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Where Do Vintage Stores Get Their Merchandise?

Have you ever walked into an antique/vintage mall, shop or flea market and wondered just where do vintage stores get their merchandise? If you’re a seasoned vintage reseller this post is probably nothing new for you, but maybe you can add to the list? If you’re looking to get into vintage reselling this information should get you well on your way to your newest addiction.

Note: This is written from a United States perspective. It will differ slightly in every country.

Let’s get this party started!

  1. Estate sales and yard sales

    What’s the difference? Well, it’s a big one. One that I explained in >this post<. How do you know where to find them? The want ads in the paper, a community trade publication, local Facebook pages…. Prices are all over the place with these. If you’re just starting out, go to antique malls to get a feel for what things are selling for before plopping down your hard earned cash. But remember, it’s hard to go wrong with a quarter or less. Take that chance if you think it might be something that would sell. If it ends up a dud then you’ve spent a quarter – or less – on your education.
  2. Thrift stores

    Thrift stores are in every major city and town across the US and many smaller ones. A charity thrift store is dependent on donations with the proceeds, or at least some of the proceeds, going to help the charity it sponsors. These stores are Goodwill, Salvation Army, Hannah Home, King’s Ranch, etc. as well as more locally specific charities.

    In recent years, many of these stores have gone crazy with pricing. It’s getting harder and harder to find things you can make any money with. I guess they got tired of all the eBay sellers making all the money. Of course, the item they price so high just sits there and gets broken, if it wasn’t already, and never sells, because the shoppers who will pay those prices are shopping in the antique shops and malls and eBay and Etsy…..

    Many individually owned businesses call themselves “thrift shops” even though they are totally for profit. Perhaps they believe their prices are really low or they hope we’ll think their prices are low because they called themselves a thrift shop. Meh. Still, never rule them out. Good deals can be found there.
  3. Flea Markets

    I believe in the UK these are called boot sales. It’s kinda like where two or three are gathered…. Flea markets are a bunch of people taking their things and setting up a table or two or three, in a particular spot, like maybe a field next to the highway, and are usually, but not necessarily, regularly scheduled “events” that are always in the same spot. I mean like once a month or every weekend, people show up, pay for a table or two and throw out their stuff for the world to see.

    There can be regular dealers trying to get top dollar to Grandpa cleaning out his barn. I’m gonna say right here that the grandpas cleaning out their barns or the Aunt Lucilles getting rid of their kitchen and household junk are getting harder to find.

    A lot of people absolutely love flea markets. They’re not my favorites for bargains but I suppose it depends on your location.
  4. Friends and family and strangers

    Sometimes friends and family will give you stuff they’re tired of. Sometimes they want to sell it to you. Sometimes they know someone who needs to clean out a house quickly and they tell them to call you.

    I was at an estate sale recently and was a small part of a conversation. The man said they’d been in the business so long that people call them with stuff. They had to go clean out a house that day. I mentioned how much work that was but secretly, I was thinking, “I wish somebody would call me with a house full of stuff!” Forgetting that that has actually happened a few times and lawdy! It’s work! Still, I’d jump on it again if anyone called.
  5. Which brings me to —

    advertising that you buy

    this thing or that thing or whole estates.

    I don’t guess there’s much to say about that. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Another version is to advertise that you’ll clean out the barn or house for free just to get the stuff.
  6. Buying from want ads

    such as in the paper, Facebook buy and sell groups, Craig’s List, etc.

    Personally, I don’t have any luck with these. I never see good deals, plus I’m kinda shy. Sure I write boldly, but I get really shy in those situations. However, I know people who watch these religiously and always get great deals. I’ll see or hear that they got this wonderful thing for $xx or $xxx but if I had seen it first it would have been $xxxx! More than I would be able to sell it for. But give it a try yourself. You may be one of the lucky ones.
  7. Off the side of the road!

    Oh, yeah. One of my favorite and yet least favorite places to find things to sell. I’ve made some serious cash on things I found put out for trash on the side of the road. But it can be dangerous if it’s in a high traffic area, or embarrassing if you know people in town but not well enough that they know you’re not above trash picking. It can also be nasty. Visualize a landlord throwing out their nasty renter’s things left in the house or apartment. Ewwww! Or used hypodermic needles. Yes, I have heard of that happening. At the mess on the side of the road pictured above, as a matter of fact.
  8. At antique malls and shops – or in other words, from other dealers.

    A lot of people swear by this method. They comb booths in antique malls and leave no stone unturned in shops looking for something that is underpriced. What you’re looking for in this scenario is something the dealer didn’t realize the value of or maybe something that they can’t sell to their customers that would go well with yours.

    I had a “happy-stance” once. I thought I recognized a piece of pottery on the front desk of an antique mall holding their pens. I casually asked if it was for sell? They thought about it and said, “How about $5?” Yeppers! Research told me I was correct and it sold for…. um…. a substantial bit more than that.

    Let me say that you have to really know your market and hunt harrrrddddd! Sometimes you’ll luck up and find a booth or shop going out of business that hasn’t been picked clean yet. Sometimes you’ll find a dealer who simply prices according to what they paid. Sometimes you’ll just find something that you’re more familiar with than the dealer.
  9. Real-Life Auctions

    eBay isn’t the only auction place around. Perhaps there are real-life auctions near you. Each auction house has its specialty. It might be new things like tube socks or household junk or antiques or livestock or a mix of any or all of the above. You find out about auctions usually in the local want ads, but there’s also

    Remember, if you try out auctions, to set your limit on a certain item and don’t get caught up in the bidding frenzy. Also remember that there might be a “buyer’s premium” added to the total. Yeah. They’ll tack on an extra 5-10% or more of the selling price. So don’t forget to think about that when setting your limit.

This list covers the basics. Can you add to the list? Have a favorite? Just starting out and had no idea? As for me, I prefer to stick to estate sales, yard sales and sometimes thrift stores. But I never rule out any of the others. Those seem to be the best use of my time. Others’ mileage may vary.

You might also like to see 21 Places To Sell Your Antiques and Collectibles.

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How To Set Up WooCommerce Zone Shipping

How to set up zone shipping in WooCommerce

Confused about the new shipping zones in Woocommerce? Here’s how to set up shipping zones using different rates for different weights. Ha! Poet an’ didn’t know it!

As you probably know if you use WooCommerce, they are phasing out the old, flat rate shipping and going to Zone shipping. Groan. It took me long enough to figure out the one, basic flat rate shipping. Now they want to complicate things? So I put it off. My brain did not want to focus in on that. But I knew I couldn’t put it off forever and one day the mood hit right and I forced myself to figure it out. It’s really not complicated! However it IS time consuming. So, fix yourself a big pot of coffee, or grab an energy drink. I’ll be here when you get back.

Note: This tutorial is assuming you need the correct shipping amount for items of different weights going to different areas and had flat rate shipping for individual items/weights already set up in the old, trusty, flat rate, now called, “Legacy.” If you only ship, say, one 3 oz. item over and over, then this will be overkill for you.

Note #2: This tutorial is for the US only. I did not include figuring shipping for outside the United States, but you should be able to figure that out using the same method.

Note #3: Don’t let my over explanation scare or confuse you. I tried to get as detailed as possible. You might have to take one sentence at a time and certainly one step at a time. But it really is easy! I promise!

Note #4: Please do not ask me how to do this or that. I’m just like everyone else. Not a WooCommerce expert. I have to research to figure out every new thing I do. I wrote this tutorial while it was fresh on my mind. If I had to do it again, I’d have to read my own “how to!”

Now. Let’s get started!

Setting up zone shipping in WooCommerce Continue reading How To Set Up WooCommerce Zone Shipping

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7 Mistakes New Etsy Sellers Make – Selling On Etsy

Selling on Etsy - 7 mistakes new Etsy sellers make

So, you decided to try selling on Etsy, but you’re not making any sales. Be sure you’re not guilty of any of these 7 mistakes new Etsy sellers make. (If you haven’t signed up with Etsy to be a seller yet, use this link and get 40 free listings!)

This list is aimed more toward vintage sellers because, well, I tend to think the world revolves around vintage, but most of the mistakes listed will apply to handmade as well. Continue reading 7 Mistakes New Etsy Sellers Make – Selling On Etsy

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Even Vintage Lovers Can Save With Groupon Coupons!

I often talk about saving money on the blog. Usually it’s about getting deals at yard and estate sales, but we can’t buy everything there. Almost, but we do have to go out into the real, retail world occasionally. So when I got the opportunity to do a Groupon Coupons review, I jumped on it. I don’t do sponsored posts often. Most don’t even remotely fit my blog, but saving money does. As far as I’m concerned, saving money is always appropriate!

Most of you know about the great deals you can get through Groupon, but did you know Groupon has coupons, too? Groupon Coupons. And most can be used in store or online!

I have always used coupons. Cents off at the grocery store and % off at department stores. All my adult life. I started back when you could get a nickle off a bag of flour and the coupon never expired. Makes me sound ancient, doesn’t it? My mother used them and passed her thriftiness on down to me and I’ve passed it to my daughter. My, how the coupon world has changed since I first began! We can print them right off the internet these days.  Momma would have loved that.

My mother with money

That’s my mom with money in hand back in the late 1950’s.

At Groupon Coupons you can print cents off coupons specifically for stores like WalMart and Target and % off for places like Barnes & Noble and Bed Bath and Beyond among countless other stores!

But guess what? There are also coupons for eBay! That’s great for vintage lovers and sellers! Right now, one of the offers is for a $10 coupon to be used if you list an item for sale – auction style, Buy It Now or Fixed Price and it sells within 15 days. The coupon can then be used to buy something for yourself — or to flip and resell. Woot-woot! 

I couldn’t find the actual number of stores listed with Groupon Coupons, but it’s mind boggling. Several hundred that start with the letter “A” alone! It appears that if it’s a fairly major chain, it’s in there. I’m sure not all have deals going on all the time, but if you’re going to be shopping in any store, it’s worth it to see what kinds of coupons are available. My favorite store, Anthropologie is there with an extra 10% off coupon. 

If you haven’t already, check it out! If you like using coupons and saving money, you’ll be so glad you did. The money you save can be spent at yard sales! 

Follow Groupon on Facebook and Twitter.