Being A Self Employed Antiques Dealer - My 2021 Review

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Well, hello there, a very merry Christmas to you all! Welcome to the final 'Blog Post Monday' of 2021.

I thought I'd finish off this year by having a bit of a recap of what I've achieved over the course of this year.  Another year on as a self employed antiques dealer.  I'll be sharing some of my highs, as well as some of my lows, in what I hope you'll find to be an honest and personal account of my life as a self employed person or more specifically, an antiques dealer.

I'm truly thankful to every single person who has bought from me, read my blog, watched my YouTube channel, shared something of mine or even offered some words of encouragement or advice. Without your support Source Vintage just wouldn't exist and I wouldn't be living out my dream of being an antiques dealer.

So, as always, get that kettle on and sit back as I invite you into my world of antiques and self employment...



Now, some of you may already know that the Covid pandemic has had quite a dramatic impact on my life.  I had been dealing antiques for a few years alongside a job at an antiques centre, however, I knew that once Covid struck first, back in January 2020, the high street would suffer and jobs would be on the line, mine included.  So, I decided to put all my energy into starting out in full-time self employment and began building a small business of my own.  Source Vintage was born.



It's safe to say that whilst it has been the best decision of my life, self employment does take some getting used to.  I guess, ideally, when you start a business, you have some funds behind you to help get you started and to act as a bit of a safety net.  Well, ol' muggins here went all in with nothing, so you could say it's been an anxiety ridden ride!



However, I think that when you love something and are so passionate about it, you find levels that perhaps you didn't ordinarily know you could reach.  You have a determination to make it work, no matter how precarious things might get.  You hustle, and hustle hard, because you have too. 

I've had my good months and I've had my very good months, but I've also had some bad months and it's during these months that the doubt begins to creep in.  Imposter syndrome, I'm sure we've all experienced it at one time or another.  You start believing that you aren't good enough, you don't know enough and at really low points, you come very close to throwing in the towel.  But no matter how twitchy my bottom gets, it always come good! 



For me, the money I earn from antiques pays my rent and bills, I put some into savings to cover end of year taxes and then there is some left to buy new stock and other business materials.  I'm at the stage now where I want to grow my business.  Unfortunately, that means making difficult decisions in the short term for, hopefully, a greater level of financial security in the long term.  What I've come to very quickly realise during this year is that in order to grow, the sacrifices I need to make will unfortunately be around my social life.  Holidays abroad, nights out partying, dinners, you get the idea...!  I'm not saying I won't be able to do any of that, it just means I won't be able to do too much of it, so I will have to say 'no' more often.



Nevertheless, during 2021, my second year of trading, I've seen good progression.  Not only in the consistency of my sales, but in lots of other areas too.  I'm heading into 2022 in a positive position, but I'm still only in year two of trading, albeit heading into year three in April, and things take time.  I'm constantly thinking about what I can do next.  I have some good ideas, like this blog for one, but I also have some stinkers and that's what it's all about, trial and error.  It's the only way to find out what works.  Don't be afraid to try new things.



Which brings me on nicely to my YouTube channel.  I started this, after some convincing from my Wife, and I'm glad I did.  Whilst it's not breaking any viewing or subscribing records, it's giving me another potential sales avenue, another networking tool and another platform to embarrass myself on!  Do people enjoy watching it...?  I don't know.  Do I enjoy making the videos...?  Yes, I do!  And, for me, that's the most important thing.  Anything else that comes after that is a bonus!

So, I say thank you to 2021 (and my Wife) for giving me the courage to start a YouTube channel, which has been one of my top personal achievements of the year.  Purely because I'd never had the confidence to do something like this before.  I have big plans for this channel so watch this space!



Similarly, with my Instagram stories.  Confidence has always been a bit of an issue with me, however, upon casually starting to vlog my weekly Saturday morning visit to York car boot sale, I began to receive messages of support from people who really enjoyed them.  I was somewhat surprised, but nevertheless, this gave me the encouragement to continue with them and I even started enjoying it myself.  Now, with the boot sale season over, I have to admit that I'm kind of missing it!  Roll on the 2022 season!



And, linking in with my blog, my YouTube and my Instagram, I have not only received messages of support from people who say they really enjoy them, but I've also had people coming up to me in shops, at fairs and at car boot sales, asking if I'm Source Vintage and telling me that they follow everything that I do and that they really enjoy it.  I can't begin to tell you how much this means to me.  It really does gives me the encouragement and the belief to carry on and the confidence to try new things.  So, a massive thank you to everyone who has read my blog, watched my YouTube channel or seen me being a Wally on a Saturday morning at York car boot sale, it means the world to me!



Another highlight of 2021 was my Instagram live chat with Adi Higham from BBC1 show the Bidding Room.  He'd kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog, not once, but twice, and in return, to my surprise, he asked if I'd like to take part in an Instagram live chat on his channel.  It was very kind of him and it was a great laugh, I'm so pleased I did it!  I think this whole experience has taught me not to be afraid to ask people for help and advice, no matter how famous they are.  Everyone started from somewhere and likely needed a little help along the way.

If you missed it, I've actually added it to my YouTube channel, so you can watch it here



Something that will forever be a highlight is the super special pieces I find and 2021 has been a year full of them!  I won't go into too much detail on this, as a lot of you will be sick and tired of hearing about them.  But, just a quick mention of my top five finds for the year.  They are as follows:



The Victorian glass tumbler, etched by Naturalist, William Pennington Cocks (of course!)



The leather cigar case of militaria interest, dating from 1891, personalised by a W. Francis with all of his service postings between 1891 to 1904.



The set of carved stone trench art pieces from the WW1 Gallipoli campaigns.



The stunningly beautiful and very rare miniature novelty treen sovereign purse in the form of a a bag c.1900.



The fascinating piece of antique maritime fishing sailor art, engraved with the wording "The Star 1803" and accompanied by images of a boat, a star and spears.



All in all, 2021 has been a positive year for me.  I've continued my journey in self employment, I've seen growth and consistency, I've tried things that I thought I never would, I've succeeded with some and failed with others, I've made many new contacts in the trade and some who have become friends, I've got my face on t-shirts, sweaters and bags (what am I thinking?!) and I'm heading into the new year full of excitement and optimism.

I'd like to say a massive thank you once again to all of you who have interacted with me or my business over the past twelve months, whether that's buying from me, me buying from you, reading my blog posts, watching my YouTube videos, sharing something or giving me words of encouragement or advice, you will never truly know how much it means to me.  Without your support, little ol' Source Vintage, quite simply, wouldn't be here.


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So, here's wishing you a safe and enjoyable Christmas with your friends and loved ones, and I hope that you all get plenty of antiques in your stockings! See you on the other side! 

Remember, if you enjoy my posts, please show your support by subscribing to my 'Source Social' membership, which you can do via the 'Home' page.  It's free and gives you a weekly blog post and a fortnightly YouTube video delivered directly to your inbox, as well as exclusive discounts and first dibs on new items before they are added to our website.

And, speaking of my YouTube channel, if you're into antiques and haven't seen any of my videos yet, you can find them HERE.  Head on over and subscribe to that too for your dose of finds, fairs, stories and reviews.

So, until next week, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!




Owner Source Vintage

Shop from Source Vintage here

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  • Gregory Peeper on

    Having also started a business on a shoestring – motorcycle repair- back in 1986, I can sympathize with your occasional feelings of inadequacy and the various ups and downs of self employment. It is comparable to raising a child: seven days a week, 10 to 14 hour days. I was quite successful until the 2008 downturn, where I clung too long, when I should have folded and tried something else. You will rise to the occasion just fine. However, also be sure you’re hopes and dreams are grounded in reality.

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