I love buying stuff for my Etsy store and over the years my decision-making process in choosing items has changed. It’s matured a bit. Maybe I’ve gotten a bit savvier. A little bolder. In general I’m buying fewer “bread and butter” items–those ubiquitous, low value items that sell for $25 or less–and focusing more on unique and higher quality items that typically cost more to purchase.
But even with items that cost me $5 and under, I’m being more selective. I’m trying to make smarter choices which will (hopefully) reduce the time an item sits in my inventory and maximize my profit (obviously!).
Here’s an example. I spotted three very different vases in my neighborhood thrift store, each priced at $4.99. Were any of them worth reselling?
First there was an Irish Belleek porcelain tree vase with shamrocks (date marked for 1965-1980) in beautiful condition. Now Belleek is a good, quality brand who’ve been around since 1857. In their own words:
We have a worldwide reputation for quality and craftsmanship. Each piece of Traditonal Belleek passes through 16 pairs of hands from Design to finished piece. The process is meticulous, any piece with even the slightest flaw is destroyed.belleek.com
A few days later I spotted this Art Deco ceramic Czechoslovakian vase with small condition issues, mostly dirt inside.
No brand, but a number was incised in the bottom and it’s marked “Made in Czechoslovakia.”
And today I spotted what I thought was a ceramic Deruta Italian vase, but on closer inspection turned out to be a Modra Slovakian piece. Also in beautiful condition.
Would you have bought any of these for $4.99? Here’s what I bought and why.
I said YES to the Slovakia vase.
- In the hand-painted Deruta style, folks like this cheery folksy look.
- WorthPoint data indicates this vase typically resells between $20 and $45. (New it’s over $80.) There are only a few others for sale online ranging in price from $33 to 49.99. (I’ll list mine for $40.)
I said YES to the Czech vase.
- I think the Art Deco style has a wider buyer appeal and its simple lines and solid color would work in many decors.
- While mass produced, it’s now a scarce piece. I can’t find any others currently for sale online.
I said a big NO to the Belleek vase.
- While, nicely made, this piece is not on trend with its fussy and “precious” details.
- And most importantly, the market is saturated with this “collectible” vase. There are dozens (and dozens) for sale both on Etsy and eBay, ranging in price from $9 to a whooping $67 (he’s dreaming!) Typical sold prices range from $10-$22.
So while these are not “scores,” they are items which should sell and make a small profit. Time will tell!