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!
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 .
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
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