Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Price Vintage?

This is going to be a long one, because it's about pricing vintage.  It pertains to buyers/wearers of vintage as well as sellers of vintage.
One very popular question on just about every forum about vintage selling is “How should I price this?”.

Just to get it out of the way, I’ll tell you how I price the items I sell.  I check of similar items online and see how they are priced.  I have to be honest with myself when doing this, (because don’t we all think our vintage item is just the MOST FABULOUS thing?).  I have to admit it when some items are just better than what I have.  Item in mind, is this red chiffon dress from the 50s, which I consider one of the best dresses in my shop.  

I was not letting it go cheaply, so I checked other red 50s party dresses on Etsy.  I always click on “highest price” and go from there.  The first dress to come up was an Oleg Cassini for over 700.00.

…utterly breath-taking.
All of a sudden, mine was not looking so fabulous.

So as I scanned the rest, I found a lot of designer dresses.  Mine has no labels at all, so that took it down a notch or two.  But that’s what you have to do. Be honest with yourself about what you want to sell after comparing it to similar items up there.


I have said this a zillion times:

“If we don’t value our vintage, no one else will.”

Under-priced vintage makes me a little crazy.  

Do you know what usually happens when a flawless vintage dress from the 1940s is priced at 38.00?
Usually another seller comes along, buys it, and then sells it for four times that much.  Yes, it’s true, under-priced vintage usually winds up with a seller who knows its value.
I admit that this doesn’t happen ALL the time, but often that’s what happens.

On the other hand, I had a sale section in my shop that other vintage sellers were welcome to.  Dresses, gowns, jewelry accessories, low-end prices.  I thought everything would sell overnight. 
It didn’t.

I sold two pieces from that section. 

This just goes to show that sometimes, items don't sell if the price is too low!

All right.  Buyers, wearers, and lovers of vintage, how do YOU buy your vintage?  

When a seller states the condition of the item, are they saying “good vintage condition” without stating any flaws?

HEADS-UP people! Red flags should be going off in your head! 

Your “good” may be someone else's “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”  

Sellers should state every flaw, even the smallest, and if the flaws show up in a photo, (some don't) they should show flaws in photos. 

There’s a process here:
--Seller drives around hunting for treasure.
--Seller selects the best items and pays for them.
--Items must be cataloged or inventoried.
--Items must be carefully stored. 
--Items get repaired, restored, laundered/drycleaned, steamed or ironed.  
--Hours could be spent on stain-removal!
--Items must be researched (this could take anywhere from  10 minutes to more than an hour).
--Items must be measured.
--Items must be ironed or steamed to perfection.  
--Items must be modeled or presented in the most   interesting and eye-catching way possible.
--In many cases, those photos go through intense photo-shopping.

That's not all:

Does a seller tell you how they date things, what makes it 50s?  60s? newer?  older?  Do they give measurements?  (I have seen item descriptions without them *gasp!*)  Is the product ironed?  Well photographed? Shown at important angles with good close-ups? You want to know the history, right? You want to know the fabric? You want background information? Does the seller give enough information to justify the value of the item and make you feel like you’ll get your money’s worth?  With enough information from the seller, the more you know about what you will be getting but also what to look for in the future.  Best of all, you’d know how to identify items that aren’t what they are said to be. 
So the more information you get about the item, the more time the seller put into listing it.   It’s all time-consuming, so consider that you are paying for that time.
I would advise you to accept nothing less from any seller.
Yet another thing:  if you ever DO see a fabulous and flawless vintage item that is under-priced, you’d know enough to grab it while you can!

....I’ll admit there are times when a bargain is a bargain is a bargain.

All that being said, keep in mind that VINTAGE IS VALUABLE!  Plus if you take really good care of it and you get tired of it, you can always re-sell it!

So maybe you don’t care about how old it really is. Maybe you just love the dress/hat/skirt/blouse whatever.  That’s different.

I’ve seen item descriptions that say “Blue 70s blouse”, size M”, and THAT IS ALL IT SAYS! 
I’m not kidding.  That’s all some descriptions say. 
..and these items sell…