Wow, what a month its been!
Its been great, I have learnt so much recently and I am actually starting to believe that I can make a living through e commerce.
In the last month I have been to a number of different auctions with mixed results. Auctions are not for the faint hearted! Not only have I been up against other dealers, I have also had to factor in the steep buyers premium when bidding on a lot to make sure I am not paying over the odds for an item. To avoid getting carried away I always set myself strict limits and stick to them.
Auction houses make their money by charging a commission on each sale, that means charging the buyer and the seller so they are quids in! To make matters worse you are also charged VAT on top of the commission. Typically the buyers premium is around 23% on the hammer price and VAT is charged on these premiums, but depending on the auction house the premiums can be even higher! What can I say, its tough out there guys and I never fully appreciated this until now.
That said, following some great purchases, and a little luck, I am please to say that I have managed to make some money on several items that I bought at Sworders Fine Art Auction House recently. Further, the fact that I managed to turn these sales round within the same week had me jumping for joy at my achievement – its these little wins that make me smile.
Having said that, I don’t see auction houses as a long term solution to me acquiring stock so I have been busy exploring other options.
About a month ago I paid my local paper a fee of £90 plus VAT to put an advert in the newspaper. Within a couple of weeks a number of enquiries came in and I made several great purchases.
A lovely lady called Karen not only sold me a wonderful set of Wedgwood tableware, she also contacted me the following day to tell me about another set that she had seen on Facebook Marketplace and wondered if I was interested in buying it. What a kind gesture. The following day I went on to purchase that very set (and dropped a bottle of wine off to Karen to say thanks the next day). Its all about word of mouth. Offering people a fair price and being honest about what you are willing/able to pay. Although at times this has proved to be a rather tough conversation to have with some customers. This is because people often believe that the value of their tableware has remained at the ‘as new’ price, this is simply not the case.
That same week I purchased another set of Wedgwood from a gentleman called Derek and he kindly agreed to pass on my details to his friends. Again a lovely man who gave me some great feedback on my advert and a result of this I actually went on to amend my advert in accordance with his suggestions. Derek, many thanks for your feedback if you are reading!
In the last month I have also taken some of my stock to Peterborough and Newark Antiques Fair and displayed some of my items on my uncles stand. This was a great experience. Although I did have some success selling my stock I actually had more success buying stock this time round. I made sure I arrived at the fairs early in the morning, and with my uncles guidance, I purchased around six boxes of stock. The key to buying the best stock is getting there early before all the other dealers and the public descend on the venue. I subsequently went on to get all my newly purchased items listed on eBay within a few days of hard work. Guys, this is the time consuming part of the job, never underestimate the time it takes to photograph and accurately describe an item. This is the very reason I need to buy my stock at the right price to start with. It can be difficult to explain this to some private sellers as they often believe they should price each of their items according to the list price on eBay. Understandably they want to achieve eBay list prices for their items but in reality don’t actually want to spend the time photographing and listing the items themselves. I can’t blame them for wanting the highest price for their goods, but I do need to be honest with people and at times manage their expectations.
In recent weeks I have also been scouring Facebook Marketplace for stock and have also joined a number of local buying and selling Facebook groups where I post my adverts. I just have to keep putting myself out there and hope that I can keep this momentum going.
If you have any fine china or porcelain tableware that you would like to sell, or buy please do get in touch:
If you would be prepared to share my contact details with your family and friends that would be very much appreciated.
Until the next time…
Yours Katie xxx