Friday, September 27, 2013

When Struggling With Sales, Remember This Tip (Via Virginia Ross Vintage)

After switching things around in my tiny Southern Crossing Antique Mall booth last weekend I took a stroll around the corner to Virginia Ross (website here) for some much-needed inspiration. Owner Malori (interviewed here) and I got to chatting about selling mid century modern wares and vintage in Jacksonville, Florida. It was such an inspiring chat that I had to share my biggest take-away:


"Sell what no one else in your area is selling. Don't follow the crowd, be unique."

I take this to heart with my online branding and writing, but I often forget the importance of incorporating this into what I sell. It's our idiosyncrasies that set us apart from the competition, don't assimilate; embrace them. I froth at the mouth with rabid passion for robots, have Power Rangers Megazords and Transformers in my kitchen, watch horror movies, shoot zombies in video games, own an extensive anime/manga collection and wear my Batman cap with pride. I'll continue to incorporate nerdness into everything I do!


I loved what Malori had to say about her trip through the nearby antique mall where I sell wares, Southern Crossing. Most retailers automatically go for conformity, looking at what others are selling successfully and going with the flow to get those run-off sales. Malori went through Southern Crossing, noted what the various vendors had in stock, then took all of those similar items out of her shop! This keeps Virgina Ross Vintage a unique, singular experience. And that dedication to quality shows as you can plainly see in the photos!


I'm back to the drawing board, evaluating how I can satisfy unfulfilled needs with my online and offline shops in my own distinctive style. I recommend you trying the same soul-searching over the weekend!

Got any tips for keeping sales (or other goals) going strong? Do you go out of your way to stand out from the competition, too?
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33 comments:

  1. B-E-A-utiful! That is a wonderfully curated shop. I want to go to there!

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    1. They do an amazing job with it, I looove visiting and am saving up to buy some furniture from them :) I want the orange sectional pictured but should spring for kitty-proof stuff, haha.

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    2. There an entire topic in that! I opt out of lots of vintage furniture because I think it would be a shame for my dogs to basically destroy it. Mid Century upholstery wasn't designed to withstand a canine onslaught. Not that my dogs are terrible, nor even allowed on the furniture unless invited in most cases, but they are dogs. With claws and hair and all that entails. Leaving us firmly in the IKEA camp. ;)

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    3. Yes I think us animal lovers need to explore that one. I don't want glorious MCM furniture, so well maintained and/or repaired to enter my home only to be ravaged. The gorgeous MCM couch I bought on Craigslist years ago was already kitty damaged so it's not too bad when Yuko takes her claws to it when she thinks I'm not watching!

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  2. Hmm... food for thought. It's easy to follow the trends if you see stuff selling for others. Good post!

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    1. I've fallen into that too I must confess, sometimes you just get sucked into that, "anything to raise my sales!" mode. I think I'm out of that way of thinking for good now! Gonna glue toys to things and draw weirdness like I was doing before sales numbers were an issue! Haha! The funny thing is I actually do recall people really responding to my DIY/Art Stuff well. Time to go back to standing out again.

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  3. I'd felt like the odd duck at my shop, my booth being so different from everyone else's, but it is a good thing! When a customer walks into the store, my uniqueness catches their eye. I continually work to keep it that way.

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    1. When I added my "Toys Behaving Badly" action figure photo prints to my booth the shop owners said, "I just thought they were the weirdest things ever...but they all sold out!" remember that inspires me to get back to making. There's a need for weird toy things not being met ;)

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  4. I have some tips for you for certain fabrics that are more cat proof than others, and for those fabrics that are not the best for cats there are some things you can purchase to make sure their claws don't ruin it. Also, believe it or not, certain styles are better for deterring cat scratching. (for example, a T cushion style sofa works wonders, since it eliminates the best scratching area that cats love to get at. I can send you pics of examples. That orange sofa has no arms, so that is a good thing. I can let you know about other things you can do, as well. Cause after many years, I have finally mastered the art of cat scratch free furniture!

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    1. Heck yes, I'll have to follow-up with a specific post on this. Will be following up with questions via Facebook soon!

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  5. I'm in love with that orange couch.My grandma had one that was similar except it was avocado green and the back could fold down so you could sleep on it.

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    1. My mom would call that couch the ugliest thing alive, that's how you know it's good ;) My grandma doesn't have much in her house but she does have one of those huge white cats pictured in the photos, every time I see it I think of their little house in Puerto Rico.

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  6. my husband has always said I was my best customer. Buy what you love but remember you need to sell it!

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    1. I love that saying and try to keep it in mind, too. I used to shop in Southern Crossing Antique Mall, now I sell there! It's also important to remember that sometimes we're NOT our ideal customer, my "perfect ideal" customer makes more money than me and has no time to thrift for their mod goodies, for instance!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your takeaway from this encounter Van, it's a very clever approach. I feel when it comes to my in real life stores and markets my whole business is a point of difference because no one taken on the niche of children's vintage clothing, toys, books etc and been specific and directed. When it comes to online ie. Etsy of course there is a little more competition, but I feel the takeaway point you've shared is something you can adopt in costumer service as well. See what others are doing then do something that sets you apart and makes you stand out from others.

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    1. I like applying that to customer service, too. Didn't think of that one in regards to this tip. I've recently started shipping out my orders the same day they're ordered as often as possible, feedback's really increased as a result! I want to develop some related freebies to put into every package, too. :D Seems like printing instead of drawing my labels makes a better impression too, although a lot of people did tell me they liked the doodles, printing looks more professional.

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  8. Nope, I have never used other sellers inventory as a reference for my own inventory. I buy what I like and what I think is cool. I have the attitude that there is a a collector for everything and have fun doing my thing.

    Of course, I have learned that some items I like just don't move locally or online and have quit making those bad purchases.

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    1. I always buy what I love, too. I did go out of my way to add smalls I had around to increase sales and it worked, but it did look kind of hodge podge!

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    1. Me too, she's done an excellent job curating her huge collection of mod vintage wares. :)

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  10. That's a cool looking store and a great article. I run a small vintage/retro stall at local attic sales in France, so there's a good tip here about selling unique items instead of competing with others:)

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  11. Thanks for the feedback Alex, good to know it can be such universal advise. I hope it helps people!

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  12. Thanks so much for sharing this insightful tip from Malori. I have been spending the last year and a half really giving my eBay store a good facelift by changing out what I buy to resell. I am focusing more and more on the unusual and anything that will increase my average selling price. I am taking more chances in what I buy and how much I will spend on an item to resell. I've eliminated a lot of the lower end stuff like coffee mugs (except Starbucks and Taylor & Ng) and small tchotchkes. I've also worked on raising the prices on a lot of my items to raise their perceived value. It's still a work in progress, but so far all my work has been paying off.

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    1. I'm going through a very similar process, raising prices, evolving, I'll have a follow-up on the process soon. Enjoying the work so much I've been putting in looong hours obsessing over it like a crazy person.

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  13. Once again, thank you for your informative posts. I also read through the comments and this has become my favorite research stop!

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  14. This is so true! We've noticed it with our antique mall booth- we tend to buy different items than the majority of the seller there (I think they're mostly older, retired folks) and it's really helped us stand out. Almost every time I go in to replenish and re-arrange a customer remarks on how cute our booth is and how it's their favorite one. We've managed to make a profit every month we've been there and I think that's a big part of it. I love how you print your own tags- I would love to do that but I'm not sure I would be able to carve out the time for it between blogging, working full-time, and maintaining the booth! Maybe one day...

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  15. If you decorate the vintage furniture in drawing room then it will look amazing otherwise you can dispose this at right time and buy something new which is not traditional but looking fantastic. Then after your total room will look like a show room .which you can make it as a guest room.

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