Hi there. My name is Little Miss Maggie, and Carol has asked me to do a guest post on her wonderful blog on the topic of "What sells and what doesn't"
This is my first guest post, and I'm very excited to be here.
I have been a dealer of vintage and antique items for the last 11 years and sold in at least six different shops. Right now I'm a dealer in a beautiful store called Aubergine Emporium, in Simi Valley, California, which is a suburb of Los Angeles. I have included some photos of my space and a couple others in our shop that I think make great use of the space in our store.
I'll start off with what sells first. Let's call this the good news portion.
Farm tables, large and small, are great sellers. In fact, so is the whole "farm house" look.
Cabinets with cubbies and drawers. They can be metal or wood, large or small, but they are great for storage and can add a lot to home decor.
Vintage scales, skeleton keys, bird cages, vintage jewelry, vintage frames and small colored kitchen utensils. We also get weekly requests for blue ball jars, and colored depression glass is making a big comeback. Vintage suitcases are still great sellers, but mostly the flat kind so they can be stacked one on top of the other. The slanted luggage is a harder sell.
Buffets are a hot seller right now because people like to put their big screen TVs on them.
Tall night tables, not short ones. Furniture is taller now and short furniture is not in. Benches and settees always sell, and these can be large or small as well.
Architectural items are always popular. This can include vintage door knobs and hardware. Pairs of peely paint doors are in hot demand, but the single old doors are cooling off a bit.
Now for the bad news portion, what doesn't sell in my neck of the woods.
I told you farm house is hot, but shabby chic is not. Anything with pink roses does not seem to sell and that includes china and upholstery. China is pretty much out unless it's red and white transfer ware. Cups and saucers do not sell unless it's Mother's Day, and then they must be marked pretty much under $10 for the set.
Industrial is cooling off very quickly and that especially applies to lighting.
Victorian furniture is not in right now, but Craftsman is still good because of its simple lines.
Oak furniture (unless it's Craftsman style) almost always has to be painted. It will not move in our store. This also applies to traditional style furniture.
Upholstery with busy prints is not a good seller either. Plain is in.
Mirrors are not great sellers, but their frames are. Framed art is not selling either and I love it so the one piece I have is relegated to my top shelf.
Old windows are not selling and man cave items are really not in demand anymore.
Pink (unless it's Depression glass) on anything does not sell in our shop nor do clear glass items.
Now here is what I call the "tweeners."
Gray is hit or miss. It really hasn't made it big here. Safe colors for us are white, black or red.
Silver tends to be very seasonal. Garden items sell obviously in the spring, but not so much the rest of the year, and last year even the vintage garden furniture was not a big seller. Maybe because the newer styles are so much more comfy.
Vintage linens including quilts are making a strong comeback. Quilts have not been popular for years, but now they are starting to be asked for.
Now comes the advice section of this post.
If you will notice my photos, we use every bit of wall space we can. If our walls don't look like Swiss cheese after a few months, we are not using our real estate wisely. My space has two upper shelves and I also have a hanging swing I use for a shelf. Everywhere the eye can see there is something to take in. I can also hang items from my upper shelves. We also stack our furniture to free up floor space for more inventory. My only advice here is that everything needs to be organized so it can be clearly seen. Don't make it look like a storage locker where things are just shoved in. Keep your space clean and inviting and visit it often. I spend at least three hours a week in my space rearranging, fluffing and cleaning. Bring in new items weekly. If you can't find anything to bring in that week, use your time to clean, rearrange and try to regroup what you have so it looks new and fresh. If you don't spend time in your space, no one else will want to either. This applies to regular customers who come in weekly. If they think they have seen everything you have to offer, they won't spend time in your space looking for the latest and greatest.
Keep a good variety of smalls as well as large items. In fact, if you keep a good variety of items in your space, you should keep a good variety of customers coming back for more, and this also applies to price points. I try to keep a lot of things in the under $20 range. Yes, I have some really expensive items, but I want people to feel welcome in my space so I try to appeal to a lot of different tastes and budgets.
Thanks, Carol, for inviting me to take part in your wonderful series "What Sells and What Doesn't". It has been an honor and a privilege to be here today.
Hi, It's me Carol....Maggie, thank you...Oh my gosh, you are a wealth of knowledge! So many Great tips! Your booth and the shop you sell in are gorgeous! Please visit Maggie at Little Miss Maggie she has so many creative ideas and freely shares tutorials on her transformations!
If you have missed any of my guest bloggers they are all listed under the tab at the top of my blog titled "Selling Antiques"