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 paulinaarcklin.nl


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

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

Display crates could be painted an accent color.
Found on roundbarnpottingco.blogspot.com


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


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. ..lol. 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.

WE DON'T HAVE TO STOP HERE!  
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.

LEAVE A COMMENT!

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!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Getting Rid of Things

Sometimes, you reach a point where you know something is not going to sell at a price that will make a profit.  

There's point where even looking at it will cause you stress.  It's time to let it go.

I have been messaging about this with a friend.  In her case, she had to take a break from having a booth and she needed to get rid of all the extra stuff in her house.  She tried a market.  She tried inviting vendors to her house.  She was trying to sell the things without feeling like she was throwing money away.  It can be a dismal feeling.  She finally decided to take everything to an auction and get rid of it all once and for all.

I wrote something to her that I want to share.  I think it might be useful for MORE than just people closing a booth.  It's useful for  people with a booth, too, who just need to clean out some things.   Here's what I wrote to her -

The auction will be so much easier for you.  You can get everything out of your way and not have to worry about it anymore.  I have reached a point where letting things go is not about making any money.  It's often not even about getting what I paid for it.  It's about lightening my load and passing things on to people who will enjoy them.  I've taken load after load to Goodwill.  I've given things away to friends.  It feels good to be generous.  It feels good to not feel the stress of seeing things that I no longer want or need.  Even if you take a loss at the auction... even if you see some things go for prices that are sickening... try to let it all go with joy.  Say a prayer that whoever gets it will enjoy it and then just smile.  
This is very much the attitude in a marvelous book - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  That book will help you learn to let go.



Keep in mind, I don't have a booth right now, so my letting go is way more drastic than it would be if I did have a booth.  I may pick up and have a booth again, maybe even next year, but for now, I'm cleaning out and lightening my load.  You may think it's mostly my husband's stuff, but no, most of the junk was mine.  We vendors tend to accumulate clutter.

Still, I used this premise often when I had sales in my booth.  There are times when you realize, something you found for your booth was a mistake.  Maybe you paid too much for it.  Maybe it's not right for your area.  Maybe it's got a flaw you didn't notice before.  Whatever.  Don't beat yourself up about it.  Don't hold onto it and feel irritated every time you look at it.  Sell it for a low price, pack it off to Goodwill, give it away, take it to an auction or whatever .... just get rid of the darned thing.  Don't let it take the fun out of your days.

There are some really good articles about that book by the way.  I have pinned those links on my Magic of Tidying Up Pinterest board.  There are clutter articles on that board, too, but a large number tf the pins are just about what's called the "KonMari method".  The book is a huge best seller.

UPDATE:  I had a reader comment on the Facebook page about this book.  The reader hated the book and thought it was very poorly written.  I was not shocked or insulted by the comment because I actually agree that it wasn't well written.

This was part of my reply  to her - It's not writing at it's best. I agree on that. Further, I think it should have been made into a much shorter book. However, hidden within the fluff. there were some fantastic ideas.  I've read a number of decluttering books over the years and I still found some real game changers in this book.  If you were so put off that you didn't actually read the book, I recommend reading some articles online (free).  I found a number of them that passed on some of the best advice very concisely.

In other words, if the book is too danged fluffy and long for you, get on over to my Kon-Mari Pinterest board and read the articles.  I did it backwards.  I read all the articles, then bought the book because by that point I was sold on many of the concepts... not everything, but enough to make me a huge fan of her method.

Monday, September 14, 2015

I Can't Figure Out What Sold

The Problem: You get the printout showing what sold for the month.  Your tags were great - they had all the information you needed to keep your inventory accurate - item description, inventory number, price, and vendor number.  Your writing was legible, but when you look at your printout, you can't figure out what sold.  Whoever rang it up didn't bother with your inventory numbers.  They didn't describe anything the way you did.  They wrote plate or vase or table or necklace or sometimes no description at all.  Unfortunately, you have a bunch of plates, vases, necklaces or whatever.  Then you have to go to the mall and look through all the sale pages to figure out what sold.  It happens month after month.



The thing is, when a store gets busy, whoever is working the cash register often feels pressured to hurry up.  Things are skipped.  OR there may be someone ringing up who is just plain lazy and doesn't bother adding what he/she thinks of as unnecessary details.

Are you tired of it?  Would you like a tip that helps you figure out what sold without having to try to change someone else's behavior?  After years of going to the stores and hunting down my sales, I came up with a solution.  It's so simple that it's ridiculous and I can't believe I didn't figure it out sooner.

The Solution:
There are two things every cashier tries to be accurate about, even when in a hurry - the price and the vendor number.

Vendor Number - You need to make sure your vendor number is easy to read and is written in such a way that it won't get confused with another vendor's number or the price (yes, that can happen).

Price - At some malls, if a checkout person writes up the price incorrectly, they can get into trouble.  They might even be charged.  They ring up the price very carefully.  That's the key to this trick.

Write your price with crazy numbers in the cents.  Do not end it in .99.  That's too common.  If you were thinking of marking something $30 or $29.99, instead, write it up as $30.12.  or $29.74.  If you go UP a tad, you've made a little extra money without scaring off a customer.  They still think of $30.12 as $30 when they are making a purchasing decision.

Further, let's say that $30.12 item was a platter.  You have three other platters and you want to sell those for around $30 each, too.  Mark them something different - $30.48, $29.88, and $30.27.  

When each of those platters appear on your monthly printouts, you'll be able to figure out exactly which one sold and your inventory will be easy to keep up without having to dig through the store's sales pages.  

****************

PS - I apologize for going so long between posts, but I know many of you understand.  Those of you who keep up with my posts probably remember my husband died in May.  I'm trying to figure out how to make sense of my life.  I write about that, as well as my husband's battle with cancer, in as positive a way possible on my other blog - Rudy and Denise.  You're welcome to read that if you are facing or have faced any similar issues (widowed or a caretaker).   If you aren't, I recommend that you stay away from sad stuff and go kiss your loved ones. Be happy.  Meanwhile, thanks to the many of you who have sent me sweet messages of encouragement over the last year. It's crazy how notes from people I've never actually met can mean so much.  As for this blog, I really do intend to keep it going.  I have a number of posts on my To-Do list that I plan to post in the future.  I find it really helps to do little things that have nothing to do with loss and grief.  Happy things.  My Vintage Show Off posts make me happy.  I like knowing I'm helping people.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Cluttered Booths and Changing Styles

I recently visited a couple of out-of-town antique malls.  It was interesting.  One thing stood out - the clutter effect.  Many of the booths that seemed the most cluttered were having sales - 20% or 30% off everything in the booth.  The regular prices were low.  It was obvious they were just concerned about low sales.



I'm sure there were treasures to be had, but it just looked like a mass of unwanted junk.  I found myself standing in the aisle and doing a quick booth skim.  I didn't even want to enter those booths.  It looked like exactly what I want to steer clear of.  I suspect many customers felt the same way and the poor vendors are no doubt thinking that if they just mark things down, those knick knacks will sell.

It also brought to mind something else that I have noticed more and more.  About 5 years ago, having vintage smalls were all the rage -especially old kitchen items.  Many people decorated with all sorts of things from especially the 40's and 50's.  Magazine photos were full of photos examples of  people who achieved the perfect vintage look.

Now, in those same magazines, you still see some vintage items but having too much now looks overdone and sad.  There will likely always be a draw for vintage items, but the way they are used and showcased changes.  A vendor needs to stay on top of the shifts in styles!

As I've said before, the next hot style doesn't seem to be here yet, but people know what they are tired of!  Unless you are a specialty booth with continuing good sales, you need to make sure your booth isn't selling mostly what most people no longer want to see.  Look through current magazines and popular Pinterest pins to see what is trending in terms of styles and colors.  Keep your booth current and you won't have to have a booth wide clearance sale!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Closing a Booth

One benefit of having a booth is that there is a great deal of flexibility.  You can work on it as much and as often as you like.  You can even take a break from it entirely.  That's exactly what I'm about to do.  At the end of this month, I am closing my booth.  I have no idea how long my break will last.  I may even explore other  selling options.

If you have been following this blog or my Facebook page, you may know that my husband died.  After seeming perfectly strong and healthy, he was suddenly diagnosed with cancer back at the end of October.  He died May 7th.  As you can imagine, I am reeling.  I find myself not even knowing who I am.  We'd been married for 36-1/2 years and even though I considered myself to be a very independent person, it seems I was mistaken.  I feel like half of me is gone.

In addition to the overwhelming emotions, there are tons of details to be taken care of when settling affairs.  There are also tons of things I now take care of that my husband used to be in charge of.  I find myself with absolutely no interest in having a booth, which is unexpected.  I have more things than ever to sell, but just don't want to deal with keeping up a booth.  A break is exactly what I need.

I won't be completely out of the biz.  I will continue doing the Facebook page for Collectors' Corner.  I hope to get back to more posts here, as well.  Working on the computer in the evenings is therapeutic.  It's work that feels more like play nd it keeps my mind from dwelling on sad things.







Closing a Booth  - When you sign up to have a booth, you generally sign a contract and agree to keep your booth for at least a certain amount of time.  Six months seems to be the norm.  If you have a major life event, most store owners will work with you if you need to close a booth before that.  If you want to close before your 6 months is up to move to another store or because you are just tired of it, that's not OK.  You'll lose your deposit and you'll not be able to change your mind and come back in the future.


If you plan to close your booth, I highly recommend that you do everything you can to close on a positive note and on very good terms with the owner.  Give AT LEAST 30 days notice.  That's probably on your contract. No bad mouthing. Leave your booth looking clean and nice.  Make sure it's completely empty before the last day of the month.  Don't burn any bridges.  Leave in a way that if you ever wanted to return, you'd be welcomed.

Most owners are used to vendors coming and going.  It's the nature of the business.  Even so, some owners may take it personally.  Just do your best to stay on friendly terms.  If the owner really likes you and is desperate to keep you around, he/she owner may even try to sweeten your deal.  A popular mall with a vendor waiting list won't need to do that unless they consider your booth to be a major draw.

My exit will be easy.  I had met my contract time.  I have a good reason for leaving - a major life event.  I gave more than 30 days notice.  I will be sure to have everything out of my booth before the end of the month.  Lori, the owner, was super nice about the whole thing.  When I'm ready to come back, I feel certain I'll be welcome.  I left my previous store on very good terms as well and still consider everyone there a friend.


Clearance Sales - You'll probably want to have a clearance sale so you won't have so much to lug home.  You may want to mark some things down or you may want to mark everything down.

If you are having a sale, make BIG signs to put in your booth. Signs printed on standard size paper just aren't that effective, even if you have several of them scattered around your booth.  Don't be lazy when you are having a sale.  GO BIG!   Spend a little time making an attention getting sign.  It will pay off!  A large chalkboard on an easel is my personal favorite, but there are other wonderful options.  After you put out your sign, stand way back from your booth and see if you notice it.


When to take things out of your booth - If you are moving your booth from one store to another, you may want to do it all in one fell swoop, which is exhausting.  Depending on your move in day at the new store, you may be able to do it all in one day.  If there's a few days wait til your new space is available, then your options depend on your vehicles and storage.

If you are closing entirely and have to take things home, I highly recommend getting a head start.  Start by bringing home the things you don't mind keeping.  Leave things you seriously hope will sell til the end and make them look as fabulous as you possibly can!


Even though I won't 
have a booth, 
at some point, 
I will begin exploring 
other selling options 
- Etsy, Ebay, yard sales, markets.  


I have sold on Ebay in the past, but, frankly, it's been a while.  I have things to sell that would be a good fit for each of these venues.  Each venue is a bit different.  I'm not sure when I'll get started on that, but when I do, I plan to post about it.

I have said in the past that in this business, it helps to have other outlets for sales.  For instance, sometimes, when you have a nice collectible item, you can sell it online faster and for more money than you might be able to in a booth.



Part Time Booths - I am taking a break because of life circumstances, but there are other business reasons where some people may benefit from having a short term booth - 6 months on (enough to fulfill the contract), followed by a break.  The key is to figure out what you expect from this business and how to get it.  Rent comes out every month regardless of whether you are selling or not.  Some months are typically slow and may be a perfect time to take a break.  April, May and June seem to be the slowest for me.  Depending on what you sell and where you sell, you may have other months that are your worst.  I have talked more about the part time booth concept in this post - A Short Term Booth.


Now, I need to take my own advice - I still don't have a large fabulous sale sign in my booth.  I guess I'd better get off the computer and get busy, right?





Monday, April 6, 2015

Trend Watch: Reducing Clutter

Over the last few years, I have found myself longing for (and slowly working towards) a simpler life.   My dream is to have a much smaller home with only the things that I love and find useful.  I want more emphasis on making memories than storing keepsakes.

Obviously, I'm not alone in my quest.  In fact, I'd say it's a trend that is growing.  I recently came across a great article (you can read the entire article HERE) that made me think of this trend in terms of having a booth.  Baby boomers are wanting to get rid of their stuff, but their kids aren't wanting much of it because they want their lives to be simpler.

“My parents are always trying to give us stuff,” says Kelly Phillips, 29, a real estate marketer. “It’s stuff like bunches of old photos and documents, old bowls or cocktail glasses. We hate clutter. We would rather spend money on experiences.”
Many baby boomers are downsizing and they have tons of things to get rid of.  That's both good and bad.  On one hand, picking is getting easier.  On the other, the market is getting more and more over-saturated, which makes it harder for vendors to have good sales.

Stephanie Kenyon, 60, the owner of Sloans & Kenyon Auctioneers and Appraisers, says the market is flooded with boomer rejects. “Hardly a day goes by that we don't get calls from people who want to sell a big dining room set or bedroom suite because nobody in the family wants it. Millennials don't want brown furniture, rocking chairs or silver-plated tea sets. Millennials don't polish silver.” The formal furniture is often sold at bargain prices, or if it’s not in good shape, it might go straight to the dump.
Should you throw in the towel?  Not necessarily.  You might just need to adjust your thinking a bit.



Tip 1: Stock your booth mostly with things that people actually NEED.

There are certain things people will ALWAYS need.  Even a minimalist needs a bed.  Downsizing seniors have never been a vendor's key market, but even seniors sometimes need furniture.  Their items may break or wear out after years of hard family abuse.  OR, as they downsize, they may want to trade in their huge dining set for something smaller.  OR, they may, like me, want to get rid of things they've made do with and replace them with things that are nicer.

Married couples are often in a constant state of change where home furnishings are concerned.  As their families grow, so do their needs.  Having a child means that child will likely need a bed, a side table and a chest of drawers.  They may find that once their parents downsize, they are the ones having to host Thanksgiving dinners and they may need those larger tables.

Couples working from home may need a desk and shelves.  It's usually not a petite little desk like most people used decades ago.  It's a bit larger (without being overly heavy or massive) with room to work.

Young adults just moving out on their own have lots of needs.  Often they start with hand-me-downs, but they're seldom satisfied with that.  They are eager to redo and sport their own style.

Tip 2: Beware of Clutter!

Few people's needs include "clutter".  When I say clutter, I am referring to things that are not useful.  That includes collectibles, knick-knacks, tchotchkes and do-dads.  It includes furniture that serves no purpose.

That doesn't mean they won't sell at all.  But, many customers are choosier about their knick knacks.  Tchotchkes that are pretty and trendy will continue to sell to most everyone but minimalists.    Pretty decor inspiration photos can be found all over and there will always be people wanting to create similar beautiful vignettes in their home.  These things often are not useful, but they are so pretty that customers still want them.  If you can stock small decor that is both pretty and serves a purpose, it will probably sell very well.

Tip 3:  Don't overload your booth.

It's wonderful to have a good selection of accessories in you booth, but if your booth looks too cluttered, you can actually turn off buyers who are working hard to create a comfortable, yet uncluttered look in their home.  Ponder this... How many times have you walked past a booth that feels too cluttered and junky?  How many times have you wandered into a booth that feels like you wish your home felt?

Tip 4:  Be VERY choosy when you are out picking.

Look for items that you could picture in a nicely done decor magazine photo.

Keep in mind that the vintage 1940's and 50's trend is not all that popular anymore.  Magazines are seldom featuring kitchens with that once trendy, cutesy, vintage look.  I fell in love with that look along with many others a few years back, but like many, I'm over it.  Which brings me to my next tip:

Tip 5:  Watch decorating trends like a hawk and keep your booth current with what's hot.

In fact, try to give your booth the look that your customers are wanting to create in their homes.

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By the way, every vendor's goals are different.  If you looked at my booth these days, you'd probably wonder why I'm not taking my own advice.  My booth's soul purpose is to help me declutter.  With very few exceptions, everything I am selling is coming straight out of my house, including plenty of things that I still love, but just don't need.  My hubby and I are downsizer-wanna-be's.  One day, everything we own will be moved to a very small, but wonderful home.  When that day comes, I hope we have already pared down so the move will be easy.  I hope to have gotten rid of everything that won't be both needed and loved in that cozy little home.  Meanwhile, our current home will feel calmer and less cluttered.  We probably aren't moving anytime soon, but by then, I hope to happily living with less.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Umbrellas as Booth Decor

Watch for inexpensive patio umbrellas at yard sales. They are great eye-catching additions to indoor or outdoor booths.

Remove the old icky fabric and redo them. You don't have to do an expert seamstress job. I have seen some examples where they draped, glued, and/or stapled fabric or lace tablecloths over the top and it looked fabulous. If the original umbrella fabric is in good shape, you might just add some interesting fringe or trim. 

Take a look at these examples - 

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PS - I'm so sorry to have neglected my blog for so long.  My husband is still battling lung cancer.  He's hanging in there and about to start a fairly new treatment - immunotherapy.  He's doing better than expected right now, thanks to wonderful doctors and the prayers of many - people we know and love and also from people we've never met.  You are welcome to follow along on our facebook page and/or our blog.   Rudy (my hubby) spends plenty of time each day sleeping in his recliner.  When he's sleeping, I try to be still and quiet. The best quiet activity for me is to work on the computer - it's almost therapeutic.  It's fairly easy to fit in quick posts to the VIntage Showoff Facebook Page, but I hardly ever have a good block of time (or energy) to do a full out post for the blog.  I really love this blog, so I hope you'll all stick with me as I try to keep posting now and then. Having someone you love diagnosed with cancer certainly is life-changing and it's not all in a bad way.  I have found myself becoming more clear about what I need/want/like and what I don't.