When you are sourcing vintage for either an Ebay or Etsy shop there are some key things to think about that can make your shop more fun and profitable. After spending the last few years sourcing, I have some hot tips!
Okay, this is one that I always have to remind myself of! There is that old saying, “you catch more bees with honey than vinegar” and I have found that to be true for almost anything you are doing!
I messed up big time one day by asking for a discount and then getting grumpy when they quoted a truly ridiculous price for some really basic pieces. That did not help matters any and it really put a damper on my day.
While you are out there, don’t do that old, “well this is crappy so I expect you to give me a super deep discount.” I know that is one negotiating tactic but to me that just makes it harder to come to a fair price that will make both of you happy.
Instead figure out what you are willing to spend and then pleasantly see if they can get their price to match yours!
Now that we have broken the ice about negotiating, let’s just jump right in! This may be my best tip and one I have to keep reminding myself to do…
Instead of asking, “how much is this?” give them a price you are willing to pay. For example, say, “would you take $5 for this piece?” Remember, the worst they can do is say no and maybe they will say yes!
If they do say no, you have at least set a price that will be on the lower end of scale.
You can also do this effectively by collecting a large number of items and then asking for bulk pricing or a volume discount on the whole pile. This works great at most sales and again, the worst thing that could happen is they say no to you!
When you are getting started with sourcing vintage most of us wind up at that old standby, Goodwill! The problem with that is that they have a whole system for sorting and pricing that leaves little room for big profits.
Start thinking of ways you can source more cost effectively. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask your family and friends to give you things they no longer want! I have sold hundreds of dollars from “donations”.
- Go somewhere that seems scary! I promise the first time you attend an auction you will be confused and unsure of yourself, but go a couple of times and all of a sudden you will feel like an old pro!
- Get yourself on an app like EstateSales.net. They have big lists of local estate sales and auctions. You can find great things on the first days of estate sales and steep bargains on the last days.
- Craigslist and Facebook groups occasionally have free or cheap items that you can pick up locally.
- I KNOW, garage sales can be frustrating (oh my gosh, so many baby clothes) but if you have a system for doing them you can make this a great sourcing practice.
- Think about getting some lots on Ebay, splitting them up and selling them as separate pieces. Many times sellers are lazy and not willing to do all the different listings that can net a huge payoff.
It can be really easy to get into a sourcing rut, make sure you step out of the “normal” places and source from all over the place.
Oh my, I have bought some dogs! Unless you are desperate, don’t buy anything that is not in good condition.
Often vintage items will have a bit of patina or a little bit of wear here and there which is just fine. What I am talking about is avoiding dings and dents, torn cloth or anything really that you will have to disclose in your listing.
There is SO much stuff out there that is in good condition that you don’t have to buy anything that is not immediately sale-able!
Instead of wasting your time fixing problems, take a little bit of time while you are sourcing to make sure the items that you are buying are in good condition!
Last but not least is to be a little consistent. When I started out I would buy anything that caught my fancy. OR I would hear a “BOLO (Be On The Lookout)” for something like Pyrex or wooden stamps and get a whole bunch.
Doh, some of these things don’t sell at all and have been sitting around in boxes for years now!
Instead buy a wide variety to start and then figure out what you are good at selling.
For example, I have found that I am good at selling silver plate, fun animal figurines and architectural salvage. I hit the local Restore from Habitat For Humanity to find hardware and knobs, go to the auctions to buy lots of silver and then always check the estate sales for fun brass animals.
You might hear this and think, “that is what I should sell!” But you need to find out what will sell for you. I know gals who are great at finding patterns and others that love selling silverware. Really it is combination of what you are good at finding and then what people want to buy.
Each area of the country will have different kinds of vintage and it doesn’t make any sense to fixate on Western finds if you live in Florida or New England charm if you are stuck in LA.
Sourcing Vintage Wrapup
Hopefully this post has given you some things to think about. I would love to hear what you find and the cool places you look. Leave a comment below if I have missed one of your favorites!