With the present economy, you might wonder how the economy affects antiques. Does the antiques business suffer more than other businesses when the economy is suffering. If you are in the antiques business, you know that sales have been down for several years. In fact, it has not been the same since 9/11.
How a Bad Economy Affects Antiques?
Unfortunately, antiques are not a necessity of life. So when times get tough, and people are cutting back on spending, things like antiques are some of the first things that people don’t need. Our store in Dallas had multi-million dollar homes all around us, but in 2008 business started taking a nose dive. Most of the stores around us were doing only 50% of the business they had previously been doing.
But not everything in antiques is bad when the economy is suffering. With many people losing their jobs, or losing part of their retirement tied up in the stock market, they start looking for ways to raise capitol. So many turn to selling things they don’t need. Also, since demand for antiques and collectible are down during bad economic times, prices are also down. So there are some really great buys for people who have the resources to buy during this time. More antique stores are having sales and many times with larger discounts Prices in general are also usually lower to begin with during slow times. So there are certainly some good buys during these slow times. Same for antique auctions. More people are bringing their things to antique auctions to get instant cash. So a bad economy can be a great time to find some antiques at good values.
While I am on the subject of a bad economy. If you are an antique store owner, it is very important to have an exit strategy for your business. The hardest decision most store owners will ever have to make is to know when it is time to close a store, especially if it is no longer being profitable. Unfortunately, I speak from the voice of experience. We kept thinking we could turn the business around and kept going into debt. No one wants to admit that they didn’t make it and had to close their store. But the statistics say 90% of small businesses close within 5 years. We made it for over twenty years, but we had planned to keep it open for as long as we were able to work. But the economy had other ideas. We also learned that you should do whatever you can to stay in business, including huge sales, like 50% off. We didn’t do this until we had our going out of business sale. If we had done this much earlier we might have raised enough capitol to stay open. There are several articles on this site about how to be successful in the antiques business. Hopefully you can learn from both our mistakes and successes to allow you to succeed
How a Good Economy Affects Antiques
You might think that is an easy equation. A good economy should mean good sales in the antiques business. And that would be good reasoning. But the problem is finding enough merchandise at reasonable prices to satisfy the demand. It goes back to supply and demand. Unfortunately, when you are in the antiques business, you can’t just pick up a phone and order a wish list of three antique chest-of-drawers, four occasional tables, and so on down your list. Store owners in most businesses can do this. But most people in the antiques business will tell you that the buying part of the business is the most fun. But when things are going well, it makes it more difficult to find the right merchandise at the right prices. Customers will also find that is more expensive to buy things because demand for certain things is higher than the supply.
More people will be at the antique auctions and prices will be higher, especially for the best items. Some of the best buys we ever made in antiques was right after 9/11. Our favorite place to buy antiques is in England and we used to take people on buying trips over there. Many people were afraid to fly for many months right after that horrible time in our history. We went on a trip about a month after 9/11, although several people cancelled. But the antiques market in England is greatly affected by American buyers. It took nearly two years for some American buyers to return. But the buying was great for those of us that kept going. We had been going since 1991 and had experienced the bombings and mortaring of Heathrow by the IRA. Long before the security after 9/11, we were used to seeing police with machine guns walking around the airport. We had our carry on luggage searched three different times on one trip. So we had decided that as long as the planes were flying, we were going. We weren’t going to let the terrorists control our lives. But I am getting off the subject.
To try to summarize all of this, the best time to buy antiques at the best prices is in a down economy because the demand is low. This is true for both antique dealers and the general public. The problem for dealers is that they may have to hold the antiques until times get better. But the exception is the very best antiques and collectibles. It seems there is always a market for the very top end antiques. But we have heard many auctioneers moan because things are bringing only a fraction of what they used to bring. If you enjoyed the article, please click on the “Like” button and share it with your friends. Also feel free to make any comments below. Hopefully this article has pointed out how the economy affects antiques and how you can take advantage of it.