Busy days & Happy First Birthday, Apron Strings Vintage!

9 Jun

June marks the anniversary of two awesome things–my marriage to the Mister and the start of Apron Strings Vintage. Both are working out just swell and to celebrate, we went to the beach.

Pale is the new tan.

Pale is the new tan.

And my kitchen went from looking like this…

Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

To looking more like this…

So cute.

So cute.

Except not really. It really looks more like this…

I guess it is progress.

I guess it is progress.

We are moving in 2 weeks so I really hope they get cracking on this and several other “under construction” areas in the house.

And…I got a new job. I’m working as a personal assistant for the owner of one of the big estate sale companies in town. I will let you guess which one. Several people have asked me if this means that I will be abandoning Apron Strings Vintage, but no, this is not the case. The job actually gives me access to lots of good estate sale stuff and hopefully my booth will be more awesome than ever. I have learned a lot in my first year in the vintage resale business and Imma share some of it with you, loyal readers. I know! I’m a giver.

Vintage Resale: Lessons Learned
1. In immortal words of Ricky Bobby, if you ain’t first, you’re last. If you want the good stuff at estate sales, get there at least an hour early on the first day. Earlier if you really, really want whatever it is. Bring coffee, a snack and a bag or box to mark your place in line.

2. There’s always another sale. There are three big companies in Nashville running around 3 sales/week, not to mention the smaller operations and individuals who put on the occasional sale. If you don’t get the thing you had your heart set on, don’t get frustrated. There will always be another one.

3. Know the method of payment that the estate sale company uses before you go. Some companies run cash-only sales, some take checks, some take credit/debit cards. There’s a lot of variation, but you don’t want to end up at a cash-only sale with no cash, so be sure to check before you go.

4. Ask for a deeper discount than you think you can get. (Or in my case, get the Mister to do it for you.) It won’t always work out, but sometimes it will.

5. Bundle items together to ask for a deeper discount. This technique is especially good at the flea market, where many dealers have a low price margin and need to sell a certain volume to make money.

6. Check linens carefully for stains. Check glassware carefully for chips, cracks and breaks. If you can’t repair or clean it, don’t buy it. The Mister and I made this mistake a lot this year–I thought I would be a stain removal wizard (HAHAHAHA…no.) and the Mister…well, that guy has come a long way.

7. Price your display pieces high or have a replacement ready to go. This was advice that another dealer gave me when I was first setting up. Boy, was she right. If you sell your display furniture, you run the risk of having a dozen planters sitting on the floor of your booth until you can get there with a new display piece and re-merchandise everything. This has been happening to me NON-STOP since I moved to my new booth and it is maddening. I have got to price display pieces higher or stock more.

8. Auctions are fun, but they are very time-consuming and they aren’t often worth it. Also, it’s very easy to get caught up in the bidding and overpay.

9. People like weird stuff. Pyrex and Jadite sit for months but I can’t sell taxidermy or gnomes fast enough. Everything that I have bought that the Mister thought was super-weird and wondered who would buy it has sold like hotcakes.

Everyone loves taxidermy!

Everyone loves taxidermy!

I don’t actually have this javalina for sale, but we enjoy visiting him at Gas Lamp Too.

10. Be careful where you park your car at estate sales. Neighborhoods are not set up for the volume of cars that an estate sale can bring out. Be sure that other cars can’t block you in, and be cautious about parking on the edges of people’s yards (I’ve seen people get towed for that in Belle Meade.)

11. Appropriate footwear is important. When you are shopping estate sales, you are going up and down staircases that are often rickety or narrow and squeezing past other shoppers. You are foraging through basements that are chock-full of spiders. Don’t wear flip-flops. Your toes aren’t ready to take on estate sale grime/danger. Same goes with the flea market–the flea market is often muddy or dusty and it’s huge. Yet I am always shocked and the sheer volume of folks wearing high heels OR their bedroom slippers.

12. Learn how to spot fakes, especially at the flea market. Jadite is a tricky thing to buy, but you generally can tell if it is old or new. Same with Roseville. If it’s a collectable and it has value, there are probably knock-offs around. Be careful.

13. You can’t take it with you. Everything you now own will one day be owned by someone else. Don’t get too caught up in collections or decorating; whatever you have is just yours for a little while. Enjoy it, sure, but remember that it is all temporary.

14. If you pay retail for furniture, home décor, sporting goods, appliances, kitchenware, yard/garden accessories or children’s toys and hope that they will hold or increase in value? This is very unlikely to happen. Especially with furniture. New furniture drops in value once it leaves the show room just like a new car drops the minute you drive it off the lot. If you hope to resell your furniture, plan to recoup significantly less than what you paid, especially if you are consigning it. If you are buying furniture, BUY USED. If you are selling, try to sell it yourself; you will keep more money in your pocket. People who sell furniture through a moving or estate sale are often shocked and heartbroken to see how little their expensive furniture or mint-in-box Barbie collection actually sells for, compared to the retail price they paid. But that’s the market.

I’m going to be busy for the next several weeks but hope to pop in soon with pictures of my new Jadite green kitchen appliances once they are installed! xoxo, LaurenT


3 Responses to “Busy days & Happy First Birthday, Apron Strings Vintage!”

  1. rae June 11, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    i can’t wait to see your kitchen! and congrats on one year of sales! and congrats on the new job! i saw an email showing that he was looking, i hope it is great! and i hope you get some cool new taxidermy for me to buy! haha let me know if you find any birds. i really want a small one and haven’t found one in town yet

    • apronstringsvintage June 11, 2013 at 1:23 am #

      Thanks Rae! Taxidermy goes so fast that it might be the only way I ever come across any more. I will totally look for birds!

  2. Lisa June 16, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    I love your list of tips! I had this old-woman-at-church-nodding-righteously-in-agreement thing going on through the whole post. You said it, gal! ALSO I AM COMPLETELY CUCKOO FOR THE KITCHEN “AFTER” PICTURE YOU’RE USING FOR INSPIRATION. Oh my damn. SO GORGEOUS. Yours will be just as neat, I bet, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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