Friday, August 5, 2016

Fixed Income Friday!

In the last installment, I alluded to the fact that you can make extra money getting rid of things.
(This does not include your kids/dogs/significant other. You have to keep them because you have responsibilities. Also, no one else wants them because they have their own.)

One of the ways that a LOT of folks are trying to make extra money is through selling things at antique malls or through vintage sales, shows, etc.

Unfortunately there is a cold, hard reality to this, too.

I have been selling at various venues for over ten years, and I have yet to make any real money.

(It's a good thing DL is having fun with it, or we'd be out of business quicker than you can say 'Jack Robinson.' Who is not a relative of Will Robinson, but he should be.)

So far, I have had booths in four different antique malls and I have participated in two different outdoor venues. I'll be adding a third show next month. In all this time, through all these changes, I can say that I've lost money most months. If it wasn't for DL's industrial pieces, we'd be waaaaay in the red.

I've learned that when we are talking about making money with a booth, it's best to take a year's worth of data to figure out whether or not you're making money. Of course, you have to figure in your costs, including raw materials and travel expenses. Sometimes you find a great fit for your look (with us, it's Elizabeth's at Hanes Park here in Winston). Sometimes it's hit-or-miss. Sometimes it takes admitting that you made a mistake, and then you have to start over somewhere else. It's almost like a relationship, and at some point you have to fish or cut bait. Remember that you're in business to make money! If you aren't making money, you need to develop a new plan. 

A few months ago, I wrote about being a part of vintage sales. The thing about shows is that you can never make predictions! The first show I did was in a town two hours away. We loaded the SUV with our tent and all kinds of goodies, schlepped it to a parking lot, and set it up in rainy, 45 degree weather. We had one $15 sale, which covered the cost of the entry. It was a day wasted, and gas and lunch money down the tubes.

Last fall, I decided to take the plunge and do another show. It was a great success, and I made more money in a day than I usually make in a month! But I did the same show in the spring, and made little more than the entry fee. So shows are a crapshoot, at best.

If you decide to sell things either in a booth or through show venues, remember that it takes a lot of time and energy. It's always interesting to me that I see a lot of older folks working in their booths and I wonder how they can do it...but then I remember that they're retired and probably consider their booth a full-time job. While you're still working a "real" job (like DL and I are), it takes a great deal of organization so that this "hobby" doesn't consume all your free time. I go to my booth space in Greensboro every week, in order to make sure it looks okay. I need to do this, because it frequently gets trashed. This is also the cold, hard reality of having a booth.

Speaking of hobbies, you'll need to decide whether this is a hobby or a business and find out the tax pieces. Ours is a business, but that's because we also own condos that we rent to Wake Forest students and recent grads. We have to show a profit every few years so that we can claim it as a business on our tax return.

Anyway, this is just me keeping it real with regard to the idea of having a vintage decor business. It's fun, but a lot of work!


Rita C. said...

It IS a long of work, Kirby. We go weekly to our booths, and some weeks it takes 2 man hours just to refold the linens people wad up after pilfering through them, let alone restyling anything new. I count everything, so some years it borders on hobby vs business, definitely. Good review, esp. for wannabe dealers.

Rose L said...

I hope things get better and better.

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

I gave up shows years ago and never looked back. Right now I think I am a hobby and I am having too much fun to worry whether I am making enough money!! Someday I am sure I will care!

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

Good, realistic info. I'll stick to my hobbies! ;)

Art and Sand said...

Thanks for confirming that I don't want to start an Etsy shop. I have thought about it, but the thought of packaging and shipping is just not worth it.

Carol J. said...

You're right about it being a "crapshoot". I'm a crafter and have decided to only do a craft fair by sharing a table with a friend. That way, it's double the fun, but only half the loss (if, indeed, you don't do well!)

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