My store was in a small Art/Antique Mall, annexed to a larger strip mall. During the years when my daughter was still in school we often visited the small stores in the Mall. So, years later when the opportunity arose for me to acquire my own small store in that Mall, I was thrilled.
Among the many reasons that little Mall was special was the way the other store owners helped each other. When they learned that my friend backed out of our partnership leaving me to work full time in the mortgage industry and find a way to manage the store by myself, the rolled u their sleeves, put my store together in my absence and during the entire time the store operated one of them managed it in my absence.
In a corner of the mall was a table with booths where people tended to gravitate to have a cup of coffee, gossip, share problems and most of all help each other find and market a variety of products. That was where the Interior Decorators went when they were seeking a particular type of item to complete a project, the pickers showed up with a treasure or two they found that week.
I sold items created by crafters and artisans I met both in person and on the Internet, I had never considered added collectibles. At first the other store owners asked me to create an Internet presence for each of them, I built websites and posted some of their items on various auctions and classified ad sites. They then encouraged me to hook up with the Picker, Al. who brought items in weekly that he found in his travels while working as a house painter. Every single item Al brought in to sell was accompanied by documentation. He left little to the imagination, even researching at the library and bringing copies of the pages describing the item. He gave me a story to tell the buyers as I sold each item, and for the most part, the story had better be factual because most collectors also do their research. We developed a great partnership that complemented the education I was receiving from the others in the little group that gathered at the table in the Mall.
Sadly when the economy fell apart so did everything else in my life. The mortgage company closed and so did the Mall. The Mall owner had no choice but to change everything, most the small store in the main Mall closed and as did the entire Art/Antique Mall.
I carefully packed my inventory in boxes and stored them in my home. Sadly the entire group disbursed and I began to feel it was senseless for me to continue to operate.
Two special situations (The Wounded Warrior Project. net and the Earthquakes since May in the small country of Nepal) have caused me to return to promoting handmade items and collectibles, starting with the inventory from the store and adding a few here and there that I pick up as I communicate with artisans and small businesses.
I am slowly posting items on a new Internet Store I recently created as well as the many sites available to small businesses and crafters. It is my hope to turn at least a small profit that I can share with my two pet projects. Just as important is that I provide a place for talented people to display their items and projects, as was my original goal when I started this type of work in the early 1990s.s