Recently I explored a half dozen antique malls of sorts in northern Colorado.
Smart phones have made impromptu research very easy.
I would hazard a guess that when people used to go to these places they were looking for some sort of something that they either used to have as a younger person or, they were looking for some sort of dust-able to go into a specific spot.
For instance many will buy old books that “look good” to set on shelves to appear to give the casual viewer the idea that they are read by the person who owns them. In fact they are there because the binding looks good.
Today we see many with smart phones in hand looking to see what something sells for on eBay, or other auction site. Junk has become an industry for the aging who see this as a revenue stream.
While it is true that most are unpleasantly surprised or taken aback by the fact that what they thought was worth big money is not, some are pleasantly surprised that some of these things that you would think are rubbish, are in fact gold.
Thrift-stores have also become haunts for these folks as once again they are there with smart phone in hand and shopping cart full of “stuff” looking for something to place on eBay. Interestingly enough, even the thrift store operator has done some research and marks their items with eBay prices.
A quick watch of “The Pickers” should educate the public on some simple “junking” etiquette.
In order for me to buy it from you; there has to be some meat left on the bone for me to make it worth my while.
If you want to sell in an antique mall you need to realize that the mall you choose will have less than a 100th of the traffic of some online store, thus cannot possibly command eBay prices. The catch there is that you will pay rent on your space to store your junk and you might make just enough sales to pay your rent so; you are in effect giving your junk to the store owner. If you want to sell in this fashion you must have turnover, which means what you have has to be in demand and it must be priced low enough to tempt the online entrepreneur as well as the casual junk collector to take a chance on buying it.
EBay makes its money much in the same way but they do it in sheer volume, unlike the bricks and mortar antique mall. They charge a small fee for listing and another small percentage of what it sold for.
If I were eBay; I would make that fee variable on the kind of exposure that you get. New sellers do not get the same exposure as established sellers therefor, the same fee that is charged for one should not be for the other. In this manner eBay would encourage new sellers to do what it takes to get better exposure which they already do in typical “nudge” fashion.
I do not believe that eBay is a business strategy for the normal person, although many folks try to eke out a living selling in this manner. It is more a hobby and a way to de-clutter with me. Keeping this in mind, I realize that my efforts are making others rich while trying to get the stuff out of the house and manage my life’s collection of clutter.
As I too shop on eBay for more clutter, it is pretty much a wash as I trade my junk for someone else’s.
If you want to make money at this, specialize in something that you are passionate about. When you see it at some thrift shop, estate sale, garage sale or even some newspaper; you will know if it has value or not thus you will know whether to invest or not.
Those who put their stuff in antique malls not only should your prices coincide with the traffic in that store but, your space should be organized in such a fashion that anyone walking in there should be able to quickly scan your shelves or area to see if there is anything in there that they are looking for. Way too many times I see shelves and crap piled high where the only person who is really looking is a “picker.”
So to the treasure hunter, if you are looking; take the time to dig through their crap and look for that obscure toy or tchotchke that you know something about that may be on the floor under the bottom shelf with all kinds of other crap in front of it.
There are bargains out there but, keep in mind if you find them at an antique mall that could mean that the majority of people in there did not recognize it as valuable, and most likely the same will be true of online visitors.
Marketing what you have to alert the shoppers is than called for. Tell me why I need this thing? What will it do for me?
Sell the Sizzle, not the steak!
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