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 -