New Habits, Growing Economy Help to Sell Giftware and Collectibles
By Opal R. Gilbert
Just a few years ago, when one thought of a home-based sales business, Tupperware, Avon and a host of multi-level marketing schemes might have come to mind. Today, however, changing market conditions and evolving consumer habits have converged to make home-based selling businesses a realistic opportunity with real profit potential.
This is especially true in world of collectibles and giftware. In years past, collectors—who are among most discerning shoppers—had few avenues for conveniently finding and then purchasing items they were seeking. They would have to visit specialty shops and expensive boutiques. They often waited for right specialty event or show, and then would drive many miles to attend so they could look for that exceptional piece. With Internet retail sites, online auctions, and a growing body of home-based entrepreneurs, these shoppers now are able to take advantage of many new resources.
For those considering home-based businesses, there are many avenues. There are franchises, partnerships and other business relationships that involve other people. Many of these require an investment in someone else’s business, and unfortunately, many of them turn out to be scams. For those looking to sell collectibles and giftware from home, only investment that is made is in that person’s own business. The start-up costs depend on how much inventory entrepreneur can afford to have at first.
With our economy poised for what some economists are calling a potentially unprecedented recovery, those searching for high-quality collectibles and giftware will have more money to spend on those items they cherish, and they will be looking for convenient and inexpensive ways to collect them. Selection, price and superior customer service will differentiate successful entrepreneurs in this area.
Collectibles and giftware are sold by home-based entrepreneurs using several marketing programs: retail sites on Internet, online auctions such as eBay and others, swaps and flea markets, mail-order, catalogs and in-home parties. Some people sell collectibles and giftware for supplemental income, and some make a business of it. Either way, selling collectibles and giftware is a proven way to immediately improve cash flow. Collectibles and giftware are also often sold or auctioned to raise funds for nonprofit organizations.
Entrepreneurs often get into business of selling collectibles and giftware in stages by setting up a small Internet retail site, or attending flea markets on weekend, or putting a few items up occasionally at an online auction site. Because profit margin in selling these items can be great, in many cases these people soon “quit their day jobs” to sell collectibles and giftware full time.
Dee Sponsler of Mt. Shasta City, Calif., has been selling collectibles and giftware for more than 20 years to supplement her income. “In flea markets, people who do this always have a love of it,” she said. “They’re always in search of Holy Grail, and they’re selling all of their little treasures on way to their search for Holy Grail. That’s way I look at it. It’s like being on a treasure hunt all of time, whether you’re buying or selling, and it’s fun.” She also has another goal in mind soon for her sales. She plans to “gear up for retirement” by selling collectibles and giftware to build a nest egg.
As we stated before, collectibles and giftware shoppers generally know what they’re looking for and they now have many more options for finding what they want. Entrepreneurs who want to succeed need to do four things:
Stand out from crowd by selling types of collectibles giftware that people are buying. Offer some exclusive items that cannot be found anywhere else or that cannot be found easily. Be a resource for your customers. Keep prices low. Home-based sellers of collectibles and giftware need to keep on top of what their customers are buying so they can stand out by selling popular items. Tastes and trends in collectibles change over time, so these entrepreneurs need to do their homework, using research tools such as Internet and keeping a close eye on competition. We offer more than 3,000 items on our retail Internet site, and specialize in collectibles that are known for their high-quality, including items from Celebrate America, Shabby Chic Elegance, Ebony and African Heritage, Far Eastern Treasures, American Heritage, African American Legacy collections. We also offer exquisite doll collections, safari patchwork, extensive collections of fragrance and candles, and toys galore.