Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My New Booth - Part Two

In the previous post I shared the news that I was going to have a booth again.  I also showed before photos of the booth I chose.  Today, the 3 main large pieces were moved in and I was able to make it look "like a booth", if you know what I mean.

I hope everyone's expectations aren't crazy high since I write a blog devoted to tips for making booths great.  If you've read much of my blog, you may remember the post where I pointed out that beauty isn't the most important priority in a successful booth.  Don't get me wrong.  A beautiful booth is wonderful, but there has to be substance in it - namely things people want to buy at prices that are not over the tipping point.  So, even though my booth is not the most memorable and won't likely be an inspiration photo for this blog, I am feeling pretty happy with it.

Here's the booth as you move towards it.  You can actually approach from two slightly different paths, so I have two money walls.  The hutch is my big statement piece.  The oak desk is the piece I hope will sell first.  It's big!

Here's the booth straight on.  I'd like a trendier rug.  The carpet has flaws and the booth really needs a rug.  This one is better than none, but I am definitely on the lookout for something better.  I need to bring in more smalls.  I don't plan on smothering the big furniture, but they do need some staging tweaking.  There's a folding bakers rack near the window.  I had intended to stuff it behind the hutch to hold smalls should any of the large pieces sell.  Since I have the room, I decided to open it up and add smalls.  Right now, all that's on it is a silver loving cup urn.  More's coming soon.

The window behind the bakers rack was good for light, but not much else.  The glass was hopelessly stained and dirty on the outside.  The view is a parking lot and gas station.  I needed a treatment that was easy and blocked the view but still let in light.  I tore a drop cloth into strips and tied it onto the rod.  Very casual.  Neutral.  Creative.  Not original.  I've seen this treatment used in all sorts of ways on Pinterest and favorite blogs.

I have kept the staging on all the furniture simple.  This hutch is my statement piece.  I quickly put these plates in place.  This was a super fast stage using what I had.  It's a little too uncreative.  The arrangement is so predictable.  If the hutch stays around for a bit, which I suspect it will because hutches are slow sellers, I'll hopefully improve on the staging.  it'll still be simple, but a little more creative than this.

One item in my booth is large but NOT neutral  This is a retro piece and I felt that painting it neutral was not the right thing to do.  There are always exceptions to "the rules".   I am very willing to break rules when it feels like the right thing to do.  :-D   Oh, the suitcase - I wanted it to be open.  I'd like it to have some fun display inside, but for now, all I had was this sad little dictionary page pumpkin.

The turquoise tiered shelf is empty for now.  I'm not sure what I'll put on it, but it needs something.   Of note in this photo is the copper tin.  Can you tell what's in there?  OLD TABLE LEGS!  I had a table that I wanted to get my money out of. It was a definite mistake purchase.  My hubby could have spent hours trying to make it over.  It wobbled.  The top had messed up veneer.  Even with lots of work, the table wouldn't sell for enough to be worth the time and effort.  Much easier - sell off the good parts. The table had 5 legs.  Two of them have already sold!   The top will be used to make signs at some point in the future.  It has real possibilities for that.  And there's a great leaf that for some reason, is not veneer.  The legs in the copper bin also serve to hint that the bin would be excellent for holding firewood.  At least, that is my hope.

You'll notice I haven't created a theme booth.  I haven't limited colors.  I have things to sell and I didn't want any limits.  I didn't want to feel obligated to paint things to match.  I'm taking what I have and putting them together as well as I can.  I am trying to make the furniture look as important as I can.

So, that's the booth so far.  It has no ground-breaking decor.  It's not swoon-worthy.  This is a low-pressure, functional booth that will hopefully have decent sales.

I hope this post gives you a little peak into my thought process.  I hope it puts you at ease in case you, too, prefer low pressure.  I think it's a pretty decent booth.  I watched as some customers shopped in the area.  They went into my booth and looked around, even though there's still so little in there.  That's a good sign!  And bonus, a couple of customers looked very seriously at the retro console.  One even took a phone photo!

Friday, October 3, 2014

I'm Going to have a Booth Again!

Well.  I knew I'd go back to having a booth again one day, but I didn't think it would be so soon. I didn't even make it a full year without one.

I have things to sell.  I have found a number of new pieces for my house this year, which leaves me with extra furniture. Plus I'm de-cluttering (even the good stuff!) and having dreams of becoming a minimalist.  (Like that will ever happen.)   I pondered a  number of different ways to sell things, but in the end, a booth seemed to be the way I like best.

I promote two different stores.  I like them both.  I like the people at both.  I was open to having a booth at either location.  There seemed to be roadblocks at one having to do with booth size and workdays.  Everything seemed to fall into place easily at the other.  I'm a firm believer that when you are on the right path things flow easily.  When you are on the wrong path, things block you over and over.  That goes totally against how some people believe - that you should work real hard to overcome obstacles.  I believe obstacles (especially when there are several obstacles) are signs from above telling you that maybe you need to reconsider.

So, I'll be at Collector's Corner this time around.

I had several locations to choose from.  The owner was willing to scoot things around to work me in.

The spot I chose is in an out of the way corner.  It's upstairs.  It's in a room that is a bit dark with dark paneling.  It has two windows to work around, one of which has a less than stellar view.  The ceiling is sloped and only 7 ft tall on one side.  The carpet has a couple of bad wrinkles.  The booth on one side has a bunch of clothes hanging very close to my booth - right on my money wall, no less!  The opposite wall is lattice.  Does any of that bother me?  Not really.

Many vendors would question my sanity for choosing that spot, but I THINK IT'S CHARMING and has wonderful potential. Seriously! And I know - if I set up a nice booth with things people want, customers will find my booth.  :-D  I tell y'all that all the time and now I'm going to practice what I preach.

Here are some of the BEFORE pictures of my booth -

I already know pretty much where I'll be putting everything and what I'll be doing to remedy things that need help.  I'll put down a rug.  I'd like one that fills most of the booth, but for now, I'll be using what I have.  I have a fun grain sack that will hang over the window with the bad view.  It won't cover the whole window.  It's light so it will be bright and cheerful.  The other window will be left open.  It looks out onto some trees.  I have no idea what I'll do about the neighbor's clothing.  One thing I will NOT do is complain to the owner or ask her to take them down.  It's her booth.  My booth is my own little world and that's all I can or should try to control.  I'll do what I can to create a visual border so that no one thinks those clothes are part of my booth.  It's a challenge and I don't have the answer to that one yet! It's a little complicated because I don't want to do anything that might block the view of my money wall :-D

I'm going to keep my booth life as simple as I can.  It's not going to have a theme.  I'm not restricting colors or styles.  It probably won't be a booth that people will swoon over, but hopefully, they'll walk in, browse and see things they like.

Stay tuned.  I should be moving in over the next week.  In fact, instead of working on this post, I should be pricing and getting things ready!!!

PS - In this post I talked a good bit about the faults of this booth.  I want to make it clear that most of this store is really pretty and the owner is incredibly talented.  The store is huge and she's been working her way around improving one spot after another.  I like that I'll (hopefully) be giving this sweet little spot a little TLC.  I don't know why exactly, but even the first time I saw the booth, I was attracted to it.  I didn't know it then, but this was meant to be.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Short Term Booth

Not every vendor wants to work at a crazy pace all year long keeping up a booth.  Some would prefer to take it a little slower.  A part time booth could be the answer for many vendors.

One option is to only keep a booth open part of the year and use the rest of the year to gather and prepare and relax.  Most malls want a contract for 6 months, so that's what I'll discuss here.   I'm going to work up a little pretend example.  Meet Doris.  She has a booth for 6 months of every year.

Doris has a booth every year from October til the end of March.  That seems to work best for her.  During the months Doris has no booth she is able to devote her extra time to treasure hunting and fixing up.  She spends many Fridays and Saturdays going to yard sales looking for bargains.  She uses her other days to paint, clean, price and sort.

Doris likes to have nice vignettes in her booth, so as she begins to accumulate a nice pile of treasures, she begins looking for themes.   She has storage space in her basement, so she can easily sort things into display groups.  She looks for good color combinations and what items are used for.  Kitchen things are put together.  Desk items together.  Bedroom items together.  You get the idea, right?

As it gets closer to time to open, Doris has a pretty good idea of the order of her vignettes.  She doesn't put everything in at once.  Her booth needs to look pretty darned good for 5 of her 6 months.  The last month (March)  is her clearance sale month and people are more forgiving then.

Doris rents her booth for $200 a month.  That's $1200 for 6 months.  If she had a booth for 12 months, she'd spend $2400, so that's a pretty good savings.  She'd also have to work a whole lot harder.  Doris is a vendor who does it for fun and a little pocket money.  The part time booth gives her more time to enjoy life while keeping her profits a tiny bit better.  It gives her more time to relax and enjoy her family.  Doris is not on the high-speed-buy-sell treadmill the whole year.

The "Doris Example" is a 6 months on, 6 months off plan.  That's just one option. Some might want to have a booth from August to June - when their kids are in school.


If you think this plan might work for you, 
there are some downsides to consider. 

The riskiest part is finding a booth exactly when you need it.  You should begin talking to mall owners a couple of months before you hope to start up.  If a coveted booth opens sooner, it might be good to jump on it.  Some years, you may not get a booth til a month or two after you planned to open.  It's a risk.

The booth you get will likely not be in a prime location.  It's more likely to be in an out-of-the way spot with bad lighting.  Don't let that stop you.  A good vendor can make lemonade out of lemons.  If your booth has good stuff, it will sell.  If it's displayed well, it will sell even better.

Some mall owners may not like that moving in and out.  You might seem less serious.  However, if you show them that you are bringing in great items that sell and are a wonderful booth vendor all around, they may be happy to have you on the terms you want.  If all goes well, they will look forward to you returning each year.

Moving in and out of booths can be a hassle.


Another option is to partner with a vendor friend.  You could find a booth you both like and instead of giving it up, the friend could take over.  Some malls might want you to use the same vendor number.  If so, you'd have to work together pretty well to split profits on payday.

During transition times, it might be nice for the leaving vendor to be able to remove things slowly and the incoming vendor could bring things in slowly.  Or it may be that some things can be left in.  Maybe just the large items are removed when the next person takes over.

Some malls might not like this plan.  The owner may not realize that it's actually to their advantage.  Every so many months, they'd have a fresh vendor with fresh merchandise.  I usually recommend being very honest, but if you are going to use this plan, it might be best to let people assume the two of you are partners year round.  No one needs to know your plan really except the two booth partners.  There are all sorts of options for making this scenario work.


This whole idea of part time boothing highlights one key benefit to the life of a booth vendor.  It's flexible!  You make of it what you want.  I love that.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Decorating for Fall without Traditional Colors

A reader commented on the Vintage Show Off Facebook page the other day that she doesn't care for the typical fall colors.  Decorating her booth for Fall just isn't that easy.  I have several thoughts on that.

First, if all the booths around you have traditional colors and you work up a display using alternative colors, if it's pretty enough, it could be a big hit.  It will certainly stand out from the crowd.

Also, holiday and seasonal decor doesn't HAVE to be incorporated.  I know plenty of vendors who never use seasonal items.  There are many practical reasons for doing that.  For one, some vendors just don't have the storage space.

If you WANT to display for Fall or Halloween, but hate the oranges and reds, just look for some creative alternatives.  It's a good idea to not get too carried away with items you hope to sell.  Make sure that whatever you are selling could also be used by a customer who adores red and orange.  For instance, if you create a black and white look in your booth, the black and white items could still be used  with fall decor in traditional colors.  On the other hand, if you created a pastel Fall look, not as many customers could use any of the pastel items you were selling.  If the pastel items are mostly display to make your booth look great, then go for it!  It would certainly grab attention.

I did some quick looking through my files and here are a few inspiration photos I found to help those who prefer to steer clear of orange and red.  I used the Sherwin Williams Chip It tool with the first one to clearly show the colors.  I love that tool!

Photo Source









Source Unknown - If anyone knows it, please let me know!


That's all for now.  Keep watching over on the VSO Facebook page for more ideas!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another Way to Find Booth Inspiration

When you are looking for inspiration for your booth, don't just look at photos of pretty booths.  You can find inspiration from all sorts of photos.  The photo might help you with a unique color combination.  It might give you ideas for putting seemingly unrelated things together.  It might inspire you to display something you have in a way that shows customers another use for the item.  Keep your eyes open!

Also, anytime you see something that makes your heart race, pay attention!  Figure out if there's any way you might translate that in your booth.

I recently came across this photo on Junkin Addict.  

Even though this is not a look I have going in my own home, the photo stopped me in my tracks.  It's not a booth photo, but I immediately began to think how a similar vignette could be created in a booth.  If I still had a booth, I'd print the photo and put it on a box or on a shelf where I kept my stash.  As I went to yard sales and estate sales, etc.  I'd keep an eye out for things in these colors and with this feel.  When I had a bench or table to paint, I'd paint it in this soft blue.  Maybe I could even find some realistic fake pink geraniums. Real geraniums would be so much better, but few booths have good windows, so they wouldn't last.  Fakes CAN be used in limited amounts without being tacky.  By Spring, I'd have a grouping to put together in my booth.

Finding inspiration that speaks to you and planning ahead can really pay off.  Could you put together a booth vignette based on any of these non-booth photos?




If you find a photo with colors you love, you could use the Chip It tool from Sherwin Williams to help you lock in on the most important colors.  I love that tool!


Here's another interesting color combination.  The purple is a little unexpected, don't you think?  These colors could be fun right now.  You may even have what you need to put a grouping with these colors together in your booth right now.
And here's another -


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Creative Booth Wall from Book Pages

This is a booth wall created with book pages.  You can read all about it here on the Curious Sofa blog.  You'll have to scroll down to get to the section about this wall.  Don't scroll too quickly.  Its a best of 2007 post and it's full of good stuff that you'll still love in 2014 and beyond!

She used old book pages and printed images of birds and butterflies on them suing her home printer.

She punched four holes in each page, used hole reinforcers on the backs of each hole and attached the pages with 5 inch strands of crochet thread.

She attached each row of pages to a board at the top of the wall, using tiny eye hooks.

More details can be found on her blog page.

She did three walls of her booth, 
but you could make 
quite an impact 
doing something similar 
on just one wall 
or even 
just behind one vignette.   

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Fabulous Pallet Wall

The other day, I posted a few inspiration photos of pallet board walls on the Vintage Show Off Facebook page.  One reader left a comment with a photo of the pallet wall she and her booth partner created for a booth.  WOW!  I was blown away and so were the other readers who saw it.  I didn't want that little gem to be buried in the comments, so I asked her to send me more photos AND SHE DID!

"She" is Brooke and her partner is Steph.  They have a booth together at On the Corner in Broken Arrow, OK.  Visit them on their facebook pages - Max and Connie and Gypsie's Junk.  If you have questions about their wall, I'm sure they'd be happy to answer.  And for heaven's sakes, while you're there, give them a few LIKEs and leave some comments. Be sure to thank them both for sharing!!!

Here's a booth shot -

How'd they do it?  Brooke said, "We painted and stained some, decoupaged with tissue paper, scrap book paper, napkins, fabric, magazine clippings and wrapping paper. A few are embellished with knobs, hooks and fabric flowers."

Do you see the little knobs on some of those boards?!?!?!?!?!!!!

Think of all the ways this idea could be interpreted.  Oh my goodness.  If you are a neutral booth, you could use neutral papers.  If you build furniture from pallets, you could use this technique there.  The possibilities are endless.

One more thing...  I saw these doors on the Max and Connie page.  Brooke did them for a client.  I love them!  In fact, I swooned when I saw them.  That's exactly what I want for a doorway at my house!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chalkboard Message Ideas for Halloween and Fall

This is a great time of the year to have chalkboards for sale in your booth.  They sell better when you artsy them up a little.  There are lots of ideas out there for any artistic ability.


Bonus:  Words (as in large signs) in a booth are great attention grabbers.  People can't help themselves.  They have to read it.  That means, they'll look that much longer in your booth.  Maybe they'll even walk in for a closer look instead of just giving your booth the once over from the aisle.

Don't have a chalkboard?  Find a large frame.  Have smooth MDF board cut to fit.  Paint it with black chalkboard paint.

Here's some chalkboard message inspiration to get you thinking -

This first one is my all time favorite.  I have seen entire booth walls painted in black chalkboard paint.  It really makes a great backdrop.  The ones I've seen weren't fully decorated like this one.  They usually had the name of the booth at the top and maybe a few seasonal designs.  The rest was left blank to allow the furniture in front of it to show well.   Something like this one would look great on a wall behind the register area, don't you think????


Found on Pinterest, no link to source :-(


This is actually a print for sale of Etsy.

Here's a super simple one -


Here's a FREE printable.  You can download it in two sizes.  Take it to your favorite print shop and have them print it for you.



This one was on Etsy, but is no longer available.


Need help drawing a spiderweb?  It's so simple!


And finally, here's a little tombstone inspiration from Pottery Barn -