The long answer? Well, that`s why I`m typing this, as in a way my projected 12 month journey in trial and error has already come to a close within 5 months.
My buy-inn has completely paid itself back, and I still have a lot of sets and loose bricks left over. Now, with the whole "BrickLink Youtubers" discussion currently going on on YouTube, which exploded through this video by MandRproductions, the whole swoop life and All the Bags hashtags and the likes is currently a hot theme in the AFOL community.
Well, I must say, that after studying the internet for the past months, I kind of became for more lenient to the haulers. In my early days, I thought them a problem as well, and that a lot of it was overhyped, but now that I dipped a toe in that water, I kind of see the use of well stocked Brick Link stores. I can now imagine how hard it would be to fill inventory otherwise in loose parts, if you would have to rely on fleamarket finds and everything.
Instead, clearing out clearance sales (which, well, are on clearance, so anyone could have long bought the said sets before), scanning over Amazon and looking for local good deals, even from a high price country as Belgium it IS possible to, even though with a lot of effort, with the big discounts in the United States.
Provided you go the loose part route and not the set route. Shipping for a large set is far heavier (and riskier for damage and the complaints) then going to the postal office 26x in a month with one or two padded enveloppes with the parts from those sets. Because almost every element is wanted somewhere it seems.
Now, one thing I learned to be on the look-out for is the Year One Dimensions sets. While we don`t have the 1 dollar clearances the States had in the past month in the .99Cents retail chain, you can often find the sets in toy stores and online for around the 5 euro mark. Considering those still part out to a value of around 11 - 12 euro, that`s a fantastic increase for such a small set, and far higher then what it would be sold for if trying to flip it "in the box".
Add to that the fact that those sets have (in the long term for sure) licensed minifigures compared to the generic City or Friends one, and I feel they are a winner.
Now, don`t get me wrong, parting out, sorting and storing all the sorts of loose elements is a VERY intensive job, and far harder then just putting a heap of boxes in a closet somewhere. And when that order comes with a lot of different parts, you quickly spend an hour or two getting it all together. Nothing comes easy!
But now that I have proven to myself that it is indeed feasible to invest in the little plastic brick and get enough return from it to buy the things you want, I`m concluding this series with this text. I did draw some conclusions though, and those are:
1. Loose parts is work intensive, but on the long term a very good source of turnover.
2. Not every set is easily sellable these days, as production numbers are up and to many people are hoarding at the moment, waiting for EOL and Retirements, but the prices don`t explode at those points as they used to do.
Now think about this: almost EVERY set, when looking at the part out value, gains between half to full price on top of it`s RSP. That is if you paid full price, so without even taking into consideration discounts and the likes. SOME sets appreciate enough after retirement to double, but a lot fall far under their original price. Take the gamble and have to stock sets for at least 2 years? Or pull them open and part them for immediate potential turnover? I know what I picked...
3. Minifigures are great value. Franchised ones are pure gold, no matter how simple or common the figure.
4. Stay away from used sets unless they are TRUE iconic ones, like the big castles, large spaceships and classic Star Wars from the early "fleshy days".
Now, of course none of the above are words carved in stone, and some are already "common knowledge", but I always think that unless you test for something yourself, you don`t ever know if something is actually worth the effort and holds any truths.
For me, as I said, this has been a test to see if what forums like BrickPicker or YouTube channels like Bricks On The Dollar are total bullshit, or even viable outside the United States, and I picked up a lot of good tips and ideas for sure. Some didn`t work here either, but in general, yes, Lego is worth the investing at the moment and has a better rendition then your average savings account since the days of the bank crisis. I`m pretty sure had I continued the experiment, I could indeed have doubled my money over the course of a year, I still had 7 months left to go.
But that has no use, so what will happen now is that I will pull open my remaining sets and such, and BUILD them for this blog and use them in MOCs. Because that is still the core of Lego, all possible profits aside!
Thanks for following this little series, and as always, all comments are appreciated!