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How to Sell Vintage Items on Etsy

While many people associate the popular website Etsy with all things handmade, I have some good news: You can also sell vintage items on Etsy!

Anything that is 20 years old or older is considered “vintage” – so selling vintage on Etsy can be a great opportunity for selling your thrift flips! Today I thought I’d share some of the basics for how to sell vintage items on Etsy for beginners.

Here’s a Quick Start Guide on How to Sell Vintage Items on Etsy:

Step 1: Stock Up on Inventory

Before you can really set up shop there, you’re going to need some inventory. While there are shop owners who sell a broad range of this, that, and everything in between – the more successful shops tend to focus on a specific niche. You for example may want to specialize in a certain decade or time frame {ie: the 1950’s} or you might want to sell only vintage dresses, or vintage costume jewelry or vintage knick-knacks.

In order to stock up on inventory for your shop, you’ll want to follow the basics of finding awesome thrift store deals as well as your other usual sources: yard sales, estate sales, auctions, etc.

Before deciding on what to specialize in and what to sell in your shop, take some time to research what is popular and what is going to attract the most customers. A good way to do this is through online trends and search analysis tools which you can find for free at Google as well as many other sources. Just because something could be considered “vintage” doesn’t always mean it’s in demand!

Also, be sure the products in your collection are in great to excellent condition and top-notch quality.

Step 2: Research, Research, Research

Before you list something for sale, you’re going to want to ensure that it’s genuine, that you are asking the right price, and that it’s competitively priced. No, this doesn’t mean sell it cheaper than everyone else – it just means you can’t charge $3000 for a vintage necklace when something similar is selling for $20.

If you do have a high ticket item such as that, you may actually do better on a site like RubyLane or eBay or other site. Not saying it’s impossible, just don’t limit yourself to Etsy only if it’s not really going to fetch you the best price.

If you’re just getting started in selling vintage items, you’re going to really want to research how to identify pieces, what to look for, which brands are worth pursuing, etc. etc.

Step 3: Become a Professional Photographer {sort of only kidding a little bit}

Okay, so you don’t *have* to be a professional photographer, but learning how to take good photos is super important!

It’s not hard to take nice photos. Get a lightbox if photographing indoors.

Use ample lighting or natural sunlight whenever possible. If you’re selling clothing, you’ll likely want to invest in a mannequin and maybe a backdrop. For someone selling jewelry, get some jewelry display models. These things make a BIG difference in the perception of value! People want to be able to imagine themselves wearing an item – not see it crumpled up on a piece of fabric on a table.

Also, you should have as many photos as you can possibly think of taking. Get every angle. Do close range shots using the Macro setting on your camera. Be sure you photograph the parts that ensure authenticity such as labels, jewelry clasps with details, etc. All of these things will give buyers confidence.

Photos should be the highest resolution possible. Also, avoid adding filters or special effects to your photos. This doesn’t look as cool or as professional as you might think!

Step 4: Open Up Shop

Once you’ve got your products and your photos…you’re ready to open up shop! The first thing you will need is to open up an Esty account. This is simple enough to setup.

You’ll want to make sure your listings have clear and descriptive titles, a long description that says every detail and flaw and information about the piece you are selling, as well as be sure to enter accurate keywords that are relevant to the item you are selling.

Step 5: Market Your Shop

You have to market your shop. You need to have social media accounts. Pin the heck out of everything you are selling on Pinterest! If you have your own blog/website this can help add credibility to your shop as well as be used as a promotion tool in getting people to view your listings on Etsy.

Step 6: Understand Etsy Fees, Taxes, Shipping Costs, Etc.

Etsy does charge fees for your shop. You’ll also have to be mindful of tax regulations, shipping costs, etc. Also worth noting is you are running a business – be sure you have filed for all necessary legal paperwork and permits/licenses in your state and local jurisdiction. Your state or other local juridiction’s official website likely has all the details you will need to get this in order.


Selling Vintage on Etsy is Easier Than Ever!

Selling vintage items on Etsy can be quite lucrative for many people. If you are new to selling vintage on Etsy, be sure that you really research the demand for items as well as the market and be able to clearly identify and check for authenticity on the pieces you sell.

Have any tips or suggestions you’d like to add? Share them in the comments section below!

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