Day 1 — Dear Diary,
I woke up this morning and finally realized that I need something to help fill up my days. Now that the kids are grown and gone, I have too much time on my hands. The recent move to Florida is a good thing but I haven’t made many friends yet. I see there are a lot of antique malls and shops here in my area. I love antiques, although I don’t know much about them. Maybe I could rent a space in a mall, learn about antiques as I go and make some extra money at the same time. I might even make some new friends. First thing tomorrow, I am going to go and check out some of the malls. I’m excited – this is a great idea!
Day 2 — Dear Diary,
I checked out some of the local malls in my area. There’s a whole group of them right together downtown. At first I thought maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea – too much competition. But there was so much foot traffic, I realized that having so many shops and malls right in the same vicinity probably draws more shoppers than a stand alone shop or mall ever would. If I’m going to be an antique dealer, I want to be in the busiest area I can. The malls were nice but I really like the idea of my own shop, being my own boss and doing things the way I want them done. I will have to sleep on this one. To be honest, I will have to do more than sleep on it. I will have to do some serious research concerning the pros and cons of each. That’s what I’ll do tomorrow.
Day 3 — Dear Diary,
I spoke with several people today. I learned that if I have my own shop, it will be much more expensive than moving into a mall. I would have to pay the rent, utililties, insurance, advertising costs and all the other tools involved in selling such as showcases, cash register, credit card machine, telephone, etc. In a mall, I would only have to pay my rent and roughly 10% of the sales I make. I also found out that each mall is different depending on the owner. A few of them would require me to work one or two days a month to help with sales coverage. That’s a lot better than my being tied up in my own shop eight hours a day six days a week. Of course I would have the option of hiring someone to work some of those hours for me but that would be another added expense. Another positive aspect of a mall is they do all the paperwork concerning sales tax and federal taxes. That’s a real plus. I do want to keep busy but I fear my own place would take up way too much of my time. I think I’ve made up my mind but I better sleep on it again. I will decide tomorrow one way or the other.
Day 4 — Dear Diary,
Up bright and early today. Am anxious to get started now that I made a decision to rent space in one of the malls. I shouldn’t start off too big – I don’t want to get overwhelmed. Since I don’t have any experience, opening my own shop would be too much too soon. I will choose a small to medium size mall space and take it from there. I also need to acquire some merchandise. I have committed $5,000 to my start-up fund which should be enough to cover my initial purchases and my first month’s rent. I’m very excited! By the end of the day, I will officially be an antique dealer!
Day 5 — Dear Diary,
I’m afraid things didn’t go quite the way I planned. Much to my surprise, the mall I liked the best had a waiting list. According to the owner, it could be two or three months before she has an opening. As much as I like that mall, I decided it was too long to wait so I rented space in the one that is just a half a block away. This particular mall is owned by two men. They were very nice to me and very helpful when it came to picking out just the right space. There were three openings available but we decided on the one closest to the front door. Even though it’s a little more money, I think it’s worth it since I will be sure to get more traffic there than in the other two spots. I wanted a bigger space but for right now I will have to settle for a large display cabinet. It will hold quite a bit of merchandise but I will only be able to sell small items. At least everything will be under lock and key so I won’t have to worry about shoplifting. The showcase will cost me $150 a month plus 10% of my sales. I had to pay 2 month’s rent – first and last which came to $300. I take possession of my space in two weeks. That should give me plenty of time to accumulate items to sell. Well, I better get started.
Day 6 — Dear Diary,
Yikes! I have more decisons to make. Before I start getting merchandise for my maill space, I better decide exactly what it is I want to sell. While walking around my new mall and the other malls in the area, I noticed that many dealers sell an assortment of everything. However, there are quite a few dealers who seem to specialize in just one type of merchandise. One dealer sells nothing but toys, another nothing but jewelry and yet another sells nothing but pottery. Perhaps I should specialize. That way I don’t have to learn about all different kinds of antiques all at once. Sounds good to me.
Day 7 — Dear Diary,
Well, I tossed and turned all night trying to decide what my specialty should be. This morning I went to a local bookstore and thumbed through all the different antique and collectible reference books they have for sale. I seem to be leaning toward vintage jewelry, along with vintage purses and old vanity items. The only problem with this is these items are small and it would take hundreds of pieces to fill up my big display cabinet. Maybe I will go back to my mall and the other malls and do another walk through. I don’t want to offer the same merchandise as dozens of other dealers. I want my space to stand out.
Day 14 — Dear Diary,
Well, I’ve been down with the flu for the past week. It looks like my “grand opening” is going to be delayed a few days. I spoke with the owners of the mall and, understandably, they don’t want my big showcase to be sitting there empty for too long. Neither do I. I’ve been getting advice from everyone, mainly my family and friends from up North. Most of them are telling me not to specialize. They think I should offer a really wide choice of merchandise. The argument being the more variety I have the more sales I will make. Catering to the wants of everyone is the best scenario but there are already some big items, such as furniture, that I can’t sell even if I wanted to. Not enough space. Alll this advice, even though it’s well intentioned, is just confusing me further.
Day 15 — Dear Diary,
At last I have made a final decision. I am going to specialize after all and it’s going to be vintage costume jewelry, vintage jewelry boxes, vintage purses and vintage vanity items for both men and women. I based my decision on the fact that I have to deal in something that I like and I really like vintage costume jewelry. Time is of the essence so I’m on my way out the door now to purchase both reference books and jewelry displays!
Day 16 — Dear Diary,
Yesterday I spent $250 on jewelry reference books and $600 on jewelry displays. I found a great store that sells all kinds of display items – clothing racks, full showcases and all the jewelry displays anyone could every want. I bought velvet discs, earring and ring holders, bracelet holders, stand up velvet necks, even a couple of head forms in case I want to sell hats. Vintage hats would be in keeping with my theme. Including my rent, so far I have spent $1,150 of the $5,000 start-up money I earmarked for my new business. That leaves me with $3,850. It’s time to buy some jewelry! I’m so excited.