How to Sell Vintage Items

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The vintage market spans a plethora of item types.
The vintage market spans a plethora of item types. (Image: old stuff image by Dubravko Grakalic from Fotolia.com)

Selling vintage items can range from a casually rewarding pastime to being a profitable business. The vintage item market spans a multitude of interest areas. These can include large and small collectables, nostalgia pieces or hip reusable items for home and personal use. Selling vintage items will require research into choosing an appropriate selling venue, finding consumer desired products and appropriately pricing each item. The creation of a small business of this kind should be approached with diligence, organization and a sense of exploration. While doing so can be a lot of work, dealing with vintage products can be rewarding and fun.

Choose the appropriate selling arena for your products. The best way to decide where to sell your wares is to focus on their size, desirability and the type of presentation you would like to employ. Restored items of medium to high value can best be sold on eBay.com or Etsy.com. On the other hand, lower-priced items or those in need of repair will likely find a better customer base at garage sales, flea markets or consignment shops. Craigslist.com is a good venue for a wide price range and particularly for items of large size, but its use will depend on your ability to interact with customers in person. If you are interested in running a brick-and-mortar store, your first step will be to talk with your financial advisor. Write up a business plan. Keep in mind a realistic budget while finding an optimum location for your product base and your targeted customers. Look for an attractive storefront with high traffic, the opportunity for visually appealing signs and adequate interior space for your wares.

Flea markets can be a good venue for selling some vintage wares.
Flea markets can be a good venue for selling some vintage wares. (Image: salvation army store 2. image by mdb from Fotolia.com)

Make an informed decision on what your inventory will contain. Items classified as “vintage” should be at least 20 years old. Items that are much older are considered antiques and will likely entail different research for a different customer base. Vintage inventory can vary greatly, but it will often be beneficial for you to define a main theme or focus. While not every item you attempt to sell has to fall under the theme, limiting your scope will increase your efficiency as a researcher and seller, as well as allow you to be remembered by those who have browsed your items. If possible, you should choose products of which you have some prior knowledge and interest.

Research your items. In order to successfully sell older items, it is crucial to understand their history and the consumer demand. Investigate the desirability of your products and determine to what audience you should be catering. Research the specific details of your products, such as manufacturing date and place, materials used, proper care and maintenance and functionality, if applicable.

Do research in order to be successful in selling vintage items
Do research in order to be successful in selling vintage items (Image: notebook and books image by Sergey Galushko from Fotolia.com)

Price your items in a way that is fair to you and your consumers. Pricing your inventory in an appropriate manner can be the trickiest part of selling vintage wares. Factors you must keep in mind include: market demand for the item, its condition, its age, your time spent researching and placing it on the market, the original purchasing cost for you and any costs incurred in restoration.

Create eye-catching displays that will increase traffic for your items. Whatever selling arena you choose, the appearance of your products can have a direct effect on profitability. If selling at a market, fair or garage sale, display your items so they are visually appealing. Clean all items thoroughly and set them apart for maximum viewing. Make use of colorful fabrics to cover tables and displays, and create interesting signs and labels. Increase traffic by posting signs around your neighborhood, on community boards online and offline, and promoting by word of mouth. When selling through online venues, keep in mind that your potential customers will need to rely solely on the pictures and descriptions you provide. Be specific and factual in your descriptions, and be sure to provide clear, bright and flattering pictures of your items. You can increase your item views by optimizing your descriptions to include relevant keywords that are likely to be searched on major search engines. Other advertising venues include blogs, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and newsletters.

Interesting and eye-catching displays can increase traffic and sales.
Interesting and eye-catching displays can increase traffic and sales. (Image: Window display. image by Victor Samoilovich from Fotolia.com)

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