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. 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.

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.


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.