Chances are good that you’ve visited local antiques malls at one time or another, and you may have wondered how the dealers there make a living doing what they do. The truth is that they probably don’t. For many, selling antiques from a booth space isn’t a full-time occupation, but rather a lucrative side business. While getting started isn’t easy, it can be worthwhile for those with the right entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to find rare treasures cheaply that can be sold at a profit. With plenty of planning and the right location, it’s possible that even a neophyte to the world of antiques could supplement their income for just a modest investment.
The first order of business that you’ll need to attend to is finding the right mall to place your product in. For this, there are several things to keep in mind. The location of the mall is critical. Positioned in the middle of nowhere, the booth rates will be low, but by the same turn, there won’t be much traffic through the booth, and sales will be flat. More active, popular malls have far more traffic through on a weekly basis, but booth space will come at a premium. There may even be a waiting list to find space. Spaces may cost between $1 and $5 per square foot per month or higher depending on the region in which you want to sell. Mall owners charge on this scale, per square foot, to ease the task of determining what to charge their renters. After all, it’s possible for someone to have one small showcase that takes up just four square feet, and charging them the same as another person who uses half the store wouldn’t be equitable.
Once you’ve got your booth space, it’s time to set up. While you could just trust to most of the people through the antique mall, remember that it only takes one thief to clean you out. Invest in quality secondhand display cabinets with locks, then keep your most valuable, easily stolen items there. The mall’s front desk will need a key that will allow their sales associates to sell what you have to the paying customers.
The next consideration is how you’ll set up your booth. Some like pretty, elegant booths that mimic your great-grandmother’s sitting room, while others are designed to be like walk-in treasure chests. These are often loaded with items, inviting customers to linger and their eyes to explore. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, and both can be effective in their own way.
The last consideration, which you’ll have to deal with in order to replenish stock every week or month, is where to find your product at. In today’s internet-informed society, everyone knows what they have and what it’s worth. Sometimes, particularly with regards to estate sales, you may find it easier and less expensive to make an offer on everything being sold. While you’ll pay more outright, you should be able to cut a good deal with the seller and make life easier for both of you.
Making money in antiques, particularly today, isn’t as easy as it used to be, but there’s still plenty of room in the market for enterprising self-starters to join the world of antiques and make a good side income from it. For a side job that doesn’t require 20 or more hours per week, it’s a pretty good deal.