Upon embarking on this quest for an organization to represent in this final case study, it was suggested to me that I write about my business Value Vintage Fun (VVF). VVF is a small yet significant business that I have owned and operated in essence since 1991. It all started as a casual dinner comment from a friend visiting from Tokyo who suggested that I sell my collection of Anchor Hocking Fire King coffee mugs from the 1950’s; the Japanese market would be crazy for them, especially in Fire-King Cafes! To that end she connected me with an antique dealer in Tokyo. I used a fax machine as a method of receiving orders. My payments were sent by regular post. I sometimes think back to those days and wonder how social media may have first-handedly impacted the business back then. I have since witnessed many changes in technology and consumer attitudes on items that were once labelled old and dated to now being valued as retro and vintage.
“Young consumers, many of whom have become disenfranchised by mass-produced, poorly made, and disposable off-shore products, have lately found a romance in owning something from their granny’s past. In essence, they’ve found an emotional attachment to an era that many did not live through but have a fondness or curiosity for that was more organic and simplified. This era was not so long ago and these consumers have a passion or wearing fringed leather jackets, owning turntable discovering music on vinyl, using a rotary phone, and mixing cookie dough in colourful utility bowls made by Pyrex. “ – Carol M. VVF Partner
The value of social media resources has been a game changer in expanding VVF market presence and can be best described by the routine challenges VVF faced in creating market awareness before the advent of social media: 50% of all sales were driven though time-consuming and laborious weekend outdoor antique/vintage shows.
In February 2013, the VVF Facebook page was re-branded and launched.
Value Vintage Fun is now primarily an online business but maintains stalls in the multi-vendor Freelton Antique Mall. 70% of VVF’s sales are presently driven online. 80% of this 70% sales are through the VFF Facebook page and various Facebook product-specific selling groups. 20% is equally split between Instagram and eBay.
Since opening the Facebook page in February 2013 VVF has organically grown:
- Followers 5085
- Weekly Reach 10,800
- Weekly Engagement 7400
The VVF Facebook page is our hub for sales, communication and fun commentary.
We use 3rd party apps like Survey Monkey to get a sense of product trends from our followers.
A click-to-join mailing list situated on our page is linked to a Mail Chimp account on which we manage two email lists. One email list contains 543 local subscribers that are within a 2 hour driving time from Hamilton, Ontario. The second list contains all 1754 subscribers. We use email sparingly and only send out notifications for specials and flash sales on our Facebook page. Our local list is used to send invitations, VIP passes, or discounted ticket coupons for shows that we will be in.
Facebook gives us a way to respond to friends who have commented about the stresses of downsizing their elderly family members. We share tips and network our strategic business partners from junk removal services and furnace repairs to real estate agents and similar professionals. Our networking efforts usually return in kind with a new consignment client every few months. VVF is still a part-time and yet sustainable and lucrative small business with minimum over-head costs.
“Vintage” has now become a movement: a by-product of the millions of war-era couples and first generation baby boomers that “downsized” their homes to meet the space restrictions of retirement and senior’s homes.
Plans for 2017… we are looking forward to launching a series of fun Facebook LIVE events, and increase our Instagram presence. We are also investigating opportunities to participate in a virtual trade-show.
Lessons for Others
Starting and growing a small business requires the huge factors of time and money. One has to be aware of effective time management and avoiding physical burn-out. Running any enterprise today needs a mechanism that links together all the moving parts of a business. Social Media when used properly and linked to segments of a business is one of the best tools to use. The question lies: Can you as a business owner today afford not to use Social Media if even just for a few of it’s uses?
Value Vintage Fun
Industry: Online Retail
Name of Organization Contact: Carina Fato
Authored by: Carina Fato
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Interactive Intelligence to Host “How Millennials are Changing the Definition of Customer Care” Virtual Tradeshow – Business Wire Christine Holley Senior Director, Market Communications
The Rise of Vintage Fashion and the Vintage Consumer– Tracy Diane Cassidy & Hannah Rose Bennett 27 Apr 2015
Find the upside to downsizing a lifetime of treasures – ANGELA KRYHUL ,Special to The Globe and Mail Published