Thursday, March 8, 2012

Organization - Planning, Reassessing, Evaluating

I looked back to see what I wrote a year ago. It was tax season, as it is now and I was/am deep in to the paperwork/calculator work. I wrote the following:

a year ago...
Today I am writing about how I began as a collectibles dealer, where I am now, and answering a few questions about 'how and what'.

About 17 years ago my mother in law, an eclectic collector wanted me to join her in selling in an antiques/collectibles mall. She had been fortunate to get a small space (about 8x8 feet) with an angled corner. So like naive fools we jumped in with lots of great cups and saucers, weird shelves, no thought to decor, and very mixed stock of our personal collections. It was like a big hobby when we started. Big. First month we paid the owner, no profit. 

That continued for awhile as I studied what 'others' were doing in the mall (don't copy others, be as unique as possible). It took awhile to 'get it' - and that continues today, studying, figuring out, finding (huge job) and presenting (cleaning, fixing, pricing fairly, displaying etc.).

Does it cover its own costs. Yes. Is it a business? Yes. Does the tax man get his share? Yes. Do I like the work. Yes, although it is a huge time taker and finding stock that is appealing to the shoppers is a forever changing and sometimes tough. The paperwork is a big time taker too, with getting all the financial records ready for the accountant (its tax time again).

set up as a sole proprietor, took over the first space and over time expanded to several other booths.

So, over the past year (this is year # 18 for me) has anything changed my thoughts about being a collectibles dealer? 

I have made significant visual changes in my booth spaces. I have made a more open look, painted everything I could paint the same calm colour, changed the flow of entry/exit. I work my booths at least 12 days a month for about 3 hours each time. I bring in new stock and remove old stock regularly. I learned about vignettes this year and use this technique to make visually pleasing grouping. I do more grouping of similar colours, themes, types now. 

I started writing a second blog that is only about booths in the mall where I focus on one booth every few days, rotating through the various and many booths in the mall. I simplified that blog as it a more 'look and see' rather than a show and tell, (see Village Antiques Mall Blog).

I have learned from many wonderful bloggers this year. The biggest learning curve was painting furniture and frames (thanks Miss Mustard Seed for providing such good examples and the how to start information). Cozy Little House helped with photography and colour. Funky Junk Interiors grabbed my attention with her unique ideas and great photography. Timeless Treasures is a new inspiration for using the old to create something fresh. Apron Thrift Girl and Junker Newbie are two of my favourite reads for honest and fresh. DebbieDoo's Blogging and Blabbing has been very encouraging to newbie bloggers which has lead to meeting/reading a huge range of other bloggers. I made new blogging friends. Granny Sue and Mockingbird Hill Cottage are regular reads and we exchange comments frequently. 

Was it a good year? Yes. I learned new things, I am even more careful on what stock I buy for resale. I watch trends closely. I make old pieces into fresh pieces. Presentation is very important. I share my experiences with new bloggers and new dealers. Reselling is a self-employed job and I have met (in the blogging community) a great many others who share how and what they are doing as self-employed resellers in many venues. Alway, interesting and informative.

This part of organization - planning, reassessing, evaluating.


  1. You make me want to start a business! Only how would I sell my 'treasures?' I like the look of your 'shop' and wish we were closer. Congrats on your 18th year.

  2. Love reading about your reseller journey. I'm heading into year 2 of my online selling ventures now - and projecting how I may do in a booth down the road. Thanks for your visuals and insights!

  3. What an interesting read. You have been beyond helpful to me as I start this same journey. Your advice made my booth begin paying immediately! I've got a lot still to learn--especially about what to buy for resale. Something may look like a deal but if I have to hold on to it forever to sell it? Not so much. I think one of the big learning curves for me is how to clean things. Not just the usual cleaning, but stains, etc. That's a world unto itself and requires a huge amount of supplies.


Thanks for visiting. I read and appreciate all your comments. Joy

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