A Unique Interview with an Online Collectibles Expert

Monique Hawkins

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There are many collectible enthusiasts. Some collectibles that people enjoy collecting include music boxes, glassware, vintage pottery, limited edition pieces, antiques, antique model cars, and NASCAR collectibles to name a few.

Some enjoy collecting so much that they choose to start their own business, which is exactly what Nancy of nancyscollectibles.com has done. A love for glassware, pottery, and limited edition pieces resulted in her starting her own website. I recently did an interview with Nancy about her collectible business. Let's listen in and get a behind the scenes look into what it is like to run an online collectible business.

1. Could you describe your online and offline business operations, your services and/or products in detail? My business is a one-person operation. On a weekly basis, I scour estate sales, yard sales, and sometimes auctions for new inventory. I take pictures of everything purchased and add them to my site. Most of the items are either antique or limited edition pieces.

2. What made you decide to start a business specializing in collectibles? What was your inspiration or motivation? I have always liked glassware, pottery, and limited edition pieces. I have collections of many types of things, some of which is California pottery by Kay Finch, Geisha Girl porcelain, Sabino figurines, depression glassware, Belleek porcelain, teapots, and chintz porcelain. My husband and I started going to live auctions several years ago for our personal wants and ended up with a lot of things that I knew I could sell on eBay. I sold on eBay for about 2 years and decided that I could do better with my own website, which is what I did.

3. What have been your major challenges/obstacles over the years? How did you overcome them? Knowing what to buy, how much to pay for it, and what to sell it for. I obtained several books for researching and lots of studying what others were buying, selling, and charging. Also, just experience. I still have some of my mistakes!

4. What specific types of online or offline marketing tools are you using successfully? I always have my business cards with me. Every opportunity I am given, I talk about my business to friends, relatives, or acquaintances. I have my monthly newsletter, which I hope is informative enough for my subscribers and light enough for them to enjoy, as well as learn. Also, hope that other sites pick it up and add a link to it on their sites. I have a link to my site on all my emails. Occasionally, I sell on eBay and have a page with a link to my site there. I have submitted my site to many directories.

5. Have you always envisioned yourselves doing what you are doing now? Has it always been a passion? What did you “want to be when you grew up"? I have always been a social person, but never saw myself as an owner of a website. My passion was collecting, not selling. I worked in an office for many years before I became a mother. Since then I have been a stay-at-home mom to my two sons. They were my passion and still are to some extent, but they are both grown now. My site has now become my passion.

6. What if your least favorite part of running your business? Your favorite part? My least favorite part is the bookkeeping part; it's very tedious and time consuming. My favorite part is finding the treasures and also helping someone find a lost or broken piece that may have been a family heirloom or just a childhood memory.

7. What are some of your favorite collectible pieces and why? Of all my personal collectibles, I would say my favorite is my chintz porcelain.

8. Is there any interesting history associated with some of your pieces? I have some pottery bowls that I have inherited from my grandmother. I have yet to identify the maker of them, but they bring back memories of my childhood when I spent time with her. Its probably not interesting history to anyone, but myself.

9. What important advice or tips would you give to someone who would like to start a business such as yours either online or offline? Start a business doing something you like! Do your research on how well that type of business is doing by others. Start small and slow.

10. For those antique and music box collectors looking to find valuable and interesting pieces for their own collections, where would you suggest they go either online or offline? How about those who are just starting a collection? You have more to select from online. More than likely on one of the online auctions. If you like adventure, go to estate sales, garage/yard sales, and live auctions.

I hope you have enjoyed this look into the world of owning an online collectibles store.

Established in May of 2005, http://www.My-Music-Box.com is a music box gift store specializing in music box products such as inlaid ballerina music boxes for ballerina rooms décor, whimsical carousel music boxes, and musical jewelry boxes. The company provides interesting information for music lovers of all ages. Owner Monique Hawkins is also the author of the blog “What You Never Knew About Music" http://whatyouneverknewaboutmusic.blogspot.com , and owner of the eBay store “Monique's Music Box" at: http://stores.ebay.com/Moniques-Music-Box Monique can be contacted at (540) 858-2885.


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