We are Rob & Karen Baron aka The Bargain Barons. Middle-aged Canadian kid-ults who LOVE to go to garage sales, yard sales, and estate sales hunting for antiques and collectibles for pennies on the dollar! We are hilarious and knowledgeable and although we’ve been doing this for close to twenty years now, we only started vlogging our adventures in 2017.
Karen is the real antiques, jewelry, and collectible expert, and she has a talent for finding amazing treasures at rock bottom prices. We have a home filled with rare and valuable Victorian antiques purchased at sales right in our own hometown of Regina SK, Canada.
Tour our home:
Our vlog not only documents how and where we are able to find these incredible treasures, but it also teaches others how to do the same!
Our channel name is a play on words and our last name, and works on multiple levels, as we are the King and Queen of garage sales, the Barons of the Bargain, if you will.
When we first met, Karen would always love going to garage sales on the weekends. At first, we would just look for anything we thought was neat or cool. We were both antique fans at the time, but each owned 1970’s bungalow-style houses which just weren’t conducive to showing off 100-year-old antiquities. As we started collecting, however, we decided to purchase an old Victorian-style house, which we did in 2011. Since then, antique collecting has exploded.
Every Monday I would arrive at work with a new story of some amazing finds we made the previous weekend. One day, my boss asked me “Rob, why aren’t you documenting this? You should bring a camera with you and throw it on YouTube or something!” Genius.
I had no experience making videos. I wasn’t even an avid YouTube viewer, but I knew my boss was right. My wife had a skill that needed to be shared with the world. I hit eBay, and won some used GoPro cameras at auction, and made our first video in the spring of 2017. We’ve been taking our audience with us to local sales and antique shops ever since!
Our vlog is essentially just that, a video log of what we did that day. We don’t go out with much of a plan except for the list of sales we want to hit that day.
We have had times where there were no sales to film (such as during winter, or COVID). In those instances, we would film home projects related to our main activity (antiquing / thrifting/decor). We have a home tour video that tours our entire house and shows you what we’ve done with a lot of our purchases in past Vlogs. We have also created Project Vlog videos where Karen will refinish an old piece of furniture or make repairs to broken furniture. We have also filmed segments we’ve called “Karen’s Korner” where Karen will find a special item in our house and talk about where we bought it, what it is, how old it is, what it was for, and how much it is worth now.
I am still using the used GoPro cameras I bought in 2017. We have since added wireless microphones by RODE (rode link) to enhance the audio of our live vlogging.
As a first-time video editor, I was intimidated by video editing programs such as Adobe, so I found a great and easy to use an editor called Wondershare Filmora. It was so simple yet powerful, I was able to publish a professional-quality video within a day of first seeing it.
I also pay a small monthly fee to use professional music in my vlogs from Epidemic Sound. Quality music is absolutely worth it, and Epidemic Sound allows me to monetize all my videos without the need to credit anyone. Never worry about a copyright strike.
How I make my videos:
We use Instagram and Facebook to connect with our audience outside of YouTube, and we use them differently:
On Instagram, we post finds BEFORE they make it to the vlog! This entices viewers to keep checking our Instagram feed to see what new items are coming up on the vlog soon!
We use Facebook as a space to chat with our viewers, as well as post links to every new video we release. This way viewers don’t have to rely solely on YouTube’s buggy notification system to tell them when we’ve released a new video.
My main fear starting out was, I’m walking into people’s yards and garages with a camera, and without asking. Even though I knew I wasn’t breaking any laws, it was terrifying at first. What I found though, is many people were very receptive and even wanted to be on the vlog. Others didn’t even notice the camera.
Our second fear was online retribution from trolls or generally negative people. At first, it’s tough not to take negative comments personally. But what you have to remember is, when you put yourself out there for others to see, there will ALWAYS be someone who gets their kicks from stepping on others. For every one of these people, you’ll have hundreds of lifting you up. Listen to those people, they are the ones who matter.
For our first year, I was still learning the process. Learning how to edit, and learning what a YouTube video should be. We started the channel and our Facebook page, and I released 1 video per week, every Thursday. We ended our first year with close to 1500 subscribers. For year two, I decided I had learned a little and could probably pump out 2 videos per week from our weekend escapades. I started releasing 2 videos per week, every Thursday and Friday. We also started our Instagram account. By the end of year 2, we had gained another 2500 subscribers and we’re now at 4000 subscribers.
For year three, I was ready to go all-out. My absolute favorite YouTube vlogger, Casey Neistat says if you want a million subscribers, you have to vlog daily. I pushed myself, and in our third year, we released 5 videos per week, Monday through Friday. We gained 8000 more subscribers by the end of year 3 for a total of 12000 subscribers.
The best advice I can give is...
Get your story out there. All you NEED is your phone, and an internet connection. That’s it. You don’t need a fancy computer or editing software. Your story is what matters most.
Your audience will come with time and persistence, so keep at it. Don’t quit just because you aren’t famous after a month. 99% of YouTubers worked for years and years before YOU heard of them. We didn’t start at 5k or 10k views per day. I remember being excited when we’d get 100 views per video!
We still work regular day jobs. This is our weekend hobby, our passion, and hopefully our full-time job someday. For now, we are busy 7 days per week - working full time for an employer Mon-Fri and filming and editing all weekend during the spring and summer months.
A big moment for us was appearing on the national news for a potentially AMAZING antique find.
The most memorable milestone was getting our first 1000 subscribers. The next most memorable milestone was being approved for monetization on YouTube after over a year of consistent weekly videos. Back in September of 2019, one of our videos (ep. 250) took off for views and we were consistently receiving close to 100 new subscribers daily for over a month. All these things, these milestones, make it exciting and addictive and keep us motivated to keep going!
We have only just started promoting our brand through channel merchandise, selling on the Teespring platform. Teespring is nice because of its drop-ship style service. We do not need to print or order products ahead of time. Teespring prints products as our viewers order it and ship it directly to our viewers’ homes. They take their cut and send us ours. There are no other fees to operate a Teespring store. We highly recommend it.
I ended up using the opportunity to VLOG about it. I hired some artists on Fiverr to make channel merch for us to sell on Teepsring and made a video about it.
Facebook is a great way to allow viewers to share your video content with each other. We find lots of our followers will share or comment on their favorite videos, on both the YouTube and Facebook platforms.
We have been approached several times but so far have declined to promote sponsored brands or products on our channel. I actually feel this is an excellent way to earn extra revenue. But because of time constraints due to having a fulltime job, I have decided I cannot yet spend the time necessary to give a proper product review or promotion. I hope to be able to feel comfortable enough to accept one of these offers soon.