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From Hobby to Career – Becoming a Vintage Seller

In the second of my two posts for Shurgard‘s blog, I am asking: so, you think you have a good eye for
vintage clothing and accessories? Perhaps, after many years devoted
to your own collection – honing your eye for a bargain – you
realise you prefer hunting down vintage and antiques more than your
actual job. Well… why not try and make a living out of your hobby?
Seriously! You’ll have to get used to early mornings, become a
photographer, get to grips with social media marketing and, most
importantly of all, genuinely have a passion for what you’re doing.
But the rewards are so worth it! 
Keep your eyes peeled
The casual collector scours eBay and
Etsy and probably frequents vintage sales, charity shops and
carboots. But the serious stock sourcer needs to think bigger. You
can find big lots on eBay if you look, but it’s being first through
the door at sales of all kinds that reaps the rewards. Pro sellers
are the ones lining up at opening time, sweeping through and leaving
before the hobbyists have even got out of bed! You can even try going
to proper vintage clothing auction houses like Kerry
Taylor
to battle it out with other dealers,
hitting foreign flea markets or making friends with local house
clearance companies.
Promoting your collection 
When you’ve acquired some stock, what
then? Sure, you can book spots at fairs, boot sales and so forth, but if you don’t have transport, it can be difficult. Selling online is the answer, but it’s an art all in itself. Taking decent photos is
key. A decent camera (or cameraphone), a plain backdrop (or
bedsheet!) and a cheap mini tripod are good to have. It’s definitely
fair to say that the better your photos are, the more you are likely
to sell, and potentially command higher prices.
For clothing, you can model the pieces
yourself (check out Butch Wax
Vintage
, who has mastered pinning larger pieces
on herself) or use other models (see Atypical
Girl
who does both), or get an adjustable
mannequin (like Advantage
in Vintage
). Making sure everything is
ironed/steamed (the latter is so much quicker) is crucial! With
jewellery, an uncluttered background is good. You don’t need to
invest in expensive light boxes, you can DIY
these things with a bit of effort! Whatever you are selling, you need
to go over each piece with a fine-toothed comb to make note of any
flaws. Fix, sew and clean anything you can yourself!

Social media is key
Mastering social media is the next step
to selling world domination! Have an Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
account so that whatever your customers’ preferred platform, they can
follow you. Even if you aren’t a big user of all three, you can use
many great automation tools to take the hard work out. Check out
IFTTT,
Buffer
and Schedugram,
and if you’re not a natural social media addict, spend half an hour a
day and schedule your updates, then you won’t have to be a slave to
it the rest of the time. Plus, you can use Instagram to sell direct, with no fees or on Facebook groups like Ooh La La Vintage Swap & Sell, as mentioned in my last post.
Making space
Finally, in order to stop your new job
and supersized collection taking over your life, especially if you
wear vintage yourself, consider hiring some external storage. Even if
you have space at home, it can be useful to keep your work separate
and your spare room, you know, spare. Better than sticking your
precious things in a damp loft or an unsecured outhouse, professional
storage places like Shurgard are completely safe, with PIN entry &
24-hour CCTV coverage. Plus, they offer the flexibility to store
things for the short or long term, perfect for when you’re just
starting out as a vintage seller and you’re still working out which
sales methods or events are going to be the best for you.

Good luck!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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