Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Antique Store Wisdom: A One Month Three Store Update

Pictures taken with my new phone. Left: Treasure House. Right: Southern Crossing Antique Mall.

It's been one month since I've been juggling space I'm renting from three different antique stores. A lot of people have asked about it, so I thought I'd share an honest disclosure of how I'm doing with all of it and what it's like to rent space from three shops.

I've experienced the growing pains, and it feels like after today I'll finally have all three spaces tagged with the new tags (two out of three down!) and all the merchandise out of way and organized. For now the car has too much merchandise within and bringing boxes up and down 36 steep steps is getting old.

I'm still enjoying rebranding the spaces, creating new tags, and staging with balance and creativity. One space is outperforming the other two by far and I may focus all of my efforts on that space soon, but I want to give the other spaces more of a chance. I don't feel like I've given the other two my full effort and attention.

For now I'm addicted to the challenge. I'm going to keep working at it until I hit my goals! 

What are the challenges you face with your reselling methods? I think it's the same for many of us, balancing it all and increasing sales!
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23 comments:

  1. My big question is: Do you sell enough to pay the rent???? This is what is keeping me from taking the plunge. It's ALL that is keeping me from taking the plunge!

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    1. I always sell enough to make the rent. I had some months early on at Southern Crossing Antique Mall (on the right in the picture) where I didn't, but those times have passed. I now make the most at Southern Crossing.

      The rent at Southern Crossing, Five Points Antiques, and Treasure House is low for my small spaces so it's not that big of business risk. I'm cheap as hell but I'm forcing myself to take more risks with my money as an entrepreneur. There may be some growing pains at first as you strive to discover what sells best at an individual store.

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  2. Van - Congrats on your endeavors! MCM is such a hot trend now, customers are always asking for it!

    I have two booths at two antique malls...and a case too!

    It's so weird, but, one pay-period {two weeks}, one location will do better than the other and vice versa. If merchandise is sitting too long, then I rotate it to the other location...I'm getting a better feel for what merchandise sells better at which location.

    My booth rent is: $350 - 12' x 15', $356 - 8' x 16', and $85 for the locked case.

    Two years ago, I started in a locked case, moved to an open case for half the rent, then took the plunge for my first booth {$195 a month} which was 8' x 8'...I never looked back. LOL!

    I advertise in Craigslist and EBAY Classifieds {FREE!}, which has helped a ton!

    I enjoy reading about your selling space updates! Cute sign - how did you create it? xo

    -pamela ;)

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    1. Detailed post on how I made the sign here: http://www.thriftcore.com/2012/01/thrifty-antique-store-sign-diy-no.html :) Gotta make two more for the other booths and do more to brand each space.

      I remembered your suggestion about advertising on Craigslist, but EBAY classifieds is genius too. Gotta try that! I'm renting "bookshelves" in my spaces so space is limited, I will upsize if sales dramatically increase.

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    2. Just realized I need to glue that 'R' back on today, embarrassing!

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  3. Glad you are doing so well, three booths is a lot to juggle! My case has made about twice the rent, but I think that it would be much better in a booth. I'm moving to a busier store and a booth next month. I love reading your blog, I get so much good advice!

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    1. Good luck Melissa. I'm learning that each store really is very different and I have to adjust to each one to see what sells well.

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  4. Hi Van
    Thanks for sharing - we just upgraded to a 7'x10'ish booth ($140/mo.) It is scary financially for us but we have a lot more space to display the cool MCM and vintage furniture, record players, typewriters and lamps.
    Maine is very seasonal so we expect to be slowing down in the winter - last year ( our first) we made nothing in January! This August we did amazing! I love staging the space. Also have started a FB page for the group shop - hope to create special offers and start an email list of customers as well. I love the idea of advertising more in Craig's list and Ebay. Would love to read your thoughts and others on pricing strategies for different venues (i.e. Group shop Vs. Flea market, etc.) and dealing with seasonality of the business.
    thanks
    happy thrifting
    Victoria

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    1. Sounds like you'd do well advertising more on craigslist in the winter or focusing on line sales for Christmas. I can't imagine what it would be like in Maine where the weather greatly affects sales and what you can do. I've always lived in tropical places where the weather is always somewhat consistent.

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  5. I just relocated my booth. Same mall, better location, and a larger area.

    My first year was a learning experience.

    When I relocated, I took the time to reorganize and make sense of it all. You can read about it here: http://iprefervintage.blogspot.com

    I had a couple of conversations over the past week that made me rethink customers. I was told that unorganized booths with too much inventory was uninviting. They said that they got confused and didn't know where to begin to look so they avoided those booths. One also mentioned fear of breakage. She avoids booths with a lot of glassware that isn't neatly organized..

    Neither of these ladies are in the business, so their input meant a lot. Because as a thrifter, I love to dig. Most people don't. I realized that I need to learn the psychology of the casual collectible shoppers vs. the die hards like us. I'm getting there.

    I also signed up for a daily email sales update on my booth. With only a monthly report I had a tendancy to get caught up with the bottom line and give everything else just a quick glance. But with a daily report I can clearly see a trend.

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    1. They give you an e-mail daily sales update on your booth!? I love that, that is too lovely. Here in the South digging for junk is a pastime, the "junkier" and more terrifyingly over-full the booths are, the better I've noticed! Not saying Carla's booth is junky, it's beautiful, but her booth is crazy full and she's outsold me since she arrived at Southern Crossing. I interviewed her about how she makes fours figures per month at the antique store here:

      http://www.thriftcore.com/2012/09/things-i-didnt-buy-at-thrift-store.html

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    2. Dear, Methinks this link be incorrect. Love your blog though!

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    3. Yep, I remember. And I have added quite a bit of inventory with that article in mind. It's finding that balance.

      Another hard part is learning what sells best in the local market vs. the internet. Some things I can move all day on Etsy or Ebay, but find it difficult to sell locally. And vise versa.

      One thing I know for sure is that it's the utilitarian items under $20 that keep my booth moving.

      I enjoy it. It's much fun keeping this old stuff in circulation.



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    4. Oops, the link is: http://www.thriftcore.com/2012/05/antique-store-wisdom-how-to-make-over.html

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    5. The new book looks good by the way! Wish I had that much space to play with. I own the same gold mirror shelf, too :D

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  6. Van, I always wonder how you balance everything but I'm glad to see you up to the challenge. I've noticed a definite trend in this antique/collectibles business and that is I sell about 15%-20% of my inventory each month. It doesn't matter if it's in the booth or listed online, I turn roughly the same percentage of items each month. So if I want $500 dollars in sales per month I need to have at least $3000 of merchandise stocked in the booth for the month. I don't know why it works out like that but it seems to do so every month.

    Knowing how much I turn definitely helps plan for sales goals and lets me know how well I'm reaching sales goals for the month.

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    1. My sales are always too erratic for me to make trends yet. I'll keep analyzing. I'm never entirely balanced, there's always at least one room that's trashed from my biz. Right now it's the once pristine bedroom. I always feel at least a little disorganized and never get to everything on my to-do list. It helps to write a strict schedule for the day and stick to it as well as possible. Using a timer is paramount because it's crazy how much time we'll waste on one task! I try to do as much as possible and quickly as possible.

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  7. I just did my numbers for my first month as an antique booth owner, and I made a small profit! So excited (just wrote a blog post about it). I cannot imagine having three different spaces though. Are they located fairly close to each other? I am itching to upgrade my space, but I am afraid I will be pushing my beginner's luck ;-)

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    1. They're all very close together- if they weren't I'd go crazy! You may be pushing your beginner's luck there, I'd ask the shop owners for advice and keep working at it. Good luck, and congrats on the first month's success.

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  8. I dont know is this is being too nosey but Id love to know what people make in the booths per week,month,whatever? Im just getting started so Im curious. :)

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    1. I used to reveal that in my old posts, if you'd like you can take a look at the old "antique store wisdom" posts to see a sales guide. I don't feel comfortable sharing it anymore because it's no longer a side income but part of my regular income.

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

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