Where Do I Find my Vintage Stock?
My name is Shawn Underwood. I’m a picker. After posting my last story, I came to the realization that I pretty much know nothing about picking. Sigh. But as luck would have it and after my article came out in Handmadeology, I heard from Sally (VintageOnTheRidge) who not only offered to help me identify some of my items but directed me to a picking class. I love the camaraderie of the Etsy community : ) So without further ado I’ll pass on my local knowledge and my cheat sheet from the first section of the online class; “So you Want to be a Picker” www.udemy.com/make_money_picking/
1. Thrift stores are great if you shop around. You can find glassware, vintage toys, cut / pressed glass, sterling silverware, vases / planters, cast iron and more if you have a keen eye. I have found that charity thrift stores are the best for finding hidden treasures. The best time to bargain shop at thrift store is Tuesday – Thursday. During the weekends, thrift stores are swamped, and they usually don’t put out new merchandise until Mondays afternoons, or Tuesday morning. Look what I found at Barking Basement in Hailey, Idaho, a thrift store that gives 100% of profits to keep and adopt out homeless animals. https://www.etsy.com/listing/119181675/vintage-cyclone-seeder-farmhouse-decor
2. Check out www.auctionzip.com. Attend only live auctions that have no minimum bids on items. Obviously this would have to be somewhere close to your hometown unless you want to ship purchases home—kind of defeats the purpose of saving money! I’ve not actually been to a live auction but I plan to follow this great lead. The auctionzip website lists auction dates on a calendar it’s super easy to figure out.
3. Estate and yard sales on Craigslist or local paper. I know I know Craig’s list can be a bit dicey. I recently searched out a Craig’s list ad, and after tromping through someone’s backyard in the rain and mud and a dog was barking and nipping at my boots . . . I came across a hoarder goldmine!!! Kind of spooky going down those basement stairs but it was worth it!!! However, in hindsight I think I’ll bring a friend with me. Two is better than one when fending off a barking dog!
4. Try not to go to “dealer sales” since they typically sell at full price. Hmmm. I’ve been to quite a few “dealer sales” and I’ve found some great stuff at reasonable prices. It pays to return on Sunday, typically the last day of sale because items are usually at least half off. Obviously some dealers have better prices than others. I like “Going Going Gone” dealers in Seattle.
5. Look for “estate fresh” items at liquidation prices. Huh? After further review I learned; “Estate fresh” = estate sale with NO DEALER or middleman. Obviously, better prices.
6. Offer “free in-home evaluations” for people who can’t get out. There is no fricking way I would do this . . . I may tromp through peoples backyards but I draw the line at “Free in-home evaluations”.
7. Go through “for sale” items in classified. Call about item and ask if they have anything else for you to look at. Interesting idea. But again, I’d bring a friend if I were to actually going to go to someone’s home.
8. Offer “clean out” services. Offer your time and labor to clean out the attic or basement. It’s possible you will find an old trunk full of antique maps a basement full of skeletons. Don’t go to a home where you need a dumpster. This is definitely a last resort idea to find treasures. Again, not something I would do.
9. Sign up for www.estatesales.net. I often find good sales on this website and not all are dealer sales.
10. Set up a page on www.iantique.com I did this but thus far I’m not a fan of the website because it’s overwhelming. I need to dig in a bit more to figure it out.
11. Outdoor flea markets. Try and find the “once a month” dealers who are looking to make some quick cash. My Craig’s list basement lady (#4) was a flea market dealer looking to clear out some of her stuff at bargain prices!
12. Try misspellings when typing your item into Google to lessen the competition and have a better chance at getting the item you are looking for at the lowest price possible. I found this idea on the Internet. Brilliant!
Please feel free to submit ideas or comments about how YOU find your stock for your vintage store : )