Friday, July 4, 2014

Deja vu

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from my lifetime of personal experience founding and operating small businesses.

     What's old can be new again. It happens with every new generation when it discovers what went before.

     Small business can take advantage of this phenomenon. A deja vu business can have the feel of an antique shop. But there is an important difference.

     The market for deja vu clothing items is limited--but it is real. And buyers have the money to feed their interests.

     Example: A local store is similar to a thrift shop, but It specializes in vintage clothing only. The place is packed with women's clothing and accessories from bygone eras. Dresses, hats, purses and jewelry from the decades of the 1920s onward fill the racks and display cases. Some men's clothing is offered--remember the leisure suit or the Nehru jacket? Customers come here on word of mouth--teens looking for a new look, high schoolers needing a certain look for plays and musicals, local theatrical companies, party goers planning unusual events. The owner of the place adds new stock from mom's closet or grandma's attic.

     Example: Another local shop specializes in repairing and selling older appliances. Popular items are older American-made vacuum machines--these used strong metal components, not the flimsy plastic of today. Briskly selling items include reconditioned manual typewriters--youngsters buy these as gifts for grandma or as one-ups with their friends. And an antique mimeograph machine brought top dollar. The owner of this shop has turned his long experience in repairing appliances for owners into something quite different--he now buys the broken appliance, puts it back in tiptop condition, and offers it for sale at prices that will support the business. How about an antique waffle iron? Toaster? Maybe your interests run to pinball machines and juke boxes?

     The deja vu market is alive and well. All sorts of possibilities exist. How about board games and jigsaw puzzles? Extinct electronics like tape recorders and 8-track players. I know a man who collects the tubes from old radios and televisions--and he sells them for handsome prices in the Japanese market. It's a small business, but it supports a family. 

     I've spent a lifetime in small businesses of my own and I've worked with thousands of people in small business--advising, coaching, helping them get to the next level. Free answers to your questions--email me at and put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. Your privacy is always respected.      

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