My life as a vintage clothing dealer
I don’t know why I haven’t shared more on this blog related to my experiences buying and selling vintage clothing. Well, I don’t think its too late to start now! I will start with my experiences buying for resale.
1. I advertise my desire to buy vintage clothing and people contact me trying to sell me their stuff. They always want me to make an offer. They desire that I come and look at what they have and then they will be disappointed to hear that their baby dress from 1960 is likely only worth $15 (and that is generous) and that I would only like to pay $5. I do not make many friends doing this direct buying. I go around insulting people in their 50s and 60s who are under the impression that there is a great thirst nationwide for vintage. There is no such thirst. I just like buying and selling vintage. They tell me about their adult children in the cities who see vintage being sold locally for great amounts. I will urge them to take their vintage to the cities and see if they can’t get in on that vintage fever. Ha! There is often sentimental value in the way also. “This was my mothers’ dress, I can remember her wearing it”. “I’d like to give you $8 for it”.
2. But buying locally and directly from the source is not all bad! I have made a great connection with a local lady who is a treasure trove. You wouldn’t know it when you drive up to her modest home, but within rests decades of vintage. I am not saying this is all good vintage. 🙂 Or vintage in such condition that I can profit. But her family has saved up these items for close to 100 years, and now I am the benefactor of their actions. They keep me motivated and hopeful, no matter how dismal other buying adventures feel.
3. The worst possible scenario is coming into an estate or garage sale and hearing the family tell me the clothes are already gone. They hauled them off and donated them, specifically to the thrift store that never sells their vintage but rents it out as costume. Or they simply trashed the clothing, thinking noone would want it.
4. Thrift stores are no longer good sources for vintage. There, I said it. The national chains are pricing way too high, in fact the local places are getting to be overpriced as well. If you can find a local thrift selling for reasonable prices, be very discreet and don’t mention why you are buying or they might starting raising their prices on the things you like. In general thrift store shopping is unpleasant and there isn’t much good vintage in thrift stores. They may advertise a sale on certain items and then charge you full price. Locally, garage sales are also now pretty much wasted time. Estate sales are hit or miss. I do a lot of my buying online. I can count on my hands the number of bad experiences I have had online over the years. There is buyer protection for these experiences – as long as you act quickly and have an actual issue you should be fine.
That scratches the surface with my experiences as a vintage dealer buying for resale.