I received so many questions and comments about the chair in my stories (IG/Facebook) yesterday that I decided to forgo the blog post scheduled for this morning and do a little piece on Facebook Marketplace (FM). That is where I scored this cute vintage French provincial chair. Can you guess how much it cost? $25. Score!
FM can be a wonderful way to find larger items at a lower price because most times people just want to get rid of their “junk”. You know the old saying… One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? That is very true on marketplace! Of course some people price their items like the Queen of England once owned it so you have to be careful. We will talk about that last part in just a bit.
First things first...FM used to be easy peasy. You just typed in what you were looking for in the search bar under the marketplace icon and local items popped up on your screen. With items now eligible for shipping on Facebook, you must click a couple of times to find those local to you or you'll end up with items in California when you live in Georgia. Here is a handy Q&A to assist in finding your way around FM.
OK enough of the logistics. Let's get down to the good stuff! I have purchased some wonderful items on FM over the last few years: quite a few chairs (my obsession), chandeliers, lamps, a coffee table, vintage stone planters and much much more. While there are new items listed in the marketplace, I lean towards the vintage or antique, the chippy, the pieces with character...you know, the yummies! Once I click through to my local goodness, I type in what I am searching for and see what pop ups.
Here is a KEY tip: Just because you know what you are searching for doesn't mean the seller knows what they are offering. For example: let's say you are looking for a blue & white garden stool. You type the description in the search bar and only one item pops up. Don't stop there. Try different combinations of words. blue & white plant stand, oriental seat, blue & white side table or just side table. Chinese porcelain seat. You may find yourself searching through a lot of photos that are not what you want but when you find the one you do, it is so worth it! The great thing about FM is that once you've searched a few times, the algorithm picks up on what you view so your searches are more customized.
Now...you've found the piece you want and it is a steal! Message the seller then and let them know you are interested. If you wait too long on something that is priced to sell, it will not be there when you go back. I even offer to pay for an item upfront if there are multiple people wanting it. Note: I use Facebook pay or Paypal for buyer guarantee. This can give you a leg up on the competition. There have been many times I have saved an item, trying to decide if I need/want it, and when I finally reached out to the seller it had moved to its forever home, which wasn't mine. *sigh*. My philosophy is...if I didn't get it, it wasn't for me. Next!
What if you find a piece you love but you feel the price is too high? You've researched the product (I highly suggest lots of research if you want to purchase a pricer vintage or antique item) and you know what you should pay. This is where good bargaining skills come into play. Most FM sellers expect buyers to negotiate, so many people will price their items higher with wiggle room for those negotiations. Depending on the mark-up, I normally offer 10-20% less. All they can say is no so it doesn't hurt to ask.
Remember the Queen of England reference earlier? Well here we go...
There are also items that are ridiculously priced and you will never purchase them for what you would like. Again, this is where good research comes in and these are also instances where the seller doesn't know the product. Let's take a look at the two chinoiserie items below: The jar on the left is 26" high and is sold with a stand. Asking price $175. YES! (It is in Northport, AL if anyone is interested). The jar on the right is 16" high and $500. NO! Both are beautiful and vintage but not antique. With import pieces, most aren't trying to price gouge. They see an old chinoiserie jar and assume it’s supposed to be expensive.
Note: I would still send an offer of at least 10% less on the 26" beauty!
Last but most certainly not least...after you agree to buy an item, meet in a public place for pick-up/drop-off! Unless you have a number of mutual friends with a seller and one of those friends can verify the person you are meeting, opt for the Home Depot or Trader Joe's parking lot. If they insist you pick it up where they are, take someone with you! You can't be too careful and we don't want anything to happen to our friends. Safety first and that includes a mask for now.
Go hunt and have fun. It can be addicting if you find some good pieces. If I can answer any other questions please let me know. In the meantime, I would love to hear about your scores from FM and maybe the ones that got away. I've only had one regret and that was a pagoda mirror. It was big and beautiful and I kept debating and lost it! That one hurt my soul...but not for me. Right? That's what I kept telling myself through the tears. ;)
Have a wonderful week gorgeous people! XO Jennifer