Thursday 21 May 2020

Has the internet killed the antiques and collectables market?

Has the internet killed the antiques and collectables market ?



   As an antiques dealer with almost 20 years of experience I have seen both sides of the antiques and collectables market both pre and post internet era's and it is evolving at maybe a slower pace than some industries given the average age of the antique dealer of years gone by and it was quite a sad sight walking round previously booming antique fairs watching older generations selling there prized ceramics and collectables which were so popular with generations gone by and clearly not fully understanding the dramatic shift in the business that has taken place with the now long past introduction of the internet. 

  The change is so drastic in some areas especially mass produced ceramics that many stalls were well stocked like Royal Doulton figures and collector plates for example which since the internet has taken full control the prices of such items have dropped greatly literally lifting the rug from under the feet of many old time dealers in the process.  It is that bad in some circumstances that most of the stock these types of dealers hold will never again see the prices they paid for them in the first place never mind the prices they need for profit. 

   The mood and atmosphere started to drop quite significantly in antique fairs and shops as times were changing right in front of their eyes with many looking like rabbits caught in the preferbial headlights.  Of course this change has effected all industries over the same period of time but no more in my eyes that a business with it's roots firmly set in a simpler time we call the past. 

  There was a time that the antiques business (like many others) was a person to person trade type of business, accessibility of antiques and collectables was slim for most people as you really needed to visit your local store, go to your local antique fair or auction and in most cases wait for maybe weeks or months before your dealer or merchant could source the items you desired.  This Scarcity built what is known as a sellers market enabling the dealers who work hard in this business for a living to control the prices to achieve a fair income for the work involved. 
   

   Since the 1990's and the emergence of the internet has brought great challenges to a large proportion of the antiques industry, please forgive my generalisation here but a large proportion of antique dealers and collectors have historically but not at all in certainty an older persons game and older people have been proven to have greater trouble with the adaptation to the technology internet era.  Now is a very important time in the antiques industry and a visible change is taking place which probably has happened throughout the years but never before with such drastic changes as in the internet age,  the business because of its accessibility, world wide reach and technological advances is attracting more younger people in the game which is quite exiting to me as younger people have a quicker speed of adaptation to running business on the internet.  Now the world is a very different place to what it was 20 years ago with the internet bringing you options to sell to a worldwide market like Ebay, Etsy, Amazon etc.  Along with this it also brings increased competition resulting in more sellers than buyers for most mass produced vintage and antique ''middle of the road'' types of items creating what is known as a buyers market forcing prices down and in some cases collapsing prices altogether. 


*Case point
Royal Doulton porcelain figures

  
  Items like Royal Doulton figurines and many other what I like to call ''middle of the road items'' or mass produced items have really struggled during the internet era, These very collectable and previously highly expensive and desirable items used to sell regularly at antique fairs and antique stores all over the world fetching £60 to £120 per figure and sold quickly as demand was so high making them a staple of many antique dealer inventory. Royal Doulton Obliged and produced thousands upon thousands of these figures on a yearly bases to meet this demand ( as you do!).

   Roll on 20 years and the landscape is very different for these figures in particular, If you do a basic search on Ebay you will find many seller have them listed but when you check to ''sold prices'' you will see they now sell between £10-£30 per figure (sometimes more for exceptionally rare examples) but this is just one example of the new market we are in affecting the prices of mass produced collectable items.  I would not like to be looking back at how much I paid for these types of items back in the 1980's and 90's thinking of my collection as an investment ! But of course collectors don't always buy for investments sake and enjoyment should always be your main priority.

The internet has made the world a smaller place creating one large market place meaning all these mass produced items of before are now easily accessible and the market now looks flooded = Low prices. 

  Earning money as an antique dealer online on platforms like Ebay, Etsy and such like gives you massive opportunities as well as drawbacks and I would advise taking them all into account when planning your online business strategy. 

  The Biggest opportunity for me is the size of the market that online platforms like Ebay provide, I find the value you get for the price is excellent, Imagine being offered prime retail space in one of the top largest marketplaces in the world for a modest fee of approx. 20% of your sales! If you can work your pricing and profit margins correctly along with a professional looking well displayed shop/products then you are giving yourself a huge shot at success. 

  The biggest drawback I can see works hand in hand with the overall size of the market place, Flooding! Flooding of the market with many similar items creating a buyers market driving prices lower. You really have to pick your strategy well and execute it to overcome this drawback.  I will explain in the part what I mean by this.

Middle of the road market

  
   One strategy you can use online is to target the ''middle of the road'' market type of buyers , This market is a very large market regarding buyers and mainly consists of antique and vintage mass produced items like Doulton porcelain figures, collectors plates, collectable toys etc etc etc.             The prices for such items in general have dropped quite drastically since the internet era took hold meaning buying at the right price is crucial in this sector, I would focus on local antique auctions, Ebay job lots, house clearances and similar places to source your products as buying in bulk greatly reduces the cost of your stock leaving you great profit in slitting the lots up and selling individually .

   Another strategy is!

Rare, large and unusual




   This strategy can be greatly rewarding but may consist of greater costs of stock and more work involved in sourcing items but at the same time creating yourself an edge or a niche in the market.

   It requires you to find a way of sourcing high end, unusual or larger items which solve problems for the buyers of such items, because of the nature of these items they can be harder to source and sometimes even harder to ship but the buyers are out there who are willing to pay good money for these items, basically you will be swapping the buyers market scenario connected to the mass produced items I mentioned earlier to a sellers market! where the power shifts more toward the sellers, Harder to find, rare, unusual and large items command greater prices because of the desirability, and scarcity of the market which created more buyers than sellers of such items which puts the ball firmly in the court of the seller regarding pricing. 

   Obviously this strategy creates problems of its own, sourcing will be harder, you will have to put in more work sourcing the correct quality and style of items that stand out from the crowd, Auctions House clearances, local garage sales and flee markets are a good place to start training your eye to focus on quality and desirability.  Shipping is also a problem to overcome , prices of shipping can be high, packaging can be tricky and postal services are critical. You need to find a reliable shipping company who specialized in large items and also find packaging companies that cater for Large delicate items (many of these can be found on Ebay these days). 

   Making sure you get these areas correct along with good product display online with great descriptions and excellent photo's and this can be a very lucrative strategy to use. (My favourite).

   Items in this area don't need to be super expensive items like Tiffany and enamelled Russian silver eggs but the more unusual the better and the best quality the better. 


Specialize

  Some of the most successful antiques dealers online are those who specialize in a certain area for example - Vintage glass, Chinese antiques, Furniture, Militaria etc.


  The reason behind specializing is because concentrating all your focus on one specific field or area greatly increases your knowledge and opportunity in that area, being a general dealer of many different types is also good but specialist shops stick clearly in peoples minds for instance if a collector has bought from you in the past and knows you only sell vintage glass then the next time he/she thinks about purchasing another piece for their collection they will remember you.  It gives you a greater chance of building a return customer base because you are catering for that specific niche alone and your customers will come to trust you on important things like quality and knowledge if you do it right.

  Specialist shops are a great strategy to use when building your online presence in my opinion as the best in any field will always out do a jack of all trades.  This requires great discipline on the dealers part however as it is very hard to walk past bargains at antique fairs. flea markets and others because they simple don't fit into your area of specialization.



  As mentioned this path can pay off long term if you stick to your discipline as your customer base will grow before your eyes built on a solid foundation of respect for your knowledge and trust of your quality.  I see this a bit like looking at another market leader is a different field of business, McDonalds for instance.  Have you ever wondered what makes them so popular and successful?  The main reason is because they specialize, they specialize in simple products and small menus help them perfect a small range of products that generate trust in the community that people know exactly what they are getting every time they order the product. Consistency is key . This translates to any business really as for example if you sell only vintage glass you can get so knowledgeable about your product you can offer consistent service every time building customer trust regarding authenticity, quality of product and good service.


Conclusion 

   So basically we have come to the conclusion that although the internet has changed the antiques business greatly it has not killed or never will finish the business completely, you as dealers just need to do what humans do best and adapt to the changed times and keep adapting and you will find ways to compete and successfully source and get product out there. The antiques and collectables business like many others is now a worldwide market for the masses to take advantage of and no longer a closed shop that is manipulated by the larger auction houses and larger established dealers.  Embrace the new possibilities of this ever shrinking world (Not literally !) and push yourself into learning marketing and providing better service than you may have already done before, constantly learning and growing your knowledge is more prominent now than it ever has been for the average person like you and I. Learn as much as you can about marketing and photography and building brand and pcik a strategy and go!

   But Most of all get a good understanding of basic business principles like 'supply and demand' and understand what factors effect this principle.  For example if an online market place has 10.000 Royal Doulton ceramic figures listed then compare that to how many sold in the past 30 days and you will realise that the supply outstrips the demand which greatly effects the achievable prices, this is an important point to remember especially when you are buying stock from dealers and collectors who maybe purchased these types of items before the introduction of the internet.

So Do your homework!

  I hope you all enjoyed this read and found it helpful to you by providing some value to your business goals.

  Stay positive , Stay well and good luck!

Sunday 17 May 2020

How to build a valuable Chinese porcelain collection

How to build a valuable Chinese porcelain collection

For the beginner !



        I have been thinking to myself during this crazy lockdown pandemic time how I could offer some value to my readers and subscribers who have an interest into building a valuable and Chinese porcelain collection and don't know how to get started, maybe you are a novice and have the desire to start collecting Chinese porcelain or maybe you have some inherited pieces you would like to learn more about?  
        
       Chinese porcelain is a passion of mine and for years now I have been gaining the knowledge and experience through building my own collection and I wish that when I started I had someone who could have guided me in the right direction with simple instructions and advice fit for a novice/ beginner as many websites and books can be confusing and off putting with too much technical boring text that is really not at all that inspiring for someone just starting their journey of collecting.

       Which is why I am spending a lot of time writing a series of ebooks to guide you through the exiting process of building a collection that you desire, I have started with this short 24 page ebook called ''How to build a valuable Chinese porcelain collection - For the beginner '' which in hope will guide you through the first stage of your journey with easy to understand text, plain simple instructions and good images to hopefully make things a little easier for you to read and increase your knowledge and inspire you on this exiting journey that I love so much.

       I will be releasing more ebooks in this series delving deeper into more specific areas of Chinese porcelain ideal as your interest and knowledge grows in the future so make sure you subscribe to my email list so you receive heads up as soon as they are published.

Here is a link to my first book which I am proud to publish for you all!

You can either copy and paste the link or go to my homepage here on my blog to get the first instalment in this series.

Stay safe and all the best.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088P2MRDF/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_8VSVEbF62QZ1Q


Friday 1 May 2020

How to successfully sell at antique and vintage trade fairs !

       How to successfully sell at antique and                              vintage trade fairs !



  I thought i would write a blog for the beginner  in the antiques and vintage industry , someone who is looking to get involved in the business but does not now how of where to start , I assume as you are reading this blog you already have some kind of interest in antiques , vintage and collectables and maybe in need of a little help when it comes to realising your goal of becoming a dealer and maybe even earning a living from starting an antiques business and most importantly doing something you love!    I will in the next few minutes try and help you take those daunting first footsteps into the world of antiques dealing hopefully helping you achieve your dreams and providing you some kind of value and info from the many years of experience i can offer.

   I had the same problem many years ago , working a job I hated , working long hours for a pay check but there was something missing in my life , I felt so frustrated because I realised that  success in life was being content and happy , doing something for a living that you enjoy and are passionate about plays a huge part in making that happen , It gives you the opportunity of  a greater work / life balance.   I had a good knowledge of antique and collectables from many years of collecting and studying and made the decision of starting my own business selling antique vintage and collectables .

    One of the first outlets I chose as a vehicle for selling my antique and collectables wares was Antique and vintage trade fairs , This is a good area to test yourself in the business because you only need limited stock to start , just enough to cover a few tables , and the fees are a nominal one off payment with no contracts or extra fees to pay that you would find opening a shop or hiring a booth in an antique centre.  

   It goes without saying the safest and most sensible way to start an antique and collectables business is to start small and work your way up , starting small enables you to build stock slowly , letting you build a clientele base and also allowing  you get to know fellow antique dealers and collectors in the trade,  not only that but you will learn many valuable lessons about the sales aspect of the business before you make a big leap , call it building the foundations of your business if you will.   Antiques and trade fairs are a great way to make this first step because as I have mentioned you're outlays are minimal , the only real costs are the small amount of stock you need to start and the fee for being able to sell at the antiques fair location which is usually reasonable because they are normally 1 to 2 day affairs .   Along with this the company who organise the fairs automatically bring your customers to you through advertising and reputation so what could be better?



So How do you do it successfully ?


So your customers are going to be brought to you and your location is already sorted so all you need to do is turn up with your stock and table coverings etc and you are ready to go.

If you focus on these key areas you are well on your way so starting a successful antiques and collectables business to sell at antique and trade fairs!

1. Presentation

  This is very important as people buy with their eyes , If you put the effort into displaying your items well on your stall , making sure your items are clean , well laid out and pleasing to the eye you will have an automatic advantage over a rival seller who does not adopt the same standard.

2. Quality of stock

  Try and buy the best quality of stock you can buy , there is a saying in the antiques industry that goes '' It's better to own one good piece rather than twenty average pieces '' This is because quality always attracts people to you and your stall , Don't be temped to go for job lot or bulk purchases just because they are cheap when buying stock , try and specialize in buying good quality .

3. Pricing

  Get your pricing right , make sure your labels are well described and do your research on what the current sale prices you can achieve for the items you have , try not to price things emotionally as you will get too attached to the stock and mostly ask too much money for your items , Try and research online for ''sold'' prices ,  However don't go too cheap as well as this will de-value your stock .  And one last point ''Always leave a little room on top of the price you actually want because you will always get haggled or bartered down''.

4. Be prepared to serve

  Go prepared to get the best out of the fair , always carry a float of cash for cash sales and change , you will also need bags and wrapping paper or bubble wrap to serve the customer and also take your business cards and hand them out as it obviously helps to build relationships with dealers and customers ,  And if you have a card payment machine then taking it would be a really good idea especially in this day and age .   You can get cheap card readers online with sites like Paypal.

5. Make sure to take food and water

  Some fairs cater for the sellers with food and drinks you can purchase but don't get caught out as it can be a very long day with no food and water.

6 . Contact the organiser of the fair

  This is just an added extra you can do to try and get a jump on your competition , contact the organiser and ask what kind of items are popular with the buyers at that specific fair , Some areas furniture is popular , jewellery at others and so on . It's always worth asking!



So now you are all set with all the help and info you need to give it a go and hopefully be successful at selling antiques and collectables at antique fairs ,   I hope you have enjoyed this blog and that it offers some value to you !

All the best

Carl

If you're a budding entrepreneur and want to change your life then check out this link , I did and I cannot stress the importance of listening to this man. https://t.co/oh0qMfQU3Y?amp=1

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Life changing moment while on lockdown !


Hello all

  I want to start with hoping everybody is well and coping as best they can during these stressful times that we are all going through due to the Corona virus outbreak that is sweeping the world at present . I hope you are all staying positive and trying to focus your mind on what you are planning to do when this is all over .

  Which leads me to my story , Lockdown has not come too hard for me if I am honest as I have always appreciated quiet thinking time and always coped quite well being left to my own devices creatively and by way of self discipline .  I took the time to concentrate on my future and which road I want my life to take .  I have always been interested in business and being creative , always trying to forge my own way forward and not conforming to what I was taught at school and by family members with statements like ''what job do you want for your career'' and ''you need to get a trade'' or ''get a good job'' I was never really interested and thought there must be more to life that being stuck in a job you don't particularly like for the rest of your working life . That is no life to me.

  I started my antiques business quite a few years back , leaving my job and throwing myself in head first in search of my dream of wealth , When I say wealth I do not only mean the financial rewards that come with successful business ownership but also the freedom , happiness and health benefits I get from enjoying getting out of bed every morning looking forward to the creative working day ahead.  I enjoy being in control of my own destiny , hitting targets and having that sense of achievement .

  During the lockdown I have been as busy as I was before if not busier , trying to find ways of pushing my businesses and investments further forward , as I scoured Google I stumbled upon this great man and website which I believe could help all aspiring entrepreneurs find the right mental space and direction needed to achieve all of your dreams and aspirations in life no matter what they might be .  This guy's name is Bob Procter , Bob has over 50 years experience in coaching and educating people with the goal of improving their mental thought processes and giving them clear defined instructions to achieving all they desire Bob has worked with many influential business people and learned from the legendary Earl Nightingale ,  At first I was sceptical as we all are when we see such promises and statements being made but I can honestly say that this man's coaching has changed my life 100% and given me the sheer belief and desire to go and reach my goals .  I just cannot put into words just how powerful this information is and annoyingly how simple .like why can I not have thought of this myself ,  It sounds obvious but it's not , Its a very well hidden secret that can only be unlocked if you are fully committed to listen and put into action what he is telling you and trust me when I say it is not rocket science and achievable to everyone if you want it.

  So I can honestly say that although this lockdown has been a tragic time (we can all learn from our courageous front line workers and Captain Tom) I have learned so much in such a small space of time and pushed my life and goals onto the next level thanks to finding this Man's work and buying into it completely .  I urge all aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone with a long term life goal or desire to check this guy out and get your life moving in the direction you want ,  Its real life changing stuff!!

Carl






I have added a link for you to check out which will connect you with his site . Take a look it might just change your life too so do me a favour and let me help you . Just copy and paste this link into your browser and take a look for free.

https://f25cf8jet9zte2xemg5e8nfk3h.hop.clickbank.net/
https://f25cf8jet9zte2xemg5e8nfk3h.hop.clickbank.net/

Saturday 13 July 2019

Buying and collecting 20th century glass for investment !





   Hello and welcome to my antiques , vintage and collectables blog , This week i thought i would write an article regarding a specific area of the antiques and vintage that i believe could be an interesting area for young and seasoned collectors to invest in as i feel the market for good quality mid 20th century art glass is generally quite low and could steadily increase over the long term.

  Antiques and collectables are generally on a downward turn at present due to fashions dictating trends and younger buyers entering the market looking for furnishings to fit into these fashionably modern less cluttered homes , This is why i feel that stylish 20th century glass could still hold it's own in today's ever changing antiques collectable and furnishing market .

  I have compiled this small article to give you all an idea the high quality well designed pieces of mid century glassware that are available today which could in time significantly increase in value over the medium to long term.

 Murano



  Murano is a small island off Italy which has a rich history in producing very stylish high quality colourful glass with fluid forms , sometimes these pieces can be signed and these pieces are well worth looking out for ,  Typically an unsigned piece of Murano glass can be easily found on Ebay , garage sales and car boot sales , auctions etc and can cost between £20 and £80 typically , Quality is one big factor when collecting any type of glass and something i will get onto later in the article.


Lalique



Lalique is a very popular and famous French high quality glass ware , usually clear or opalescent in shade with Art Deco themes with birds , ladies etc ,  Pieces are normally signed to bases or sides and can bare either of two signatures , the earlier pieces are normally etched signed R.Lalique after the founder of the company Rene and pieces with this signature are very sought after and quite valuable already but later piece with just a Lalique mark missing the ''R'' can be bought for a far more reasonable price and the quality of those pieces make them surely a good investment for the future.


Holmegaard



Holmegaard is a slightly lesser known Scandinavian mid century glass ware with a very simple stylish well designed form , usually signed these Scandinavian glass pieces are usually easy to identify and offer a very reasonable price level for nice quality pieces , The mid century 1960's 70's design was well ahead of it's time and would not look out of place in a modern Ikea setting but will surely offer good value for money as an investment due to it's quality and timeless style.


Chribska


 Chribska is a Czech hand blown mid century glass , lesser known and can be very good value for money as most pieces were only marked with a paper label and after 50-60 years most labels have been removed or lost .  Very colourful and organic in form these pieces are highly decorative and can be purchased between £20-£40 , Many people mistake these pieces for the Italian Murano glass at antique fair , flea markets , Ebay etc and for the beginner they are quite hard to tell apart , quite heavy in weight and well finished Chribska glass is an ideal entry level collectable and offers a very decorative look for the modern home.


Whitefriars


 Last but my no means least i want to show you some British Whitefriars glass , Whitefriars glass is a very Iconic high quality British hand made glass from the mid 20th century ,  If you Google 20th century glass you will be sure to see plenty of pieces for you to view to get a feel for the excellent modern design well ahead of it's time of some of there pieces especially pieces like the Banjo vase above which was designed by the highly sought after designer Geoffrey Baxter .  Pieces by Baxter can run into Hundreds if not thousands of pounds / Dollars and are really the height of 20th century British glass making ,  There are however many other Whitefriars designs on the market with a great collectors base which are very reasonable in price and well worth collecting for future investment due to they're quality and timeless style.

  Many pieces are not marked and there are fakes on the marked which i will get onto later in the article but when you handle a genuine piece you will soon be able to tell the difference .  Here below is a picture of another famous Baxter piece , the ''drunken bricklayer'' vase very iconic and hard to find but like the orange Banjo vase above it would form the pinnacle of a 20th century glass collectors inventory .


Attributes to look out for when buying 20th century glass for investment !

   There are a few specific attributes to look out for when buying in vintage art glass for investment and i want to go through a few for you to maybe use as a marker or checklist when deciding which pieces to purchase for your collection so here we go.

1. High quality examples - Always look for the highest quality example of a specific type of glass you can afford , I believe it's better to buy one high quality piece than ten mediocre pieces , you build a better more valuable collection that way.

2. Style - Look at the piece from a stylistic viewpoint , does it look aesthetically pleasing ? does the design look iconic and done by a top designer ? Sloppy badly designed pieces tend to be mass produced cheaply made items.

3. Look for fire polished pontil marks on the bases and fire polished rims , this is a sign of good workmanship and quality , fire polished means smooth and rounded edges to the rims and pontil scar underneath the vase on the base where the hand blown glass rod was snapped from the main body after finishing.

4. Signed pieces - Not always a sign of a valuable piece but this makes it easier to research and normally if an artist or designer is proud of his work he will want to sign it!.

5, Condition - Very important to buy pieces in excellent condition , damage can devalue a piece of glass and lose up to 90% of it's value , so check the glass very carefully for cracks and chips and signs of restoration like ground down edges.

6. Bright colours - The brighter coloured pieces tend to stand out more , be more iconic regarding the era they were made and therefore more desirable , for instance a bright orange piece can sell for considerable more that a clear glass piece of the same shape and design.


Fakes

  I want to tell you all now a little about fake glass on the market , there are many valuable and collectable pieces of 20th century glass on the market and the area is gaining more interest all of the time ,  with this comes higher prices being achieved as time goes on ,  sadly this comes to the attention of fakers throughout the world and encourages them to produce items to deceive all levels of collectors from amateur to expert .  The best way to protect yourself against this pitfall is education ,  study as many genuine pieces as you can by visiting dealers shops , good auction houses and museums to try and get a feel both visually and by touch to the small details that differentiate genuine pieces from fakes like weight , smoothness and quality of the finish .  Also buy some good books on the subject , there are many good books with excellent pictures and info informing you what to look out for with both genuine and fake pieces ......Study is important !

Don't let this put you off , If you study and handle genuine pieces regularly then the common fakes become quite obvious.

Whitefriars glass is one of the more heavily fakes areas , here is a specific place to look out for when looking at a piece when one comes available for sale .



The top picture is of a genuine piece of Whitefriars glass , notice the very smooth polished pontil mark and the ripple lines on the base .

The bottom picture is a fake , notice the moulded looking pontil mark and the ground (sanded) looking base , mass produced looking if you compare with the original.

There are many other tell tale signs of modern mass produced fake 20th century glass and also pieces that are just made to look like the same style of glass but not meant to deceive like pieces sold as department stores so as i have mentioned before in this article experience and knowledge is key so get out there handle and touch as many pieces as you can and soon you will be able to start building a nice collection with a good investment value and start enjoying a great hobby in the process. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and it has some value to you , I will be adding regular blogs with fun and interesting vintage and antique themes in the future so please connect with me if you have any questions or even if there is anything you would like to see me write about that you may have an interest in!

Thanks for reading and see you soon.

My Twitter page

My Ebay shop

My Etsy shop

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Thursday 7 June 2018

Opening an Etsy shop to sell your vintage items.

 I thought I might do a little article on setting up a an Etsy shop to sell your vintage and antique items .

  A few years ago I was plugging away in my brick and mortar antiques store considering venturing into the online market , I explored Shopify, Ebay and many others until I stumbled upon  slightly lesser known online vintage outlet called Etsy , the feel of the site appealed to me , a very friendly and aesthetically pleasing website with a good reputation and a wide exposure , The fee's are also very reasonable! I decided I would try the website and dedicate some time to it.

  The first thing you need to do is sign up for an Etsy account which is very easy and then follow the instructions to set up a shop , you need to list 10 items to open the shop and get yourself going , I constantly listed products for months building my online store with very little sales which was frustrating ,  Until one day I decided to read blogs and forums to try and find out where I was going wrong , the answer was that I was expecting an Ebay style set-up where all of the customers are brought to your item via a constantly revolving auction ,  I realised that Etsy was totally different and more time was needed to be spent advertising and promoting my shop ,  I was given advice to start promoting my items by joining antique groups in the community section as well as advertising my items on social media by listing them on Pinterest , Facebook , Twitter or whatever social media sites you use , Suddenly I started noticing an improvement in views as well as sales in my shop the point where I could rely on is as a valid part of my business.

The fees on Etsy are really reasonable in comparison to other sites , The charge to create a listing is approx. 16p per listing and the total fee after an item sells is approx 5-6% which overall cheaper than Ebay and Amazon.

  I started to Brand all of my outlets with the same ''Empire Antiques and Vintage'' made a fancy banner to header all of my online outlets and social media pages and started to push on from there.



Images are extremely important on Etsy to sell your items , make them as bright , clear and as good as you can , They are the focal point that people see to decide if they will purchase your items or not .

Titles and descriptions are also very important , make sure you describe your item well with measurements , condition reports and maybe an idea of how they could be used in the home to push the sale through .

Keywords are specific words you use in Titles and listings to link your item to as many potential buyers as possible , for example a good title for the cup and saucer above would go '' Vintage tea cup and saucer with floral pattern - Paragon China vintage ceramic - tea party kitchen d├ęcor black white gold''  That way in your title alone you have mentioned all those different keywords that people might type into the Etsy of Google search bar when searching for a vintage tea cup. Use the whole title (all the words) to fit as many keywords into it as possible for the best chance of your item being seen.

When you have figured out how to make a good quality listing using all of the points I have mentioned then it is basically just like running any normal business , promote as much as you can on social media , join Groups on Etsy , this is a great way to promote your shop as everyone in the group works together to promote each others shops , Use paid advertising if you want , Google ads , Pinterest ads , Etsy ads , they all cost a small amount to use but can be a good tool to push your listings up the ladder on Etsy and Google images .

Sourcing stock is an important part of the business , something I will talk about in depth in the future , just like a normal brick and mortar shop new stock is vital to keep things fresh , So go ahead open an Etsy shop and start listing , If you have an interest in selling antiques and vintage it is the perfect place for you , lower fees than other competitors , friendly atmosphere and a user friendly website , You will enjoy it.



Here is a link to my shop so you can take a look.https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EmpireAntiques?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

Monday 4 June 2018

Eye opening trip to Amsterdam........

 


  Just back from a very relaxing and eye opening trip to Amsterdam , only meant to be a relaxing holiday to my favourite city but as usual I always end up with a partial busman's holiday as well .

  We left on the Monday morning arriving in a very warm Amsterdam and already feeling relaxed and in good mood we made the short trip from Schiphol airport to the hotel we were staying in , After booking in we left for the city Centre with already the thought of Chinese porcelain and antiques in the back of my mind .  with the Netherlands rich history of shipping ports it is the ideal place to see many different cultures and none more than the varied antiques from all over the world that Amsterdam is proud to be a haven for.

  There are quite a few antique shops in Amsterdam city Centre , most out of my budget but still a feast for the eyes for a student of antiques , along with wonderful museums showing exactly the vast history of trading throughout the world for many centuries past. 

  After visiting the museums and blowing my own mind voluntarily seeing porcelain, glass and other art and antiques from the Netherlands , China , Italy and many other places I was energized and biting at the bit to get out and find that elusive bargain that you can only dream of finding , I visited quite a few antique and book shops during the trip but as I mentioned earlier mostly as an interested spectator as most items were priced to the highest values.

  I was fully aware that on the Thursday , Amsterdam holds a large and exiting market along one of the canals in the city that is full of dealers selling almost anything from waffles to antiques , vintage clothing books and much more so I had something to look forward to and something I would recommend to any likeminded people with a passion for the business I am in , So I could bide my time.  When the Thursday came after many canal boat rides and attractions we made the sunny walk to the market and it was not a disappointment , I only wish we could have stayed in Amsterdam longer as I could have literally filled boxes full of unusual antique pieces ready to fill my antiques shop here at home , it really is a haven for all types of vintage antique and collectible pieces .



We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Amsterdam and It really opened my eyes to the opportunities available in the antiques trade if you dare to think bigger and venture into the continental market to purchase stock for the U.K Market ,  The selection is amazing and the prices very reasonable , definitely food for thought for the future.

Monday 14 May 2018

Antique bargain hunting !

I have been wondering what to do with my first post on this blog and how I was going to make it interesting , after going back and forward with the usual self doubting fear I thought that I may just go ahead and start writing about what I find I am most passionate about , Antique and vintage ceramics , So I am going to tell you a little about the last piece that I bought and that there are still bargain's out there to be had even with mobile internet in the hands of every person in the world and his dog. 

I was visiting an antique fair last Monday which was May day bank holiday Monday 2018 , It was a lovely hot day and I took the 45 minute drive to a nice hotel to the coast to go Antique hunting , Now for all beginners in the antique trade antique fairs are not the easiest places to go bargain hunting but it was a holiday and I decided to make the day of it as it was near the coast.  I arrived at the Antique fair and straight away the excitement is intoxicating , trying to find a way of seeing all the items as quickly as possible , bad idea as you miss many items this way but my usual plan of action is a quick scan around all of the stalls first to see if any obvious bargains catch my eye , then a few slower more deliberate times around the stalls to investigate a little deeper . So we got started...

First time around I saw very little it was more like feeding my addiction like a quick fix just to calm myself down a little , second time around I was intrigued by a certain gentleman's stall , a dealer I had never met before has the most interesting antique items from around the world , from Cypriot pottery dating 300 years old to a 19th century African tribal sword his stall was the most interesting in the fair in my opinion , everything he had was well researched and well priced or so I thought , A small dish facing the wrong way all of a sudden caught my eye and I went over to pick it up , My heart started beating a little faster as realised what it was , I am an avid collector of Chinese porcelain and ceramics so these little things stand out to me , The dish was not priced nothing on the label so I turned to talk to the dealer and asked him about the dish , Lovely old rustic dish with a cream and brown glaze and hand painted decoration , The dealer told me he thought it may be a copy of an older dish and was will to accept £30 for it , I offered £25 as you do! and he accepted , I paid for the dish and walked away in delight at the fact I had just purchased a Chinese Yuan-Ming dynasty Cizhou decorated ceramic dish dating over 500 years at least , This was a result . With a value of between £150-£200 not a bad purchase .



To be continued.......



This purchase and others like it should give you hope when visiting antique fair for bargain hunting because the antiques trade is one of those businesses that knowledge is key but also so vast and different that nobody can know everything about everything so the odds of actually finding a bargain are really quite good if you specialize in a specific area , I have chosen as well as being a general antique dealer to study Chinese porcelain so this little beauty was the fruits of that labour.




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