You can turn your love for antiques and collectibles into an enjoyable and lucrative business. Knowing how to buy right, how to select the right selling strategy and stage your shop will give you a competitive edge that will set you up for success.

Buying Right

The difference between a collector and seller is getting your goods for the right price. Anyone can purchase items at top price. It’s getting a deal that will make you money, and there’s no substitute for research to make sure you’re getting a bargain. Check well-established sites like Kovels to understand current prices. Then enjoy the hunt for buying items at estate sales, yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, going-out-of-business sales, auctions and from ads placed in bargain-shopper publications.

Container Shipments

With the right amount of startup capital, a savvy seller would do well to purchase a container of antiques directly from Europe. There are two ways to go about procuring a container. You can locate a company that specializes in filling and shipping them for a negotiated price or you can travel to a region that is rich in the items you desire and arrange to fill and ship a container yourself. As with any business transaction, check references for the dealers you contact and research the guidelines for filling their containers.

Selling to the Public

Selling to the public in any commodity can be a challenge. The key is to understand what sells in your market location and what type of customer you will be selling to. Flea market and bargain hunters can be hard to please and want rock-bottom prices. However, long-term collectors look for high-quality items sold by dealers with a good reputation and are willing to spend for the right item. Dealers with knowledge and passion for their collection attract customers. Research what is popular to buy and sell in your region, then work to amass a collection worth shopping for.

Working With Decorators and Designers

Another avenue for selling antiques and collectibles is to sell them to interior decorators, designers and home stagers. Frequent home shows and design conferences to learn who caters to clients that desire your wares. You can also make money renting items to home stagers who work with high-end clientele. Just make sure you have a good contract in place with provisions for damage or loss.

Staging Your Shop

The difference between a shop full of merchandise and a shop that sells can be as simple as staging. Yes, you can pile stacks of similar items on long, dusty shelves waiting to be discovered. However, arranging goods in charming vignettes will allow your customers to envision how the items would look in their home or office – which is much more conducive to making a sale. Likewise, for an antiques or collectibles dealer, window dressing is everything. Choice pieces should be strategically set up to draw customers into the shop and make your business a visual jewel in your town.