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Start A Business Selling Vintage Clothes And Bric A Brac
There has never been a better time to sell your vintage finds!
Yesteryear's style is very much in fashion. Designers are looking to the past for inspiration, High end retailers like: Kath Kidston, Orla Kiely and Anthropologie are repackaging old prints and patterns. Mass production and the ethically the questionable practices of fast fashion means that unique, quality pieces are in demand.
Firstly, to be successful you will have to enjoy spending your weekends rooting through other peoples junk at car boot sales and markets. Find out where your nearest ones are and get there early. Also when buying remember that you need to make a profit. I know that this sounds a bit obvious, but you would be surprised how carried away you can get, and buy stuff that would have to be sold for a huge amount of money to see a decent return. Another consideration when deciding what to sell is storage. You will need somewhere to keep your stock. So if space is limited, perhaps a good option is jewellery or accessories.
You will also need to decide where to sell your items. There are various places you can do this: Markets, vintage fairs, car boot sales, Ebay.co.uk, Etsy.com, Preloved.co.uk, Asos Marketplace (Asos.com), Gumtree.com. Markets and vintage fairs can be a great way to sell, but scope them out first, make sure that it's busy – footfall is all important. Car boot sales can also be great, but you have to be prepared to sell cheap, so perhaps these are a good way to off load stock that has been hanging around a while. I find that deciding the price and labeling before you display your items is a really good idea, you can always reduce items, but at least in the heat of the moment you'll have an idea of what you hoped to get for it.
I have had mixed results selling on ebay. My successes have included an original, Balenciaga, 50s suit, in dreadful condition that sold for over a 100 pounds, but I have had less success with items that are not a well known brand. However it is really useful to sell niche brands, or items that you are aware have a following. For example; I had a 60s Harris Tweed jacket that wasn't selling on my market stall, so I listed it on Ebay, where it went for much more than my stall ticket price. Never underestimate the potential of the internet, and what niche markets it can reach.
If you do decide to sell on the web, an important thing to bear in mind is that the photo is everything. It is all your customers have to go on. Experiment with lighting, notice how in house makeovers the before shot is always shot in awful gloomy light. Just brightening up makes the world of difference. Taking pictures outside is a good solution. Or use an anglepoise light to really show off your gems. A word of warning though, if you sell online you must spell out any blemishes that the item has. Ebay in particular, has a very strict policy if an item is deemed to be 'not as described'.
Another tip when selling online is to consider what words are used to search for an item. Do a little research to find out what people have used. For instance, I have found that if I have a glamorous piece I include Burlesque in the title. Likewise anything a bit 50s, I include the word Rockabilly. These can really drive a bit more traffic your way.
Like most small businesses it is important to build relationships with the people you buy from and the people you sell to.
Keep accurate records these are not only useful for your tax return, but unless you know where you've spent your money, you'll never know how much you actually make.
Finally, the great thing about starting a vintage clothes business is that you can start it small, in your spare time, and develop it to suit your lifestyle.