If you have the ability to sniff out a good bargain and love all things antiques, trinkets, memorabilia, and toys, starting your own collectibles business may be the right career move for you. The collectables industry is certainly a lucrative one – it’s currently worth $426 billion, and set to surpass $1 trillion in 2032. Online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, along with antique shows and flea markets, make it easy for new dealers to establish themselves in an increasingly thriving industry. However, starting a collectibles business requires careful strategy and planning in order to make the right moves and enjoy long-term success.
Draw up a Business Plan
A business plan essentially details your business goals and how exactly you’re going to reach them. It’s a key tool that can give your business a valuable sense of direction and focus as you work to establish yourself. So, take time to draw up a comprehensive business plan that formulates clear goals for sales and profit (you can always edit and adjust these projections later down the line).
In most cases, it takes collectible businesses at least eighteen months to start generating a profit. You’ll also need to set a realistic budget that covers both your expected income and expenses. With this information, you’ll have a good idea of how much money you initially need to put into your business in order to generate a profit.
Your business plan should also detail your chosen pricing structure. Keep in mind, you’ll need to take care to strike a balance between generating optimal profits while also ensuring your customers are given a competitive price.
That’s why it’s important to understand the true worth of everything you sell, which isn’t always an easy feat when you’re dealing with unique or rare items. Fortunately, collectable pricing guides can give you an idea of the typical price range for certain items. In some cases, you may need to ask an expert or check out a collectibles website to look at how similar items are priced. If an item is damaged or faulty in any way, this can have a ramification on its price that you’ll need to take into account.
Using your business plan to monitor your overall performance can also help determine how much you should invest in inventory. To break even, you need your sales revenue to double your initial investment and at least triple in order to make a decent profit.
Keep in mind, you should strive to sell each item you purchase as soon as possible. If something will take longer than two months to sell, it’s likely not a good investment.
Find Reliable Sources
Finding a roster of reliable inventory sources is a key challenge when starting a collectables business. As you’ll likely be dealing with mostly unique or rare items, you’ll therefore need to reach out to new, reliable vendors often.
So, work on building up a solid business network to help with inventory sourcing – visiting flea markets, auctions, and trade shows is a great way to forge valuable connections that can help you now or later down the line.
The internet is also a great source for collectables of all types, as long as you choose to work with established and reputable dealers. Gold coins, for example, can be a lucrative investment – the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle (one of the last gold coins minted in the United States) recently sold at auction for a record-setting $18.9 million.
So, if you’re looking for gold coins for sale online, it’s important to research your options and purchase from a trustworthy seller. The American Gold Buffalo, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, Australian Gold Nugget, and Chinese Gold Panda are some other in-demand Troy-ounce gold coins.
Position Yourself as an Expert
By positioning yourself as an expert on collectables, you’ll have an easier time building a customer base, as well as developing credibility and trust with your customers. However, this means you’ll have to do the research needed to become an expert – so devote time to studying the market.
Start by visiting any and all spots where people are buying and selling collectables in your vicinity. You’ll quickly learn which collectibles are most valuable and most in-demand (as well as which items aren’t) and how best to conduct your own business.
Similarly, it’s also a wise move to niche down. Although some dealers like to sell a wide range of pieces – in the same vein as antique shops – sticking to a particular type of collectable can help give your business a competitive edge. So, choose a niche. Ideally, it should focus on an area you’re genuinely passionate about.
Whereas in the past collectables businesses primarily dealt with things like rare coins, stamps, commemorative spoons, and antique ceramics, the industry now encompasses a wider variety of pieces – whether it’s first GI Joe action figures, comics, rock music memorabilia, and even old lunch boxes, for example.
So, the world truly is your oyster when it comes to niching down, and you’ll find it much easier to become an authority in an area you’re naturally enthusiastic about.
Once you’ve landed on a niche, start learning all there is to know about it – research relevant information like designers, materials, special editions, dates, and previous profits.
You’ll soon find your chosen specialty will branch off into related sub-specialties that help you build up a complete and in-demand inventory. And, once you equip yourself with the relevant expertise, you can work to build up your reputation even further. For example, start making presentations at trade shows, or submitting articles for industry magazines. Remember, the more credible you appear to the public, the more customers will want to do business with you.
Starting a collectibles business can be a fulfilling, challenging, and lucrative career move. By drawing up a comprehensive business plan, connecting with reliable sources, and positioning yourself as an expert in your niche, you’ll successfully increase your chances of launching a rewarding and profitable business.