Friday, January 31, 2014

Why Did I Close My Booth?

In my very first post on this site - Introducing Vintage Show Off - I said my booth days were about to come to a screeching halt.  Prida, left a couple of comments about that, wondering why I quit having a booth.  I think this deserves a better explanation than I've given so far.  So here's my story for anyone who's curious.

I used the words screeching halt because closing a booth and selling as much as you can before you have to get out, is a LOT of work.  I spent October and November and December working my fanny off.  By the end of December, it was all done and wow, I felt like I'd put on the brakes in my life and could sit and breathe.

Screeching halt didn't mean anything drastic or dramatic had happened.  I had been thinking about closing my booth for some time.  Why?  It wasn't making sense for me for a number of reasons.

ALL of my reasons have to do with TIME.

I am a retired teacher.  I spent 30 years of my life busy and pushed.  When I retired (blissfully at age 50 since I rushed thru school and started my career at age 20) I felt like I had all the time in the world and could take up anything.  I wanted to do something that would give me a bit of house decorating pocket money, but it had to be fun and nothing with set hours.  Having a booth was right up my alley.  But I over-extended myself.

I started by having a booth with a friend.  After a year or so, we split and had our own booths.
My First Tiny Booth on My Own

At some point, I became the promoter for the antique store where I had my booth.  I do the store's Facebook page, their blog, their Craigslist listings and their ads.  That took hours every day and I LOVED it - still do.

My original booth partner and I also became part of a 6-vendor booth called The White Booth.  The White Booth was amazing and such fun. All six of us were very different, but creative and the blended result was wonderful!  The idea was - most everything in the booth would be neutral, but every 6 weeks we'd add in a different color/theme.  It became very successful, which meant it was in a constant state of change. Just as we'd create a vignette, the anchor piece would sell.  I found myself working in that booth way too often.  But I loved it.  Really, really loved it.

The White Booth
You can see these photos and more over on the VSO Facebook Page.

I loved creating a pretty vignette. I love it so much that I could rearrange my booth every week if I had time. As if that weren't enough, I'd help others rearrange their booths if they'd let me.  I could lose a day at the store easily, just getting caught up in this and that and not accomplishing a darned thing for myself.

I loved hunting down treasures, painting and fixing up furniture, and painting signs but all of that was messy and VERY time consuming.  My house had piles of booth related projects EVERYWHERE.  Anyone who has a booth knows what I'm talking about.

My Ball Jar Sign

As if all that wasn't enough, I went in with some other vendors on a paint venture, which was fun and I knew it would be lucrative (and it IS!).

But... all the time I knew there were other things that I SHOULD be doing.  Priorities (and chores) I was neglecting.  I want to spend more time with friends and family. I do my husbands books for his company.  I do not enjoy that AT ALL  am sooo incredibly happy to be able to help with that, but it takes time.  We have to eat, and if I want our meals to be healthy, I have to cook.  A house should be cleaned periodically, right?   I don't have a maid and my hubby is not house trained, though I keep trying.

I was going in too many directions.  I was spread too thin.  I felt guilty all the time for not doing any of it the way it should be done. This was NOT how retired life is supposed to be. Something had to give.  I spent loads of time figuring out what I enjoyed most and what made the most sense.  I had to give up some things.

First, I gave up the paint thing.  Yes, it was going to be successful, but if I stayed in it, I knew it be be way too time-consuming. Plus, my heart wasn't in it.  I thought giving that up would be enough, but it wasn't.

I gave up The White Booth, which broke my heart.  If I was going to work that hard fixing up a booth, I should be concentrating on fixing up my own things.  Over time, my own booth, which I loved,  had become my lowest priority and that needed to change.  I wanted to fall back in love with my booth.

So for a year, my "pocket-money-hobby" was cut back to having one booth and doing the promoting for the store.

I still felt pulled, which surprised me.  I spent more time on promoting the store than on my booth.  I took a harder look at where my time went and what I liked about everything I was doing.

My Booth

I came up with a few thoughts about my booth.  I like arranging it and marketing it.  I like doing a bit of casual thrifting, but didn't like feeling pushed to do it constantly.   I didn't want to work as hard as I needed to to keep my booth full and I don't like a booth that has too little in it.  Also, one of my main reasons for having a booth in the first place was to use it as a method to transform my own house.  I hadn't made enough progress on that.  That priority had been pushed to the back, which was nuts.

Interestingly, by keeping the one thing I loved most - promoting for the store, I could continue to do the things I loved best about having a booth, but without pressure.  I still occasionally get involved in decorating spaces at the store, but just when I'm in the mood and have free time.  I still thrift, but now it's for my house.  I still get to see all my creative vendor friends on a regular basis.  And bonus - my real priorities are getting the attention they deserve.   AND I now have a little extra time to do something I've been dreaming of doing for a long long time - Vintage Show Off.  I sometimes wonder why I'm doing that.  What's in it for me?  I don't know.  I just know that I can help vendors and it makes me feel good to do that.  I've learned some things about having a booth and it seems crazy to not share that.

I think my personality is such that I CAN do lots of things.  But just because I CAN, doesn't mean I SHOULD.    My life is a balancing act and it's feeling more balanced now than it has in a long time.  I'm back in my happy place.

Do I miss having a booth?  Yes, but I know I'm doing the right thing right now.  Who knows.  One day I may open one up again.  Maybe after my husband retires and I am not forced to do the dreadful bookkeeping I don't need to help my wonderful husband with the bookkeeping anymore.   :-D