You may not have noticed one the hottest new trends in reality shows to come along if you are not a watcher of reality shows in general or home decorating shows specifically. It’s all about the yard sale. Turn on your cable TV, surf through the channels and you will find everyone from Lance Bass to one of those “Dancing with the Stars” shills from “Good Morning America” treating you to the wonderful world of using yard sales to make money by buying on the cheap, upcycling, and selling on the high end.
These yard sale shows all make for fabulously inspirational motivation to wake up early this weekend, pack some cash, buy some old stuff and upcycle it for selling at your own yard sale. Or at the flea market. Or wherever. Probably a good idea if you have a flair for taking something like a trumpet and transforming it with some of that spray paint that makes surfaces look like a rock and electric wiring to create a really cool lamp you can sell for twice or thrive what you paid for it. But what if you don’t have a flair for decorating?
Are you the owner or employee of a local sign company? Or are you a talented artist looking to make some money to help pay your way through design school? Or do you have dreams of one day getting into the lucrative world of advertising art? Okay, let’s get honest for a second. Doesn’t a very tiny part of you die every time you to drive past an intersection and see one of those hand-drawn signs advertising a yard sale? The sign itself is too small, the words are barely legible even if you have 20/20 vision and utter nonsense to the bulk of the older demographic to which yard sale signs are targeted and you can interpret the actual address of the yard sale only if you drive past the sign two or three times really, really slow.
Do you want to know how most people who made any money following the Gold Rush to any location in the great American west did it? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t by panning for gold. No, it was by selling tools and gear and food and other various assorted essentials to those who were chasing their riches in the streams near Sutter’s Mill or the Klondike. The wealth of TV shows showing how to make ridiculously easy money by cashing in on yard sales could be your key to following in that great tradition of not mining for gold, but selling miners the picks and jeans they needed to mine for gold. A tradition that has come to be known as the Pick-and-Shovel Play.
Clearly the business of professional signs for yard sales represents a unique customer segment to an existing sign company or even just guy sitting in a room armed with an abundance of untapped sign-making talent and no easily obtainable way to tap that talent. The problem with yard sale signage as it currently exists is one primarily of disrespect. Yard sale signs are a fleeting thing appealing to a customer that already has the urge to stop by. But, of course, you yard sale customers can only stop by if they know the sale is taking place.
So you have to ask yourself a few questions. Are you someone willing to put in the speculation work for little money at first to create yard sale signs that get noticed? Are you willing to do the non-artistic work required to compile the hard data t hat can factually prove that it is your customized signs that have significantly improve d traffic to yard sales ? If you can honestly answer yes to those questions, then you need to realize that yard sales have always been popular and will always be popular, but that popularity i s sure to follow in the tradition of storage locker auctions. Since “Storage Wars” took off on the A&E network, the number of people showing up at local storage auctions has increased . TV has a way of making things you never cared about before suddenly seem to be something you can’t live without. Especially if the opportunity to get rich is involved.
But the TV shows about yard sales won’t be popular forever. And the market for selling effective yard sale signs will experience a similar reduction in popularity. Unlike storage auctions, however, yard sales were already big business among the masses before TV got involved. The point being that it is just possible that this unique ly untapped and undervalued opportunity for making money is especially ripe right now as the competition among local yard sales heats up thanks to the interest generated by reality show.