While I'm not actually making a living with my "hobby" of collecting and selling vintage treasures I believe one could if done as a full time business. Right now, being retired, I'm happy selling my finds as a hobby but if you want to make a full time living with your vintage treasures, read on! Here's my story and why I believe our way of selling could potentially be a full time income.
Two friends and I started selling our old antique and vintage items kind of on a whim. This was over 20 years ago. I was directing a non-profit at the time and we had a fundraiser in an historical home whereby we had crafters and artists rent a space and sell their creations.
|This is where we held the sale called, An Olde English Christmas...because it was held after Thanksgiving and the house above is an English Tudor style home. This is also where we live. Yup! We get to live here! See Plummer House page above.|
|I wish I would have kept all those butter pats!|
Since we had one room left to "rent" as space for the fundraiser, I suggested to two friends that we just fill it with our vintage collections and sell them. None of us had sold antiques previously....except in garage sales. Yeah, we learned! We had the smallest room in the house and we were the only vintage sellers there. Our room turned out to be the most successful with people standing in line to get into the little room. This event was a three day event and we sold almost everything the first day! We had to each go home and drag out more stuff! Well, my friends did anyway. I had nothing left to add but my friends who had been long time collectors were able to dig into their attics and pull out more! It was so successful that in preparation for the following year we all went garage sale-ing in the summer to collect more! For the next three years we brought stuff to sell at this event and did exceptionally well! We decided "we were onto something"! LOL We thought we had discovered the idea of selling vintage treasures! Hah! But, hey, that was 20 years ago! What did WE know?
|This is now our own Hob Nobber sale ...Our customers arrive over an hour before our events and even stand out in the rain! We LOVE them! And just think...this long line of customers are not here to buy from 50 other vendors but just US!|
After I retired from the non-profit we continued having our own sales filling more rooms with treasures each time until now we fill the downstairs, and part of the second floor with treasures. As we grew, our family members began selling their finds so that we could have more items for our customers. We like to PACK the house with treasures! So it is officially a three family affair!
We've continued over the years having 2-3 sales per year. At the moment we have only two...Spring Sale over Memorial Day weekend and Fall Sale over Labor Day weekend. We discontinued our sales over Thanksgiving because it became too much work! Yet, we've been asked to bring it back so we're considering it!
So what is the secret to making more money with your vintage finds? Here it is...
YOUR OWN OCCASIONAL SALES!
No other vendors, invite only one other friend to work with you, no booths offered, only 2-3 per year, offer a huge amount of "finds" at all price ranges and in all styles, including stuff for the men, and create an EVENT!
Here are just three of the reasons why you can make more money with this way of selling:
1) PEOPLE LOVE EVENTS. The key is to make it an EVENT! Since we offer our sales only twice a year, people have to wait to purchase their favorite treasures. We are not available every day. This waiting increases anticipation and excitement. And people know that they either come or miss out! We make it a FUN EVENT. It's like a party for US as well and we all have fun putting on this event! We each have a crazy sense of humor so maybe that helps! We offer our customers FREE Starbucks coffee while they shop, helpful service carrying packages to their car if needed, a friendly atmosphere, and a "party feel" to the event. We always have a Give-Away connected to the event to add some interest as well.
2) YOU SELL MORE. We have found that the more we bring the more we sell. Which might seem obvious but even I wasn't so sure until we all kept track of the NUMBER of items we had. Each of us has noticed this "formula". If you were selling items to make a living, you could predict approximately how much you might make based on how many items you bring. No, we don't sell EVERYTHING we bring, but we make more than we spend so everything left over is inventory that is already paid for in addition to our profit. We have many of our family members involved but if a person wanted to make a large amount of money, she/he could just go it alone with a friend or two and each have more items to sell. We don't have individuals renting "space" or a room. We mix up all our treasures and each have a different kind of tag. I believe we sell more in one event than we might if we had a booth in an antique shop for six months.
3) LESS COMPETITION When we have our event we are not in direct competition with others. Neither are we competing with others inside our own event. ie we don't have 50 other booths or vendors competing with us. Our only competition at the time is family members involved in the event. If you were to go it alone or with one friend, THAT would be your only competition. I've always wondered why people who have monthly occasional sales don't just go it alone and buy more to fill the whole space instead of inviting more vendors.
So here's my advice if you want to make more money with your vintage business: Go it alone or with one friend, offer only a few occasional sales, and collect like crazy to fill a HUGE space! Then make it a FUN EVENT!
You can always do the other things: booth at an antique shop, be a vendor at events, online sales, and more. Just also direct them all to your BIG EVENT where you will HAVE MORE FUN AND MAKE MORE MONEY!
OK, so I've now encouraged competition to OUR big event! Oh, well! There's room for everyone! Welcome aboard!
And yes, I also have an online Etsy shoppe, Gwen And Alma's. Check out what's for sale there by going to the page listed above or going to my store.GwenAndAlmas.Etsy.com
Thanks for stopping by!