If you’re a reseller by hobby or profession, you might have overlooked a sometimes-exciting and super cheap way to source inventory: back alleys.
No, seriously! You’d be amazed what people leave out for free. From bicycles to artwork, back alleys (especially in wealthy cities like Vancouver) can be a lot more lucrative than you’d think. It also doesn’t have to be gross, or sketchy. And you can even make a modest living off of it, like this guy in Montreal. No, you’re not going to fill up your entire store this way, but there are treasures to be had. Believe us – we’ve found many!
In fact we’ve found so many valuable, interesting and unique things in back alleys that we decided to start a weekly blog series all about our alley picks. If you’re just starting out and need to source new inventory on the cheap, start with some inspiration – and sourcing tips – right here!
Alley Find of the Week: Reclaimed Wood Bedroom Set
We all know the reasons why you have to be careful acquiring used furniture. But if a piece is clean and in good condition, it can make a lucrative addition to our store inventory – and eventually to our customers’ homes! This bedroom set is one of the most amazing things we’ve found in a back alley, and we were lucky enough to find it just a few blocks from home:
Made of reclaimed wood, this set also came with a queen size bed frame with storage underneath. The condition was almost perfect. We spoke with the woman giving it away and she said she had a reaction to wood of all kinds, so it wouldn’t work for her. Barely used. In our truck in a jiffy.
What it Sold for
You can probably guess that a set like this with it midcentury modern look and rustic charm would sell in a retail store for well over $3000. So $800 was an absolute bargain for the friendly young man who bought it from us. He negotiated free delivery…well, I guess that was fair. 🙂
Back Alley Sourcing Tip: Inspect Condition
If this set wasn’t in outstanding condition, we wouldn’t have picked it up, for several reasons. First of all, furniture takes up a lot of space and we only have 2000 square feet in our warehouse. For the space it needs, we had to be able to get over $500 for it – otherwise that space is better used for something more valuable. Second, it wouldn’t be that easy to restore because of the finish on the wood. Third, in poorer condition, it could take a long time to sell (this piece took less than a month). So if you see something like this in an alley, consider whether you have room to store it and whether that amount of space is worth what you can sell it for. Condition matters a LOT, especially with large items, when you have limited storage space.
So this is just the first of what we hope will be an entertaining if not inspiring little series for the crafty, creative treasure hunter in you. Did you buy one of our alley picks? Tell us what you did with it! We love seeing how people use and love the things they buy from us.