This post is an answer to a reader who asked me the following question: “I am starting a small auction house and am advertising for consignments. Just wondering if you could give me some input as the best way to get antiques for my auctions?” – Corina
The following suggestions are not only for Corinna but for anyone who has considered selling their own antiques and are wondering how to go about finding someone to buy them, so read on. The suggestions are in point form:
- Advertise in your local paper under appropriate headings. Yes the paper version.Think about who may have a lot of antiques to sell. They may be older and may not go online or know where to look so you will miss them if you have no presence in the local paper.
- Of course there’s Kijiji and other on line sites.
- Create a pamphlet telling people what you are looking for. A professionally designed one is best so that it gives your clients a feeling that you are professional as well. Drop these brochures at the networking tables at antiques shows.
- Always have brochures or business cards with you that make it very clear how to contact you with items for sale.
- Agree to do talks at Senior’s centers about antiques – you’d be amazed at how many consignment antiques I got by doing this.
- Write articles about antiques in your neighbourhood paper, your local, or your city paper. This will position you as an expert and give you some free publicity.
- Belong to networking groups – People tell other people what you do. Let’s say you meet someone who is 50 years old who does not have any antiques. By telling him or her what you do they will know who to call if their parent or relative is downsizing and needs to sell their antiques. They will be seen as a hero for helping solve a problem.
- Drop off your cards to antique stores. Sometimes antique dealers have had certain pieces sit around for a long time and they need to sell them to raise some cash to buy new things. If you want a steady stream of things from dealers consider having a slightly better consignment rate for them or give them a discount if they spend the money back in your auction.
- Create a referral program. Give people who bring in consignments a bonus of some type if they pass on your name to their friends and family – and they in turn bring you some consignment items. Attend regular flea markets and garage sales to pick up choice items for your auctions.
These are only some ideas that I can think of off the top of my head. Can anyone else add to this?