Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Getting into the Antiques Biz
QUESTION: I love antiques and have been collecting them for 20 years or so and have so many things that my house is bursting at the seams. I’m ready to retire and have been thinking about opening my own antiques shop. Is this a good idea in this economy?
ANSWER: Lots of people dream about going into business for themselves. For some, it seems like a way out of the corporate rat race. For others, something to do in retirement. And while an antique shop may seem like an uncomplicated, quiet business to get into, it’s far from it. Remember, first and foremost, selling antiques is a business–and the emphasis here is on selling.
Many people think because they’ve been buying up a storm at yard sales and flea markets that they can turn around and sell what they’ve bought. Sure, you can put some items up on eBay to sell, but to be successful at selling on eBay, you first have to know what people are buying. Salesmanship is a skill that needs to be learned. And loving antiques has nothing to do with it. In fact, the worst reason to open an antique shop is that you love antiques and have been collecting them for years.
To have a successful antiques business, whether selling in a shop, at shows, flea markets, or online, you need to know what people want to buy and then buy those items. What usually happens is that the items people want to buy aren’t the ones you personally like to buy, so you avoid them. For instance, today, the trend is towards collecting items from the 1930s and 1940s. But you love Victorian antiques and can’t stand Art Deco.
Also, this is a business. That means keeping records, learning how to display things so they sell, and developing a network of sources to buy new inventory. The IRS doesn’t look kindly on people who just play around.
NOTE: I’m still having problems posting images to this blog. And an antiques blog is nothing without photos of the items I’m discussing. So I’m looking for a new host for my blog and may be moving it in the near future. Please stay tuned and thanks for your patience.