Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Five reasons for vintage sellers to specialize - and why not

Every vintage seller faces this dilemma: what kinds of items should I sell? Should I specialize, or be a selling generalist?

I've been selling vintage online for over 10 years. Here is my take.
Victorian hair combs slip sterling silver bowl
I've been a selling generalist.

Five reasons for vintage sellers to specialize

  1. Buyers will love your niche "boutique" and return for more purchases. You are not as dependent on being found in search, either on Etsy or search engines.
  2. You develop your own brand. When people think of your shop, they think of a specific item or style. They are inclined to shop with you when they want that kind of item. (Restated, it is easier to identify your target audience and market to them.)
  3. You become an expert rather than having to research everything.
  4. If you sell similar types of things, there are often advantages to having the same types of items to catalog, store and package.
  5. Sell something you love and it will be obvious. Your enthusiasm will attract shoppers and encourage buying from your shop.

Can we be too specialized?

At the same time, we have to be balanced. There are risks to becoming too specialized. The market can change. We must be ready to accommodate shifts in market tastes. No one wants to be stuck with a lot of unsalable merchandise.

One big reason not to specialize

The more we specialize, the more we increase our cost to source our items to sell. We must cast our buying net wider than selling generalists. We have to develop more ways to obtain more specialized vintage wares to resell. If you live in a rural area, sourcing niche items to resell can become difficult.

If we don't specialize, we can just buy anything we see that is reasonably priced and resell it. For example, I often go to auctions and purchase whatever I think I can resell at a profit. I live in a rural area and that works for me.

Of course we can specialize some, which is what many sellers do.
Colorful vintage hand blown windowsill glass
So, what kind of buying and selling do you do? Are you a specialist or not?

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