How to sell vintage, antiques and more like a pro

Dear Readers,

I thought I would post some of my thoughts today on something near and dear to me – where customer service meets money making.

I have been watching with intrigue at who is the best in their class and who still has a few things to learn. The craft of selling has never been easy especially if you are trying to turn and earn a hefty profit. As someone who is both a buyer and seller I have tried to carefully take a step back and really note what the differences are between those who earn money and those you want to earn money.

These tips below are more for someone with a physical shop, space or set-up however I promise the ones for those with an online store will be soon to follow.

Be attentive of what buyers¬†are looking for: Do you have people coming in your shop or space? If so, it never hurts to say “are you looking for something specific?” I have seen some people shy away from this question since it could lead an end result of them not being able to fulfill the customer needs ex. they don’t have¬†what they are looking for¬†or can’t answer a specific¬†question.

Let’s flip this to a positive:¬†Even if you don’t have it (the object or answer)¬†you should jot it down, I bet in a week or two you will have a list. The stuff people are looking for or want to know¬†is the stuff you want to have on your shelves or information you want to have in your back pocket. In the end people will also appreciate the time you took to help them scope something out. Lastly maybe by asking them this you will help them to find something they may not of otherwise found on their own.¬†This could¬†be what they wanted or another option.

Improve your business with deeper routed feedback: A close friend of mine¬†in the hospitality industry once told me if you have served someone a meal you never go back to them and say “how was/is your dinner? you should be more specific and say¬†“how was your steak, was it cooked to your liking?” You are¬†doing two things by asking¬†for feedback this way:

#1 learning how to better your business and;

#2 making the customer think less about things as a whole (it sure is easy to say it was FINE) and focus more on one item.

How¬†can¬†you use this in your business? Let’s say you have a regular customer, Sally and she always buys¬†vintage items¬†from you by the handful including radios, telephones and watches. One day you ask Sally,¬†how she likes the radio’s¬†she bought off you. She may say¬†they are¬†working great or could say the sound is a little off in one of them¬†etc. There is a trigger and you realize Sally has not been buying as many radios off you lately. Maybe Sally stopped buying radios from you for a reason and you now know why.

You would be surprised how many repeat customers are actually not 100% happy customers. There are some stores I still buy from but I could tell you specific things I would change about them to make them even better.

Side Note: Also sometimes the people that know your business best are the ones that can give you the best feedback. I have always said to people if they (owners/managers) just asked their staff for process improvements they could save themselves a whole lot of money.

Don’t make me think:¬†This happens everywhere (consignment stores, antique shops, vintage etc.)¬†I go and I see it all the time. There¬†always seems to¬†be a shortage of things¬†including price tags, shopping bags and mirrors. People need to:

#1 Easily see the price: If you leave them guessing they will be less likely to buy it. Make sure the price is visible and on the item.

#2 Juggle…nothing: Not only is it annoying to be holding more than one thing at a time,¬†it is unnecessary.

If you build it they will come… remember that famous line? The same goes for a basket or bag. If you have them handy for people during the shopping experience there is a chance they will fill it or stay around longer. I went to Giant Tiger today for one thing (a bath mat) I ended up grabbing a little cart and it was full of items by the time I left. People also generally grab a phone call or two while they shop and its way easier to pick up a call when all your things are safely kept in a bag – just an observation.

#3 Mirrors: Don’t make me guess if this looks good! If you are selling clothing or accessories the more mirrors you have the better. Plus people just generally like to take a quick look at themselves when they are passing by¬†;). Bonus item:¬†Good lighting and music. Having good lighting in your store or spot makes¬†a huge different as¬†to¬†how people see things and feel.

These are only a few of my life lessons and maybe it is more than just customer service -it is a way of being. Paying attention to how you treat customers through every part of the buying process makes cents. 


PBS Antiques Roadshow Takes a Stand for Elephants

News worth sharing on a Tuesday:

It came to my attention recently that the Antiques Roadshow has dropped appraisals of elephant ivory tusks. PBS mentioned earlier in June that they wont be showing tusks in the new episodes or previously aired antique-road-shows.

The National Geographic featured an article in May of this year on an adored African elephant named Sateo. His giant tusks made him the target of poaching and the story illustrating his death made me tear up instantly.

Antiques are beautiful and should leave a legacy but not at the expense of elephants. I really like to see people taking a stand for helpless animals like the Africa elephant that are being killed for ivory and the monetary value that comes with it.

Illegal killings of elephants are being linked to organized crime and the funding of armed militia groups. Many consumers in Asia do not realize that by buying ivory, they are playing a role in the illegal wildlife trade and its serious consequences.
-Li Bingbing

For more on antique objects that may be jeopardizing our animal friends read my previous post Part 2: Key Antique Objects Made from Animals and Plants.





True Vintage and Antique Design Inspired: Before and After Coming This Summer

shopsmartTwo months ago I was posting an article a day and I promise I will get back to posting more often again real soon.

Over the past month¬†I have been selling my home and trying to find a new one (and move in)¬†before July 17th. The good news is mine is sold firm now and I have a conditional sale in on a new home, the bad news is it’s a power of sale so I am trying to not get too attached in case the deal falls through.

So why am I sharing all of¬†this with you may¬†ask? My plan is once I get into my new place to do a full “Before” and “After”.

The¬†house is vacant – just bare bones so¬†I¬†am excited to show you how if you are a “true bargain hunter”¬†you can furnish and finish a home while spending very little. This will include the outdoor spaces as well. I do not have much of a green thumb but I definitely known a little can go along way when it comes to the great outdoors.

It will be a 10 part series since there are quite a few rooms in need of a little (or a lot) TLC.

My (hopefully) new home has a drive through garage to the backyard. Now I can drive my “one day” small pickup truck through to the yard -and drop my finds right on the patio area¬†where they need to be to get a little face lift and touch-up.

I remember sharing in a past post Part 2: Key Antique Objects Made from Animals and Plants that my last residential home was full of vintage art items from Africa. I loved the style, there was something so adventurous about the colours, patterns and materials. I came across this quote today which I wanted to share:

With its bold forms, with its instinctive rhythms, and with its expressiveness, African art indicates dialogue, and speaks to me of an art rooted as much in logic as in the unconscious, in which imagination explores the origins of myths. It is the same imagination that gives rise to ‚Äúforms more real than nature‚ÄĚ.
– Jean-Willy Mestach, artist and art collector, 1995

This quote explains the reason I enjoyed the African influence so much. Time to see what vintage and antique styles take over this new home.

Visit this blog often or follow me and I promise, You Won’t Miss a Beat in the World of Vintage & Antique.









Tip of the Week: How to Become a Great Picker

julie 004Wild Wednesday and;

this weeks Tip of the Week presents;

boxes worth digging through.

In yesterdays post Rockland Reveals Deals, I mentioned I would¬†dish out¬†the goods¬†on my latest record collection discovery. I will not take the credit for this weeks’¬†score.

Who has taught me everything I know about the world of vintage & antiques? My Dad! It has been a long road and around 20 years of watching and absorbing but I think I am getting the hang of things.

I strolled into the family home on Sunday¬†afternoon just to hear, ¬†“Jewel come here for a second and see what I got.” A pile of The Rolling Stones vinyls were flashed before my eyes. He got a wicked awesome deal on a full box of records 10+ of which were just the Stones.

pizap.com14006394327111This successful British rock band was formed in 1962. In total, the Stones made close to 30 studio albums, roughly the same number of compilation albums, upwards of 10 live albums and around 100 singles.

Let It Bleed (1969),¬†Hot Rocks 1 (1971), It’s Only Rockn’ Roll (1974), Love You Live (1977) and Dirty¬†Work (1986) were just a few of the albums in the colourful pile.

How does finding a box of records relate to becoming a great picker? There are a few secrets to being a successful picker and getting startling deals on magnificent things.

In most cases you don’t¬†just walk away from a sale with riches.

1. Never let the seller (person you are buying from) know you are just¬†going to resell the item you purchase from them¬†shortly thereafter. Nobody wants to know that you are going to make money off them. There¬†are a small number of people that won’t care if you make a comment like this but it is very rare. You will get the item(s) for cheaper if you steer clear of suggesting it’s going up for resale. Honesty is always the best policy but in some cases less is more.

2. Educate yourself so you know what to avoid (ex. if you know what records¬†are in demand it is helpful as it was eliminate what not to grab)¬†while keeping in mind sometimes it’s worth taking a chance. It is good to take risks sometimes if you are unsure of what you are looking at. Sometimes not knowing something can be because it is rare or not often talked about. I say calculated risks are a good thing.¬†Remember Research and Risks are¬†two R’s that can go a long way.

3. Try not to fall head over heels for the things you buy. When you like what you pick it can be hard to let things go. You may wish to keep your findings. Detach yourself from the object as much as possible, if not your house may get cramped. I must admit sometimes I do this myself but I am getting better as the years go by at saying  Рthis can go to the auction. Playing some Rolling Stones is awfully tempting right about now hehehe.pizap.com14006391217321

4. You may have to buy a large sum to get a small sum. You could spend all day looking at something but the second someone wants to buy it may be gone in a jiffy. If you see a box of records (or large quantity of similar things that may bring hold different value) it is good to look through them but you may not have all the time in the world to be picky choosy. Truthfully you may also get a better deal by buying it all and ridding someone of it.

Whether its listening to music or picking on a Saturday morning I say,

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” – Mick Jagger

Off to clean out my storage locker to make room for…