Monday, March 17, 2014

The Thing About Being An Antiques Dealer...

Two and a half years ago, I became an antiques dealer. I didn't really mean to, I guess, it just sort of happened. I was following lots of blogs, and realized I loved the ones with vintage style to them. The bloggers were talking about going to flea markets and collecting something called ironstone and using words like "chippy" and I sort of fell in love with all of it. I noticed most of the bloggers I loved had an etsy shop where they sold vintage finds. That was so cool, I thought. And I thought I could do it too. So I started going to antique malls and flea markets and estate sales - things I'd not really done before. I started learning the difference between ironstone and china, what items had the best patina, and how to spot an awesome score in a sea of total crap. It was a blast! I loved every minute!


After starting my etsy shop, I had a little garage sale. That's where I saw a girl named Abbe who I knew painted furniture and liked old stuff like me. I took a chance and sent her a facebook message to see if she ever needed some pretty old things like I sold. We talked. She told me she wanted to start a store. A real brick and mortar store. At that moment my dreams came true!


In March of 2012 The Cottage Collective opened its doors. It was amazing. People lined up outside just to buy the old stuff I loved so much. And for two years now, I've spent countless hours buying and selling, hunting and gathering, roadtripping, scavenging and pricing. It is so wonderful. And...it is so much work. The good kind, the fun kind, but still a lot of work.


I've also noticed something over these two years. Everyone else started to think vintage was pretty cool too. I used to find all sorts of great things at cheap prices, then resell them for a good price. But I've noticed it's becoming harder and harder to find "good vintage" at a price I can turn. I think everyone else is after it too!


So I've had to rethink some things. I still love vintage. I still love buying and selling. But maybe the little shop I loved so much wasn't the right place for me anymore. It's been such a magical experience the last two years, but it might be time for a change. So, this month will be my last month at The Cottage. I'm so sad to see that chapter close, but also so excited to see what the future holds. I'm not entirely sure what that will look like just yet, but I do have some dreams. I think I'd like to continue selling, but at my own pace and in my own way. That might include re-opening my etsy shop. And I'm also doing some dreaming about a once-a-year tag sale right in my very own backyard. We shall see. I'm not entirely sure what's next, but I know it will be a wonderful journey. Because the thing about being an antiques dealer is...it's kinda become a part of who I am. So no matter the form it takes, I'm just glad to be a part of this unique unique niche that is vintage and antiques!

I'll be sure to keep you posted on what's next! Thanks for following this little journey!
{live beautifully}
Courtney

17 comments:

  1. I understand perfectly - it's getting harder and harder to find vintage furniture to paint too - what used to go for 50.00 is now selling for 150 (often anyway - and far too often )
    Looks like the bug has hit everyone else too lol
    xxx

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  2. Hope you decide to re-open your Etsy ~ but whatever you choose to do, I'm sure it will be great!

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  3. Good for you for following your dream, but also realizing then it is time to make a change. Can't wait to see what the future has in store for you. Best wishes.

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  4. Well my goodness, here I go - better late than never! I just rented a very small space in an antique mall so I can sell some of the things I've painted and other things I've bought that are very vintage....guess it's "better late than never" for me! One question I have and I'm hoping some can answer this for me - for those with a booth in a store/mall, do you have your own liability insurance? I am curious as the mall I'm in has insurance for themselves but not for individual dealers....just curious.
    And Courtney, very happy for you - you are still following your dreams and we should all do that!

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  5. So interesting to read this post...I have had a case and booth for over 10 years.....and love gathering & displaying & selling my vintage finds. But with the popularity of flea markets & such, it is harder to keep this business going. I have had great success over the past 5 years opening my 100 year old barn for Barn Sales once or twice a year. Actually so much success that I have to handle logistics, a line waiting to get in, parking overflow, safe numbers in the hayloft at one time and extra help.....and we still had long long waits to check out....yes, this is all a good problem to have. I guess what I am getting at is that it is a changing market, it is work to keep up with it, and taking time to reflect on it all is a good thing!
    Kari

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