait for the upcoming posts that you were telling Carla about.

    I think I asked you this before, but I don't remember - what is your monthly fee at the antique market & what percentage do they take again?

    There is a consignment shop just outside of the city & they take 45% of the sale (50% on furniture), but do not charge a floor fee.

  13. Excellent advice Van. But stop reminding me the 90's are vintage. It makes me feel old!

  14. Jordan: I pay $55 for my larger booth at the antique store and they take 10% of each sale. 45% of the sale sounds steep! Ouch!

    Monogirl: It makes us ALL feel old, even the kids born in the 90s...


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

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