Aha! You likely supposed this thread was going to be about the much-derided but wildly successful (for investors) Delorean Ideas set. You couldn't be more wrong, even if you were wiping out polybag stocks across entire retail shelves. Granted, the example given might fall more under 'moral' wrongs, and doesn't fit this example well, but here we are. We might as well get used to tenuously related metaphors and similes, as I just used my best one above and it goes downhill from here.
Wait – I was trying to get to something important there, before you derailed my train of thought with your insistence that you could be more wrong and in so many more appropriate ways. Concerns noted. If you'll allow me, I'd like to introduce yet another potentially recurring feature: Time travel back in time and tell my younger Veegs-self what I've learned about life, love and plastic bricks.
In this post I'd like to talk about exclusives, in particular modulars and Ultimate Collector Series Star Wars sets. When I first started investing Fire Brigades were widely available with a limit of 99 at Shop at Home and the thought of being banned for buying too much of an addictive and profitable toy wasn't even a twinkle in eye of the CEO of Banhammers at TLG. My younger self bought Fire Brigades. I also bought some UCS Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighters at MSRP. (I later got some 50% off from ToysRUs Canada, which was a much wiser investment). I adored the, sometimes hefted them to appreciate their size and weight, but mostly they just sat there. I didn't have enough to start selling them off for small gains (if I had double digits, perhaps I would have let a couple go at every price bump over MSRP) because I'm stubborn and because the forums preach patience and dumping retiring/retired sets to invest in currently available sets which I would then have to hold even longer seemed unpalatable.
This is in no way hating on UCS sets or modulars in any way. My issue was, as a new investor, I got caught up in some EOL hype (well, I use the term hype loosely, as the forums were a little quieter back then) and put more than half of my capital in these two sets. True story, I still have one of each. So what was the problem? It turned out that EOL chatter wasn't on point (more seasoned now, I grin every time someone posts about surefire news of retirements from Lego employees or gut feelings or because the set number got burned into their toast that morning) and my capital sat around for quite some time. That is definitely part of whole 'investing' thing, and I get that, but as new investors now should they really be plowing their cash into the Pet Store? I'm here to talk about why that is perhaps not the optimal way to scale up their – or your - enterprise, unless you have a heck of a lot more capital than I did starting out (a few thousand Canadian dollars which could nab you a Chima Speedorz at MSRP on a good day). If that is the case, just do the Emazers and buy double digits of every set over $100 and chill.
What I did have success with was buying the biggest set of a couple themes close to retirement and managed to turn those around very quickly (Black Pearls, Queen Anne, Public Transport, etc). I also was able to grab a few of the $20-25 sets (I still love you, Friends Butterfly Beauty Salon!) that looked promising and turned those around, too. Not only that, but I spent quite a bit of time trolling stores looking for clearance sets and Polly. She is a bit plastic-y for some, but when she has a low buy-in it is hard not to make some money off her. It helped me get to Powerseller status on ebay, taught me a heck of a lot about regularly listing, packing and shipping sets as well as getting regular deposits into my paypal account, which really motivated me to keep on keeping on.
Bottom line, if I could go back in time I probably would have advised a younger (handsomer, obviously) me to get just one Fire Brigade for the personal stash but put more money/time/effort into sets that could be turned around in 12-18 months, max. I'd also tell him to research polybags a little more, because finding some of the more profitable ones requires luck, true, but also sometimes a little perseverance. I'd also tell him to embrace the style of a QFLL (Quick Flipping Low Life for those new to Brickpicker) on these polybags and buy the good ones en masse. If you get flamed for it from non-investing civilians, consider it a badge of honor....okay, fine, leave a couple on the shelf if it helps you sleep better, but try to find a way to get selling sooner rather than later. Having sold well over a hundred Zombie Coffin Cars, I can honestly tell you I wish I had someone purchased ten thousand of them, or more. I'm that confident they would eventually all find buyers.
So where does that leave you, confused reader? If you are new to Brickpicker you will read a lot of threads and witness a lot a people boasting about buying xx amount of set xx, and how much they are loving it (without knowing what 'it' is, sometimes). Ignore those posters and do some research to make some educated guesses (nothing is certain, but educated guesses seem better than throwing darts at the Shop at Home theme screen and buying based on that method). I don't want to come out and tell anyone what to invest in, but I do think a beginner is better served without tying up capital in huge (hoarded?) sets and getting inventory that can move a little faster, on average. Perhaps, like, 88 mph?