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Setting Up an Antiques Business: A Case Study

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Antiques Internet Business Treasure

A business idea can come from anywhere, and when it’s combined with a hobby it can bring added enjoyment into the business. Setting up a business on the internet can turn a part-time hobby into a full-time job as this case study shows.

Turning a Hobby into a Business

Buying and selling of antiques has recently become very popular due to daytime television shows. Antique hunting had always been a hobby for Daniel Stewart, 35, and while watching a television show he came up with the idea for his business. “I wouldn’t say it was a light bulb above my head moment because I’d been thinking about it for months, “said Daniel. “Given the popularity of these antique hunting shows and the low cost of running an internet business I decided to give it a go.” Daniel decided to combine his passion for collecting antiques with the internet and created his own virtual antiques shop.

Setting Up a Business Website

Daniel began by setting up his own website from scratch for free. “There are plenty of web hosting sites that will provide the tools to start your own webpage for free or for very little expense.” Daniel said. “I started my mine from scratch and did the layout myself. It’s very easy to add photographs and merchant tools for payments.” Within days Daniel’s website was up and running, now he simply needed to build up stock for the virtual antiques store.

Finding Business Stock from Different Sources

Over the years Daniel had amassed a fair amount of antiques and collectible items. “Most weeks I do go to car boot sales, markets and antiques fairs,” he said, “one of the best places to pick up antiques and collectables very cheaply is from charity shops. I’ve found many Wedgewood plates and first edition books by scouring these shops.” Every time Daniel found a new item he would simply read up on its history and place a picture, description and price for the item on his site.

Finding the Perfect Business Name

A good business name can make a difference, and it does help if it explains exactly what the business is providing. “I though that what may be regarded as junk to most people could actually turn out to be treasure. It’s the basic principle behind all of those television antique shows.” After toying with and discarding a number of names Daniel came up with a simple name that actually combined the basic idea. TreasureJunkeez was now in business selling everything from Mikimoto pearls to first edition Harry Potter books.

Diversifying a Business Idea

Diversifying is an excellent way to bring in more business and Daniel hit on a way to add more stock to his website without much effort or cost. “When friends and relatives found out about my website they soon started asking me to sell their antiques,” said Daniel, “that’s when I thought of opening up the site up and selling other people’s antiques for a percentage. This means I didn’t even need to hunt for a lot stock but can still make some money.”

Expanding a Business Overseas

The beauty of running an internet business is that shoppers from around the world have access to your virtual shop window. Daniel soon had contacts in USA and in China. “I started by contacting other antiques sites around the world to offer a link exchange service. Doing this meant I could have TreasureJunkeez.co.uk placed on their website and I would return the favour.” said Daniel. “This led to other business contacts, and I could actually buy goods from other countries and then sell them at a profit to collectors.”

Investing In a Business for Future Growth

Daniel claims his biggest investment so far has been his time and effort. “The major plus factor with an internet business is that it actually comes with very little overheads. My costs are very low and financial turnaround is quick. I simply obtain stock and then sell it.” Time spent scouring antiques fairs and car boot sales isn’t a loss to Daniel. “I love doing it,” he says, “I love wondering what I’ll find next amongst what looks like junk but could turn out to be an amazing find. That’s why this job is such fun; you just never know what will turn up.”

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