05/21/2019 at 1:26 pm #62190
Hey all, wanted to take a minute and share a scavenging idea I had a while back that I was finally able to execute this past weekend.
I’m sure there are places this would and wouldn’t make sense, so it’s definitely not something that would work for everyone. Turns out, Albany was a place that it definitely worked for me.
For probably the last year and a half or so, I’ve been accumulating items at my usual auctions and estate sales that are very specific to Albany, NY (in addition to my usual purchases to sell on ebay). Old posters for festivals in Albany, antique etchings of Albany buildings, vintage souvenir t-shirts… basically anything I could get my hands on that was specific to Albany and made in the 90s or earlier (most of it much earlier though). For anything that was a poster, map, or anything else that was clearly a piece for a wall, I would bring it to a local framer as soon as I got it. Once it was framed, I would just put it in my storage unit and forget about it. (Pro tip: if your local framer has certain frames that are “discount” ones, stick with those. Also, after the 7th or 8th item… you’ll probably start getting a discount of some sort).
After collecting this stuff for a while, I found a local bar with an awesome patio that was more than happy to host the event. We locked in a date, then I made a flyer (and posters). For a month and change before the event, I consistently posted pictures on Instagram of the items that would be for sale. I only printed 10 posters. Three of them went up in the bar that the event was at, and the rest went to other local establishments that I had an “in” at. That was the ONLY promotion that I did at all outside of IG.
After the posters went up, people started talking. IG followers started going up, and it started generating a little buzz.
Cut to this past Saturday… and the event couldn’t have gone better. My total cost for framing was just short of $1,500. Total cost for the items themselves was a little over $1,000. It was only three hours long, and in that 3 hour period, I did $7K in sales. There were a bunch of items that I regretted not pricing higher because they sold within minutes of the doors opening, but that’s ok. I’ve decided to make it an annual event, so I can apply some of the lessons learned to next year.
That’s all. Just thought it might be an idea that might work for someone in another part of the country (stay the hell away from Albany though). Also a good reminder that while eBay and all the other platforms are great, we can still get creative and try other ways of peddling our wares too.3+
05/21/2019 at 3:39 pm #62196
- Location: Central NJ
This is a great idea. I’m not sure that I personally could pull it off at this point, but something for me to think about in the future.
Did the bar charge you for holding the event at their venue? How many items did you have in total?0
05/21/2019 at 3:48 pm #62197
Cool idea – I always see cool local souvenirs from the area (Niagara Falls) when scavenging and always thought it would be a cool business for someone to sell retro/vintage/antique souvenirs to current tourists – either as is or re-imagined like you did with your Albany items.
Your work shows that with a little effort, re-packaging, and re-imagining items that you can make a profit – especially on local, one of a kind items. Getting a venue is also a great move on your part – makes it easier and comfortable for the casual buyer to check out.0
05/21/2019 at 4:36 pm #62203
- Location: Atlanta
I agree. Pretty cool idea and thinking outside the box.
You might even think about adding a category to your store for that topic. Out and about Albany or something like that and then promote that category with sales and duplicated description blurbs about the items to catch the search engines.
But good idea and effort.
mike at MDCGFA0
05/21/2019 at 7:37 pm #62218
Sharyn – The bar didn’t charge me a dime. They actually even opened 2 hours earlier than they usually do on Saturdays, and made a killing during that time. I would even go so far as to say they were grateful! I had around 115 items total.
Inglewood – there were actually a few items that I did kind of reimagine. The most popular was a bunch of coasters from a long-defunct Albany brewery that I encased in resin and sold for $8 a pop! (Originally purchased 30 for $5!). Also, I forgot to mention – I took another kind of large risk. I designed a very Albany-centric neon sign and spent $450 having it produced. I was selling raffle tickets for it during the event for $1 each, and sold a whopping 906 of them!
Mike – I’ve thought about making the local items a store category, but I think that would definitely be detrimental to the event next time. Plus… throwing some early afternoon booze into the mix sure seems to make people more willing to pay a high sticker on some items haha1+
05/21/2019 at 8:41 pm #62225
- Location: Texas
Jealous – raffles are illegal in Texas!0
05/22/2019 at 10:43 am #62253
Hemstitch, Great idea! I’m one of the co-managers of our Friends of the Library Facebook group, and we recently had our annual Raffle/Auction fundraiser. I posted a new photo each day for a few days before the event, of item we’d be offering. I also sent it to about 6 local “yard sale” FB groups….got way more total views than we ever get, that was a real eye opener. We don’t have an Instagram account, but I may look into that. I’ve always thought that social media would be good for generating this kind of buzz, and it sure looks like it worked for you. Did you already have a pretty large following on Instagram, before you started posting?0
05/22/2019 at 11:04 am #62254
Oh yeah, I definitely wasn’t starting from nothing with instagram. I think before I announced the sale, I had around 1800 followers. Having the sale got me up past 2200 though!
Seeing how eager people were to buy items that were already framed has made me wonder if I should try framing some stuff and selling to local folks on instagram more. I think that might be my next random experiment. Gotta keep trying to figure out ways to offset ebay slowing down during the summer months!0
05/22/2019 at 11:48 am #62258
Do you think most stuff needs to be professionally framed to sell well? I have quite a few empty frames here that I have always thought I would use to frame various items, but I’ve been hesitant to frame stuff because it can add to the shipping cost on ebay, and because it wouldn’t really be a professionsal job. (Some ebay stuff I actually unframe to sell because it makes the packing easier and shipping more affordable.)0
05/22/2019 at 11:58 am #62259
I’ve sold posters more consistently than almost anything else on ebay, and not a single one of them has ever been framed. I think it’s less appealing to buyers because they’re not able to frame it how they want, and it also ups shipping costs significantly.
I’m thinking of trying it exclusively as an instagram/local sale experiment. I’m probably going to start with pieces that are somewhat local, but not actually Albany-proper (those will get saved for next year’s sale haha). Probably gonna do test #1 with a set of vintage maps of a local lake (about an hour away) that is a popular destination when folks want to get out of Albany for a day. I figure that’ll hopefully increase the interest from local buyers.0
05/22/2019 at 3:10 pm #62271
Thanks Hemstitch….that makes sense. Good point about trying some local interest stuff on Social Media. I know if I hunt around here I have local stuff that could be attractive on Social Media. Going to have to start digging…..you are an inspiration!0
05/22/2019 at 7:32 pm #62310
- Location: Merida, Mexico
That’s awesome! Sounds like it took a bit to get it all together but you killed it on sales!0
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.