Friday, 14 November 2014


    When I started to deal in French brocante and textiles I bought purely by instinct, mostly what I liked myself.  But as I travelled further and piled it higher and higher in our Volvo Estate (plus roof rack) I soon learnt that there were certain things that always sold well if they were in good condition and that sometimes the things that I hesitated to buy as they were rather expensive, turned out to sell quickest.   Of course, I made plenty of mistakes and so I always reduced my 'failures' or 'sleepers' as they are known in the trade,  things that did not sell, sometimes even below what I had paid for them, to banish them from my display and get some cash to invest in wiser buys.  Some dealers seem to find this very difficult to do - you simply cannot expect to make a profit on everything, otherwise we would all be millionaires, and  personally, I think it best to download slow sellers at a low  price if you have a willing buyer and move on.  You need to change the display, it is boring for the customers to see the same old stock and they will walk past your stand and think that you are winding down!. In my next BLOG  Trifles can be so sweet...... I will list some of the simple objects, all decorative and/or unusual, which appealed to collectors and the general public as trifles to spend a couple of pounds on and take home with some satisfaction.  Selling trifles was always, to me, just as interesting as selling major items, and always gave me great satisfaction that I had 'pulled' buyers in with my display!
   Occasionally I would find some factory or shop surplus with something amusing or attractive like woven name tapes with curly initials on them and I found that most people and their children, would stop to look and search for their own, and that always created a little crowd which attracted other shoppers.  I followed that purchase of name tapes - about 10,000 of them in little boxes of a gross each, which I sold for £2 each box,  (now you  have to pay three times that - if you can find them - in the Porte de Vanves market in Paris on a Saturday,)  with the purchase of moulded fabric large initials for French dowries, which you could iron onto linen for grand, raised, satin stitched initials on sheets, etc.   Keeping all these initials in alphabetical order was a bit of a pain but I could do it at idle moments at a fair.  Initials and crests have an irresistable appeal to most people.  Craft workers used them for many projects.
     This also gave me a chance to pass one of my trade cards on to my buyers which would remind them of the other things I had for sale.  Cards, with details of your stock, your Website, etc. cost almost nothing to produce and can make a huge contribution to getting yourself known in the trade.   If you are shy about passing on your details, you will never make the contacts you need!   If ever I meet someone just starting up with a new venture, I always ask them for their trade card and if they haven't got one to give me, I feel they do not realise how important contacts and networking are, to start anything anew,  and frankly I am not prepared to put myself out for them.  You must do the groundwork properly!

1 comment: