Sunday, December 13, 2015

Last Post

The Vintage Show Off blog and Facebook page have been a labor of love.  I enjoyed sharing what I've learned with others trying to find success in this business.  Since my husband was diagnosed with cancer and later died, I have lost my interest in the antiquing business.  My life has turned upside down and I'm finding myself in completely new territory.  I had hoped to keep dabbling here, but I have come to realize that isn't going to work.  I'm simply too busy with other things.

This will be my last post here.  I'll leave the blog posts up and hopefully, they'll continue to help vendors.  Thanks for all the kind words along my journey.  They meant more than anyone will ever know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Booths in One Mall

I've been thinking recently about vendors who have two booths in one mall.  This post is not to debate the pros and cons of doing that, but rather one idea for using those booths.  This idea came to me when thinking about how to help a particular vendor who has recently been troubled by slow sales.

First, for this idea to work, the two booths shouldn't look the same.  The vendor I am thinking of has a booth with all neutrals.  It's very pretty (she's incredibly talented) and she refreshes it often.  Since the look is always neutral, even after something new is brought in, it's not always apparent that things have changed.

Her price point is high for the area.  She brings things in and marks them at the most she thinks she could get.  There are times when the item sells quickly.  There are other times when things sit for months.  Most any vendor could say the same.

After an item sits for awhile, this vendor will do what most vendors do - she marks it down.  The problem is, many customers have already checked out the piece and decided it's more than they can afford.  They have no way of knowing it's been marked down.  If they return to the store, they might glance at the item as they  walk through the store, but they often don't take a new look at the price tag.  They remember it was high.  This vendor doesn't use big tacky sale signs on anything.  To do that in a high end booth is very risky.  Anyway, the item is likely to sit for a good while more, even after it's been marked down.

This vendor has a second booth.  It, too, is all neutrals.  It, too, is high end.  It's very similar in look and feel to her first booth.  That second booth is an opportunity to do something different!

If this were me, I would use the second booth as a spot to re-introduce pieces that haven't sold, in a way that makes them look different and new to the store.  The furniture would stay neutral (no need to paint it), but accessories would be colorful.  In other words, if a piece from the neutral pricey booth didn't sell, then it would be marked to a lower price, moved to booth 2 and redecorated with color so it looks like a brand new item.  I would NOT put a sale sign on it.  I'd make a whole new tag at a lower price as if it's something that has just been brought in.  Even customers who had seen the item would wonder, "Is that the piece I was looking at in the other booth last month?"  They'd take another look at the tag.

Another bonus - if a customer has a colorful style, they might not have been able to envision the piece in their home while it was in the neutral booth. This is another opportunity to attract different customers.

I have said many times to many vendors, "If something doesn't sell in a timely manner, then  make it seem completely different."  If you have two booths, it's a perfect opportunity to keep all of your items looking new and exciting, even when sales are slow.

Bringing color into the second booth doesn't have to be expensive or a major undertaking.  You don't have to use every color under the sun, unless you want to.  Here are some photos that might give you some ideas -

In this photo, items are neutral, but the colorful wall makes a statement.
Found on

With Christmas around the corner, there are all sorts of opportunities to pull in colors.
Found on

You could paint a few medium and small items a favorite color.
Found on

Display crates could be painted an accent color.
Found on

Fabric and plants can always be used to add a touch of color.
Found on

ONE MORE THING - If you don't have a second booth, but find this idea appealing, you might go in with one or two other vendors to share a second booth to use in a similar way.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Best Selling Smalls

Thanks Readers, for all the input for great selling smalls (the "it" smalls that sell no matter what)!  We got some great ideas!!!  For any vendor wanting to know what smalls to try selling, you're sure to find some great ideas here.

Here are the suggestions -

  • Marti@RESCUE REHAB - License plates!!! Maybe just because I am in Alaska, they are extremely popular, easily fit into a tourist's suitcase and I cannot keep them in stock. -  - great idea for those who live in a popular tourist state

  • Sherry@Back2Vintage - I sell lots of vintage children's books (especially Little Golden Books), aprons, wood-handled kitchen utensils and serving pieces like pastry servers and cake knives. 

  • Jennifer Nail - I sell A LOT of cookie cutters and red handled utensils in my Vintage Kitchen booth. In my other booths, small milk glass pieces tend to sell very quickly and wire baskets of all shapes and sizes!  

  • Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures - I sell LOTS of flattened and stamped silverware garden markers (spoons, forks, knives) It's hard to keep them in stock and I always have to make more between shows.  

  • Liz Gant - World globes on a stand. I put one in my booth, turned around to grab a price tag, and a customer already had it in her hand. Quick sale!
    Patricia Lusk Grose added - This was true for me as well. Bought one on Craig's List and felt I may have bought too high- resold and doubled my money within two days.
    Beth Kohn added - Would love to know your sale price.
    Liz Gant answered - Hi Beth. This was a mini globe, shelf size. I found it at a thrift store for $1 and sold for $15.

  • Mona Moore - Handkerchiefs, linens and doilies (but you have to display them on a rack or something, not just throw them in a pile), mason jars with zinc lids, old photos, old yardsticks, interesting old books and ones with pretty covers (I parcel these out, a few at a time, displayed around the booth, not crammed into a bookshelf.).

  • Melanie Tolbert - All the sudden I am having great luck with the old metal cup trees and the wood ones too. I fund pyrex cup and mugs or other interesting old cups. Paint the holders to match the cups and boom. They are gone.
  • Carol Jones Sasser - Small clocks, vintage linens
  • Linda Schlott - Here in western NC, linens,globes on a stand,wire baskets,blue mason jars, aprons, large painted picture frames without the glass,kitchen items all do well. I'm so glad that someone asked this question, I've read the comments and got some great ideas!
  • Lynne Solomon - In florida, old windows, doors architectural pieces, anything rusty metal . Any piece I buy just for display. sugar & creamer sets, butter dishes and silverplate, crocheted or lace tablecloths & doilies.
  • Cindy Jothen - I live in southern Arizona and anything western, cowboy, Indian or southwest (shot glasses, figurines, pictures, wind chimes, nightlight, etc)sells to our snowbirds. Other good selling items are linens (hankies, aprons, placemats) and vintage kitchen items.
  • Karin Evans - Anything wood, I paint it distress it, wax it....., small wood boxes, sometimes I just stencil with a crown, fleur di lis!

  • Charlene Speir Danner - East Alabama: vanity mirror trays, all mirrors, all kinds of trays, wire baskets, white creamer/sugar sets and small crates with mason jars tied with jute ribbon.
  • Kathleen Williams Duffey - Trays, small signs, boxes, small painted wood things, anything birds.
    Kelly Stroble added - Same here. Also framed vintage art printed on book pages.

  • Deborah Brockman - Anything of good quality sells in my area. I look for makers marks and known names. Also silver plate items, tea cups, tea pots, and trays- almost any kind of tray you are using in a display will fly out the door!
  • Leigha Young Burnham - In Georgia I've been selling candlesticks like crazy and pillows....always pillows.
    Barbara Ackerman asked - What kind of candlesticks are you selling...wooden, brass or ceramic?
    Leigha Young Burnham answered - I've sold metal mostly and then recently, really ornate plaster kind. One lady came and bought all from my booth for her daughter's wedding! I had never thought about that....I'm trying to incorporate that idea into my displays.
    Jayne Ann - Right now in my shop it's been lots of sconces, brass candlesticks (not lacquered) and candles 

  • Cindy Bailey - trays. all kinds, painted, wood, vintage, modern. just stage them and they sell.  Kathleen Williams Duffey added - Yep! Same here!
  • Angie Kuhl - Vintage clear glass canisters with cork stoppers. (our shop is frequented by 20-somethings.)
  • Jolene Forrester - Kitschy Salt & Pepper Shakers of animals.
  • Mary Elizabeth Cauthen - I do well with odd dishes, bowls, trays and boxes. Also, sets of dishes from pier one, pottery barn, world market, etc.
  • Alexandra Byk - Blue Mason jars

  • Dana Crowl Schwarting - Distressed frames, architectural finds(like windows) and cloches.
  • Catherine Jesse-Stegeman - anything aqua, turquoise
  • Holly Daigle - Table cloths and metal ice cube trays
  • Sheree Russ - In Michigan it seems to be shaving items (especially old razors), old windows, any old galvanized, one dealer does well with vintage formal dresses, people are asking for chandeliers and even outdoor hanging lights - actually most types of lamps/lighting do well if priced right, and industrial items, even very large pieces are selling well.
  • Sharon Damm - Distressed frames with no glass, rusty items, floral, roosters, birds and clocks. In Selma, Ca.

  • Janet Sears - Ephemera, keys, sewing notions
  • Michelle Grell LaRue - Old books and anything galvanized.
  • Stacy Miller Clark - Bed springs do well too.
  • Cheryl Stead Henderhan - milk glass bud vases, blue canning jars, old books and doilies
  • Marshall Dawn Kutchey - Vintage cookbooks, milk glass, painted frames...
  • Yvonne Bullinger - Jewelry, anything nautical, small home decor & surprisingly linens

  • Tiffany Ervin Steers - In AL & most of southeast, industrial items (old expandable rulers, yard sticks, wooden handled paint brushes, galvanized "anything", oil cans) any architectural (old windows, door knobs, wooden & porcelain castors, hinges, knobs, pulls, etc., anything w/ birds or nests, suitcases/luggage, vintage linens, silver plate
  • Cindy Oplinger McCandlish - Hankies, doilies, buttons, bone China teapots and cup/saucer sets.
  • Brenda Kirtley - Distressed larger size empty frames (no glass)
  • Donna Smith Sita - Nautical, globes, barware, architectural items, jewelry, paintings

  • The Ladybug & Company - Scales: table top or hanging.
  • Jenny Polley Sadler - For me horse anything. .globes, aprons,pyrex, cookbooks,tools man stuff depends on which booth too
  • Sherri Regenscheid - Wood letter painted or decoupaged

  • Spoon Sisters Tiques & Treasures - Advertising memorabilia sells well in our shop.

If you have more ideas, leave a comment on this post!!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Question: Best Selling Smalls

This post is a little different because I'm asking for reader input.  I got a message from Stephanie (of Lovely Retro Renos) saying, " I would love to hear from your fans/readers what are the "it" smalls that no matter what always move in their booth!"

Great idea!

When I first started a booth, Jacque, one of the most successful vendors at the store passed on all sorts of advice to me.  I remember her saying that the smalls were the bread and butter.  They paid the rent.  They gave you a profit.  The big pieces were icing on the cake, but you may have to wait a little for some of those to sell.

Over time I learned that she was right, but there's such an art to finding the balance.  Too many smalls can keep the big pieces from selling.  Not enough smalls and you won't make enough money to make it worthwhile.  The biggest trick with smalls, of course, is finding great smalls that sell and look great.  While those smalls are in your booth, they should look great.


Now here's where you come in.  Think about what sells well for you  (or for others in your mall) and leave a comment.  You can leave the comment here or on the similar post I have on the Vintage Showoff Facebook page.

Next week, I'll put the info together and write a post with the best advice about smalls!