On January 15, 2015, I took a leap of faith and opened an antique booth. My husband and I had been bitten by the flea market bug. We loved to browse through them. Even though we don’t pay the retail price often, we could still find some deals. He had been wanting to open a booth for a while. I was scared.
What if we didn’t sell enough to make the rent? What would happen if we couldn’t find enough inventory to keep it full? Would people even like what we had to offer?
Even though that particular antique mall closed at the end of the year, we had one of the best years ever. It doesn’t matter where your business is. Maybe you sell on eBay, Amazon Handmade, Etsy Handmade, Etsy Vintage, Shopify, on a business Facebook page or even at local craft fairs. The antique booth business can work for you.
Having an antique booth can help maximize the profits in any eCommerce business.
Here’s how an antique booth can grow your ecommerce business:
1- It’s an additional income stream aka bonus money.
Who doesn’t want to make more money? I know that I do. As long as it is actually turning a profit, an antique booth can be an easy way to pick up a few hundred dollars a month or more.
You will get out of it what you put into it. If you are consistently working your booth, you can do very well without having to manage your inventory. If your antique mall is a co-op, you may have to work one or two days a month. Even if that is the case, someone else is doing the majority of the work for you.
Working your booth is a common phrase you’ll hear among antique mall vendors. It refers to a vendor coming in and rearranging, adding inventory, dusting, etc. Booths need to be freshened up weekly. Regular customers will pass by your booth if they don’t see anything new. I’ll let you in on a little secret though. If you don’t have anything new, you can move around your current inventory and that will cause people to stop.
2- It’s a way to diversify your income.
Having an additional income stream is always a positive. This gets all of your ecommerce eggs out of the same basket.
Banking all of your income on one platform is dangerous. What if something happens to your account? You may never get it reinstated and then what will you do? It has happened to more people than you realize. I promise you. Don’t put yourself in that position.
3- It gives your business more exposure.
How will local people know about your products if you don’t put them in front of them? You can reach online buyers with a website and SEO. You can reach local buyers with an antique booth.
If your mall gets a lot of traffic, lots of people will walk by your booth. Many will walk in and look around. They can actually touch your products. If you do custom orders or large quantities, this can be great for your business. The chance of a sale increases after a person has physically touched an item.
Don’t think that you have to have all new or all vintage items either. My friend Kayla of George + June always has a mix of vintage and handmade products in her booth. She is such a talented artist!
4- It provides networking opportunities.
If you are working your booth regularly, you will come in contact with other resellers. This can provide you with great opportunities to grow your network.
You can learn your competition better. Find out what they buy and where they buy it from. They may also give you leads to private picks, unadvertised sales, friends who are liquidating, etc. They may also help you find something that you are looking for. The more people you know, the better. It’s also fun to have friends to talk shop with.
5- It helps you get rid of excess or dead stock.
We all have inventory that won’t move or that moves slowly. Sometimes you have a lot of the same item because you stumble upon a good deal. A booth can be a great place to liquidate it.
There will also be times when you buy or make something because it is selling and all of the sudden, it doesn’t sell. This happens when a trend wears off or the market is flooded. The buyers at your booth location may be a different demographic than your online buyers and there is a big chance that they are interested in what you have to sell.
6- It maximizes the profit on the leftovers.
Let’s say there is a box of vintage children’s books sitting on the ground at a yard sale. The sign on the front says $8. You see a book series in there worth buying. The rest you could probably get $2 each for and may not be worth your time to list online. If you ask how much it is for just the set, the homeowner could say $1 each or even $.50 each. That is more than you want to pay per book.
So, you ask the homeowner what’s the best they could do on the entire box, and it’s less than $8. You buy the whole box and price the other books at $2 each in your booth. They sell easily. The profit from these books covers the cost of the whole box, and anything else is gravy.
This same scenario has happened to me many times. I also will put together bags of miscellaneous toys and sell them for a few dollars each. This adds up quickly.
7- It allows for bigger flips with furniture and large pieces of artwork.
When you are out treasure hunting and find a piece of furniture but have no place to store it, stick it in your booth. The same goes for artwork. If you find or create large pieces of artwork, signs, lamps, etc., a booth can be a great place to store and sell them at the same time.
If you love to refinish furniture, a booth can be a great place for that too. I have often found tables for $10-20 and painted them with chalk paint. They will easily sell here for $100+. Chalk paint requires almost no prep work. It is glorious! I’ve also used Fusion Mineral Paint, and it works great too!
8- It can be used for a wide variety of items- vintage, antique, furniture, boutique and handmade.
You can sell almost anything in a booth. You are not limited to antiques. Each antique mall will have its own rules of what you can and cannot sell, so be sure to check with them first.
In general, you will be able to sell vintage and antique items, furniture, boutique clothing, handmade items and more!
9- It can give you opportunities to find items to flip on eBay and Etsy.
Most items in booths are priced at retail prices. Depending on the atmosphere, they could be priced at the very top of retail prices. Don’t let this discourage you though. There are always weak spots. Every vendor cannot know everything about every item that they are selling.
I have found plenty of things to make a profit on. While you are walking to and from your booth, take the time to scan the neighboring booths to check for new inventory. Since you will be there on a regular basis, you may as well source while you are in there.
10-It’s fun!- get out the house and out mingling with the public.
I am the classic introvert. I do find, however, that I love the antique mall atmosphere. It is a lot of fun to get out of the house and talk to adults.
Be friendly with the owners and employees. Say hi to the customers. Focus on building relationships with the regulars there. You never know when they are going to present sourcing or sales opportunities to you.