Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where to Find Vintage Goodies?

Yesterday I talked about the numerous ways that dealers and collectors find their cool vintage items. Today we are going to talk about why they are so important and how to maximize the use of these various places.

Finding and locating thrift shops, resale shops, consignment shops, and re-use centers are all pretty much the same way. You can simply open the yellow pages in your phone book and make a detailed list of locations. You can also compare them too the online yellow pages and possibly read some reviews on potential shops.

 One way I like to find newer shops is thru Craigslist. I go to the for sale section and search thru the main header "for sale". I enter various words like, Thrift shop, resale shop, thrift store, etc. I click on all the items that come up and see how many different shops I can locate. I write down the name and address of each individual store and try to read thru the list as to not write down duplicates. There are also a few websites such as:,,, and various other websites.

Later this week we will discuss how to group all of these shops by favorites, locations and give them ratings based on your needs.

Estate Sales can be tricky! I recommend going to several different sales by several different companies. Find a company or two you feel is the most fair in price, practices, etc. Then become a regular with that company. Introduce yourself to the cashier or various persons working the estate sale. Make sure to let them know you love their company and you will be back. Be friendly and be fair! Don't haggle unless it's within reason. When they know your face and smile then you can mention that your searching for specifics. Once an estate sale company knows you and how you shop they are more likely to help you. I practice this and now I am very fortunate to have worked my way into estate sales before they are even opened to the public. I very much enjoy the private shopping experience. Networking and building relationships are important with estate sale companies.

Craigslist is basically a virtual garage sale. I recommend searching for your favorites in various departments not just the one category you believe it should be located. Try misspelling the words, try looking in the garage sale sections for your key words. If someone has something similar to what you are looking for email them and ask if they by chance have what it is your looking for. Always use the Items Wanted section and post what it is you want. Be both direct and vague. Many times people have what you want but; they don't realize it. Example: Mention you are looking for clothes your grandma used to wear and also work in the term Vintage. Not everyone knows what the term vintage actually means. Most commonly elderly persons and men.

 It has happened numerous times for me. Someone will contact me about hats and purses to find they have dresses and shoes too! Someone will say, "I have all these old clothes but; I dont know how old they are". I usually commend that I am happy to come thier way and teach them about what it is they have. Once I have educated them on exactly what they have I am always happy to make a cash offer. Yes, sometimes it is junk but; never turn down a lead! You never know who they know and what they make choose to call you back for. Also, make sure to reach out to areas surrounding yours. Don't stick to one area if your not having luck. You will sometimes have to travel a bit to get what you want!

Flea Markets, Garage and Yard sales all pretty much work the same. They are individuals selling their items. You have a lot of room for negotiation. Remind them you are paying cash and ask them what their rock bottom get it out the door price is? If it's not a price you can live with give them your number and email address and tell them if they reconsider to please call you. Many times that night the thought of cash in their hands will change their mind. You would be surprised how many return calls I get with this practice. I suggest having some business cards made up even if they just have your name and number only on it. You don't want to be short on time when you find something you love and want to make an offer for them to consider.

Antique Malls are good too. I know many people consider them to be expensive and retail price but; not always! I have seen so many booths that have the desperate feel to them. They will mark prices at a third of everyone else because they really need the cash. These booths are great to find low priced items valued much higher. Many times you would have booths that the owners don't know what it is they have and sell low to push it out the door. Look low! Many people do not and so many countless times I have found my greatest items low because they were dropped or simply never paid attention too.

Thrifty Nickel, Penny Saver and Craiglist or great for not only finding things in current listings but; to place your own listings. Write out an ad for what you are looking for and pop in your email address. Ask for specifics, generals, photos, etc. Ask them to please email you with what they have and that you have transportation to come to them paying cash! I get countless emails myself with people clearing out and looking to sell quick.

Flippers are awesome too! If you know anyone in real estate that buys and resells homes talk to them! I have had a few flippers tell me how an investment property they had was filled with junk and needed it removed. Offer to do this for free if you can keep whats inside! One time I had a flipper contact me where the basement was loaded with about 2,000 garments all kept in proper storage and he sold it to me for $400 if I cleaned up the debris when I left. It literally took me about 20 minutes of sweeping and $400 for thousands of dollars in merchandise for the trade.

Auctions and Storage Unit Sales/Auctions are the same. You view the contents and start with bidding. These are fun and you can get some great goodies. However; it has been my experience to be more difficult to actually win and come out ahead. I know that Storage Wars glorifies this as the hot new way to make fast cash but; in my experience it is not! More times than not there is someone at the auction that wants to win just for the sake of winning. Also, there is a practice at making new bidders pay high prices to cause you to run out of money so the regulars can swoop in and grab the rest at a lower cost. This really takes alot of cash and a good poker face to earn your way in this "club".  I am not saying don't give it a shot but; it is tough!

There is still so much to learn about this industry so stay tuned! So much more info to come!

Photos Courtesy of: 1. 2. genrecookshop 3. 4. 5. antiquesmallofstclair 6. 7. 8.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Made by Lena