Although we love our fun finds, we are both claustrophobic and try to limit our overflow into our house. We want pieces that are going to sell quickly and be at a great price for our customers. We’ve had so many pieces that we’ve personally loved, but just wouldn’t sell because of whatever reason (broken, not functional, too cheesy…) and had to be re-donated back to the thrift store. These our the rules we’ve come up with for our selves when out thrifting / estate sale-ing to protect us from bad purchases. They may or may not work for you, but they’ve really helped us run a tight ship.
Don’t Over Spend!
No matter how cool something is, if you’re going to have a profitable mid century / antique booth, you can’t over spend on merchandise. Keep in mind the time that it will spend occupying space in your booth, the effort to find the piece, the time spent advertising the piece, and possibly the time you need to spend restoring it! Most dealers I know follow a general guideline of tripling or quadrupling. If you can’t sell it for 3X -4X the price you spent on it, it might not be a good idea. This way if you need to reduce the price to get it moving, you won’t be hurting. Of course there are always exceptions for items that are going to fly off the shelf. Use your own judgement 🙂
NO NO NO REPRODUCTIONS!
Don’t do it, man! (Unless it is a vintage reproduction)
Don’t Buy More Projects Than You Can Handle
We once rented a booth from an antique store where the owner had so many projects that they literally filled up the entire back room and most of the bath room. Nothing ever got fixed and it was so comically stuffed that he put a label on the back room door calling it the “Scary Room.” We try to stick to just a few projects so that we can keep track of them and make time to get them out into the world. Also don’t be overly ambitious on picking up a project that you have no idea how to fix or who to bring it to. These projects usually suck up all your money and may not actually be fixable. Sometimes broken stuff can’t even be donated back to the thrift store.
Useful Items move faster than chatchskis
People really like to incorporate their vintage pieces into their lives. In the time we’ve been Hoity Toity Knick Knacks we’ve sold a whooole bunch of salad bowls, pyrex, lamps, and things people actually can use. Sure! we do sell cute decorative pieces, but there is more movement in functionality.
Focus on Coolness rather than Designer
Most of our customers don’t really care about names. They really want fun unique pieces for their homes in great condition. Nine times out of Ten when I talk to my customers who are about to buy a flashy designer thing, they don’t even care about the designer, they like the way the piece looks or functions.