Setting up a Vintage Reselling Business: It Starts with Passion

Many people ask me about setting up their own reselling business. They’re a lot like you, obsessed with thrifting; always finding amazing vintage items, and eager to start their own Etsy or eBay shops to sell their finds.

I’ll be writing tips about setting up your own thrift blog, reselling business, or renting space to sell your wares here on Handmade Success. This first post is about what you’ll need to realize before you maniacally plot to set up your own shop!

I know you’re tempted to act now, but let’s look at the reality of setting up a shop before you set up that Etsy account! It’s not all cute owls, mushrooms, and groovy records. Here’s the real deal…

1. PASSION: You Need a Vintage OBSESSION to Succeed

You will not succeed as a reseller without passion for what you’re selling. This line of work is overwhelming at times, but passion gets you through the hard times. Passion shines through in your work and earns you buyers and supporters.

Take-Away: Reselling requires a lot of energy. You will crash and burn without a flaming passion for vintage and hunting for vintage.

2. Endless Hunt: You Can’t Stop Thrifting

If you’re already an estate sale, craigslist hunting, flea market and thrift store extraordinaire, you might be ready, young grasshopper. Your casual thrifting may seem fun now, but you’ll have to amp up your efforts when you start your business. Your casual, relaxing thrift shopping will morph into a business effort. This may ruin the magic for you.

Take-Away: Before you get started as a reseller, realize you must continue to thrift and hunt for vintage every single week to stay relevant in the market and keep making profit.

3. Vintage Overflow: You’ll Need Storage /AKA/ Be Prepared for Overflow

There will be times when your car is filled with boxes of vintage treasures and your closets will literally combust if you add just one tiny owl figurine to the inundated shelves. Vintage items will overflow into your living room; boxes will clutter your kitchen. Just ask any reseller, this is the reality of the business.

Take-Away: Be prepared, you’ll need storage boxes and storage space for all of your finds. You may even need to rent storage space. Even with all of these precautions, overflow is common.

When it comes to my vintage business I write, photograph, plot and plan for it daily. I thrift for it every week without fail. It takes serious dedication, but I do it because I’m passionate about sharing beautiful vintage items with my customers. It’s art to me, another form of expression. If you have the same feelings about thrifting, vintage, and handmade, you’ll succeed.

Vanessa is a fulltime copywriter and webmarketer with a passion for art, creativity, and thrift. She writes about thrifting, creating, and saving money every weekday on her blog, Thrift Core. She’s plotting with artist friends to open a combination Cafe and Vintage Shop in Jacksonville, Florida. Robots, dinosaurs, and kitsch send her into a sublime vintage seizure of joy. (A vintage-gasm.)

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10 Comments on “Setting up a Vintage Reselling Business: It Starts with Passion

  1.  by  Jessica Jones

    This is really good advice for just about any new business endeavor. I’m a crafter now, but hope to open a handcrafts boutique/co-op of artisans in the near future. Recently I’ve been considering adding a vintage component to my boutique plan. The warning about overflow and storage is a good thing to consider. Nice guest post! Thanks!

  2.  by  Vanessa

    You’re right, Jessica. You have to innovate and constantly acquire or make new stock for EVERY business plan. Stagnate with your innovation- and your sales will perish. That’s why you need passion. Passion keeps you making and finding more to sell.

    I love your idea of a handcrafts boutique/co-op. Good luck!

  3.  by  Lenore

    I just read your tips on how to get started in vintage reselling and I had to laugh as the name of my shop is “A Vintage Obsession”!!! And you are entirely right as you have to be obsessed with vintage and finding vintage items for your shop…we do an awful lot of flea marketing,estate sales and so forth.
    Thanks for the tips,

  4.  by

    such great advice! i have a booth at an antique mall and i have been traveling this month for my ‘real’ job and i haven’t had time to shop… and my booth has been suffering for it! i normally sell enough to cover my rent in the first half of the month and i’m really behind right now. i’m hoping to get some good shopping in on saturday. i feel restless when i can’t get out there and hunt!

    excited to read the next posts!

  5.  by  Liz {Miss Vintage}

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have NO idea how timely this post is. I’m a newish Etsy vintage seller. Before Etsy, I wanted to make sure I had completely thought out my plan vs. a “willy nilly” approach. I’ve been collecting for years…buying since I can remember, and running out of storage happens often! Your advice is great and completely appreciated. Two more things I would love advice with is researching pricing and finding time – or the right time – to add new inventory to my shop. Thanks again for the great information! ~Liz

  6.  by  Vanessa

    Lenore: That is funny! Sounds like you picked the PERFECT name for your shop :)

    Jamie: I love renting space in an antique mall. If you need more tips, this is one of my favorite posts on increasing antique store booth sales:

    Good luck, you’ll get your sales back up there.

    Liz: I’m so glad it was helpful and timely! I’ll address your points in future posts. Let me recommend an AMAZING reselling guide by A La Modern for you as well:

    I can say right now, you can never add too much merchandise to your shop. More merch is more sales, so ALWAYS hunt, and ALWAYS add more inventory.

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