How to Start a Home-Based Antiques Business (Home-Based Business Series)

Overview


Have you ever dreamed of starting an antiques business in your home? Have you been hesitant to put your plans into action? How to Start a Home-Based Antiques Business contains all the necessary tools and strategies you need to successfully launch and grow your own business.
In this comprehensive guide, two antiques experts provide down-to-earth advice on every aspect of setting up and running a thriving home-based antiques business, from estimating start-up costs and finding ...
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Overview


Have you ever dreamed of starting an antiques business in your home? Have you been hesitant to put your plans into action? How to Start a Home-Based Antiques Business contains all the necessary tools and strategies you need to successfully launch and grow your own business.
In this comprehensive guide, two antiques experts provide down-to-earth advice on every aspect of setting up and running a thriving home-based antiques business, from estimating start-up costs and finding customers to writing ads and taking your business online. Use their handy worksheets, checklists, and forms as practical steps toward achieving your goals.
Whatever your plans, large or small, this guide can help you experience the satisfaction of establishing and building your own home-based antiques business.

Learn all about:
Doing Preliminary Research about the Antiques Business
Finding Antiques to Sell
Setting Pricing Policies and Procedures
Displaying Antiques
Creating a Marketing Plan
Holding Sales and Running Special Promotions
Buying and Selling Antiques Online
Making Money with Antiques in Other Ways

Use these special features and workbook pages:
Personal-Evaluation Checklist
Sample Business Plan
Cost Worksheets
Cash Flow Projection
Stock Records

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I highly recommend reading the How to [Start] a Home-Based Business series. Each book in the series acts as your personal guide to starting and running a home-based business."
-Steve Rubel, Santa Barbara News Press
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762734450
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Series: Home-Based Business Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author


Jacquelyn Peake was the popular author of a dozen how-to books, including How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit, also by The Globe Pequot Press.

Bob Brooke is a prolific travel and business writer, whose articles have appeared in many national and international publications, including Delta Sky, Business Traveller(UK), British Heritage, and AntiqueWeek. He is also the author of six books. He has received Mexico's prestigious La Pluma de Plata Award and the Real Award from Westin Hotels for his travel writing.

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Read an Excerpt

How to Start a Home-Based Antiques Business, 4th


By Jacquelyn Peake

Globe Pequot Press

Copyright ©2005 Jacquelyn Peake
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0762734450


Chapter One


SO YOU
WANT TO OWN AN
ANTIQUES SHOP


Little did I know when I clambered up the hill to that yard sale in Evergreen, Colorado, twenty years ago that someday I'd actually be buying and selling antiques as a business. At the time I owned a small (very small!) public relations firm and was quite happy doing my thing in that little mountain town.

The fates have a way of gently pushing us along unplanned pathways, though. As I riffled through the plastic kitchenware, florist-shop vases, and paperback books at the sale, I saw what appeared to be a cabinet of some kind underneath a pile of towels and sheets. The fates gave me a push, and I moved the linens aside. Underneath I found an old-fashioned commode, its door hanging by one hinge, patches of wood showing through multiple layers of worn paint. I looked a bit closer, and the fates opened my eyes. "Hmm, I thought, hmm. Badly neglected, yes, but the lines are good."

Ten minutes later the commode was in the back of my Bronco and I was headed home with the poor wobbly thing. After I spent a few evenings of pleasant work in my basement sanding, gluing, and oiling that little commode, it once more gleamed with genuineEastlake charm. I was so proud of myself!

I didn't realize it at the time, but that one purchase started me on the road to a whole new hobby and eventually a business. I began actively searching for neglected antiques to refinish, and within months my home was acquiring a new elegance. A fern stand here, a ladder-back chair there, and all were pieces I refinished myself. Then one day a friend asked to buy a small table she saw in my living room. I'm sure the fates were laughing with glee at that point, because a light went on in my brain and I suddenly saw that there was actually money to be made with antiques. I've been doing it ever since.

You, too, may have come to this realization, perhaps by some other route. Some lucky people inherit a houseful of Grandma's treasures and decide to sell off the ones they can't use. Others have a talent for ferreting out salable antiques at auctions, flea markets, and garage sales. A few simply look around them and see that there's a steady market for quality antiques and that the profit potential is as high or higher than in almost any other type of business. Inevitably, these people (and you may be one of them or you wouldn't be reading this book) decide to try their hands at buying and selling antiques as a business.

Almost all dealers start out selling antiques part-time. Some of them use this as a sideline business to supplement their regular jobs. Others see it as a profitable hobby, a way to have the fun of working with antiques and make a little money on the side. A few dealers started out buying and selling antiques simply because their own collections were about to run them out of the house. That's exactly the way one of my friends got into the business. His tiny home could have been a museum of fine Oriental pottery. Bowls, urns, and plates covered every horizontal surface from the coffee table to the refrigerator. The walls bristled with shelves holding even more pottery. So, he started selling off the less desirable pieces. Of course, that just gave him money to buy more pottery. Since he had the knack of finding fine pottery everywhere he went, he never really solved the problem of an overcrowded house, but he did make quite a lot of money.

What nearly always happens with these part-time dealers is that after a year or more, they begin to feel confident about their ability to spot good buys that they know will sell. They learn the types of antiques that people in their areas are looking for, and they learn how to buy at prices that will practically guarantee money in their pockets.

Finally, they become so addicted (and don't let anyone ever tell you differently—dealing in antiques is an incurable addiction) that they begin toying with the idea of fulfilling the American Dream—owning their own business. In this case, it would be an antiques shop. For whatever reason, though, many of them don't want to open a shop in a commercial building. That's when they start looking into the possibility of owning a home-based antiques shop.

You wouldn't be reading this book if you didn't have such a thought in the back of your mind. You may have a fairly decent job now but are looking for one by which you can make a living without having to put up with a demanding boss. You may be retired (or close to it) and casting about for a profession in which you can supplement your retirement income and keep active in the community. You may be a homemaker who needs to add to the family income but who doesn't want to be away from home for most of the day. All of these are legitimate reasons for considering a home-based antiques shop. Should you decide to go ahead with such a shop, you'll be one of a growing number of men and women who are discovering the advantages of working from their homes.

The Census Bureau estimates that more than 300,000 women operate businesses out of their homes today. The list of services these entrepreneurs offer is almost endless, but a growing number of the businesses are home-based antiques shops.

Before you call the painter in to make a sign for your front yard, though, you need to sit yourself down and do some honest soul-searching. The decision to run an antiques shop from your home is not one you make some morning before you've had your coffee. Not everyone is cut out for this type of self-employment, in spite of how enticing it may sound.

Ideally, you'll be a high-energy person who takes personal responsibility for your own actions. You'll enjoy competition and have a fine sense of your own worth. You like people and people like you. You enjoy working and expect to be rewarded well for your efforts.

Regarding that last sentence: When I mentioned to one of my friends, also a dealer, that I was writing this book, she warned, "Don't romanticize this business! Tell them it's hard work." Yes, managing an antiques shop can be hard work, but it can also be highly satisfying. Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of the business.


DISADVANTAGES OF OWNING
A HOME-BASED ANTIQUES SHOP


Like most of us, you've probably worked at a regular job sometime in your life. In spite of having to put up with all its attendant problems, you did have a regular paycheck, maybe health benefits, paid vacations, and probably some job security.

You have none of that when you're self-employed as the owner of a home-based antiques shop. Here are some disadvantages:

* Your only paycheck is the profit from your sales, and that will fluctuate with the seasons—boom and bust. You'll probably have months when sales are very high (spring until the winter holidays, as a rule) and others (typically, January and February) when you'll twiddle your thumbs half the time, wondering if anyone will ever come in the door again.
* You'll have to pay for your own health insurance, and, because of your status as a self-employed person, your social security contributions to the government will be doubled.
* If you want to take a vacation, you'll have to either close the shop or hire someone to run it for you in your absence.
* You can also forget the forty-hour workweek. Even if you keep your shop open only eight hours a day five days a week, you'll spend many additional hours acquiring stock and doing book work.
* Since you'll be working out of your home, many people won't think you're really working. Friends will drop by, expecting you to sit and share a cup of tea with them. Some of them may call you on your business phone just to chat.
* Customers won't respect your posted hours, either. One owner of an in-home antiques shop told me she's had people banging on her shop door at 10:00 P.M. because they knew she was at home upstairs!
* Unless you have another source of income (or your spouse is bringing home a paycheck), opening a shop is highly risky for anyone with dependents. It may be many months before you show a profit.
* Since you'll be working at home, you'll never be able to get away from work (a genuine problem for workaholics). Unless you have more willpower than most people, you'll manage to wander back into the shop area almost every night after closing, every Sunday, even on holidays, to take care of some little detail.
* Unless you hire an assistant, you'll be working alone, and the sense of isolation can become genuinely distressing. You won't have the companionship of fellow workers or the fun of office parties.
* If you decide, for whatever reason, to close your business, you may lose all your investment and have to remove any remodeling you did to your home.


I hope I haven't completely discouraged you, because there are many advantages.


ADVANTAGES OF OWNING
A HOME-BASED ANTIQUES SHOP


Perhaps you, like many of us, became fed up working within the corporate bureaucracy or, even worse, the government. You realized that no matter how hard you worked, you'd always be a small frog in a big pond. Your strings would always be pulled by someone who had more clout than you could ever hope to have. Or maybe you're a person who wants to be in the business world, perhaps for the first time, but who likes a slower lifestyle than the one offered by the average job. You're looking for something just a little more—dare I use the word genteel? Or maybe you're one of those people who's always dreamed of owning your own antiques shop, and you've decided now's the time to do it. You're willing to take a few risks to make it happen.

Do I hear you shouting, "That's me! That's me!"? If so, then you're a perfect candidate for self-employment as the owner of a home-based antiques shop. Consider these advantages:

* The sense of pride and accomplishment you'll feel when you see that sign go up outside with your shop's name on it is hard to describe. "This is mine! I created it! I made it happen!" comes close.
* As the owner of your own shop, you'll be totally in control of your business. If you want to open your doors earlier and stay open later than your competition, you can do so. Open on Monday? Close on Monday? It's up to you. Decorate your windows with cheery checked curtains or elegant lace panels? Whatever suits you best. You'll have the freedom to make all the decisions yourself about how the business is run.
* Your commuting time and expenses will drop to zero, since you won't have to go any farther than from the back of the house to the front. If your former workplace was thirty minutes from your home, you'll save a full five hours a week in commuting time, and you won't spend many dollars each week for gasoline or transit fares.
* You'll probably be able to dress in a more casual style than allowed in most offices, thereby saving hundreds of dollars every year on clothing.
* As the owner of a business, you'll garner prestige among other businesspeople in your community, and your friends will admire your spunk. You'll have the opportunity to join the Chamber of Commerce and service clubs. Your network of friends will double, triple, or even quadruple, within months of opening your shop.
* The tax advantages of operating a home-based shop are numerous. You'll make one mortgage or rent payment, pay one utility bill, and you can take a large portion of those bills off your income tax as legitimate business deductions. (Your CPA will explain just what will and what won't pass muster with the IRS.)
* Since you'll be running the shop from your home, your operating expenses will be less than those of a dealer who rents commercial space, yet your markup ratio can be the same as that dealer's, meaning that you'll make more profit per sale than he or she will. If you wish, you can sell your antiques at prices lower than those of the "downtown" dealers, thereby developing a reputation among regular customers for offering quality at low prices. Yet you'll still make an excellent profit.
* Although these profits may be slim at first (until you've recouped your start-up costs), you have the potential for an excellent income. Everything depends on your initiative and how hard you're willing to work.
* If you have children still at home, you'll be able to oversee their activities. Your children will never come home to an empty house, for you'll always be there when the school bus pulls up in midafternoon. No longer will you have to worry about finding supervision for them during school holidays.
* Older children can learn the basics of business by helping you with simple chores, such as dusting shelves and rearranging stock, writing price tags, filing customer "want" information, answering the phone, and a dozen other tasks.


DO SOME PRELIMINARY RESEARCH


Now let's assume that, after reading the preceding pages, you're still gung ho to open your own antiques shop. Your first step will be to research the demographics of your town and then take an informal survey of the existing antiques shops to determine whether they're successful or not.

Pay a visit to your local Chamber of Commerce. Someone there will have a bulging file that can give you virtually all the demographic data you need. You want to check on the following:

* What is the median income level of the town? People buy antiques for their homes with discretionary income, after they've paid their rent and bought their groceries;. These customers must have some extra cash to spend on luxuries. It's important, therefore, that there be a solid base of people in town with comfortable incomes.
* What is the growth potential of the area? Are companies moving to town, bringing with them jobs and additional spendable cash? Can young people find employment? Since opening a shop is a long-term proposition, it's important that the prognosis for a town's economic future be one of health and growth.
* What is the turnover rate of shops in town? Do most businesspeople stay in business for many years, or is there a constant opening and closing of different enterprises?
* What is the traffic count in front of your home and on nearby arteries? A large part of your business will come from people who see your home/shop as they commute to work or drive by on their way to somewhere else. If your Chamber of Commerce doesn't have these figures, go to the Highway Department in your city or county.


Once you're satisfied that your town has a bright future for business in general, you need to check out the future for the antiques business itself. Almost every town of any size in this country has at least one antiques shop, whether in commercial space or in a home. It's a given in this business that any well-run antiques shop will succeed if others in the general area are successful, too. Most people don't patronize only one antiques shop. If they're shopping for a specific antique (or just browsing), they'll cruise through every shop in town.

If there are no existing antiques shops, you should ask yourself, "Why not?" Maybe the population base is too small to support a shop, or perhaps most people are more interested in sports and recreation than collecting or investing in antiques.

With any kind of luck at all, though, you live in a town where many of the residents genuinely enjoy antiques. One way you can determine the success of existing shops (which would imply success in your shop) is simply to stand on the sidewalk in front of a few of them and check the number of customers going in and out. Watch especially to see how many customers come out with bags in their hands. This is pretty good evidence that they bought something.

You can also stroll inside an antiques shop on an average weekend day and watch the action on the selling floor. How many sales does the owner make in an hour? Try to figure out how much customers spent in that hour. A little quick calculation can then tell you how much the owner is taking in per day.

Most owners of antiques shops are friendly people who don't mind at all helping others, so don't hesitate to simply ask a shop owner if he or she is making a reasonable profit. If the shop has been there, under the same owner, for at least a year, you can be sure that person is making money. No one continues pouring funds into a losing business for more than a year.

Okay so far? Now go a bit further and ask yourself two important questions: (1) Is my home suitable for a home-based shop? and (2) Am I cut out to manage one? To help you answer these questions, take a few minutes to complete the following self-surveys. After each question you'll find space to check off an answer. (I know you were taught in school never to write in a book, but this is different. Trust me—you should write in this book.) Before each question I've included some information that explains the reason for the question. Each question, incidentally, relates to subjects that are covered in later chapters of this book.

Is Your Home Suitable for a Home-Based Antiques Shop?

Real estate salespeople have a formula they use to help determine the selling value of a piece of property. It's location, location, location. Location is vitally important to the success of a home-based antiques shop, too.

Look at your home objectively, both from a customer's point of view and as a commercial establishment, and complete the following site evaluation. A quick glance down the columns will tell you whether you should go ahead with your plans to use your home for your shop.


1. Since customers will be coming to your home instead of to a commercial building, it should be easily accessible to them. You don't have to be right in the center of town, certainly, but you should have good access by automobile. The most successful businesses are those located on or near major traffic arteries. Customers will drive a few blocks out of their way to reach a shop, but most will not travel much farther than that.


Question: Is your home located in a neighborhood where customers can find you easily? Is it situated near a major artery where there is reasonable traffic flow to create drive-by interest in the shop?


Yes ________ No ________


2. Most of your customers will drive to your home, but parking is forbidden or highly restricted in some neighborhoods.


Question: Will your customers be able to park at the curb in front of your home/shop or within a few blocks?


Yes ________ No ________


3. For many weeks in winter, your shop will be open after dark. Some people are hesitant to park their cars on a street that is not well lighted.


Question: Does your street have adequate overhead lighting that illuminates it and the entrance to your shop on late afternoons in winter?


Yes ________ No ________


4. There's nothing wrong with starting out in a small front room. But as your business grows, you will need more display space.


Question: Is the layout of your home such that you can either remodel it to include more display space in the future or add another wing or room?


Yes ________ No ________


5. Unless the owner of a home-based business lives alone, he or she must consider the needs and feelings of other family members. In most cases the space used for a home-based antiques shop usurps a living room, dining room, or some other area that was once used by the family. Understandably, they may feel a little put out if that room or rooms suddenly become filled with antiques and customers and the family is relegated to the back of the house.


No one should even consider turning part of a home into a shop if it's going to cause real dissension in the family. It's just not worth it.


Question: Does your home have a family room or some other space where everyone can gather for games, television, conversation, and entertaining friends?


Yes ________ No ________


Are You the Right Person for This Venture?

Many of us have a blind spot or two regarding our own faults and qualities, so you might photocopy these questions and ask a close friend or your spouse to evaluate you based on his or her own judgment of your entrepreneurial abilities.


1. A home-based antiques shop is still an antiques shop, not a hobby. It's little different from one in commercial space as far as its day-to-day operation is concerned. Barring genuine emergencies, the doors must be open regular hours on specific days. In most cases, this means that you, as the owner/manager, must be there to greet customers during those hours and on those days. Certainly, you can hire part-time help (more about that later), but the main burden of running the shop will be on you.


I once lived near a home-based antiques shop whose owner had hung a rather crudely painted sign out front. It informed potential customers OPEN WHENEVER I'M HOME. CALL FIRST—555-3485. Guess how many customers took the time to call first and set an appointment to browse through her antiques? Not many.
So even though maintaining your shop in your home can be far more pleasant than working eight to five for someone else, it's still a full-time job.


Question: Are you looking upon managing a home-based antiques shop as a full-time job (instead of a profitable hobby)?


Yes ________ No ________


2. Loving antiques isn't enough to ensure a profit in your shop; you must be a good businessperson, too. This means understanding how to keep good records, what the relationship of profit to expense is, ways to control inventory, how much to allocate to advertising, how to establish good public relations in the community, and much more.


Question: Have you ever worked in a business in which you were responsible for or had exposure to the behind-the-scenes side to retail selling?


Yes ________ No ________


If the answer to the above question is no, would you be willing to get practical experience or training before you open your shop?


Yes ________ No ________


3. Most financial advisers suggest that anyone planning a home-based business have enough cash on hand or readily available to pay for the necessary remodeling and to buy the initial stock without having to obtain a bank loan. The reason is simple: It often takes months for a new business to begin showing a profit, yet lenders expect loan payments to come in on time every month, whether or not the shop is making money.


Question: Do you have enough cash on hand or readily available to take care of the inevitable remodeling and opening expenses of your antiques shop?


Yes ________ No ________


4. Most people consider self-employment because they want to be free of the corporate bureaucracy, want to have the opportunity to make as much money as their intelligence allows, and want to make their own decisions. They are independent thinkers. These people often come up with creative ideas, solutions to problems. They're self-starters who can get out of bed in the morning and begin work even though there's no time clock to punch or no supervisor to please. They stick with a project until it's finished. They're reasonably well organized and get a sense of accomplishment from a job well done. These people have usually served as officers and/or on committees at their churches or synagogues, in clubs, or at their children's schools.


Question: Do you consider yourself a self-starter, creative, and independent?


Yes ________ No ________

5. Only someone who genuinely loves antiques will be able to sell them with enthusiasm. That means all antiques, too, even those whose style may not be exactly your cup of tea. You may not be overly fond of Mission Oak, for example, yet Mission Oak is very popular right now and bringing high prices.
I have a friend who was thinking of getting into this business. She'd recently moved from an eastern city and brought with her many top-quality antiques of the Chippendale and Queen Anne periods, really lovely pieces of the furniture styles she prefers. Looking ahead to opening a shop, she scouted all the antiques shops and malls in our end of the state, checking out the stock, prices, and so forth. Because we live in an area of small towns where most people want turn-of-the-century oak and primitives, that was what she saw in the shops—mostly turn-of-the-century oak and primitives. She told me, "I could never sell that type of thing. I could only sell what I consider good antiques." I advised her to forget about going into the antiques business here. She'd be bound to fail because she wouldn't stock the things people here want to buy.


Question: Do you love and appreciate antiques enough to be able to sell any and all of them with enthusiasm?


Yes ________ No ________


6. As with many other aspects of life—skirt lengths, architecture, music, even pets—trends in antiques change from time to time. Savvy dealers keep up with these trends.
Remember when everyone was collecting insulators? Dealers scoured the countryside, buying all they could find for their shops. Prices went through the roof, and these dealers sold the insulators for top dollar, but that trend passed and others took its place.
At the time I'm writing this book high-quality, signed aluminumware is right on the edge of becoming a legitimate collectible, if not a genuine antique. The various reference books are mentioning it as the next fad in late-twentieth-century collectibles. As a result, dealers and collectors in my area who are looking ahead toward profit are searching for aluminum trays, bowls, and novelty items of the thirties and forties, things they would have ignored a year ago. Maybe another trend will surface in a couple of years. Who knows? If it does, savvy dealers will begin stocking it.
To be successful as a dealer in antiques, you must keep up with such trends, on both a national and a local level. If there appears to be a surge in interest in some period or item, then you know to begin stocking it. You can keep up with trends by reading several of the excellent trade journals and books published for dealers in antiques. Some newspapers print syndicated columns devoted to antiques. A few national magazines (Forbes comes to mind) have regular departments for antiques and collectibles. By reading these publications regularly, you can keep up with what people are buying and current selling prices. This information is available to you no matter where you live.
Keep up with what the decorating and home service magazines are featuring, too. Over and over, new homeowners will come into your shop carrying the current issue of Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, or some other magazine. They'll point to an illustration of a piece of furniture or decorative item and ask, "Do you have one of these?" If you have it, you've made an immediate sale.
You can tell when a trend is fading by reading the "For Sale" and auction ads in the major antiques trade papers. If many dealers and private collectors start selling off their stock in a certain category, you can be pretty sure the trend has peaked and prices will fall substantially.


Question: Will you be willing to devote several hours a week to studying antiques, their trends, and current prices?


Yes ________ No ________


7. Of course, you'll have the companionship of your customers. You will become good friends with many of them, and their visits will be bright spots in your workday. Inevitably, however, you'll spend many hours alone in your shop. Can you handle this without becoming depressed?


Question: Can you work alone without being lonely?


Yes ________ No ________


8. Good health and energy are prime attributes of the successful entrepreneur. Some people seem to be blessed with this health and energy; others have to work at it. Regardless, it's impossible to run a business successfully if you're listless and tired all the time.
You don't have to follow the regimen of an Olympic athlete to maintain good health. All it usually takes is a sensible lifestyle. Most doctors and physical therapists today recommend no smoking, moderate or no alcohol consumption, normal weight, a low-fat, high-fiber diet, and a half-hour or so every day of some kind of exercise. (An early-morning brisk walk or late-afternoon workout at the YMCA is my own tonic for the day. It does wonders for my energy level.)


Question: Will you make an effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you'll have the energy necessary to run your business?


Yes ________ No ________


Still with me? I realize these lists can create a bit of soul-searching, and there really are no right or wrong answers to any of the questions. But your overall answers will show whether owning a home-based shop is practical. Go back and look at your check marks. One or two no's aren't critical, so if you can answer yes to most of the questions, then you, too, should be able to open an antiques shop in your home with confidence.

Like any other business, the antiques business thrives when the economy is good. Despite a few recessions in the past couple of decades, the general profile of the antiques business is up. Millions of people are buying antiques today, for pleasure and for investment. Knowledgeable people, in fact, have always invested in quality antiques for their homes. Go into the homes of affluent families today and you'll find at least a few antiques. These people realize that antiques, like real estate and good art, are excellent investments.

The beauty of this business and for you as the owner of a home-based shop, however, is that people don't have to be wealthy to buy antiques and collectibles for their homes. Thousands of shop owners across the country cater to middle-income Americans. Their shops are filled with lovely furniture, prints, tableware, stained glass, and an infinite variety of memorabilia, all at affordable prices.


GET EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU
HANG OUT YOUR SHINGLE


Simply loving antiques or dealing in them part-time is fun, but making the transition to full-time dealing requires some preparation.

Almost every profession requires some kind of education or training. The antiques business is no different. You certainly don't need a degree from Harvard in Antiques Management (if such an oddball thing even exists). You do need to know the basics of retail merchandising and record keeping, though.

What's the best way to learn the ropes? Reading this book is a good start: It contains just about everything you need to know that can be put in a book. Unless you have some hands-on experience in selling antiques on a day-to-day basis, though, you might be letting yourself in for some problems.

We'll assume that you really do love antiques but have never owned a shop of your own with the full responsibility of management. You can get that training in several ways:

* Get a job in a good local antiques shop, then use your eyes and ears to absorb every bit of knowledge you can from the owner or manager. This way, you'll see how she manages inventory, works with customers, handles difficult situations, and so forth.
* Work in an antiques mall. A large antiques mall near my town hires several women (all of whom are also dealers in the mall) to assist in selling and bookkeeping, to help customers find specific items, to watch for shoplifters, and so forth. Most of these women work only three or four days a week, but they're getting top-notch training in the antiques business. A couple of them plan to open their own shops one day. With any kind of luck at all, they'll be successful.
* Rent space in an antiques mall. You wouldn't have the responsibility of managing the entire mall, but you would learn how to manage your own booth and stock. You'd learn the best ways to display your antiques, how to shift them around to create interest, how to decorate, and how to price them realistically. You'd also learn about profit margins and what people in your area will buy. At the same time, you'd be building up inventory that you can move to your own shop when you open it.
* Join an antiques co-op. If an antiques co-op is already in operation near your home, you could approach the owners and ask about joining it. In a co-op several dealers actually own the business jointly and usually have equal floor space in the shop. They share the responsibility of keeping the shop open, cleaning it, and so forth. They also share all expenses: rent, utilities, advertising, and so forth. This is about the only way you can actually own an antiques shop without having the entire responsibility of management.


BUSINESS SCHOOL CAN HELP, TOO


Sitting in a classroom again may not be your idea of fun and games, but you might consider taking some training in basic business management at a local community college or business school. Many colleges and universities have business courses within their adult education divisions, too. You don't have to sign up for a degree: Just participate in one or two short courses or workshops.

Continues...


Excerpted from How to Start a Home-Based Antiques Business, 4th by Jacquelyn Peake Copyright ©2005 by Jacquelyn Peake. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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