If you know your old stuff, being an antiques dealer might be a great small business for you. The market for decorating and collecting antiques is still strong, and probably always will be. People love items with a history, a story, a past. Not to mention, the quality of some older items is far superior to today. Plus, it is very hip right now to decorate in a past “style”, such as Art Deco or Victorian or Colonial or even the recent past as in Fifties and Sixties (which are very cool decades in decorating now.)
If you enjoy going to flea markets and estate sales looking for a steal on something old, and if your most favorite shopping spree would be in an antiques mall, this business could enable you to spend most of your time immersed in your passion.
Before you start:
Visit antiques stores in your area and talk to the dealers. You might even be able to apprentice with one for a few months to learn the business from the inside out.
Some antiques dealers specialize in one particular product, such as books, paintings or other art, pottery or dishes, a certain period (such as Victorian), jewelry, precious metals, or even archeological artifacts. If you wish to specialize, learning all you can about your particular specialty is essential. Become an expert! A good place to start is with what you already collect or love.
On the other hand, if you want to be a generalist and deal in all sorts of antiques, learn as much as you can about antiques and build a good collection of reference materials. Start with what is available and in demand in your area. And, build a good relationship with appraisers. You will need them in order to avoid purchasing mistakes. .
Specialists usually do better than generalists, as you can become a trusted authority on your preferred items much more easily. You can specialize in more than one item, too, if you like.
How to make money:
As an antiques dealer, you will make money by selling your items for more than you paid for them. The more you can learn about the value and the market demand of the pieces you wish to sell, the more profitable you can make your business.
Most dealers build up a clientele of regular customers who rely on the dealer to find items they would like. That and a good reputation, a good antiques store and of course, good overall business practices will help you build your own successful antiques dealer business.
The British Antique Dealers Association has a great search for antiques feature on its website. You can see pictures and learn about a wide variety of antique items. Be sure to find out all the possibilities before choosing your specialty!
The National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America is a good resource—check out the links page and search its members for ideas, too.
To get started collecting references and learning your craft, visit the Antiques Library.
For additional information, Click Here to Discover How to Become an Antiques Dealer