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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Selling Vintage Toys: 5 Greatest Challenges Of This Business

a duotone picture of kaiju collectible vintage toys for sale used as main photo of an article about the business of selling vintage toys

Getter Robo collection, Atari console with complete accessories, vintage Mickey Mouse antiques, Ultraman kaiju figures from the 80s, retro anime resins, and unbuilt metal & plastic building kits from the 70s in your cave – sounds fancy, eh?

The hobby of amassing these golden finds can easily turn into a money-spinning commerce. It also satiates that materialistic yearning, especially if you’re stuck in a boring 9-to-5 wherein purchasing Nendoroid merch feels like living a luxurious life you can’t afford.

But before you start getting ambitious with the business of collecting, maintaining, and selling vintage articles, it’s crucial to be mindful of the blood, sweat, and tears it requires. 

Yes, plunging into this realm can be catastrophic for a newcomer, and we’ll outline these risks as bonus know-how.

Before you sink into the thickness of this discouraging article, know that we offered tips by the end of each item.

Below are five of the greatest archenemies and hazards of the vintage collection niche.

Money Problems

“You said it is a lucrative forte, so how can financial complications set in?”

Yes, selling vintage toys is indeed a profitable venture, but it’ll take a while for an owner with limited resources to breathe easily. Despite a sale with 500% or higher profit during the earlier stage, you’re still far from breaking through. 

We encourage you to celebrate these small wins, though.

After shelling out thousands of bucks for your first wave of toys, you’ll realize that your products alone won’t suffice in bringing the amount of attention they deserve. Thus, you’ll need to spend a few more hundred for monthly advertisements, given that you’re using social media and eCommerce platforms for business.

Sounds too much for a starter? You better read further because there’s more to it.

While ads widen your presence, it requires digital marketing knowledge to create effective visual material, writing copy, and money-making ad sets. You must also explore the semantics and utilize paid software that provides high-traffic keyword suggestions.

Sounds like I discussed the previous paragraph in a different language? That’s because the realm of online ads is still a dark region in your expanding world. 

While there are masterclasses on online ads, not everyone has the time to take courses. 

Also, not all these so-called tutorials are worth a penny and a second.

That leaves you with the option to hire a virtual assistant specializing in digital marketing, Google ads, and Facebook ads. It may be an additional expense on your tab, but it’s your best shot if you don’t want to burn cash on ads targeted toward people who have no interest in vintage toys.

Enough with the online ads shenanigans, and let’s get down to more money problems sans the technical aspects.

The next big worry is the thin market and growing competition. While your shop isn’t the talk of the town, a big deal may not arrive sooner than anticipated. Even established auction shops struggle to find new audiences for their frequent vendues.

Thus, your high-ticket sale may take a while to happen. You might find yourself getting by with miscellaneous transactions as you virtually scuffle with your competitors to win over new customers.

You’ll have to endure this period of stagnancy until your brand has gained enough following. Additionally, this phase is where financial troubles occur, as you continue to use your savings on varying business expenses while your vintage toy store isn’t generating enough revenue to sustain.

While we are no financial gurus, we offer this advice of keeping your personal and business costs to a minimum as you course through the sluggish stage. 

Do your best to resist impulse-buying in the guise of selling these items in the future. It’s a gamble and a battle of what-ifs -- we know that. But be sure to check your finances before dipping in for new stocks.

The Unexplored Art of Letting Go

Despite the money hardships, conflict of interest may arise. Most of the time, this overlapping agenda happens within the owners themselves.

It’s all because vintage items are mesmerizing. Sellers find themselves keeping the item instead of selling it, which could be the biggest bottleneck, especially if high-ticket units are involved.

However, this is no reason to quit.

People who go on a quest and are easily caught by vintage charms can still be a vendor of these spell-binding antiques. We also believe that to be a successful rare item seller, one must be an efficient hunter and collector.

But greed is a huge pain in the neck. 

So, can you still indulge in this business with the risk of hogging all the beautiful things to yourself? 

Our answer is YES... if you can be reasonable enough.

As mentioned, this is an internal struggle that must be triumphed by the shop owners’ interest in growing this business. If they constantly remind themselves of their purpose in getting into this endeavor, chances are, they’ll win beautifully.

The “art of letting go,” particularly with beloved items of worth, must be practiced repetitively. This habit will teach anyone that it doesn’t hurt to release cherished objects for the right price. 

Did we make it sound easy even though it isn’t? 

That’s not the entirety of this topic, definitely. But the story of letting go may differ from one collector to another. Therefore, we cannot teach anyone how to ditch heirloom jewelry or the last gift from a deceased parent.

It all comes down to the sellers' determination to grow the brand and cast away the materialistic urges that get in the way of their business.

Just put a hefty tag on it if that will make you feel better!

The Narrow Battle Arena

The thought of selling your vintage collection on eBay has a promising allure to it. However, with this sluggish platform becoming unfriendlier to newcomers by the minute, the options are down to smaller marketplaces, social media, and launching your website.

Amidst the limitless ability to list items, the success lies in your ability to carve a chunk of leads from a market mostly bogarted by the big gamers. 

It's a world where seasoned sellers know every high-profile customer by name, face, and probably their Facebook posts, and they'll do everything they can for these clients to not look elsewhere.

The saturated vintage toys market is a narrow alley for any green-horn sellers to play into, but it's a place frequented by sure buyers. Just be prepared for any competitor tricks, as they sure won't like it if you hit the jackpot.

With that said, prying eyes will be looking at your direction, trying to get some intel about your products, customers, and even the tiniest ant that engages with your business.

While these shenanigans are inevitable, you can protect your hard-earned leads and data with top-notch anti-malware solutions and by hiding buyer transactions, especially if you get inquiries through public comments on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.

As for getting a share of converting customers from the current pool of collectors, sway these people into your turf with a magnificent roster of interesting articles, visuals, and a well-thought narrow-targeting campaign. A/B tests may come in handy, especially in cracking a target segment that one can't understand in plain sight.

Keeping The Vintage Toys In Good Condition

These collectibles will have to endure a bumpy ride from the warehouse source to your shelves. Many times, broken nose tips, missing parts, and damaged boxes will greet you, and this could be a frustrating part of the business, as you just lost the opportunity to sell them at a peak price.

Besides logistics mishaps, keeping your stuff in tip-top condition is easier said than done. Many situations can rip you off a potential $1,000 sale; before you know it, these collection threats have already diminished your items' value to a mere $10.

This unsightly event puts every vintage item seller in a position where they don't want the experience to teach them a lesson. That's a weighty life's lecture if it ever does happen to a rare, antique painting.

Instead of worrying that the moment will arrive when you want to tear your hair off over a messed-up rarity, we advise that you do the following: 

  • Implement necessary safety cargo measures
  • Purchase insurance or guarantee
  • Request extra cushioning materials
  • Provide your articles with the best, dedicated facility to shield them from many vintage toy collection hazards.

Chasing Another Butterfly

The otaku world is a vast sphere full of novel opportunities. Twenty years ago, people would laugh off the dream of earning money out of your hobby of watching anime aka "cartoons." 

This society's good-for-nothing lags may have choked on their own ignorance already, but that is no longer a concern for forward-thinking citizens of the imaginative realm. While the otaku culture has come a long way, the downsides of a free-to-roam environment inject a different venom.

One of these setbacks is the uncertainty of what will lead us to nirvana. Hence, we tap every box and risk big, not knowing that time's running out and we're left with no real output. Just when we're about to settle in what we thought was our dream job, another butterfly will fly by and win our attention, making us chase the unknown for the nth time.

Selling vintage toys could lead to a boring drought period, a span of time that will give you enough chances to question your business decisions -- 

How'd you get here?

Is it still worth your time?

Should you be doing something else?

When you give in to these doubts, it can quickly escalate to the death of this short-lived vintage shop, a venture that takes years to nurture. 

If you want to seek greener pastures by running multiple businesses, keep in mind that a vintage shop is more of a growth stock, an investment that requires the owner to hold for a very long time. Thus, it deserves a dedicated manager who consistently cares for the brand while you delve into other matters. That's if you think your income stream needs a bit of diversity.

Vintage items grow their value as they age, and this is not a business that one should quickly underestimate due to its abysmal potential. As a person who once believed in their prospect yield, it is your duty to remind yourself of what it would become a few years from now. 

Given the amount of consistent nourishment you bestow upon the roots of this business, such as hunting for new collectibles, listing the items in various marketplaces, and keeping the social media page humming, these efforts should pay back momentarily, and people will come flooding into your virtual and physical store in no time.


Despite its origins that some may consider childish, selling vintage toys requires a grown resolve and mature perspective. Unlike what others think, it is not a walk in the park nor a game of luck. There's more rocket science in this venture than the usual buy-and-sell activity.

Thus, the above information should clear the fog that surrounds the nature of hobby collecting and selling and give more insights into the risks, hardships, and gambles that come with it. Hopefully, those who find themselves in a conundrum of whether they should pursue this business or not will gain enough knowledge necessary to finally decide on their next steps.

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