Vintage Selling Tips: Rockin’ the “As Is”

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All of us as human beings have a very bad habit; we assume. We assume that others want the same thing we do, or wouldn’t want the same things we wouldn’t. As sellers, we assume that a customer  would only want this item if this, or if that…

Let me tell you the story of the plaid mattress…

We had picked up a great, vintage, 30’s style, metal daybed. We cleaned up the pretty, oxidized metal and gave it a coat of poly to bring out the aged patina. The only problem was the adorable red and black plaid mattress had a big tear in one end. No one would want that, and it might de-value the daybed, so…we stood it up in the bathroom of the store, until we could figure out what to do with it.

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We assumed…that someone would want to use the mattress on the daybed, and would be disappointed seeing the big tear. Which some people may have been…

The cute daybed was out the door quickly, while the mattress leaned in the bathroom, fast forgotten on a busy day.

Until a gal came out of the bathroom and asked, “Is that adorable, plaid mattress in the bathroom for sale?”

Well, yes, it sure could be!

She was a photographer doing a vintage camping photo shoot, and the tear would never show if she styled the scene right. Sold! To the lady who luckily visited the bathroom!

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It’s so easy as crafty, do-it-yourself, sellers, to think we have to do this, this, and this, to sell an item. To assume that no one  would want this item, because it’s cracked, chipped, crazed, torn, etc.

My house is filled with not-so-perfect items, because I’m cheap, and don’t mind living with a little wear and tear, at a better price!

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The bedspread I have on our bed has some wear marks, which are completely covered when I put all the decorative pillows on top.

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A lot of my random, pretty, china pieces are cracked or chipped, because I’m not planning on putting food or water in them. They just look cute, “as is” around my home, and I got them for a couple bucks, so they can be disposable.

The good news is that there’s room in your booth, or store, for both the perfect and the “as is”, and there are customers who will be perfectly suited to any of the above! Why not offer it all, at a variety of prices? Don’t toss those extras that were in the auction box; make some money on them.

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Make sure they’re clean, and give customers an idea of how they could use them, beyond the “usual” purpose. And make sure you mark whatever you display inside, separately, or you won’t be ahead!

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And, yes, you will have someone who says negatively, “oh…it’s chipped/cracked/stained”. They were hoping to get a steal…which we all are. Just direct them to your perfect merchandise, that’s marked with a higher price, and know you’re meeting the needs of all your customers. The crafter that cuts up old bedspreads will be thrilled with a $10 bedspread, instead of a $35 one. The customer that finds a chipped plate that’s in the same pattern her grandma owned will feel warm and fuzzy when she displays it on her kitchen shelf, and satisfied at the $3 price, compared to a perfect example for $12.

And you’ll be happy that you didn’t assume.

And that you didn’t have to throw potential money-making items in the garbage! All those small dollars can add up.

So next time you’re fretting about imperfections…remember the story of the plaid mattress. And realize there are a lot of very creative people out there, that have ideas way beyond how we may think something should be used!

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5 thoughts on “Vintage Selling Tips: Rockin’ the “As Is”

  1. I swear, everytthing I inherited from my late mother-in-law had a cigarette burn (she was careless), a Clorox hole (ditto), or cracked. She shopped at second hand places and bought bargains (including too-small shoes as they were a “good” brand!) A lot of what I own today is a “shelf piece” that is not perfect and I love them anyway. I put little arrows on my price sticker to point out the imperfection and often paint several coats of clear nail polish over a chip sso no one gets cut accidentally. I make a lot of small silk flower arrangements in containers that camouflages the damage. If you want a PERFECT one, spend big bucks. The ONLY piece of Quimper I own has a chip–and I paid .25 for it! Good article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loved this, Kathy! And now that you mention it, my grandma bought everything from thrift stores & garage sales & wouldn’t care if it has a slight imperfection. She could still set a beautiful table & make her home lovely. With a little creativity, I think anything can be turned into something special. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Oh, Diana, don’t you hate it when it gets chipped on the way home? I’ve thought, “this has been safely in this lady’s cupboard for 50 years, and I just chipped it on the way home!” I feel your pain! Thanks for hosting!

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  3. Good advice, Lora. I’m often so frustrated that I chipped something (or bought it with an imperfection) that I want to get it out of my sight(!). In the trash (or thrift store bin) it goes. But you make a great point, others may be able to over look the flaw, buy it, and take it home with them. Thanks so much for linking up your posts with us at Vintage Charm–

    Liked by 1 person

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