Friday, September 9, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Self Employed Antiques Dealer

This IS a cautionary tale...
When I opened my shop years ago (1993) and started having open houses, many of the women who would come by to shop, thought that what I was doing was so 'dreamy'.  In many ways (that fall under the heading - A LOT of HARD WORK) it is 'dreamy'.  In a very disciplined way.  Some of them even followed me in to business - one started her own pick your own flower business on her farm and another bought a clothing and home decor store.  

I thought for those of you interested, that I would give you a glimpse into one of the types of days that have.  
The BUYING day:
4:30 am - get up and get ready to go - make coffee, have breakfast and get out the door by 5:00 am or so - because it is a 2 hour + trip to your buying destination.  Pack some snacks, and the rest of the coffee - we'll need that on the way!  Today my sweet husband has decided to forgo his plans, offered to drive, and help me shop.  Our Pit Bull mix rescue dog Cali, rides in between us - her happy place. Luckily - I have purchased vintage stuff from Roxann before - so I know she'll have something for me to choose from.  Otherwise - it's a crap shoot!
7:30 am arrive at destination.  Start looking around, picking things up, and examining them.  I have gotten to the point in my buying, that I only buy items that are in perfect shape (although I do slip up now and then).  There, of course, is always an exclusion to the rule.  If I know I can fix something, have the part (I just might!), or feel that it is rare enough to justify the purchase - then these guidelines over rule 'perfect'.
9:30 am this is what I have found so far.  There are things I am absolute about - and others not quite so sure.
My friend Jennifer - that we hooked up with along the way - happened to 'touch' the fish sign, as well as the turquoise bowl in a curious sort of way - I snapped them up immediately.  
PLEASE NOTE - I did not steal them out from under her.  She was there just for the company and the fun of it.  And she probably thought they were hideous  :)  I have long discovered that there is plenty of stuff out there for all of us - if someone wants it - go right ahead!  The Icehouse sign was 'picked' by my husband - not a beer drinker - he probably liked the scene - he loves the cold!  No, really, he knew it would be a cool addition to some man cave somewhere.  The beige table down in front - I hemmed and hawed a bit over.  I have enough to fix right now - but you can never argue with good bones.  So - it will need a GOOD sanding, and then a paint job.  Let's take a closer look at what else is on the table here.

From the top left: 2 white vintage planters -perfect for organizing stuff on your desk, a bowling 'trophy' bottle stopper, the fish sign - from a carnival, a bear and beehive honey pot, a Kodak Brownie camera and case - in mint condition, rooster salt and pepper shakers,  a big golf ball - we'll look at that closer in a minute..., The umbrella - a Disney piece from the 1960s - Donald Duck is the handle.
back over to the left: some plastic picnic dishes, a jigger and cups from a travel bar, NOS (new, old stock) set of spoons, two different kinds of toy blocks - one kind my husband remembers playing with, the other has snaps all over them - to connect them to each other - way cute!  
On the far right: A bunch of fabulous bronze pieces - way cool!  These were from a jewelry store that had closed.  Very old - they once had the ever popular pocket watch dangling from them!  below that - some wonderful childrens' pots and pans.

as for that golf ball - well lookie there!  It's the 19th hole.  How kitsch is this???
On the little table I was dithering over:
A fabulous black floral carpet bag and white carpet bag change purse, a baby sweater and handmade flannel slip, the 1970s bowl - with a mink and ribbon hat - would make a great 'spider' fascinator for Halloween!  I may have to play with carpet bag for a while - we'll see.  It is pretty wonderful.

Other picks that have already been put in place up at It's Bazaar:
The hat rack was getting empty - so I added the peacock blue Peter Pan hat, the purple cloche, and the wool hounds-tooth.
 Three fabulous picnic hampers - ready for your fall picnic or tailgating party  :)

Two bedroom pieces - a little bit french provincial - one a dresser, one a chest of drawers - there is also a mirror - not shown here.  These I added 'as found' - They have great lines, but I am passing them on at a lesser price.  Take one home and use it - or have fun with it and paint it up differently!

10:00 am OK - now let's get back to my day...  The furniture goes into the truck bed - we hear rumbling in the distance - hmmm...  The rest of the smaller items get packed into the picnic hampers and these get loaded into the back seat - I have a crew cab truck - these fold down seats get used quite a bit.  
Bob and I go back and forth a minute on how this will all be paid for, and finally Roxann gets a check, and some cash.  We say goodbye to Jennifer - it was great to see her if only briefly!  We take a different route home - very pretty and scenic.  We're still hearing thunder as we drive along and decide it would be a good idea to get the tarp and bungees out to cover the furniture in back.  Good thing - because as soon as we do - it starts to rain.  The rain follows us the whole way home.  Honestly, how many times does a weather front go from NE to SW??  Really?
12:30 pm Once at home - I unload the picnic hampers on to the front porch.  Time for some lunch!  After lunch I start washing everything, and going over it with a 'fine tooth comb'.  
3:50 pm  Time to start thinking about dinner - boy am I ready to sit down!

The next day we unload the furniture onto the porch. Thanks in big part to the flooding tropical storm, Lee, that is making it rainy all over the East Coast.  I think I am going to repaint the blue pieces - but I change my mind.  We re-load them back into the truck - No, Bob doesn't mind - isn't he the greatest?!  and helps me unload them, putting them in to place at It's Bazaar.  On Thursday I manage to get some suitcases, the picnic hampers, hats and some other smalls, packed up to take to It's Bazaar.  Bill, the owner, gives me some good news - the gold 1880s sofa in the background behind the picnic hampers sold the day before.  YAY - this is good - because I have had this piece since mid May (which reminds me about another "Day in the Life" post I could do...)  I spend 5 hours, pricing and arranging these 'new' finds.  All done, time to go home! 

My DAY summarized:
Up at 4:30 am - finally 'done' around the same time that afternoon - 12 hour day.  But wait, there were two of us.  So that makes for even more man hours.  And we haven't even taken into account moving the furniture into place, (have't cleaned that yet either), pricing, etc...  
Did I make any money today? - NO
Did I spend any money today? YES
And more money - This truck costs a lot in gas these days - the bright spot was that we filled up at $3.49 a gallon - cheaper than it is where we live. Not to say I don't love my Crew Cab Chevy Silverado - I do!  But she is an expensive habit.
The rest of my purchases are sitting on the kitchen table - most of them waiting to be photographed and listed in my Missing Heirloom shop on Etsy.  

So there you have it.  Just one of my days.  Now it's up for you to decide. 

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