Saturday, May 31, 2014

No Help. No Truck. No Big Pieces in My Booth.

Not every vendor has the means to deal with large furniture in their booth.  It could be they don't have a big enough vehicle.  Or - they may not have someone to help them lift.

I can speak to this issue about as well as anyone.  My hubby is wonderful, but, for the most part, he was not interested AT ALL in helping with my booth.  I was on my own when it came to buying and hauling for my booth.  I don't blame him at all.  He works very hard at his business.  He has things to do around the house.  Plus, his knees and elbows and shoulders "ain't what they used to be".  In his spare time, he should be able to relax.  His business slowed down for a few months and he was very helpful then - he even made a few fabulous tables.  But when business picked back up, he once again couldn't / wouldn't / shouldn't...

I had a pity party for about two seconds and then began figuring out other ways to keep a booth going.  I'm a fairly independent person anyway, so I like to figure out ways to do things without imposing on anyone else.

I have a Honda CRV.  The back seats lay down.  I can fit a standard sized chest of drawers in the back, but nothing bigger.  I decided that I would buy what I could fit in my car and leave the bigger things for others.

Weight was another consideration. Hauling heavy furniture in and out of my house with no help was impossible.  If I asked for help, I would get it, but I felt guilty for asking, even when he cheerfully helped.   So.... I decided to only get heavier furniture if I could sell without a stop by my house.    In other words, no heavy fixer-uppers.

Medium sized fixer uppers were my bread and butter!  If I spotted a fixer upper I liked, I only bought it if I could lift it by myself and if it would fit in my car.  Nothing too big OR too heavy.

Having mostly medium sized furniture might take a little more thought when creating an inviting booth.  A booth looks best when it has at least a few large items.  A booth that has all small or medium things can sometimes look rather unfinished and unimportant if it's not arranged creatively.  Luckily, this is something that can be easily overcome.  Just paying attention to how great booths are arranged can help you get better in your own booth.

OK.  So the booth needs to have a couple of large things... even if you are only going to sell jewelry or other tiny things, you need something of substance to hold it all and make it look great.

If you're set on having an actual large piece for your booth, there are a number of ways to make that happen.  You can work out an arrangement with another vendor.  Vendors who have help often hauling don't have enough space in their booth to put all the things they buy.  It's possible they may have a big hutch at home just waiting to bring in when something else sells.  Or, the store owner may have a big piece you could use in your booth.  Or you may work out a deal to split the cost (and profit) of a big piece with another vendor on a big item.  They haul it in.  You put it in your booth til it sells.  Or, hire a college student to help you every now and then.

A different option (the one that will keep you independent) is to get the look of a big piece by combining two or three smaller items.  You can get a look similar to the one below without a truck and without help.  Find a small table with legs that come off. ( I don't think the legs on the table in this example come off, but you get the idea, right?)  Many tables have screws for attaching the legs!!! Stack a shelf on top of the table.  If you plan to paint them, coordinate the colors of both pieces as if they were a hutch.  The color combination below is fabulous.  White and wood.  This arrangement has the presence of a hutch, yet one person can handle moving it.
I feel sure I've shown this photo before, but it's the perfect one for illustrating my point.

Another way to fake a large piece is with a folding bakers rack.  Those are fabulous to have as a backup for when a big piece sells and you need something fast to fill the spot.  I think most vendors should have one of these.


You can totally skip large pieces if you are a bit creative. Take a look at the booth below.  I saw it posted on Booth Crush (you are following that page, right?).  I shared the photo on the VSO Facebook page, so you may have seen it already.   It doesn't look like this person has any one large piece, but she has managed to stack things in such a way that you don't notice this right off the bat.  I don't see anything in that booth that my CRV and I couldn't have handled.

Be sure to check out the source!  There are some great booth pictures on her post!

This next booth doesn't have anything too big or heavy.  Nothing really large, but it's still nice.
I found this on Pinterest... but the source link was bad.  :-(

There's nothing too big or heavy in this one either! If those table legs unscrew, then it would be a cinch to move.

There are more good positives for focusing on medium sized  pieces..

  • If you ever decided to do an outdoor show, the setting up and tearing down would be so much easier on everyone.  
  • Hauling medium furniture is less likely to cause aches and pains.  This is a BIG issue for people moving big things regularly.  
  • Your booth is easier to change around - it's more versatile.  You can change how you have things paired up.
  • Last but not least - medium sized furniture sells faster.    Customers are more likely to make an impulse purchase for a small piece.  They don't feel the need to measure and think it over.  They don't feel like it's a purchase they'll have to live with for years if it doesn't work out.  Also, most customers can take a medium sized item right home without having to call and ask for help from someone with a truck.  They often have the same hauling issues you do!  :-D

Final Note - This is a post I had on my to-do list, but something Brandi of Black Bear Prim wrote on her Facebook page recently inspired me to get the post out there.  She was thinking about closing her booth.  Her husband didn't want to deal with big pieces anymore.  He's since changed his mind, but still, there may be times when big pieces aren't possible.  I wanted to let Brandi know that if he can't help, she can still have a great booth.  Where there's a will, there's a way!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Page Decor for Your Booth

In Monday's post about staging, Brandi used old book pages to help her create some inexpensive decor for her booth.  I did a quick search on Pinterest and found a number of creative ways to use book pages.  The examples ran the gamut.  There's were plenty of photos showing things that looked a bit tacky.  Be careful.  It's better to have no decor than decor that looks bad.  And don't go overboard!  You can cross over into tacky-town that way, too!

Here are some nice examples -

For starters, how about a book page WALL?   You can do something similar on a folding room divider, a door, a piece of plywood or a shelf back to help create a booth wall or backdrop.







It's fun to cover holiday decor - like cheap plastic pumpkins, bunnies, and other ornaments, with book pages.  You can find these items at yard sales for a quarter or less.  Watch for them all year long so you'll have enough to create groupings or scatter around your booth.




Monday, May 26, 2014

Staging Pays for Itself!

Adding a bit of decor can "class up" furniture and get it to sell faster and often at a higher price.   Learning to "class up" furniture is a skill that can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

 If you sell decor and smalls in your booth along with furniture, make sure your smalls are nice and make your furniture (and your booth) look good.   Even if you only sell furniture, it is worth having a few beautiful accessories (even if they are NFS) - enough to stage the furniture, but not so much that you bury it.  A set of white dishes, a couple of nice lamps, some pretty wall decor...  It doesn't take much to make a real difference.

Here are three amazing examples from The BoneYard (one of the stores I promote).  These are all from the same vendor.  She sells buffet after buffet after buffet, at prices that earn her a decent profit.  These same buffets might have trouble selling for half the asking price in the booth of someone less talented.  This vendor knows how to show customers just how amazing a piece can be.  She convinces them of the value by staging them so well they would be right at home in the best of magazines.  I'm telling you, I don't even NEED a buffet and she she makes me want to buy every new one she brings in.   

PS - I have been using examples from stores I promote in some of my posts.  I really didn't intend to do that very often.  This page is NOT part of my promoting.  There's nothing in it for me when I mention the stores. Heck, there's nothing in it for me when I do any of this.  :-D   BUT, when there are perfect examples right here on my computer, how can I not use them?  These photos were already labeled because that's how I featured them on the store page.  I thought about removing the labels and prices for this post, but the fact is, that seemed like a lot of trouble.  I hope readers will take my examples in the spirit they are intended.  Also, I really need to talk to this vendor to be sure she doesn't mind my showing off her talent.

Hmmm... I think I just thought of a spot in my house where I could use a buffet.  :-D

Budget Friendly Decor - 

The vendor in the booth above has nice accessories, but not every accessory has to be pricey.  If you are just changing over to the "classy staging" idea, it may take you a little time to build up a great collection of accessories.  You don't have to spend a fortune right off the bat.   You can use inexpensive items, too, to make an impact.  Just be very thoughtful about staging. 

Not every vendor reading this page will be in a mall that can sell things at these prices, therefore, it will be harder to justify putting much money into accessories.  There are all sorts of budget friendly decorating ideas. Pinterest is a gold mine of ideas.  Some things you use can even come right out of your backyard.

Your accessories can be really nice without costing you a fortune if you shop wisely.  Yard sales in nice neighborhoods can be a gold mine for lamps and decor.  I can't tell you how many seriously nice lamps I've gotten in the past for $5 or $10.  Many of the lamps in my home came from yard sales.  Shades, too.  I always watched for nice shades.  Not every great lamp you find will have a good shade with it.  I found many absolutely perfect (sometimes still wrapped in plastic) shades at yard sales. I'm talking about the really nice well made, lined shades.  Some were stunning.  Don't be afraid to spend a bit more than you might normally when buying an awesome piece of decor.  It will sell eventually and you'll get your money back and until it does, it will help you sell your furniture.

Some decor is practically free.  Some things you use can even come right out of your backyard - pinecones, branches, plant cuttings...   Brandi, a Vintage Show Off reader, sent me a message a couple of days ago with some low budget decor ideas.  She attached photos, too, so I thought I'd share them with you.  I split her note into sections to insert her photos.  From Brandi -

I had been really discouraged with my booth because I don't have a high budget like I would like for decor, but I recently decided to use some low budget methods that have worked really well for me that I thought I would share with fellow booth owners. I used book pages as a table runner... 

& 3d flowers,...

also used a mason jar as a vase, & a coffee sack as a table runner.

... I just want to help everyone out who has a low budget like me.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

8 Quick Tips for New Antique Mall Owners

I got a sweet note from Jayne at Chalk Mercantile in CT. (Stop by and LIKE her on FaceBook!)  She's starting a mall and would like some advice.   Here's a bit of her note:

I own a small shop ,, and am moving into a much larger space in one of our shoreline towns. I've changed my business plan a bit and will now have vendor space and your blog has been such an important resource for me! If you have any advice for a newbie antique/decor mall owner I would truly appreciate it. 

There should be an entire blog devoted to the owner side of the business!   I have never been an owner so I can't possibly know all the details, but I have picked up plenty of info from several owners along the way.  If I ever wanted to open my own shop, I feel like I'd have a head start on most, but as I keep saying, I'm a retired teacher and I don't want to work too hard at anything!  :-D

Anyway, here are a few things that come to mind right off the top of my head.  They aren't in any certain order.

If anyone has more to add, leave a comment.  
I'm sure Jayne would appreciate it!

1. Build some mutually beneficial connections.
One of the best tips I can tell you is to go to a similar store that you admire (not so close that it's competition - maybe a couple of towns away) and talk to the owner.  Most owners are really happy to offer advice if you aren't their competition.  Even after you are established, whenever you go out of town, if time permits, always stop by malls and talk to owners.  If an owner is super helpful, offer to buy them lunch or do something to show your appreciation. Always give them a shoutout and share their Facebook page when you get home.  This is how the owner at Rockin' B Antiques (one of the stores I promote) got started 15 years ago.  She still talks about how helpful this was and she is great at passing help along to other mall owners.  

2. Promote Your Store AND Your Vendors.
Make your Facebook page a priority and promote the big items of anyone who rents a space from you.  A web page is hit or miss.  Facebook can go out to more people on a regular basis. Show your furniture often - that really gets folks in the store.  And encourage your vendors to participate on Facebook.  Bribe them if necessary - promote things more for those who participate.  Their participation will help increase the number of LIKEs on your page!

If you aren't good on Facebook, find someone who is.  You can even trade rent for Facebook services.  If you farm this task out, make sure that YOU are the page manager and they are just a content creator.  Do NOT have two managers.  One manager can oust another.  They can take off with your page.  They can do all sorts of vile things.  It happens more often than you'd believe.  Let them start on a trial basis.  You don't want to get stuck with someone who doesn't do a good job and then have to go through an uncomfortable dismissal.  Better to ask them to do it for a few months and then, if you love their work, ask them if they'd like to do it for a little longer. Also, make sure you have a good opportunity to look at their writing before you sign them on. It's amazing how many creative, talented, well-spoken people can't write or spell worth a flip.  Which brings me to the next tip...

3. Delegate Wisely.
Have special vendors help with some tasks so you won't be overloaded.  Everyone has talents.  Not every person excels at writing, just as not every person is artistic.  No one can do it all.    You need to figure out what your vendors do best and enlist their help when possible.  You may not want that creative person with poor writing doing your Facebook page, but they might be just the person to set up a window display that makes customers swoon.  You may not want a shy or depressed person helping at the register, but they might be just the person to keep plants at the store looking perky.

4.  When you change a policy, give advance notice. 
When you make a change that affects vendors (rent going up, pricetag requirements, certain items no longer allowed, etc) try not to say effective immediately.  Most vendors can't get over to the give advance warning.  Starting in two months or whatever.  This is just a matter of respect.

5.  Choose vendors wisely.  Insist on photos.   If they have a booth elsewhere, check it out - online or in person.  Once you have a full store, let future incoming vendors start out in a small out-of the-way space on a trial basis.  After they have proven themselves with a nice booth and decent sales (and you have interacted with them enough to know they aren't a complete nut) then let them move into a better booth when one comes open.

6.  Allow one space per vendor.  This one is iffy.  I know of some great exceptions.  But generally speaking, it's better to have more vendors in the store than fewer vendors with multiple booths.  If a vendor has one space, they work harder to keep it looking good and they change things around regularly.  When they spread out into more booths, the booths tend to get stale or even unkempt and the vendor isn't always as good at filling in as things sell.   If the vendor is great, give them a slightly larger booth.  Also, more vendors in the store generally gives the store more variety.  Each vendor brings their own specialty.  A mall with nothing but chalk painted furniture wouldn't attract as many customers as a mall with a number of styles.

7.  Pay Extra Attention to Your Store's First Impression.   Think about all the senses.  When a customer first enters, the immediate surroundings should look fabulous, feel comfortable (not too hot or too cold), and smell pleasant without being overly perfume-y.  Change front displays often so repeat customers will never get bored.

8.  A mall owner has two customer groups - the people who shop at the store and the vendors who rent spaces.
The mall owner needs to keep both groups happy. Most owners strive to keep customers happy.  They know that's their bottom line.  Not all owners realize they should work just as hard at making the vendors happy and doing whatever they can to help them do better.  Word travels.  If you want to make sure you keep great vendors and keep a waiting list of potential good vendors, then be a great owner.  My smart friend, Martie, taught me this one.  She's a booth vendor but used to own a shop.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tips on Choosing A Mall

Since posting my article, Promoting a Mall on Facebook,  I have had all sorts of comments and messages asking for more tips on choosing a  mall for your booth.  That's obviously a very important decision.  A fabulous booth in a so-so mall probably won't do that well.

Malls are popping up all over.  When someone is looking for a spot to set up a booth, it's very likely they'll have several choices.

1. Your Personal Favorites.  You should certainly visit each of the shops a number of times to browse. Think like a customer for a bit.  Which malls do you enjoy visiting?  If you were looking for a chest of drawers, where would you want to go first?   Whichever one comes to mind is probably a good contender for where your booth would fit for a number of reasons.

A person's booth usually reflects their style.  Your favorite shop likely appeals to your style.  The items you sell would probably fit well there.  It's likely this mall has other things going for it as well since you like going there.

2. Size.  The size of the mall is a consideration.  Customers don't always want to go all over looking for something.  Many like to see a good variety of choices in one place.   Not so big that it's overwhelming, but enough to make it worth stopping.  As a customer, my favorite local malls have somewhere around 50 booths, give or take.  I wish they were slightly larger. :-D   There are a number of smaller malls in the area, but I don't usually go to those unless I happen to be right there on some errand.  I'm lazy.  It seems a lot of trouble to drive to those places when I'll be able to be in and out in such a short time.  Smaller malls have less to offer obviously.  I have less chance of finding something I want, so why bother.

3. Location.  An out of the way mall where no one will stop by because they happen to be in the area, will usually have less traffic.  There are exceptions.  Some places are so fantastic that people make a point of going there often.  Another consideration for location is how convenient it is for you.    Time you spend traveling is not productive.  On the other hand, some malls are so good that it's worth traveling a little bit further.

4. Traffic.  Does the mall stay busy?  Visit any mall you are considering on a weekend.  Visit them during the week.  There are slow times at any mall, but if you see too many slow times, that could be a bit of a red flag.  However, some malls are very very slow during the week, but they make up for it on the weekend.

5. Online Promotion.  Do they have a great online presence?  I talked about that more in this post, where I said I probably wouldn't consider being in a mall that didn't have a good online presence.   This is the post I referenced at the beginning of this article.

Note: You should browse all the malls online sites before you talk to the owner.  First, you'll get a better feel for the store.  Also, it's possible that they have a page on their website for potential vendors - that could answer lots of questions.  Here's the vendor page for one of the stores I promote.

6. Turnover.   A store needs to impress first time customers AND repeat customers!  Before I became a dealer, I shopped in a certain mall in the area that always seemed to look the same.  I used to stop by there every few months.  After a few stops, I realized that I was seeing the exact same furniture and arrangements as I saw on my last visit.  They were stale.  I wasn't going to see anything different so why bother coming back?  I made a decision right then to not go there anymore.  Once I became a dealer, I thought about that quite a bit.  A mall needs to give the impression that things are in a constant state of change.  Things sell and are replaced with something new.  Customers learn that it's best to go often to see what new treasures have been brought in.

7. Price Point.  This one is a little tricky.  There are malls where most things are priced low.  Things sell fast, but the vendors make less per sale.  There are malls that are pricey.  They generally have amazing things, but they take a little longer to sell.  When they do, the vendor will make more off the sale.   You need to know your comfort zone, your personality, and you need to think smart about the financial aspects of how you plan to price.

I know vendors who panic if a big item doesn't sell in a month and they start slashing prices.  They work their fannies off finding things to sell, painting it as fast as possible, and watching it sell quickly at a bargain price.  I know vendors at the other end of the spectrum who are a bit more thoughtful with their purchases, don't mind spending a little longer on a makeover when necessary.  They decorate the item very well in their booth so it looks amazing. They don't mind putting in more time creating a vignette because they know it may be in their booth for several months. They are willing to wait a little longer for the item to sell at a higher price.

When I first had a booth, I was all about selling fast, but I definitely changed my thoughts on that.  I don't have a booth right now, but it's entirely possible that once my husband retires, we may open a booth together.  When we do, we will be more about selling fewer items at prices that are more in line with our time - slowly selling great items at prices that make it worth our while, yet still a decent deal for a customer.

My personality is suited to slow and thoughtful.  I have good friends who are happiest when they are going at a fast pace.  Think about your personality as you consider price points.  Then, look at the financial aspects.

You should probably read my scary article, too.  

8. Duplication.   Make sure what you plan to offer in your booth is not too much like things already in the store.  If your specialty is barn wood farm tables and there are already barn wood farm table similar to yours in the store, maybe you need to look elsewhere.

9. The Owner   Most owners have things they do well and things that are a challenge.  Some owners are nutcases.  Seriously.   Unfortunately, you may not figure that out until you are in the door.  :-P  If you know other vendors in your area, talk to them about what they like and don't like about their mall.  No mall is perfect, but you'll likely fit with some malls better than others.  When you browse in a mall, if you see a vendors working in their booths, stop and chat with them.  It's not likely that they'll tell you much, but you may get a feel for their opinions.  Keep in mind that not every dealer in a mall is good.  If you chat with a lousy dealer, you'll likely get a lousy feeling from them.

Talk to the owner.  Do this on a day when you are in a good mood and feeling sharp and looking stylish.   Don't show photos on this first visit.  Just find out some basic info and get your impressions of the owner.  Keep in mind the owner will be getting first impressions about you, too.  If your first impression is not good, you could get put on a waiting list permanently!

10. Money Arrangements.   This is usually the first thing dealers ask. It's an obvious point.  How much is the rent?  Do you have to work at the mall as part of the arrangement?  If so, consider that as part of your rent.  What is the commission rate?  What other deductions are made?  Most malls are fairly competitive.  If the mall rent is too cheap, it may not be a bargain.  If the mall is begging for dealers, that might be a red flag.

Once you decide on a mall... 

Prepare to sell yourself.  Just because you want the mall, it doesn't necessarily follow that the mall will want YOU.  This needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship. You'll need to convince the owner to accept you.  Have photos of what you'd like to sell.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Don't show a piece of furniture in a garage with a nasty floor and debris all around it.  You may need to take the photo in the garage, but you can still make it look nice.  Shove the debris out of sight. Put down a rug. Move the furniture against a nice wall or background.  Create a great vignette - just in the area that will show in the photo.  Is the wall ugly?  Paint it or prop vintage doors artfully to create a great background.  Show what you can do!  If you're going to be a vendor, you've got to learn how to make your stuff look appealing.  If you can't do that in the photo you show the owner, then why would they want you in their store? 

Prepare for a Waiting List.   Often, the best malls are full.   Don't choose your mall based on what's available immediately.  If you have to wait a few months to get a space, that just gives you more time to build an inventory and plan.  On the other hand, if you present yourself well enough and there is a space available, some owners will put you at the top of the waiting list.  Owners usually don't choose dealers based only on who has been waiting the longest.  They are more likely looking at who will be the best for the store.

Prepare to not have a booth in a great spot.  You are the new dealer.  You'll need to prove yourself before you are given a great spot (unless you have an established reputation from other malls.   If the mall you chose is great, be happy to get your foot in the door and know that a really great dealer can thrive most anywhere in the store.

Remember... you are NOT stuck.   You generally need to sign a 6 month contract.  That's plenty of time to see how you fit in.  If you realize you don't fit well after just a few months, DO NOT STOP TRYING!  Make your booth fabulous as a selling point for the next mall you hope to move into.

One more idea ... instead of renting one big space in one mall, consider renting two smaller space in different malls. You'll see which place you like best by the time the contracts are up.  You may even decide you like being in more than one location.  There are MANY benenfits to being in more than one store.  That's a post for another day!   :-D

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Help! My Hutch Won't Sell!

As I browsed my Facebook newsfeed, I came across this hutch on Today is My Someday.  The hutch owner is frustrated because it won't sell.  She asked for advice on what to do.She doesn't want to repaint the whole thing or do anything that require more time than it would be worth.  She got a number of suggestions.  Many said to get rid of the stripes.  I agree. I kept thinking about it.  I got so caught up in all the possibilities that I was inspired to do a quick post (even though I should be going to bed!)

My Hutch Won't Sell!

Go mostly solid. All red or all black. Since the hutch is mostly red, that would be the fastest fix.  Use a lighter color on the hutch back (all of the back - no stripes).   If going with all red, you could add another layer of brown wax to give a bit more richness to the color. That takes very little time and not much wax. It could look something like this -


Since removing the stripes seems likely, go with a different color altogether for the back.  It won't be that much more trouble.  A light neutral would be best, but this hutch sure looks nice and that background looks something like a robin's egg blue.   These are tricky colors to sell, since it would go with fewer decors, but it might have enough wow factor to woo somebody over!

When you add the decor, be very, very deliberate.  Don't just put things on it that you'd like to sell.  Add things that will sell the hutch.  You don't want to give this away.  This is your big ticket item.

As seen on Pinterest (with no link to original source)

Try all white or all cream dishes.   Or a striking floral or fruit or transferware.   If you don't have great things to use, BORROW them.   Sometimes, you can find another vendor who has the perfect item in their booth.  It will make your piece look fab and it will help sell their item as well.


How you decorate your furniture makes a HUGE, HUGE difference.   When you are out picking, always watch for smalls that will make furniture look great and will also be good to sell.  A great dish collection is wonderful for helping to sell hutches or tables.


Finally, when you take the hutch back in, take off your sale sign.  INCREASE the price.  You now have a fabulous piece that will sell.  You have invested time and money.  Don't sell yourself short.  Hutches are seldom super fast sellers, but when they do sell, it should be worth your while.  Sometimes things with a higher price get a little MORE respect and notice as long as they are decorated in a way that shows how great it can look.  Seriously.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sell as a Set or Price Separately

I see it often.  A dealer will paint a set (bedroom set, table and chairs, desk and chair...) and put one price on it all.  Since it was a matched set or has been painted to match, the dealer thinks it must all be sold together or that it would be a shame to split the set.  In my humble opinion, that's a mistake.

I just posted this pretty set on The BoneYard's Facebook page.   This vendor did it perfectly.   She made three price tags and she tied them all together for different pricing options.

I love that all three tags were together rather than only on the different pieces, but occasionally it may be preferable to split them up.

Make the price of the set less than the total if buying separately.  Note the savings when buying this set.  When someone buys it all, there should be a savings.  If purchased separately, the cost adds up to $948.  That's $150 less than the price if purchased separately.  The savings doesn't have to be that much.  This is just one example.

Why offer to sell separately?  Not everyone shopping needs a complete set. In the case of the dining set above, someone may come in and want just the table because they already have perfectly good chairs.  If this table were only available as a set, that shopper will likely pass this set by.  Another shopper may have a nice table, but just need chairs.  Don't pass up sales opportunities by insisting on selling everything as a set.

If this dealer sells these items separately, she'll make more money in the end.  :-D

What if it all doesn't all sell together?  When I have suggested separate pricing to some dealers, they worry about what to do with a partial set, such as a table without chairs or chairs without a table.  TRUST ME.  That's no problem.  These things sell just fine alone.  I promote at two different stores and I see what sells.  There's no question at all - things sell separately just fine!!!  Also, it's easy to find another set of chairs or another table.  You can paint them to match or put chairs that aren't an exact match with it.  You don't have to have everything match.

Look at Current Magazines - 
They hardly ever show a matching set 
in any room.

I happen to be a person who prefers NOT to have a matching set.  I like chairs that are different from the table (not made to match).   There are many many people out there like me.  Just check out my DINING ROOMS Pinterest Board. Very few of the tables and chairs are sets or made to match and most of those were pinned for other reasons.  Here's one example from that board -

This dining room is from Marian (of the famous Miss Mustard Seed blog).  She has 4 easy to find maple chairs that match. She has two completely different end chairs.  She painted the base of the table in the same color as the end chairs.  Marian swaps things out in her home often.  She has switched tables 4 or 5 times in the last few years.  She changes chairs about as often. She finds things that work together, but they are definitely not a matched set.  You can click the link above to see a tour of her home.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Do You Need a Facebook Page for Your Booth??

Should you have a Facebook Page for Your Booth?  The short answer - It depends.

If your mall has a good Facebook page AND you don't plan on expanding your business, then you can skip doing a separate page for your booth.

Truthfully, a page devoted to a booth is seldom all that successful without a lot of hard work.  Most mall customers would prefer to visit one Facebook page showing items in ALL the booths instead of following pages for different booths.

If your mall has no Facebook page, then OMG - you MUST have a page!  Network with other booth dealers to promote each other's pages.  SHARE, COMMENT and LIKE on a regular basis and help each other build a following.  If you are good enough on Facebook and enjoy doing it, offer to do one for the store in exchange for rent or some other compensation. Be prepared.  A lot more work goes into a good mall page than you might anticipate.

A vintage mall without a good Facebook page is missing out on a golden opportunity.  In fact, I'd go so far to say that I would be very reluctant to have a booth at a store without a decent Facebook page.  I'm sure there are exceptions out there where business is so crazy good that a Facebook page isn't needed.  I just haven't seen such a place for myself.  :-D

If your store has a Facebook page that doesn't promote things in everyone's booths often enough, then having your own page could be helpful.  I have seen many business Facebook pages that fill up with cute quotes and personal tidbits about the owner, but neglect to show what's in the store.  That's pretty much the equivalent of no page at all.

I have a hard time explaining this to someone not familiar with Facebook pages.  A Facebook fan page is not the same as your personal Facebook page. Your personal page usually cannot be seen by anyone but your friends.  Customers usually don't want to be your Facebook friend.  They just want to see your stuff.  Showing things from your booth on your personal page is NOT the same as having a Facebook PAGE.  You can create extra pages within your Facebook account that can be open to anyone.   The settings on a PAGE will be open so that anyone can LIKE your page - they don't have to be your Facebook friend.  They don't have to find out anything about YOU, unless you post it on the page.  You can find out more about pages by Googling "Facebook create a page".  There are lots of good tutorials out there and they can explain it all much better.

 I have several extra pages for different things I do - Vintage Show Off is my page that goes with this blog.   I have a page where I post all sorts of home related things - First a Dream.   I have pages for the stores I promote - Rockin B and The BoneYard.  I spend so much time on those now that I seem to have less and less time for the other pages.  I'm continually working to find a balance.

I don't recommend spreading yourself thin with lots of pages.

If you create a page, it's a good idea to make the focus a bit broader than just your one booth.  You may end up with booths in more than one place.  You may sell from fairs or shows.  You may sell from Etsy one day.  You may have a yard sale you want to advertise.  It would be good to build a fan base on one page to reach all the people who may be interested in the different things you do.

In order to get people to want to visit your page, you'll need to post info that they consider worth their time.  In addition to showing new things from your booth, you may post a few how-to's, inspiration photos and information that readers will find useful.

Posts without photos are a waste of time.  Seriously.

It's a good idea to match the name of your page with the name of your booth, your Etsy store, and any other selling ventures you pursue.  One name for all.  One name to promote.

Have you named your booth?  If not, come up with a name.  Choose wisely.  On Facebook, you are allowed to change your page name just once, but it would be best to pick a good name and stick with it.

 The page should reflect your business ---your booth.   The trick to choosing a name is to come up with something short and catchy, that isn't already taken on Facebook.  One site that I found extremely helpful in checking names is NameChk.  You type in a username at the top and click CHK, then results will come in showing what sites are available with that name and what sites are taken.  You don't have to have every site on the list available, but there are some that would be helpful.  Of course you have to find one that has Facebook available.  Will you ever want to sell on Etsy to supplement your booth income?  If so, make sure the name is available there, too.  If you'd like a blog to go along with your business, make sure Blogger or Wordpress has the name available.  You may also want Pinterest and Flickr and Twitter.  Ideally, all your sites and your booth will end up with the same name.  You are creating a name for yourself.

Make the name easy to spell, easy to remember, and not too long.  Funny spellings of common words are not as easy to remember as some think.

Interesting - I know of very few people who don't become bored with their name after a while.  If you get bored, try to get over it.  Remarketing a new name is a hassle and annoying to those who are your fans.  Change your page cover if you get bored.  :-D

Resources for choosing a good name -
* Note - these articles are geared towards choosing a domain  or blog name, but most of the tips apply for your booth and Facebook name as well.
5 Blog Naming Basics
Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Secrets
Brainstorming a Name for your Blog

If you have the perfect name but it's taken, you might try adding a little something to your perfect name.
What if My Domain Name is Taken?