Selling Vintage

For several years before I retired, I had a plan.  I was going to sell vintage clothing online to make a few extra bucks and to productively spend my time.  And for a while, around two years, that’s exactly what I did.  The problem was that I really did not enjoy selling.  What I wanted to do was collect and write about fashion and textile history.

So I gave up the etsy store and began spending my time researching and writing, care taking and mending.  And I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

A while back I mentioned that one of the things I love about Instagram is that almost everything posted there is for sale. The problem is that I post photos of my vintage collection and finds there, and it’s quite often that someone asks if the item is for sale.  I somehow feel like I should not be teasing people showing off some of the great things I’ve found over the past twenty-five or so years of collecting.

Even here on The Vintage Traveler, I get emails all the time asking if an item I posted about is for sale.  As you have probably guessed, my answer is almost always “No,” but there are times that I have agreed to sell an item to a reader.  I have one rule that determines whether or not the item changes hands – the prospective buyer has to want the item more than I do.

I know what it is like to really want something for my collection.  I’ve written plenty of those almost begging emails myself, so I pretty much know how to judge item desire in others.

If you see something here or on Instagram that you feel you can’t live without, it never hurts to ask.  But you have to convince me that you need it more than I do, and that you will take good care of it.  And be prepared to hear, “No.”

See that cute little cat skirt?  I pulled it out of the Goodwill bins and posted a photo on Instagram.  The skirt was felt with the kittens sort of embossed onto it, and contrary to what my photo might lead you to believe, was in pretty rough shape.  The kittens were fading and peeling, and there were holes in the felt.  The skirt was for a little girl.  Still, I put it in my shopping cart to make a decision about it later.

Finally, I decided that I really had no need for it so I put it back in a bin.  Very quickly, one of the three shoppers that had been stalking me, hoping I’d discard it swooped in to get it.  That was good because I hated the thought of those kittens in a bale of rags.

By the time I got home and checked my messages, two people had already asked about the skirt.  I felt really bad about having to tell them that I didn’t even buy it!  I think my days of leaving something this great in the Goodwill are over, especially if it has a kitten on it.

I’m in the process of going through my vintage sewing patterns and books, and I’ve decided that I really do need to sell some.  So starting in November I’ll reopen the old Fuzzylizzie Vintage etsy shop for a few months to offer them.  There will probably be some fabric as well.  I’ll be sure to announce the opening when it happens.

And seriously, if you sell vintage, you need to be on Instagram.  Just don’t make it entirely about what you are selling.

8 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Shopping, Viewpoint

8 responses to “Selling Vintage

  1. Lizzie…I know exactly how you feel. And, I bet the person who did purchase the cute little kitty skirt really appreciated your putting the skirt back in the bin. You are very kind.

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  2. I agree that InstaGram and blogs are where the vintage/sewing things are happening.
    Now, Lizzie, what ‘cha got in that pattern box?!?

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  3. I’m glad the kitty skirt didn’t get left in the bin!

    I go through waves of people emailing me asking me to sell some of my sewing furniture or dress forms. I also get donation requests (which I usually ignore because they sound like scams). Why people want to buy large furniture they see online that obviously isn’t for sale is a bit of a mystery to me. I sort of understand the asking about clothing, but I don’t think I could ever ask if it didn’t look like it was being offered.

    I can’t wait to see what you put up for sale from your fabric and pattern collection!

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  4. I know that I am going to be tempted……

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  5. Lizzie, we can’t wait! You truly have the *best* fabric.

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  6. Ooo, good! You always have the best posts on novelty prints (and my favorite, Middle East themed ones!), so I can’t wait to see what you offer!

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  7. Carrie

    “I have one rule that determines whether or not the item changes hands – the prospective buyer has to want the item more than I do.” That’s a great seller’s criterion! You can part with things reasonably certain they’re going to be treated with loving care.

    I look forward to shopping at Fuzzylizzie Vintage again, if only for a short time. And I guess I’d better get over my social media phobia and check out Instagram! 🙂

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  8. I know exactly how you feel! I did a ton of work for another vintage clothing seller, amassed tons of clothes, and then realized that I dislike sales and selling vintage clothes. I prefer reading, scanning old papers and magazines, and styling photography shoots… but not really selling.

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