Inside a flea market, you will hear many annoying sounds: screams from children wanting to go home or the vendors shouting at you, attempting to sell their latest and greatest product. The smell of the foul animals and items for sale fill the air. Walking into the market brings out many emotions from all people.
One might believe it is an awful place where old people who look like they came off the streets sell the rusty items lying around their garage. However, the word that comes to my mind at this flea market is paradise.
The idea of history filling the room captivates me and urges me to want to visit each vendor. I push myself around the crowds of people, looking at the “rusty gold” people are selling. Without hesitation, I start a conversation with a vendor, a strategy to have them lower prices before negotiation. As I am ready to leave, I throw out offers for the various items that catch my eye. The over-priced antiques soon become reasonably priced. The thrill of the deal keeps me going.
The Idea For Flipping Antiques
Growing up, I wanted to emulate the American Pickers on TV. For hours each week, I would hunt through the many Craigslist articles, flea market booths, and auctions looking for a great find. The most memorable was a 1970s Coca-Cola machine that needed a plethora of parts and work. Lots of sweat and frustration went into the restoration. All of my hard work paid off when it was sold. A sense of accomplishment rushed through my mind at the time of sale because I found the machine, restored it, and sold it on my own.
The machine helped fuel my ambition to start my own antique business. While other kids my age were playing video games and buying the newest pairs of Nikes, I was managing my business by buying inventory, stocking the shelves of my booth, and advertising the product trying to make money and grow my business. Specializing in Coca-Cola items, I even had an article written about me on the Coca-Cola website. Having this kind of recognition has made me more proud to have my own business. All of my past success has led my business to be strong and profitable.
Launching A Business
Today, I continue Thomas’ Antiques and Collectibles by buying and selling items on the internet. I have moved on from selling small items in my booth to internet sales where I can sell larger items that have more value. Currently, I use eBay, LetGo and Craigslist to sell these items that would not fit in my booth. Since internet sales have had a surge in popularity recently, I believe that continuing my business online was a smart move since it lowered overhead costs. Because of this transition, I have had greater success in this style of business since it fits in better with my school and athletic schedule.
In the future, buying antique items at flea markets will remain a hobby of mine. It opened a business opportunity for me to grow. What I have learned as an entrepreneur will help me succeed in college. Through the years of the trade, I have become adept in negotiation. Staying with a bottom price and not paying too much for an item while working with a professional antique dealer is a skill gained because of my business.
I have also learned organization skills which have helped me in keeping track of sales and inventory. Other qualities I have gained as an entrepreneur, such as interaction with many types of people during sales and setting goals, set me apart from other people my age. Although this “Side Hustle” will not pay for college, down the road my business will grow from the small booth when I was fourteen to my own store.
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Check out the other finalists here: 2018 Side Hustlin’ Student Scholarship Results Page.