Monday, February 27, 2012

A Challenge to Antique Dealers

I call myself an antique dealer, loosely, apologetically. 

Truthfully, most of what I try to sell falls in the "vintage" category.  Not 100 years old.  Yet at least 20 years old.

We are all trying to sell the same stuff, the same junk, the same.  All across my city, Kansas City, there are hundreds of dealers.  We are all competing for a very small piece of the pie.  We run 30% off sales in our booth, only to have the dealer around the corner having a 50% off sale.  Competition drives down prices.  That's why Kansas City is probably the best city for finding vintage/antique items at the cheapest prices. 

My point is, we've lost our creativity.  When a dealer uses a different technique and comes up with a new twist on, let's say painting a dresser, then within the month, that technique is copied around our city at rapid pace, springing up in the West Bottom's famous First Friday Weekend sales.  Each shop is offering the same stuff the shop around the corner offers.

I am talking to myself here - preaching at myself.  Because I'm as guilty as anybody.  In the quest for increased sales, we feel this is necessary. 

I don't know how to solve this problem, except to do something different than others.  But be assured, the "bubble will burst" when you are shortly thereafter copied, time and time again. 

Part of the answer sounds harsh, but dealers who are hobbyists, who don't have the true need to make money for their household, are competing and adding to the pool of dealers.  Consequently, we have to sell goods at lower prices. 

Another answer is to NOT GIVE IN TO THE GREEDY DEMAND FOR CHEAPER GOODS!  I mean, who really wants to fill up their house with $19 side tables?  We've gotta face it - we wind up with lesser quality. 

I had an antique dresser in my booth at River Market Antique Mall for 8 months.  It's very old - unique dovetailing, and the woman who sold it to me said that it came through the wagon trains.  No one would pay me $395 for it.  Everyone wants an $89 dresser that has white paint on it.  I was told to paint it to get it noticed.  What did I do?  I brought it home to keep for myself and hauled to the mall a painted antique, which I had in my entry but grew tired off - not the best quality but it will probably sell soon because it's not as expensive. 

Yes, I'm ranting.  And I value comments. 


  1. Oh wow, that IS a nice piece!! So glad you can use it in your home. The dovetailing on the side of the drawer s nice! Sweet.Come see me!

  2. ranting is ok, good to get it off your chest (pun not intended!)

  3. Hold onto those feelings! Individuality is what creates unique wonderful ideas!It's easy to copy! In the old days an antique was treated with respect and digninity. Just knowing the piece had been around for 100 years or more evoked soulful meaning for me. Everyone is looking for a bargain. H'm I wonder if made in China has something to do with that? At any rate, Don't follow the vinage crowd. Be your own kind of "vintage girl!" Seems like you're doing just that!