Sunday, January 6, 2013

"A nickel ain't worth

a dime anymore." ~ Yogi Berra

Ah, January...new year...new ideas...new beginnings...and an article about Urban Outfitters got me thinking once again about the business of selling old in this new world, and what things are worth.  Here is a link to the article: http://www.businessinsider.com/urban-outfitters-buys-yard-sale-clothes-2012-12?0=retail

I like the feel of Anthropologie and Terrain, Urban's cousins, and anything about that group always gets my attention.  This brings the whole idea of "vintage" into a new perspective.  Urban has buyers who scour yard sales and thrift shops for designer duds and then resells them in their stores.  Urban's response to the article was:  
"Our One-Of-A-Kind Vintage collection is a curated selection of vintage items that our buyers have found throughout their travels from various cities and locations. The items featured are carefully selected and handpicked by our buyers for their quality and uniqueness."

Does anyone realize that is what every antique/vintage shop owner does?  And has done for decades?  In many ways those folks never get the press that Urban does nor do they get the respect.  Can you imagine going into Urban or Anthropologie and asking "can you do better?"  or "what's your best price?'  And, you know, even if someone did pick up something for a dollar at a yard sale and marked it up to ten dollars, how is that any different from the Chinese item that was made for pennies on the dollar that someone buys in those stores or at a Target or Home Goods?

Yet, for some reason, people assume that antique/vintage dealers need to give discounts, and I am still trying to wrap my head around that even after 21 years into this business.  And, this new internet world selling vintage has driven prices way up!   Ebay looks sane compared to some of these new sites.  Here are 4 plates are listed on One Kings Lane for $99!  Any antique shop would have them for probably under $20.  They are all from Homer Laughlin ca. 50s-60s, not china from the White House or Windsor Castle!
 Then, here is a globe listed on the same site for $179!  These are $20-$25 in my shop!
So, maybe the local little shop or co-op has some really good deals without your having to wait for a sale or asking for discounts, and they are 3-dimensional, not flat on the computer or on an "i-thing" screen.  Think about the online prices, and do not forget to add in shipping.   The demise of the brick and mortar is sad as it is~don't beat them up any more.  They are trying to work with all of the new social media, apps, pinterest, etc etc etc, but there is still something to be said for being about to spend a day around actual things instead of virtual ones.  But, as Frank Lloyd Wright said:
                "Business is like riding a bicycle. Either you keep moving or you fall down."



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