When starting a sports memorabilia business, one of the biggest obstacles is obtaining a substantial inventory of memorabilia. There are sources of inventory you can use. The first is any personal items that you own. These items can be added to your own inventory for your business. Another option is eBay and other online retailers. Find a few reputable sellers and arrange to purchase large amounts of inventory from them. Inquire from the seller if he will offer a discount if you agree to make purchases on a regular basis. Obtain a list of sports autographing and memorabilia shows where athletes will be signing autographs throughout the country. This list can be found in the Beckett Magazine. Plan on attending these events, as it will be cheaper to get items signed in person than buying them from third-party sources who will include a mark-up percentage in their prices.
Online Store or Traditional Brick and Mortar Store
Decide how you will make your sales in the sports memorabilia business. Will you do all of your business online? If so, you will want to create an eBay account, a Craigslist account and possibly your own e-commerce website online store. The advantages of being online are that you avoid having to pay rent and your overhead for electricity and water is much lower than it would be with a traditional brick and mortar store.
If you wish to open a traditional brick and mortar store, then you will want to choose a location. A good choice is in a shopping center, such as an indoor shopping mall, or a strip center. The rent for strip centers can be more affordable for first time business owners as by definition strip centers do not have an anchor tenant. Anchor tenants tend to bring in the largest number of customers. A brick and mortar store offers the advantage of the store itself being advertising for your business. You will have a sign, and people will know get in touch with you in person if an issue arises that they must contact you about.
Benchmarking is a good way to set your prices. Visit online websites such as eBay, Craigslist, Amazon and sports memorabilia websites to research their pricing of items that are the same or similar to ones that you are selling. This can give you a good baseline for your pricing.
Monitor the demand for certain items from your customers. If you have a brick and mortar store, you might be able to price local team memorabilia slightly higher than online retailers do. This is because you will be dealing with a customer base that has a higher demand level for these items.
When pricing items compared with online retailers, keep in mind if you have a brick and mortar store customers will not need to pay for shipping and handling. This will allow you to price a similar item to one being sold online at a slightly higher price, but still lower than what that item would cost including shipping and handling from the online retailer. As an online retailer, you might want to sell items slightly cheaper than your competition based on the fact that your customer will have to add the shipping and handling cost to his item.
Whenever possible, get a certificate of authenticity for the items you are selling. This verifies that the individual whose signature appears on the item actually signed it. Sometimes along with this, it’s helpful to get a photo of the athlete signing the item for you; this will add credibility and allow you to increase your prices.