If you are on the search for cool stuff on a regular basis and the hunt is what makes you happy, you may come to a point where your stash needs a little, um—destashing. Several years ago I decided to jump in to the world of antique dealership. I have learned a lot along the way.
First, you have to decide where to sell. When I started, I just sold on eBay. Eventually, I rented a small space in an antique mall. These next few posts will focus on that.
When I decided to rent a space, I really had no idea how to get started. I didn't know any dealers personally. I just started going into the antique stores and malls that I frequented and started asking questions. Here are some things I learned along the way.
1. When you are in the store, look around. What type of merchandise do they have? Are there customers in the store? Is the parking lot full? Does it attract they type of customer that would buy your items? A lot of antique malls allow newer items, crafts, and "collectibles" (Hot Wheels, Action Figures, Longaberger baskets, etc.). Some allow items that are only pre-1970 or pre-1980. Ensure your items are a good addition to the store. Some businesses will ask to see photos of your items. I refer them to my web site to see examples of the types of items I sell.
2. What are the store/mall hours? Does it align with the hours you are available? If you are at work during the open hours, how will you stock your booth and keep it tidy? Plan on spending a couple of hours a month in your booth.
3. Questions to ask regarding cost of the booth. What is the rent? Some charge a flat rate, most charge by the square foot. For example, if the mall charges $1 per square foot per month, a 10 x 10 booth will cost you $100 per month. Ask if there is an additional commission collected by the mall. I have seen anything from no additional commission to 10% of your total sales. Ask about credit card fees if a customer pays with a bank card or debit card. Are the fees passed on to you? Sometimes the commission fee will cover that, sometimes it is added on top of the commission fee. I have also seen monthly advertising fees and fees to access an online system to track your sales. Be sure to ask! Your $100 booth rent can become much more in a hurry. This all becomes included in your cost of sales. A lot of malls have varying amounts of booth sizes. Start small while you are figuring things out. Be sure to ask when rent is due and when checks are issued to the dealers. Some will take the rent out of your check, others will not.
4. Do you have enough time to keep hunting to replenish the booth? I sold 116 items in September. I am constantly on the hunt.
5. Ask if you are expected to help at any events during the year. Some malls have Fall Fests, Christmas Open Houses, etc. Many malls count on the dealers to be on hand to help. Are you available to help? Are your willing to help?
This is my old booth at Christmas in 2015.
6. It is pretty standard for the mall to give a buyer 10% off without calling you. If you are firm on a price, make sure it is marked firm on your price tag. The mall should call you if a buyer is requesting a greater discount.
When you are ready, dive in! It is a lot of fun. You won't get rich, but it is really fun!