Thursday, February 12, 2015

Deja vu businesses

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     What's old can be new again. It happens with every generation when it discovers what went before. Grandma wasn't so old-fashioned after all.

     Small businesses can take advantage of this phenomenon. A deja vu business can have the feel of an antique shop or a collectibles store or an Ebay presence.

     The market for deja vu clothing is limited, but it is nonetheless real and buyers have the money to indulge their passion. Deja vu clothing can also spark the creative juices of designers to produce edgy outfits for today's market.

     Example: Dolly runs a local store that is similar to a thrift shop. She specializes in vintage and antique clothing only. The place is packed with women's and men's clothing and accessories from bygone eras. Dresses, hats, purses and jewelry from the 1920s onward fill the racks and display cases. Remember when men wore Nehru jackets and leisure suits? Customers come from far and near to Dolly's store--teens looking for a new look, designers looking for ideas, theater people looking for period outfits, party goers planning unusual events. Dolly follows today's trends with an eye to the past. When she finds items from the Victorian era, they go up on her website and Ebay.

     Example: James has tapped into the renewed interest in old LPs. You remember those big discs that played at 33-1/3 rpm? Well, there is a growing market for them among people who insist that the quality of sound cannot be matched by today's digital formats. So James opened a shop specializing in LPs made during the 1950s through the 1990s. He has thousands of LPs for sale in all music categories. He also offers stereo systems that can play them. Customers come from all over to his shop to browse and buy. He also has a website and offers LPs on Ebay. 

     Example: Roberto spotted another type of deja vu business. He specializes in repairing and rebuilding old vacuum cleaners, building on his experience that dates back some 50 years. People who know the difference come to Roberto to repair and maintain their old vacuum cleaner. Or new customers come to buy a 30-year old machine. It's because decades ago these machines were made with all metal parts. They don't wear out like the present day vacuum cleaners made with plastic parts. Roberto's shop has no recently made machines.   

     Don't think you must offer only the glitz and glitter of today's technological marvels in that business you love. There is still a market in the older products. 

     Pinball machines, anyone? Juke boxes? Board games and jigsaw puzzles? Old radios and televisions? How about manual typewriters? 

      When people today discover what went on before their time, a market develops. Deja vu businesses crop up all the time to serve that market. Last time I looked, the collectibles market was alive and well. 

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