Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why I Quit Buying Coffee Tables to Sell

When out treasure hunting, I often came across coffee tables.  Most of them needed painting, but they were such good deals that - for awhile - I couldn't resist getting them.  Over time, I learned to resist them - both from my own experience and from watching coffee table sales in general.

Vendors in the store where I promote often bring in coffee tables. They almost always take FOREVER to sell.  

At first, the vendor features it prominently.  After a bit, the price is reduced.  A bit later, it is moved out of the focal area and used for stacking other things in an effort to maximize limited booth space.  If enough time goes by, the coffee table gets so buried that even someone looking for a coffee table might not see it.

What gives?  The coffee tables were pretty.  They were reasonably priced.  Many were neutral colors.

This coffee table is really pretty, but it might take longer to sell than you think.

Here's the deal.  Some pieces of furniture have very specific uses.  A coffee table is one of those.  There's not too many places you can use one.  As if that weren't enough,  if someone wants a coffee table these days, they often prefer to use something more creative - like a trunk or a big ottoman.  They can't use a coffee table somewhere else. A coffee table would look pretty dumb as a foyer table.  In other words,  a coffee table isn't very versatile.

There are exceptions.  If you find a trendy, fabulously cool coffee table, it might sell just fine.  But a run-of-the-mill coffee table?  Think twice before spending time and money on one to put in your booth.

If you have a small booth or if your booth is more than a hobby, try to get pieces that can be used a number of ways in a customer's home.  The more versatile the piece, the more likely you'll make a timely sale.


The table above is not a neutral color, (you know how I feel about paint colors) but it would STILL be likely to sell faster than the neutral coffee table in the first photo because this table is versatile.  Have you noticed yet?  VERSATILE is the word of the day!  This blue table would be right at home in a foyer, or a bedroom, or a kitchen, or a living room, or a porch... I could go on.  It's VERSATILE!!!

When you are buying furniture to resell, always factor in how versatile it might be.  Did I use that word enough times?

One more thing about color - I don't want anyone to think that I don't love or appreciate colorfully painted furniture. If you saw my house, you'd know I am not a neutral kind of gal.  But, when it came to selling furniture, I learned to limit my fun with color to the smaller pieces.