Thursday, December 15, 2011

Antique Store Wisdom: What I've Learned 11 Months In...


It's getting close to one year since I started selling antiques in a small space I rent at the Southern Crossing Antique Mall. The rent is low, there's a dedicated customer base, and foot traffic is high. It's been a wonderful place to sell vintage and experiment with what customers will respond to when I have a shop of my own one day soon.

Here are the top things I've learned this year selling at the Southern Crossing Antique Mall:

1. You have to add more merchandise FOREVER and FOR-ALWAYS.

Your hunt never ends. You always have to be on the prowl for fresh new merch to sell. Add weekly thrift hunts to your schedule and make time to add it to your booth as soon as possible.

2. Keep your space fresh, rearrange stock frequently.

Creatively rearranging you booth at least a couple of times a week is important. Look to magazines and retail stores your admire for inspiration. (I have a post on this:)



3. Experiment: You don't what will sell until you try it.

Add items that aren't vintage. Handmade soaps and crafts can sell very well at antique stores. Additionally, add vintage items you thought wouldn't sell, it just might.

4. Small ticket merchandise is your bread and butter.

Earrings, small knickknacks, and other small ticket merchandise add up big time. I always strive to create fresh small ticket merch to keep sales going and keep the booth interesting.

5. Customers and sales can be unpredictable.

I have to admit, I've been too busy to rearrange and add new stock to my booth as much as I would like. But even when you keep on top of things, customers are unpredictable. Brace yourself, there will be highs and lows!



Before I left for vacation I filled my booth with plenty of small ticket merchandise, fresh new items, and additional lighting to brighten up the area. I can't wait to come back and continue to rebrand and restage the space. I'll update with a sales report and let you know if all this extra work really helped in the end!

How are Your Reselling Efforts Going?
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41 comments:

  1. Love your inputs on booth selling. Helps me to think how this would work for me - and a GREAT heads up on how much time I'd need to dedicate to keeping it maintained.

    Thanks!!

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  2. I started reselling in June of this year on ebay and in September on Etsy. It seems like when one store is slow the other is busy, it would be nice if both were busy at the same time, but I will take what I can get!! Had some good, quick, flips on Hallmark mini ornaments and a Starbucks mug on ebay this past week. Lots of likes and treasuries on Etsy this week, but slow sales.
    Thank you for blogging! Your posts are encouraging and inspiring!
    ebay store: http://stores.ebay.com/vintagedreamsne
    etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageDreamsNE?ref=si_shop

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  3. Jackie: You definitely have to make time to visit the booth at least twice a week. I'll be visiting mine again soon...

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  4. Racheal: Nice shops! I'm going to start an Etsy shop soon, but first, I need to get organized! I'm following advise from fellow resellers and sticking to one for now since I'm a beginner.

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  5. These are some wonderful tips. I think they can easily be applied to all small business owners, especially when it comes to keeping merchandise fresh.

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  6. Natalie: Yep, it's the most important part of running a retail shop.

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  7. Thank you for the tips! I just opened my booth not even a month ago and I need all the tips I can get. I am going to take some time going back through some of your old posts and read them with fresh eyes. The tip about small things being the "bread and butter" is a really good one. That is something I need to work on a bit. I am attracted to big things and I need to try to pick up some "smalls"

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  8. Angela: You can make small ticket merch, too. Be creative with it! I usually link to all my antique store posts at the end, I forgot to do it here:

    http://www.thriftcore.com/search/label/antique%20store%20booth

    Easy way to check out the others. Good luck!

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  9. Hi Vanessa!!! I've had a lot of success since I began selling in October....I visit the mall at least twice a week and I always bring new items to add or to just trade out. I get bored with old product sitting around and almost need to have more patience with it. I also go out to scout for new product at least 3 days a week. I never would have believed I would have been so busy, but there's always something to tweak, fix, clean or tag....seems to be the case at least for me. I love my space at SC and would love to enlarge after the first of the year.

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  10. Carla: I'd love to increase my space there, too. But I think I'll try to force myself to increase sales where I'm at first.

    What's your booth number?

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  11. Thanks for sharing. I opened my booth 4 months ago and am still learning as well.

    I'm a little concerned about replenishing my inventory because last year estate sales came to a hault in Dec. and didn't start rolling regularly again until March. I guess we will see what the next couple of months bring. Of course I will hit the thrift stores, but finding great treasures at thrift stores in my area isn't so easy.

    Might have to do some auctions to keep things rolling.

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  12. Thriftfixation: Maybe with more persistence this winter you can yield some fine vintage treasures from the thrifts. Worth a try! ;)

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  13. Great to hear the recap about your antique booth this year. And hope you do even better next year. I still check in on thriftcore, even tho don't get to comment as much. Hope you have a great holiday season!

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  14. That's so great that you are selling stuff that way. I have an Etsy shop where I sell vintage items, and it's going pretty good :) I definitely need to stock my store with more items!

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  15. Brian: Me too, sales definitely need to increase! Hope your having a great holiday season too, thanks for continuing to check in!

    Breeanna: That's the hardest part, keeping things well-stocked. You can never stop adding items!

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  16. I only sell on Etsy right now, but your tips work well for that as well. My selling efforts are going ok. I know it would be better if I could find more time to list items. I do try to update my listings on a regular basis and keep everything looking nice.
    I really enjoy your blog.

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  17. You've been so great with keeping your readers updated about this!

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  18. Karen: Thank you, glad you enjoy reading! My efforts are only going ok right now too, honestly. But after December I'll try putting my whole effort to it and see what happens!

    Megan: Sales updates next! They're kind of sad, but they motivate me to do better next time!

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  19. This is very interesting. I've never sold vintage but I normally sell my handmade items through FB and Etsy. I've been interested in renting a booth at a mall to see how things go but I get too scared of the thought and end up doing nothing as always. What would be your advice in this case?

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  20. Yadira: Handmade sells REALLY well at the antique store I'm in. My friends at Old Skool Junk rented a booth there and did better the first month than I've EVER done with their abundance of necklaces, and earrings (a big money-maker, especially low-cost studs).

    Look for a space with LOTS of foot traffic that already has some handmade in there, and make sure you have an ample amount of diverse stock for people to choose from.

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  21. I may jump in and sell again this next year with a booth in a vintage shop. I was a major seller on ebay for 8 years and had a shooting star and my own building, but closed it all in 2006. It was exciting and fun but I just prefer to work with people who buy something they have seen and held.

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  22. Your blog is a stumble upon that came at a great time. I'm 2 weeks into my first booth. I'm totally inspired to go out on a hunt tomorrow if no further than my own shed! I've waited three years for this space but felt I'd better start small and work up to a larger one. I have plans for my bigger space, but I need to generate sales to get me to where I want to be. Some of the ideas I have are spot on with your advice. I've gleaned a LOT of good advice here, so thank you much for sharing.

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