I just turned thirty, in the prime of life, on the fast track, and ready to take on the world, at least I thought. I worked at a call center, in a supervisory position, handling reservation bookings for a large hotel chain. With a strong work ethic, and being a responsible person, I took pride managing employees, who took orders, responding to issues, and confirming arrival dates.
The company I worked for was looking to down-size, which would affect three call centers across the country. As it turned out, I was laid off. Anyone who’s been let go or terminated, knows the numb feeling, self worthlessness and shock, especially with no warning given.
One day my brother and I were talking on the phone about my new “situation” in life. He told me that on the weekends, he and his wife started selling hobby tools and magnifiers at a large swap meet. He does quite well and considering selling these items on a full time basis, and retiring from his regular job. He invited me to fly out to California to view his set up, and see first hand what the heck he was selling. With nothing to lose, I jumped on a plane and was California bound. I couldn’t wait to spend time with my brother and catch up!
A day or two after my arrival, he took me to the local swap meet, his wife was already at the booth, selling to an enormous crowd of people. I saw what all these folks were lined up for, buying all kinds of hobby tools and magnifiers! I will say that this swap meet was a busy one, but proportionally speaking, their booth had a significant amount of customers compared to other booths around them.
When the weekend event was over, and on that Sunday night, the three of us were talking about this lucrative business. They started selling these products around six or seven months ago. Business at first was so-so. The people who walked by the booth, were the same folks that went to the swap meet every week. But as it turned out, many of those same local people turned into regular customers. My brother and his wife eventually were known as the tool and magnifier couple. Also, since the swap meet is in close proximity to some tourist destinations, vacationers commonly enjoy attending this fine swap meet.
I then had to ask a big important question, how much money do you guys make? Without hesitation, they gave me a ‘’it depends’’ answer. On a slow weekend they make around nine hundred in sales, and for a busy one, approximately sixteen hundred. I was quite impressed with what I heard.
Another important question came to mind, can’t people just find these items online and skip going to a swap meet to find them? My brother’s wife said, “Sure they can and many do, but there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people in the local area alone….when they come to our booth, they can touch, feel, and pick up the product before buying it…you saw this weekend, the many types of hobby tools and magnifiers we have on hand.” She also pointed out that people like to get out of the house on the weekend, load up the kids and head for the swap meet, which is another reason to buy products there, instead of online.
I had another question on my mind, don’t the big box craft stores carry all these items? My brother replied, “ You will in fact see these items in these stores, but in all honesty, what they do carry can be quite limited…if you don’t believe me, lets go to one and see for yourself.”
These hobby tools and magnifiers are not just any kinds of items, these products never go out of style. There are hundreds of uses for crafts, jewelry making, model building, artwork, tool shop work, all kinds of general repairs, professional use, and many other uses! These hobby tools consist of tweezers, hemostats, surgical scissors, dental picks, rotary tools, clamps, pliers, craft scissors, barber scissors, sewing scissors, wholesale craft tools, wholesale hobby tools, bandage scissors, and other types. Magnifiers consist of lighted hand held types, jewelers loupes, desk magnifier lamps, pocket magnifiers, and hands free magnifiers.
I was truly impressed with what I heard. After my brother suggested that I should sell these same products back home, I knew it was time for some soul searching. It was a short search! After they gave me a few do’s and don’ts, and various other pointers, they told me to get in touch with their supplier: Precision Products Co., Inc. of Mooresville, North Carolina.
Back home in Texas, I’ve been selling hobby tools and magnifiers for almost two months at a busy flea market. Some refer to flea markets as swap meets. I’m quite pleased with how the sales have been. Buying habits are the same everywhere, with sales just as strong here in Texas, as I saw in California. It was a great feeling, no boss, no pressure, just working for myself, and enjoying what I do!
A gentleman who buys from me, said that I should look into selling at gun and craft shows in the area. They’re always teeming with customers who need these items. I told him, “Hey you aren’t kidding, it seems like where ever there’s people, you WILL sell these products.”
I’m still looking for a week-day job, but if I can expand this business of selling hobby tools and magnifiers, I’m happy and content. Who knows, I might quit job hunting all together and open up a second location at another flea market instead. There’s all kinds of options for me. And I must say, there’s absolutely nothing like being your own boss! That trip to California to visit my brother and his wife really paid off. It changed my course in life in such a positive way.