Are you thinking of Starting an Online Vintage Shop? At some point or another, if you’re the kind of person who hits up estate sales early in the morning, or drives out to big flea markets, or shops at thrift stores, you’ve probably thought: It would be amazing to do this for a living.
How do we do that? If you’re interested in selling vintage, it might seem like a dream job, or even a dream side business. However, if you have never dealt with retail before, the entire process may seem overwhelming. How do you source your products? At what price should you sell them? Is it possible to earn enough to make a living, considering how much competition there is?
You might find that getting started is easier than you think. You don’t have to be an expert to open an online vintage store. You really can make it work if you maintain your unique style and work hard.
Our complete guide will serve as your guide as you embark on this exciting journey – even the best business ideas require meticulous planning to succeed.
1. Do your research and find your niche
You know how overwhelming thrift stores can be if you’ve ever been to one. Racks of clothes, boxes of knick knacks… You have to sift through a lot of clutter to find what you are looking for.
Your online thrift store should provide a very different shopping experience. This requires you to offer a curated selection of items. By cutting out the ‘sifting’ stage, you’re bringing the products your customers need directly to them.
As you plan your thrift store or select your stock, keep the word ‘curated’ at the forefront of your mind. If possible, focus on a specific type of product.
2. Develop your brand
As soon as you figure out what you want to sell, start thinking about your brand. This isn’t just your name and logo, although that’s an important part of it – you should also think about your vibe, and your target audience.
In order to determine this, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Which audience do I want to reach? Consider the gender, age, and interests of your audience. Who might love your product?
- What makes me unique? How am I different from other sellers?
- What are the best ways for my target audience to find my store? Later on, we’ll cover marketing in more detail, but it’s worth considering this early on.
3. Open a store
We’ll discuss sourcing stock in more detail in the following section, but it’s useful to think about how you’d like to sell your products before you buy them.
4. Products from the source
We’re getting to the fun part now! At least that’s what we think. Now it’s time to find your stock!
At first, invest less in your stock – you’ll be able to get a better sense of what sells before buying more.
5. Organize your products
When you’ve cleaned up your stock and are ready to sell it, you’ll be faced with the next question – where should you store it?
If you are just starting out, a spare room, cupboard, wardrobe, or rail should suffice. It is best to have something more permanent in mind from the beginning since your roommate, parents, significant other, or cat probably won’t appreciate having everything spread out all over the place.
6. Take great product pictures
Following our advice, you should now have a nice selection of clean stock that you can be proud of.
It’s a mistake to rush your product photos. For this to work right, you don’t need any fancy equipment, but you should prepare and take your time.
7. Determine your product’s price
If you’re pricing your products, you need to consider your costs as a whole. In addition to the price you paid for the item, you need to account for packaging, shipping, any transaction fees/seller fees, and even a portion of your fixed costs (such as your monthly website builder subscription or storage unit rental).
You will need competitive pricing if you’re selling in a competitive space. You have a bit more freedom if you’re selling something that’s a little more unique, but you should still research what similar items are selling for online.
8. Set up the shipping process
Getting a robust shipping system in place is the last piece of the logistics puzzle.
In the beginning, you’ll want to decide how you’re going to charge for shipping.
The option of free shipping is definitely tempting for shoppers, but if you choose this route, make sure you cover the cost of shipping in the price of your items. Also, consider requiring a minimum order value, as well as only allowing orders from your home country.
It is easiest to charge a flat rate for shipping. Calculate a rough average shipping price, and then add that cost to every order as a standard. Using this method, you may lose a little money shipping some large orders, but ultimately, you will save a lot of time and hassle.
Check out carriers that offer to collect parcels from you, rather than requiring you to drop them off at the drop off location. Even if dropping off parcels won’t take up much time in the early days, it’s still nice to have the option if orders really ramp up later on.
9. Develop a marketing plan
The challenge lies not just in creating an attractive store, but in making sure that people can see it. Therefore, marketing shouldn’t be ignored!
Your motivation and optimism about starting your online thrift store are soaring – and with good reason! You can carve out your own niche in this booming, sustainable industry with our guide.