Playing in the Sand
Just like playing in the sand and discovering buried treasures, you can unearth arts and crafts in innocuous places, for wondrous prices. And if you are right, just like unknown treasures in the sand you can sell them for a great profit.
(Left: Vintage Dial Phones Replicas, 1841-1895)
What Is Arbitrage
Arbitrage is the act of buying and selling something for more than you paid for it. You will very often hear the phrase in the finance world in regards to buying and selling of securities in the stock market.
However, this term is used for any business that involves this kind of buying and selling. In fact it is a popular model for many very successful businesses.
An Arbitrage Business Of Arts And Craft
The good news is that this is not something only in store for large corporations. It is something that you and I can do. And the reason I bring up here now is that it is one of the most interesting and engaging ways to start an art and craft business of your own.
If you love arts and crafts, but are not an artist yourself, arbitrage is the perfect way to build an enjoyable and profitable business for yourself. If you have traveled you must have come across arts and crafts of so many different kinds.
Even in your own city and town there will be many sources of unfound and undervalued stuff that will be highly valued somewhere else.
The trick to a successful Arbitrage art and craft business is to have an eye for things. And the way to have an eye for things is also having done some research about what will sell for a higher price.
The example of paintings is an excellent one of something that can be repackaged and sold at a better price. You will find many such paintings with people, garage sales, re-cyclers, old market shops etc, even street artists. With the online market so open to you, you can sell them at a much higher price after you ‘package’ them better.
Do you know that the prices on most art is determined by the ‘art experts’ of the industry? It very often has very little to do with how ‘good’ the art is because there is no empirical way to measure what ‘good’ is when it comes to art. Which is why you will find so many enormously talented street artists, who make you wonder, what are they doing on the streets at in the first place. Maybe the answer is that spark of ‘creativity’.
There is a huge market for antiques. Not just antiques but antique replaces as well. One of the largest selling category on Etsy is antiques. The idea is that you can discover old stuff and to the right person it can be a collectible item. Not everything works this way. But a lot of things you. Do some research online to see what all is popular and trends with art and crafts. There will always be evergreen items that perform well consistently.
Doesn’t matter is items are not functional anymore. Nostalgia is a huge part of the art and craft business. You know how it is that we love designs and patterns today that reflect the by-gone era. The colours, the hues, the shapes, the simplicity and the memory. People use these items to simple adorn their homes to feel a certain way.
If you ever happen to go a craft exhibition, you will discover artisans from all over. The bigger the exhibitors the larger the spread. You are able to see crafts from all over the country in one place. You can meet these artisans and get your supply chain going. In many instances, these exhibitions are a regular feature and happen on a schedule. That too will help in keeping your inventory organised.
Old Rare Books
This is a very exciting segment, that of old rare books. There is a big opportunity for doing some arbitrage here for one reason that old books are perhaps one of the most common items you can unearth for the purpose of selling with arbitrage.
Finding Old Books Everywhere
I recently unearthed a treasure of old rare books from a friend’s place. And this happens often enough. For them the books are taking up the space they need. The books are old and in the owner’s opinion no one is going to read them in the household anymore.
But I know that these books are also content that has gone out of print since a long time. So it cannot be found anymore, even in a digital format. Many of these books have just ceased to exist.
Discover unusual interesting unavailable content
The genres include great novels and stories that will never be told again, from great forgotten authors. There are books on multiple subjects of music, painting and sketching that are simply masterpieces. And if you have a way of reaching people, you will find something who will pay handsomely to have these rare collector’s books.
Similarly, I discovered very very unorthodox books in print with a publisher friend of mine. Since they had been lying for years in their storage and went back decades. Some of the topics were were most unusual to say the least. For example, there was a book on how to tell the personality of a person by observing their physical features. Everyone who I showed that book to was most keen to read it.
Look For Nostalgia
Did I mention that nostalgia is a big part of art and craft? You will notice that many of the crafts we are attracted to are based on themes that are reminiscent of a bygone area. There is something soothing and reassuring about the simplicity of the designs. Apart from the fact that many things were just simply classical very pretty.
(Left: Tin Confectionery Boxes, 1933-1995)
The Music Artefacts
There is a demand for only vintage vinyl records. Record players have made their way back with many swanky ones costing thousands of dollars. The reason? It’s about nostalgia, the simplicity as well as the acknowledged sound superiority of the vinyl recordings that appeals to the music purists and aficionados alike.
Retro Boxes And Antiques Lookalikes
Retro looking boxes including old cases, carrying bags etc. are a hot selling item once properly restored. Many items that are made afresh to resemble old antiques, such as brass watches, telescopes and cardinal compass. They appeal to a lot of people because they cost much less than the real thing. I know a wholesale market that is devoted complete to selling these ‘modern’ antiques. You will find eventing from brass binoculars to ceramic door knobs.
Selling the things you find
Needless to say, you will look to the internet two reach the people with the right interest who will buy their art and craft items you have discovered. Sites like eBay and Etsy Will serve you very well in this endeavour.
Sell On Etsy And eBay
Etsy is an amazing place to sell art and crafts, especially if you venture into the vintage and rare segment of things. You will have access to millions of craft lovers from all over the world. You potential to sell will depend only on what you can unearth from the realms of the undiscovered :). And the exposure you can garner for your online shop. Read all about the best practises for selling on Etsy.
Before Etsy, eBay used to be the place to sell the goods you found. All kinds of stuff was sold and the auction feature was a very popular feature. Now not so much anymore. Nevertheless, here is an article that we did on eBay auctioning a few years back.
Leverage the Internet and Social Media for art and craft arbitrage
Other extremely effective way of using the internet will be to post pictures as well as adventures of you discovering interesting treasures of art and crafts. Your social media accounts will come very handy for the purpose of spreading the word around.
Always, remember that the success of your posts on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter hinge on how engaging the content is. In order to make your content engaging you usually have to do 2 things, take great pictures and create an interesting narrative.
Word By Mouth Publicity & A Craft Shop Nook At Home
Word by mouth has a tremendous impact on publicity and popularising a craft business. The same is true for you. I know several small craft businesses that started from home and built their base solely on the basis of reference by people.
The same can absolutely be true for the arbitrage buying and selling of art and crafts that you do. It’s not such a bad idea to dedicate a small space in your home to house the things that you find and procure. Setting up a Cute little nook or a small room should be enough to get things started.
The beauty of getting online is the immense reach that is possible for your business. Since the arbitrage business of art and crafts is heavily dependent upon finding people With certain interests and tendencies, listing and publicising your items online, along with the ability to sell and ship this items well be very beneficial to the whole enterprise.
Get the legalities straight. You may not need to do much.
I will not get into all that here in this post since these technicalities are same for any kind of business that one might want to start. If you are selling online you have to figure out how you will be packaging and shipping the products, along with the kind of return and refund policy that you will put into place. You will also figure out if you need any kind of licences and permits to start functioning.
The Popular Items
There are certain items that will appeal to a larger audience. Know what these are. They are usually easily recognisable items and they also evoke a ‘wow’ curiosity impact. As a result, these crafts are either bought by people who appreciate the collector value, or to impress others.
(Left: A Medium Format Polaroid Camera)
I hope you enjoy this picture post on the art and craft business of Arbitrage. I will add some more pictures in a couple of days. So come back for that, if you like. In the meantime, feel free to leave any comments or queries below. I love to hear back from you guys. 🙂