Whether you’re a fan of vintage things and you want to connect with people with the same interest, or you just have a lot of valuable old stuff inherited, an antique shop is always a welcome addition to any community. However, it may be a difficult business to sustain. You’re selling niche products, after all. Here’s what you need to consider when starting your antique business.
Know Your Audience
Just like any other business, your antique store won’t be successful if you market it to the wrong audience. According to a study, called Understanding second-hand retailing: A resource-based perspective of best practices leading to business success,” the target market of vintage stores like yours are people in their 20s to 30s who like having the experiences of discovering treasure, nostalgia, and being unique. As such, the following question looks into the ways you can engage this crowd.
Online or Offline?
While brick and mortar stores are a great way for your customers to interact with your vintage items, even the future of antiques is digital. The paper suggests using alternative retail channels like the internet to sell your goods. While there are big online marketplaces for antiques that can get you a lot of customers — like Tias and GoAntiques — they require you to pay a monthly fee to get your products listed. If you’re still starting out, social media is a free way to feature your products while also connecting with your crowd.
Photo sharing app Instagram is a great jumpoff point. It has over a billion users worldwide and it’s the preferred social media platform of the Generation Z and Millennial population, who are in their 20s to 30s. If you’re going to post about jewelry, however, you need to get them professionally retouched to make sure they stand out.
Do Your Research Before Acquiring Products
One of the biggest pitfalls of buying and reselling vintage items is not being able to breakeven, or worse, be stuck with a fake that you spent a lot of money on. As such, you should do as much research on an item as you can before buying it, especially if you’re getting it online. The easiest way to do this is to Google professional videos and/or articles on how to spot for fakes. Watching CNBC’s “How to Spot a Fake” series is a great way to learn what to look out for. As for the prices, check the antique marketplace websites mentioned earlier. Compare the costs there to see if your seller is either inflating the value of their product or suspiciously deflating it.
There’s a lot of research that needs to be done in order to run a vintage shop properly, and that’s perfectly fine if your heart is in this business. You need to geek out and be passionate about the products you’re selling. After all, your antique store isn’t just a way to make money, it’s a way to reach out to a community that loves the goods of old as much as you do.